For this showcase series we feature the photography of Mel Ashar, who currently resides in California. Mel spoke to Photophique and this series and his photographic journey:
Hi Mel, thanks for speaking to Photophique, could you tell us a little about your photographic background?
I’m a landscape and architectural photographer, meaning I love photographing things that are not alive. I got started in landscape photography about 5 years ago when I lived in Seattle. I was greatly inspired by the beauty of the Cascade Mountains, Mt Rainier and the Pacific Ocean. I would escape into the mountains or one of the Puget Sound islands every chance I got, and spent hours photographing the great outdoors. In the years since, I’ve moved to California where I further improved my art at the numerous national parks and water bodies we’re surrounded by. I have exhibited at a number of prestigious art festivals and galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have a growing base of art collectors who own my work.
Can you give us more details on this skate series?
This series was a personal project I shot at Venice Beach, Los Angeles in mid-2012. As you can tell, this series has nothing to do with my main photographic interest, which is landscapes. It was my first trip to Venice Beach, and my senses were overwhelmed by the street culture. There were hundreds of skateboarders, singers, artists, tourists, locals and interesting people of every size, shape and color. I wanted to capture something that really defined this place and some of the strong personalities present.
I decided to focus on the skateboarders because they are one of the most prominent features of Venice Beach. Luckily I had a fast 70-200mm lens, and there was still enough daylight to get away with a fast shutter speed. So I walked over to the skate park on the beach and started shooting from every angle, distance and perspective I could find. Although I shot dozens of frames at the Venice Beach skate park, these are my favorites for their composition, lighting and sharpness.
What equipment do you use?
For this particular series, I used a Canon 5D Mark III and Canon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 L telephoto lens. The long lens allowed me to stay a safe distance away, yet capture interesting closeups of the skaters. Most of the shots were at f/2.8, which allowed me a fast shutter speed and low ISO. The wide aperture also helped isolate the skaters from their background. There were a ton of people around, and it was quiet tricky to compose without distracting elements in the picture.
For my landscape photography work, I prefer using a Canon 6D because it has GPS built-in and is a lot lighter to carry than the 5D Mark III. My favorite lens for landscape work is Canon’s 17-40mm f/4 L.
Thanks to Mel for speaking to Photophique. You can see more of Mel’s excellent work via melashar.com, Facebook or his Twitter account.
Photophique has express permission to publish these images and Mel Ashar retains full copyright to all photographs featured in this showcase series.Back to Top