MBUK 361 cover

Behind the cover: MBUK issue 361

The whys and hows behind this month's night-riding-inspired front page

Issue number: 361


Date: October 2018

Rider: Scott Woolley

Bike: Evil The Following

Trail/location: Carlton Bank, North Yorkshire

Photographer: Mick Kirkman

MBUK 361 cover

Getting the shot

Photographer Mick Kirkman describes how he achieved this tricky shot, balancing the requirement for dramatic lighting with some exciting action to produce an image that fitted the night riding theme of the issue:

Scott and I went up an hour before sunset to look for a little jump or lip to get some shape off, but we also needed a location that had a clear background facing out towards the fading light, because I wanted some ambient light still in the sky so the background wouldn’t be completely black.

“We tried a few takes with a long exposure, so that the beam from the bar light would leave a bright trail and the helmet light would leave a ‘print’ on the sensor while the camera flash froze the rider. But with the ambient light, it was impossible to freeze Scott sharp enough for a cover without the background being too dark.

“I then changed plan, made the exposure work with the combination of flash and riding lights, and sacrificed the light trails. I focused on setting up the lights to give a dramatic, hard feel to the lighting and was chuffed with how I got the Evil logo on the bike to light up subtly.

“Scott had to repeat the same shape several times once we’d decided on what action looked good, while I jiggled myself about a bit to get the best feel and angle. I’m really happy with how this one turned out and Jimmer [MBUK’s Art Ed] did a great job of tying the whole thing together with the ‘Keep it lit!’ headline and really well-balanced colours and design.”

An alternative option, shot with a long exposure to leave the light trails.
An alternative option, with a long exposure used to leave a light trail hanging in the sky. Photo: Mick Kirkman


You can subscribe to MBUK here and check out our FacebookInstagram and Twitter accounts for all of the latest mountain bike action.

And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter!