I think one of the hardest aspects of this kind of photography is the fact that you can’t rely solely on yourself to get a final product. I can work hard all day, managing every tiny aspect of a shot, making thousands of exposures, and there is still one element of the photo that I have no control over: whether or not the trick was landed.
I have upwards of 1000 photos of Randy trying this one trick. That’s at several exposures per attempt, but he still tried it more than 150 times. There’s always a sweet spot somewhere in the middle, where the rider is warmed up, but not exhausted. Toward the end though, things just start falling off because there’s no more energy left to try.
Then, after the trick has finally been landed, there’s an ethical question to deal with. Is the shot that was landed the one that you want to publish? There’s a lot to take into consideration when making that decision. Body position, board position, the look on the rider’s face, temporary shadows, temporary highlights, scenery obstructions, background, and a whole lot more. Shots like this, with a ton of different attempts, and a ton of different exposures, lead to a ton of different variables and potential photos. There’s always that one that was landed, but that one isn’t always the best image. Sometimes the decision is very clear. Other times, it’s far from it.