Behind the Shot: Adam Chrabaszcz

This past week we inducted another photographer in the Firing Squad champions gallery based solely on your votes. We certainly can’t pronounce his name, but Adam Chrabaszcz becomes the third Polish photographer to win four weeks in a row, leading us to assume Yobeat must be really big time in Poland. Either way, congratulations Adam, now tell us a little bit more about your shot.

Tell us about this shot. Who is the rider, where and when was it taken?

The rider in this shot is MichaÅ‚ GreÅ„ , polish national halfpipe team rider. The shot was taken in WrocÅ‚aw, Poland and was supposed to be one of many street shots this winter. As it came out, it was the only street session that we shot. We prepared some other spots, but the winter was so unpredictable, that we couldn’t do anything more in the city. Despite that, I’m pretty happy with this image. It got published in ‘Snowboard MDS’, a polish magazine. Got me and MichaÅ‚ to the finals of Burn Snowpark Rally in Leogang, Austria, by winning mission 2 of the contest (we ended up 2 place in the finals). Got into YoBeat Champions Gallery, of course 😉 Third time lucky, I guess, since I tried twice before 😉

What set up did you use to take it?

This is a simple one strobe setup. We also used car headlights and normal lights for the wall background and video shots. For the other shot (below), I did a two strobe setup.

If you took it again, would you do anything differently?

I like the photo as is, wouldn’t have changed anything.

Did you learn anything about photography from the Yobeat peanut gallery?

One thing, that sometimes a bad picture with a good trick can win with a very good picture with a simple trick. But this isn’t a rule everywhere. Best thing is to have a superb shot with an insane trick.

Who are you, where do you live, and what do you normally shoot?

I’m an extreme sports photographer based in WrocÅ‚aw, Poland. I mostly shoot snowboard, freeski and FMX.

What is it like being a snowboarder in Poland? Is there much of a scene there?

Poland is a funny country regarding snowboard and snowboarding. The scene is mostly focused on rails and street jibbing, since the resorts aren’t so good and the snow parks don’t have good kickers either. We don’t have a halfpipe also 😉 The good thing is that street riding in Poland is insane and people are really good at it. For jumping we visit our friends in the Czech Republic 😉

Where can the people see more of your work?

The best place is my showcase with selected works. Visit also my blog and my flickr and facebook pages. I publish in many polish online magazines and in the one & only printed mag, mentioned above.

Behind the Shot with Adam Chrabąszcz

Every week we have one winner and one loser in the Firing Squad. Well, unless spiders take over, and then sometimes we have two winners, but you get the point. Anyway, we try to keep the photographer names out of the battles for fairness purposes, and while it rarely works, at least we try, right? When a photo loses, we offer every photographer the option to come out of anonymity and tell the story of their shot. Some people don’t bother, but in the case of this week’s loser (who was last week’s winner) he really got after it, even including some outtakes. Here’s how the above shot came to be with photographer Adam ChrabÄ…szcz.

I’ve made this shot with a Polish Rome and Spy rider MichaÅ‚ GreÅ„ (he was then riding for Forum.) We’ve made it during winter in January 2009, we had a very good winter for jibbing and city shots that time. One day after shooting a wallride (fought in YoBeat, sick fight with over 500 votes, so close, but lost by 23), I was dropping off Michal to his home and we decided to check the dirt bike park, which was just a block away from his house. It was late in the night so we just checked out the place and decided to shoot the next day during sunset.

It was quite a good session, the weather was great with a clear sky, and it was something other than jibbing, drops and wallrides, that we used to do the previous days. Michal is a very good rider and can do anything a photographer wants, just ideal for shooting fast photo sessions. We’ve done some jumps and some board presses. Everything had to go smooth and super fast, due to the quick sunset.

This particular photo was chosen to be submitted, since it is one of my most faved photographs on flickr, so I wanted to see how it would get around at Yobeat. The trick is pretty simple, but the main idea was to catch the purple sky, that matched great with Michal’s outfit. It was all about color on this one. I wanted to have the rider in the middle of the frame, with the vingette from the fisheye lens making him appear as in a spotlight, just like in a theater. All though it might look as a single flash setup, I’ve used two strobes (Sunpaks 555 triggered with Pocket Wizards) for lighting the rider and a 1/100 exposure for getting the ambient light from the sun. The buildings in the background just add a more industrial feel to it. The camera behind the shot was a Canon 40d equipped with a Tokina 10-17 fisheye lens wide open at f3.5.

I feel that this is a photo that gives more to the photographers audience than the riders, it’s a lesson to remember and I’ll post some more action packed, hard-trick photos next time to please the riders a bit more 😉

For a preview check my showcase at, my blog for the recent shots at, my flickr page at and one of the biggest polish freestyle sites at , which I, Marek Ogień (ultra yobeat champion) and some other great polish photographers create.

I’m an extreme sports photographer based in Poland. I shoot mostly snowboard and freeski in the winter and FMX, kite, wake and skate when there’s no snow.