How I Got the Shot: Skateboarder Paul Rodriguez shines like the sun

This week’s “How I Got the Shot” takes us to a back alley in Valencia, California, where photographer Joanna Miriam captures skateboarder Paul Rodriguez levitating like a superhero.

Paul Rodriguez
Joanna Miriam captures Paul Rodriguez levitating like a superhero

Name: Joanna Miriam
Age: 32
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California
Bio: Miriam is an experienced photographer, producer, and digital technician.

When I have my camera bag with me, I feel invincible. I’m not sure what it is about putting that lens in front of me, but it’s like my special power. My adrenaline starts pumping and I never know how I am going to react.

My favorite things to shoot are people and places—athletes, musicians, actors, families, brides and grooms. They all give me the capacity to see each person as playing a character. Once that is established, we are all superheroes and the magic ensues.

Traveling gives me a new outlook on life, literally. Experiencing new places, faces, and cultures is the most amazing feeling that cannot be described in words. My goal for my imagery is to make you feel my experiences! Whether it be laughter, love, happiness, hope, lust, fear, or just a sense of calm. It is emotion that I seek.

Who: Paul Rodriguez
Where: Back alley in Valencia, California
Why: Skinnie magazine cover shoot and feature article

I rented a photo studio to shoot a cover of Paul Rodriguez on white seamless paper. I wasn’t sure how much time I would get with him since he is a very busy athlete, so I really wanted to concentrate on the portraits. When we met he was so cool and was open to skate wherever we wanted. He had lots of time for me. So with no skate park reserved in the area that day, we went to the back alley of the studio. I took with me a couple of portable lights and my fisheye so I could get really close. He started to do some of his signature tricks and that’s when the magic started.

Shooting him outside gave me the option to shoot at a higher shutter speed, so the sun looks like a starburst behind him. That is one of my favorite parts of the photo. If it weren’t for the portable lights, all you would see is the gunk of the alley. Paul was so fluid with his movements that it only took 15 minutes to get really insane shots of him doing different tricks. He spoiled me! Now when I shoot contests, I want to control all of the elements in the photo—athlete, background, and lighting. Thanks Paul!

What the image was shot with: Canon EOS-1D Mark III; shot at 1/500 sec f/11 ISO 100 EF15mm f/2.8 Fisheye with strobe
Magazine affiliation: Skinnie magazine, senior photographer
Sponsors: PlanB, Mountain Dew, Nike SB, Markisa, Venture, Target, Primitive, InCase, Nixon, Brigada Eyewear, Diamond Supply CO., Andale, Grizzly Griptape, Fuse Science
Photographer’s website: /
Instagram: @joannamiriam

For more “How I Got the Shot”

How I Got the Shot: Surfer Bruce Irons blows mysterious bubbles
How I Got the Shot: Skier Eric Hjorleifson is caught in the chase
How I Got the Shot: Rainbows and giant barrels in Teahupoo
How I Got the Shot: Whistler’s Mount Fee takes center stage

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