Moya on an Overpass
*This post was originally posted to the Japan Forward website. Please see the link at the bottom of this blog post*
As a professional photographer, it is my job to find and create beautiful images – even with a less than perfect canvas. Many times what you would see as just an ordinary street, a lonely back alley or a decrepit overpass, can be turned into an unexpected image of beauty through proper skill and timing.
One such example is an image I captured while out and about with Spanish Flatland BMX rider Alberto Moya. Moya, as he is known by friends, is a very innovative and original rider, and always a treat to shoot.
In March of 2018 I was able to get a day of shooting in with Moya when he was visiting Japan to compete in a local competition. Our day had us start around Tokyo station and make our way all over the city, but it’s this last shot just outside of Shibuya’s Yoyogi Park that is my favorite of the day.
After 3-4 hours of shooting, I wanted to end the day at a spot I knew inside the park. You may know this if you have visited the area, but to cross the street to get to the park there was an old walkway bridge you would have to climb up and over to cross the busy street leading into Shibuya’s core. At the time, this bridge was dilapidated, and would even sway when enough people were walking across it…scary!
It was still not that late in the day as we crossed the bridge, but I could already tell that the sun would be setting in a really good position to get a cool sunset shot on the bridge. We still had time to hit up the spot in the park, but I knew I wanted to get back here 30 minutes or so before sunset.As a photographer, sometimes as soon as you see a spot you can tell it’s going to be a great spot for a photo, even though it’s just a run down overpass that no one gives two thoughts about as they pass over it.
As we shot in the park I made sure I stayed focused on the time and the height of the sun. This was the only day I would have with Moya, and I really didn’t want to miss this chance. I wanted to get as many shots as I could, something I’m sure everyone with a passion for photography will understand.
Having shot what I wanted to in the park, we packed back up and ran back over to the overpass. When we arrived the sun was quickly getting into just the right position so I rushed to get my gear ready.
After a few quick attempts, I decided I would like to use one of my Broncolor Siros L’s to the side to bring out a bit of the detail on Moya’s body and bike. Thankfully these lights take very little time to set up and are perfect in this kind of situation. So now the sun was in position, my strobe was in position, and Moya was in position. All that was left was to shoot!
But of course, just as I was ready to shoot, everyone in Japan decided to walk across that bridge right at that moment. I exaggerate a little, but it really was funny to see just how many people came out of nowhere as soon as we started shooting. It’s like they were waiting below for me to yell “GO!” To Moya. and they all came up at the same time.
This almost always happens when shooting in the street, so I knew to just keep calm and my time would come. And so we waited. And the sun got lower, but we waited. And it got lower still, even started to pass behind a tree, but all we could do was wait. Then it came, a moment in the flow of people were no one was crossing the bridge! I yelled to Moya to GO! And he started doing his thing.
I shot a flurry of photos, always watching the lines of the bridge, reflection on the ground, my timing with his trick, for people walking pass by me from behind, and a hundred other things that could mess up the image. And wouldn’t you know it, just as the last inches of the sun passed behind the trees and blessed us with its last spark of light across the early spring sky, we got the shot!
Working as a photographer at various events and shoots is great fun, but I really enjoy the randomness of these street shoots here in Japan. Tokyo is so full of cool spots. With a little exploration and luck I’m sure you will be able to get some great shots too!
Here are a few more images I shot on the same day but near Tokyo Station.
JAPAN FORWARD: https://japan-forward.com/moya-on-an-overpass/