Behind the Backwards Hat: Jake Seeley X Up Crook 180

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Hat Flip
Photos and text by Walter Pieringer

It's an age-old struggle: getting the best angle for both a clip and a photo often takes some creative thinking and compromise between the filmer and the photographer, or you can end up with one camera guy blocking the other's shot. Sometimes it's easy, other times it can be a real challenge to end up with two high-quality results. A big convenience of doing both jobs at once is it's easy to try out more imaginative solutions since you don't have to talk somebody else into anything.

Take, for example, the photo of Jake Seeley's X up crook 180 that ran in the Grow Up article in the latest (January) issue of Ride. If you were paying close attention (or follow @rodeopeanut), you may have noticed that Jake's hat is forwards in the run up frame, but backwards in the rest of the frames. Hmmmm.


Does not compute.

Jake had been racking his brain over the X up crook 180 for the better part of a year, and we had a pretty good idea it was gonna be his ender clip. I was sure fisheye was the shot for both photo and video, and Jake agreed, but I knew it wasn't going to be a straightforward setup.

The photo would be a seamless sequence, and since I'd be tight and panning with the video camera, I'd need to be a lot closer in and almost certainly block Jake at some point in the photo. Not good.

I set up some cameras, Jake crooked the rail a few times, and Julian Arteaga was kind enough to fire the shutter on the photo camera for me.


Julian (blue jacket) is working the photo camera. Obviously I'm blocking Jake…

Sure enough, with the photo camera in optimal position and me in close shooting video, I was almost completely blocking Jake in the run up. But this would be easy to resolve.


I think we can agree the photo is much stronger without me in it.

The solution: after Jake pulled it, I'd ask him to do another crook and snap a photo of the run up without me blocking him. The run up wouldn’t look any different…. And I'd be asking him for a run up shot for the video anyway.

Five tries later, Jake flawlessly pulled the X up crook 180. Needless to say we were stoked. After everyone calmed down, Jake was kind enough to hit another crook, which I filmed long lens while Julian snapped another sequence.

It wasn’t until we checked out the photos and footage later that night that we realized Jake's hat had gotten turned around sometime between landing the X up crook 180 and re-shooting the run up. Shit!

You can actually see his hat fall off when he hugs Alec.

But hey, fuck it! I could've just not used the run up frame, it's not necessary to tell the story, but it sure does help balance the photo out:


No run up feels way right-heavy.

The photo gets the job done, but this is really one of those tricks that's better represented in video. Fortunately you can watch Jake lace this and the whole rest of Grow Up for FREE all day right now. Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us at Sunday Bikes!

–Walter Pieringer