Cycling and photography stand on the 2nd and 3rd step on the podium of my life. In between them on the top step is my fantastic and beautiful wife. The fact that she tolerates my other two passions is just one reason I love her so much. If I could drag her along to some cycling events I was taking photos at, it would be just about the perfect day.
What is it that I love about cycling and photography? Probably the fact that I can always improve in both hobbies. I will never be a Eddy Merckx or Cadel Evans on the bike. The same way I will never be a Graham Watson or Veeral Patel (I will never get a call from Fabian Cancellara).
I have ridden a push-bike since I was five. I have been taking photos on and off since I was ten. It is in the past few years that I have started to combine them.
Opportunities to photograph cycling events are few and far between for me, so when I do get an opportunity, I really enjoy it. In early 2007 I had a chance to have a look at some world class cyclists at Dunc Gray velodrome. It was my first time there and I loved it. Shane Kelly was there and I managed to nab this shot of the Aussie great.
As much as the flashy panning shots excite me, I get more of a kick out of producing something a bit different. Some might even say arty. It is more a challenge to me to get photos like this than the panning shots that I just mash the shutter button and hope one sticks (that actually makes it sound easier than it actually is).
There is also the challenge of taking a shot of just the bike, or a component on the bike. These I find the hardest of all. There is a set of guidelines for shooting bikes. Cranks at 3 and 9 o’clock. Tyres and rims lined up. Chain on the big ring. You only have to be slightly out to have the experts make comment. For example.
The cranks aren’t parallel to the ground. Ever since it was pointed out it has driven me mad. I am by no means a perfectionist, but little things like that drive me mad. Some times it works out completely differently. I was experimenting one night and got this shot. People loved it.
I think the sense of movement is exaggerated just enough to make it more dramatic. A little like this shot, taken at night at an outdoor velodrome at Unanderra, near Wollongong.
I am sure the black and white has helped it. The aforementioned Veeral Patel was the one that really opened my eyes to the wonders of black and white cycling photography. Some of his photos from the 2011 Tour de France were superb. The close up portrait ones stand out in my mind. Some were very high contrast and the shots I took last weekend in dramatic light were inspired by his black and whites.
Sometimes I don’t have all the DSLR gear with, especially when I am out on the bike. That doesn’t mean you cant get a reasonable photo. This was taken with a crappy iPhone 3GS.
Proof that it is more about having a camera with you, not having the best camera on the market.
So there you go, a little insight into my two hobbies when they happen to intersect. It makes me happy and I hope others enjoy the results.