Author Topic: photography and cycling  (Read 15139 times)

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Offline sanuk

photography and cycling
« on: December 10, 2010, 09:48:03 pm »
Here's just an idle passing thought.  I've recently concluded that, for me, photography and cycling don't mix that well and I'm not sure exactly why that is.  I'm pretty serious about photography as a means of expression having worked semi-professionally at it for many years and logically you'd think being out on a bike would give a lot of photo opps.  However, I'm also pretty serious about getting where I want to go on the bike and focused on the ride as well as the passing scenery, but it seems I can't do two things at once - namely focus on riding my bike and focus on looking for interesting  photos at the same time.  Stopping for pictures every five minutes gets frustrating.  My last big ride on the West Coast produced some very unmemorable images apart from those I did while taking a day off from the bike.  Same would probably be true if I was driving a car, but when I do I usually have a specific destination in mind where I'm going to photograph and blank out what's inbetween - or get someone else to drive - whereas when cycling I'm just trying to be open to whatever I see en route.  The destination is what distracts me in that I'm looking for road signs, or at my map, listening to that mysterious knocking on the back wheel or just watching out for traffic or wondering if I'll get there before dark or before I collapse because I haven't found anything to eat along the way or haven't drunk enough liquids.  Too many mental/physical distractions.  So, I've concluded I either I focus on the ride or the images, not both. Seems I can't get into the serendipity of multi-tasking.  Latest trip I didn't take a camera at all, just a sketch pad and had a much more focused and enjoyable ride. Just no photos! 

Offline whittierider

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2010, 10:45:22 pm »
Ditto here.  Photography used to be a big hobby of mine, but when I'm on a bike, I'm on a mission.  I'm enjoying myself immensely and don't want to stop unless it's for an intended lunch stop or something like that.

Offline Macbeth

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2010, 05:47:42 am »
I carry a Canon Ixus in my handlebar bag. For a handheld it takes awesome pics, and having it accessible means I take a lot of photos while I am riding..... My girlfriend has a 7D which she brings along, but it mostly comes out at lunch/when we get where we're going for the day

Offline Westinghouse

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 04:12:52 am »
I have hundreds of photos from my last ST crossing east to west. Yes, it can be frustrating stopping and getting shots of this and that. You just have to find a happy median or go without the camera.

Offline shorecycler

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 09:27:03 am »
Although photography is not a hobby of mine, I will be bringing a camera with me when I leave this coming May to do the TA Trail. I found this sweet little thing that Kodak makes thats just like the flip camera's so it takes hd video as well as 5+ mp pictures and its nice and tiny. Just in case I see something I need to capture in time. If it will be used is yet to be seen but in my mind it has tons of uses.
Enjoy the Ride!

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 04:42:55 pm »
Even if photography isn't the goal of your trip, it's sometimes a good idea to take a point and shoot camera along.  If you're climbing a long, steep slope, and you need to take a break, pull out the camera.  Everyone going by will assume you stopped to take a picture.  If you don't have one, passing motorists and cyclists will ask, "Are you all right?," sometimes so many times you can't catch your breath from answering, "Oh yes, I'm fine."

Not that I've ever done such a thing.  Especially on SAG'ed century rides.  No, I just power straight up to the top.

Offline cherieandbob

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 10:06:21 pm »
Not that I've ever done such a thing.  Especially on SAG'ed century rides.  No, I just power straight up to the top.
[/quote]

Yeah, me too, but sometimes the "scenery" is just so beautiful and I have to stop midway up the hill and shoot a photo   ;D




indyfabz

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Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2010, 11:02:30 am »
Here's just an idle passing thought.  I've recently concluded that, for me, photography and cycling don't mix that well and I'm not sure exactly why that is.  I'm pretty serious about photography as a means of expression having worked semi-professionally at it for many years and logically you'd think being out on a bike would give a lot of photo opps.  However, I'm also pretty serious about getting where I want to go on the bike and focused on the ride as well as the passing scenery, but it seems I can't do two things at once - namely focus on riding my bike and focus on looking for interesting  photos at the same time.  Stopping for pictures every five minutes gets frustrating.  My last big ride on the West Coast produced some very unmemorable images apart from those I did while taking a day off from the bike.


Wow. Eeerily similar experience.  When I crossed the country I was shooting semi-pro.  I was also more mission oriented when riding.  I toted two cameras, including a medium format with power winder and three lenses.  Shot some 80 rolls of film between 120 and 35mm.  I was disappointed with most of it.  Some of that was due to the fact that I did mostly "street work" and not scenery.  But I always felt torn between riding and stopping to shoot.  Much of the work seems to reflect a person who was riding his bike and stopped really quickly to take a photo.  Consequently, the best shots were usually ones taken during days off or after the day's riding was done, when I could concentrate solely on shooting without thinking about the riding that still needed to be done.  The following winter I took one camera and one lens on my 7 week trip in southern Spain.  I tried to be less serious about both riding and shooting and got better results.  Now that photography is no longer a pursuit of mine and I constantly remind myself that I have all day to get where I am going, I find that I get better images on tour, even with a digital point and shoot.

Offline bogiesan

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2010, 10:21:52 pm »
Three points to contribute:
1. I lost my riding partner a few years ago (Erich's behind me in my avatar photo) and my photos from rides have never been the same. Erich didn't care when he got to camp. Camp was going to be there so he was determined we were going to enjoy our rides. And he made me stop often for photos. Maybe you can find someone to ride with and the two of you can encourage each other to slow down, look for photos, and then stop to take them.
2. If you're an experienced photographer, you know there's nothing like golden light. You may, like me, tend to ignore many direct sunlight images, even good ones, just because the lighting sucks. The best lighting tends to be around camp early morning and evening. Shooting off the bike or at noon is just so, umm, pedestrian.
3. Erich used to carry his serious gear and he used it to make some lovely images. Then we both started carrying simpler cameras and enjoyed the challenge of making terrific images with limited hardware. Now I just have a little digital poin'n'shoot that I wouldn't mind losing. Takes adequate photos. I leave all of my Nikons and fancy glass in the studio.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline waynemyer

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Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2010, 12:21:30 am »
I was a professional photographer in a past life.  It was very difficult for me to transition away from medium format and/or a great piece of fast, fixed-length glass.

But finally, it sank it: what's the best camera in the world?  The one you're going to use.  I now always carry a waterproof, shock resistant, freeze-proof digital P&S camera all the time.  The chromatic aberration is horrible, the flash either lights nothing or can be used for x-rays, and the frames-per-second makes my Hasselblad 503c look sprightly. Does it take a good photo?  Only to me and that's all that matters.
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Offline waynemyer

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Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2010, 12:40:45 pm »
Something else to consider: a helmet cam.  I have recently been using a helmet cam.  Many of the good models have a time-lapse mode, wherein the camera takes a picture at a preset interval.  Setting the camera to roll when riding through scenic areas is one way to capture the view without having to stop.  The pics can also easily be stitched into a time-lapse video in most video editing applications.
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Offline Grace Johnson

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2010, 03:52:18 am »
Quote
it seems I can't do two things at once - namely focus on riding my bike and focus on looking for interesting  photos at the same time.  Stopping for pictures every five minutes gets frustrating.

When we first started bicycle touring – Paul also took pictures “every five minutes” - and that was tiring.  Nowadays it’s only when we see a landscape that makes us want to stop and stare – then Paul will stop, and look for that “unique” standpoint to take the picture.



Right now we are now on a multi-year bicycle/photography trip and beforehand we made a “rough” checklist of what we wanted photos of.    That way, we will take the photos we want - like of local cyclists, yet we can also enjoy the cycling part of our trip without worrying that we “missed a photo opportunity”.


BicycleTraveler is a free digital magazine on international bicycle touring.  www.bicycletraveler.nl

Offline paddleboy17

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2010, 01:47:49 pm »
Wow who would have thought there would be this crossover between serious photography and serious cycling.

This year I made a transition in what I do with a camera when I tour.  It used to be I saw myself as an artist and only recorded images that struck my artistic fancy.  Now I see myself as a story teller.  I still take the arty shots, but I also give the mundane my best effort so that I can tell a story afterwards.    I also made my touring partner start taking a camera along too, as I told him that I was tired of seeing nice pictures of him.  My touring partner carried a nicer Canon point and shoot.  This season, I carried a venerable Nikon E995 with the wide angle attachment.  Yes it is only a 3.2MP camera, and getting a focus lock is dreadful, and the camera is a tad warm, but you can't buy a point and shoot with a useful wide angle lens on it.  The E995 is a twist body, so it is really easy to take over the shoulder shots with it.

I think someone make a line of point and shoots where it stitches multiple images while you pan with the camera to make a panorama, and that looks interesting, but I don't know what my toy budget will be for next year. 
Danno

Offline knolltop

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Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2010, 05:43:00 pm »
Thanks to all for the thoughtful posts. 
You've provided lots to think about ... feel headache comin' on.
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Offline steelhead

Re: photography and cycling
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2010, 11:37:56 am »
Thanks for all the photo posts. For the most part I do short tours in Oregon and Nevada (3 - 10 days). Lots of opportunity for panoramas. I have the good fortune to live near the Pacific Coast. I find the newer cameras that are GPS enabled to be a great post trip feature to catalog and sort photos. The Sony HX5V is a good example. If you use Facebook this camera has embedded software to facilitate photo transfer to your home page. OBTW if you use a MAC Iphoto has a neat feature to make a photo book using your GPS information.
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