So, I had the chance to shoot a new sport this week; Parkour. Or Free running or urban gymnastics. Call it what you will but its trendier than a trendy thing right now (and has been for the past few years) and I’ve been keen to shoot some for a while. A chance meeting, some calls and a tentative chat wound up with a hook up in central London with a crew of 4 or 5 ‘performers’

There’ll be another post along soon with the rest of the shoot highlights and some thoughts on shooting new sports but I thought I’d share this sequence shot first since its been on my mind since the last post and give a little background to the set up and post work….

Set Up
This time I was sans tripod, well to be honest I’d carried around all day but these guys move so quickly I never really got chance to set anything up.
I saw Adam eyeing this gap jump up, composed with the arch and the London Eye as I saw fit and tried to visualise the shape of the arc the jump would make. I hoped the overhanging tree would frame it up but was pretty stoked that it turned out so neatly

So…deep breath and a steadying of the lens, bracing in a crouch to minimise movement best I could, knowing any lens motion would have to be aligned in Photoshop afterwards.
The jumper jumps, the motor fires, I wait to see how it turns out later.

Ok, so different approach this time, mainly because of the more significant overlap and because, despite best efforts there is a misalignement between images.

  • Alignment
    • Since only the first and last image (ok, and the penultimate one too) have the jumper connected to the floor, only these two layers need to match. Using the move tool and a layer transparency set to 50% simply move the ‘start’ layer to align with the ‘finish’ layer using the ‘easy to line up architectural’ shapes to match them up. Its then possible to erase the landing zone from the ‘start’ layer and have the interface between the two match. In this case the bottom of the wheel slightly belies the join
  • Overlap
    • This took some thinking. Using the eraser method was too slow/complex, with the detail around each body position being too messy, and since its a destructive edit, its tricky to correct. So using magic wand selection, some edge refinement and a little quick selection tool each jump position was selected, shrunk and smoothed by a few pixels to reduce that horrid jagged outline which makes ‘shopped work look so shonky and a new layer created. (cmd+j, shortcut fans) Then, as before, its a simple case of choosing the overlap order, using layer stack order in the layers panel.
    • Finally, since the motion was relatively slow, at 8fps the overlap detracts from the dynamic movement of the jumper, the arm shapes and facial effort etc So I decided to bring some of that through by taking out some shots and selectively reducing opacity of others.
I really like this shot, the composition has come out really well, but its not THE sequence shot. Although I suppose there never really is that shot, just an improvement on the one  before it  and a second rate pre-cursor of the one to follow….
About The Author


Action and adventure photographer based in London, shooting commercial and editorial images that seek to capture the beauty in the lifestyles he loves

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