For a motorcyclist winter time means mothballing your bike and doing some mechanical work. Since there was no major maintenance work to do on my bike I decided to upgrade it with some extras and individualize it. I’ll leave the photography topic of this blog for a second if you allow. I made both cosmetic as well as technical changes. The technical change is the installation of an Akrapovic exhaust system. That gives the bike 3 extra horsepower, some more Nm torque and a weight reduction of a little more than 3 kg. Here is a video documenting the process: The rest of the changes are all measures to alter the appearance of the bike. I bought a carbon fibre fender for the rear wheel, golden brake and clutch levers, had the seat refurbished by a saddler, exchanged the license plate holder and replaced the turning indicators with LED ones. Also I installed yellow rim tape, here is a video illustrating the process: Now back to this blog’s main topic – photography. After installing the last part I set off for a combined test ride and photo session. I packed my D750 with the 70-200 f2.8 VR lens and a […]
Seasons greetings in 2015 were sent out to my readers in form of a bike decorated with christmas tree ornaments and christmas tree lights: Since 2015 was a motorbike-intensive year the idea was born to combine the year’s seasons greetings with this dominating topic. This is how it has been done. I placed the bike on the walkway before our house (which is only for pedestrians and bicylces, so no cars interfered with the shoot, same road used in these shootings Link1 Link2 Link3). Then I started decorating the bike with electric christmas tree lights and ornaments. I clipped the electric candles everywhere I could: license plate, windshield, footrest, fender, everywhere. Then I hung the golden ornaments and placed the purple tinsel. An extension cord brought power to the lighting and voilà – a kitschy motorbike. I used my Nikon D800 with the 80-200 lens and closed the aperture heavily. Most shots were made at f22 or f16/18. That produced a strong beam effect around the lightsources. Maybe I drove it a little too far and wider aperture would have worked, too. Well, you’re always smarter after a shoot. Setting up the shoot and shooting was quite funny. There were […]
Meet TimeBoo, a wristwatch made from Bamboo (the housing). I bought it on a designer market in Hamburg. The watch is astonishingly lightweight and I love the minimalistic design. And the price is astonishingly low. A watch for men costs 53 €, which is not much for a wristwatch (no pun intended). Please visit the TimeBoo webpage for further information. Of course I had to photograph my newest gadget. I decided to work with a on-the-fly-setup, using only a flashgun with a Lumiquest Softbox and a piece of paper as a reflector. The results are quite presentable, given the fact that I used such a small setup. The last image of the gallery was taken by hanging the watch from a tripod using a piece of string and using a black backdrop. But afer the first shots with this black setup I decided to use my desk as a background, since the wood of the table underlines the „green“ nature of the watch.
My motorbike photography mania continues. Last week I showed a BMW R 1200 GS, today a Suzuki GSX-R 750 is our model (in fact, both bikes were shot during the same session). The bike belongs to a colleague from work. From day one when I first saw the GSX-R in that particular color scheme a voice was screaming in my head „Photograph.That.Bike. Exclamation Mark, bold italic underlined flashing red“. I don’t know what it is, but I am totally into that black/yellow combination. It just looks a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Enough drooling. I asked my colleague if he wanted to have cool images of his bike and showed him photos from past shots. He immediately agreed. On the following Saturday he came to my home and, following the BMW, his bike was being photographed under my carport. Here is the setup: Two Quantuum R600+ studio flashes dangling from the carport ceiling, triggered with Yongnuo radio triggers. A black backdrop was installed behind the bike. Tip: Take care that the cloth forms a straight line on the floor, otherwise the border between floor and background has to be repaired in post. What you don’t see in the image: Andreas, the dude with the BMW, […]
My photographic year has been dominated by motorbike shoots and I intend to keep it that way. Because it’s big fun and the results are very satisfying. In my last studio session I photographed my Yamaha and my friend’s Moto Morini (the faithful reader of this blog will recognize the bikes by now). I wanted to repeat the studio session and asked two other bikers if they were willing to get decent shots of their rides. And guess what – they were willing to do so. So, on the following week-end, I set up the studio setting in our carport again. I strapped the Quantuum studio flashes to the wooden framework of the carport. As you can see in the first image, the right softbox hangs a little lower due to the tilted roof of the carport. I pondered hanging the left softbox at the same height, but as you can see in the third image, the BMW is a tall fellow, so theleft softbox must hang a little higher. Actually I found this setup quite appealing, because the overlap of the two softboxes minimizes the gap between the two light fields. When I started taking pictures of the BMW […]
This is part 2 of the „Bikes in autumn foliage“ series. Last week I featured a bike during daytime, this week’s post shows another bike at night. This is my Yamaha FZ6 Fazer, on which I posted multiple times this year (e.g. Link1, Link2, Link3). As in the previous post the images were taken with a Nikon D750 and the 70-200 f2.8 VR lens. Post-processing in Lightroom involved only white balance correction, a tad saturation and a little vignetting here and there. Pro tip: Turn off Auto White Balance (I did for the shoot, and by the way, it is mostly a good idea to use a fixed white balance during a shoot) ! You have absolutely no change in the light color in such a situation, only the street lamps illuminate the scene. With a fixed white balance in camera everything is right on the first take (or requires one click to one image and copy-paste the development settings to all other images). Do it, you’ll save heaps of time.
I have photographed motorbikes excessively this year (Link1, Link2, Link3). All these shootings took place in the bike’s natural habitat: roads, streets and in one case an open field. These shootings are fairly easy concerning the logistical part – just take the bike somewhere at the right time of the day, bring a camera, maybe a tripod and flashguns, and off you go. But I wanted to knock it up a notch and go into a studio environment. Last year I conducted several photo sessions with sports cars in the studio… ok, _model_ sports cars (Ferrari FF, Lamborghini Aventador) and I particularly like the shots with light straight from above, illuminating the silhouette and some details on the cars. I had to use model sports cars because a.) I don’t own a Ferrari and b.) neither do I own a lighting rig large enough to illuminate the whole car (like this one). But I own two 80×120 cm softboxes with studio flashes – and that is big enough for a decent bike shoot. Setup I cleared the carport in front of your house of the trash can, bicycle and our car, sweeped the floor and started installing my equipment. I […]
The motorbike season is over, the leaves are falling and so are the temperatures. At the moment it is cold and dry, which might give me one last bike trip this year. But once a little rain will fall, the rustling foliage will turn into road soap and terminate the biking season for sure. But that day has not come yet and so I could make some nice autum themed bike images. Once again I kidnapped my friend’s Moto Morini Granpasso 1200 for the shoot. The bike has been featured in previous posts (Link 1, Link 2). The images were made with the Nikon D750 and the 70-200 f2.8 VR lens. Post-processing in Lightroom involved lights adjustment, white balance correction, a tad of vignetting and the removal of unwanted objects (mainly lamp and fence posts). Oh yes, and I included one little easter egg in one of the images. Can you find it ?
I’m a member of a Facebook group where photographers from Hanover share images, coordinate events and discuss all the stuff photographers are discussing. Recently two of the members, who happen to work at a big local hospital, organized a behind-the-scenes-tour through some operating theatres. We were a group of 10 and met on a nice sunday, armed with our cameras and a lot of enthusiasm. I won’t win a fashion contest like that, but that was not the point. I’ll show a collection of the images I made and comment shortly. Click through the gallery and enjoy !
On the island Fehmarn in the Baltic Sea, just off the German coast, lies a post-WW2 submarine of the German navy. It has been converted into a museum and after posting about a WW2 submarine I thought it would make nice mini-series. The shooting conditions were similar to the WW2 submarine in Laboe. Not much light, mixed light at the entrances, very narrow passageways, many tourists squeezing through the metal behemoth. I shot with the 14-24 mm and pretty much the same techniques apply as described in last week’s post: If you want to take a wider shot you will have to wait for a moment when nobody is in the frame, or you can focus on shooting the details. Be patient. To get a people-free shot of the bridge I had to wait roughly five minutes as many children visited the submarine („I wanna be the captain now !“). Read some of the remarks below the images for additional information.
In Laboe, a German city at the Baltic Sea, you can visit a WW2 submarine which has been turned into a museum. Needless to say I wanted to see and photograph it. The submarine is a Type VII C boat, which entered service in September 1943. The german Reich built 693 units of those submarines. Most of them were sunk in WW2, taking the crew with them into a horrible death. Tens of thousand young men died and lie at the bottom of the oceans since then. As a monument against war, but also as a testament for german engineering, the submarine has been turned into a museum. You enter the aft section and work your way forward to the torpedo tubes. Needless to say there is not much space and if you imagine 44-52 people in there the space shrinks even more. The submarine has a very slim contour as you can see in the third image (photograph taken before the bow). As the space is very limited inside, a wide-angle lens is the weapon of choice. Let’s head inside, shall we ? I chose the Nikon D750 with the 14-24mm f2.8 lens (wide angle, wide aperture). Of course […]
There has been an extensive coverage of the recent lunar eclipse (bloodmoon). I also headed out in the middle of the night to photograph that event. The night before I prepared everything in such a way, that I just had to get up in the night, jump into my clothing and motorcycle gear, take the backpack and head out. I used my Nikon D750 with the Tamron 150-600 mm lens and a MeFoto compact tripod. The location I chose is a small artificial hill near the Hanover fair grounds (former Expo 2000 site). We don’t have any mountains here in the Hanover region, so I reckoned that the hill would make a good observation point. The eclipse startet somewhere around 3 AM, with the „bloodmoon phase“ occuring from 04:11 AM. Since I had to go to work that day (it occured the night from Sunday to Monday) I opted to skip the partial eclipse phase and only shoot the blood moon. I got up at 3:30 AM, jumped into my stuff and onto my motorcycle. I rode 14 km to the hill and set up my tripod. It turned out I was far from being the only one who chose […]
Sometimes things do not go as planned and one has to jump on an opportunity which comes along. August 29th was a „super moon“ – the moon was as close to earth as it gets on its elliptical path, hence a very large moon should be visible. I took the opportunity, packed my Nikon D800 with the Tamron 150-600 telephoto lens and headed out on a motorbike. It was a coincidence that I took my friends Moto Morini Granpasso. He went on vacation and before his departure he said to me: „If you want to take the MoMo“ -that’s how we call the bike between us- „out for a ride, feel free.“ So I started my journey into the evening, heading for a point where I could watch the moon rise over the horizon. The sun was setting and as I roamed the Hanover countryside a scene struck my eyes. To my right a vast open field stretched, freshly harvested and plowed. Two huge overland powerlines stretched towards the horizon and between the masts the sun was descending towards a glorious, golden finale of the day. I saw the bike on that field before my inner eye that moment. I […]
Yet another motorcycle video today. During my trip to watch the Perseid meteor swarm I also took some footage of me and my buddy going up and down the Kyffhäuser pass. The Kyffhäuser is a huge monument in the middle of Thuringa (Germany), a few hours from Hanover. There is also a former race track by the same name (now a public road) with 36 curves winding up the hill. We attached the GoPro to our bikes subsequently and raced along. And by that I mean that my buddy grinded down his footpeg while leaning into the curves while I slowly approached every corner (As of today I have only clocked 3.600 km on a bike in total. Yes, I’m a noob). Therefore the footage from my buddy is much faster than the footage from my bike. I pondered speeding up my clips but opted against it. A German saying goes „Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen“ (direct translation: „No master has fallen out of the sky yet“ => „No one is born a master“). I would like to append this saying by the phrase „But many wannabe masters have fallen off their bike“. Hence no sped up […]
In the recent weeks I blogged about motorcycle photography (part 1, part 2) and how to position a GoPro camera on a motorcycle. In today’s post I will show you a video I made on the Nienstedt pass, which is a popular track among cyclists in the Hanover region. In this video I am driving the pass down and up again, filmed in six different camera angles. Since I own only one GoPro, I had to drive the track six times to obtain all the footage. Cutting the video was strennous. It is far more complex than editing photos since the images are moving (D’UH…), also I am not experienced in video editing and lack even the most basic knowledge about an efficient video editing workflow. Here is how I managed the task. Let’s start from the end. What you see below is the final cut of the video. I created six video channels and named them after the respective camera position. Then I chose one audio track to be the master audio and ditched all other audio channels. This ensures consistency in the final video. In the next step I aligned the videos in such a way, that they […]
The earth is flying through the Perseid meteor swarm again and the night sky is showered with falling stars. Since the heavy light pollution in cities makes it next to impossible to observe this event, I chose to go to a more remote location. I made a two-day trip with my bike to the Harz in Thuringa. There at the Kyffhäuser pass, which is a place of pilgrimage for bikers due to the 36 curves which wind up the hill, I hoped to get a better look on this spectacular event. Mother nature was very kind to bless us with a nearly cloud-free sky and a 20°C+ warm summer night. Photographing falling stars is a gamble, just like photographing lightning strikes. You are faced with a dilemma. Since you don’t know where the next falling star will fall, you have to point your camera at a random spot in the sky and wait, making one exposure after the other . If you choose a wide-angle lens, the chance is high that you will catch a falling star. But the falling star will be very small on the image. If you choose a longer focal length, your field of view is […]
This is part 2 of the big motorbike photography series. If you haven’t read part 1, click here. Last week I showed Japanese motorbikes, this week belongs to the Italians. The following images depict a Moto Morini Granpasso 1200 and a Ducati 748 S Biposto. In contrast to the motorcycles in the last post the italian bikes were shot in an environment with no street lamps, so I had to make everything with flashes. First, let’s go through the three key elements for this shoot. Location. The Moto Morini Granpasso is a travel enduro with 1200 ccm. That means it is built for rough terrain and going cross country. Therefore I chose not to photograph it on a paved road but on a small dirt track next to a field of wheat in the countryside. The dirt track attributes to the character of the bike, the open field provides a nice backdrop with little distraction. Lighting. The shooting took place after sunset, with some residual light gleaming over the horizon. This provided a nice atmosphere, but also meant that the shooting had to take place late in the evening (way beyond 10 pm). The foreground was lightpainted with handheld flashes, […]
Introduction. I have a driver’s license for motorbikes as long as I own a driver’s license for cars. But since the day of my driving test I did not ride a bike since I never owned one. When I was younger I did not have the money, during my studies I had other things to focus on and over time the wish for a motorbike went dormant. But it was always there, slumbering in the back of my mind. Fast forward many years. It was time. The desire awoke and powerfully forced its way out. On a Friday I decided to buy a motorbike, and a few days later I was fully clothed and geared and called myself the owner of a second hand Yamaha FZ6 Fazer. And with this „newly found“ hobby, what would lie closer than combining it with my other hobby – photography ? That’s why this and the next post is about motorbike photography. I will feature four different bikes, one being my own and three others from friends and colleagues. In this post I will present a Yamaha FZ6 Fazer and a Kawasaki Z750 Streetfighter (and one image of a bike I made in 2011, […]