The tooth fairy is a magical creature that comes at night to exchange the lost baby teeth of children with money or presents. The tooth fairy is a nice and gentle creature. But not this tooth fairy. This bike is a heavily modified Suzuki GSX-R 750, and the job was so well done you don’t recognise its origins. The bike is called „Zahnfee“, which is the German name for the tooth fairy. Ingo, the proud owner, built it between two bike seasons together with his twelve (!) year old son. We shot the images under a railroad bridge, see below. The bike was placed on the sidewalk, flanked by two flashes on tripods. I stood on the left side of the road, shooting across. Since we were using flashes on a public road I had to wait until no car was in sight before I could take an exposure, otherwise the flash would pose a danger to car drivers passing by. But since we shot in the evening hours not much traffic was coming through and we could work without major breaks. In order to achieve another lighting result, I decided to switch off the flashes. This would […]
After visiting Hanover industrial harbour in the morning I wanted to go back to experience magic hour. So directly after shooting sunset on the heath I rode on and entered the premises of the harbour. I used the same method as in described in the last post. Camera and flash on a tripod, manually triggering everything with a remote control. It was a little cooler in the evening, so my fluid loss was not as severe as it had been on the heath. Nevertheless a challenging and strennous shoot. A word on balancing natural and flash light. Once I have composed my shot I take test images to expose the sky to a rich blue. I shoot in manual mode with manual ISO. Once these settings are dialled in and the environment is exposed to your liking I switch on the flash (I also use M mode there) and variate the flash power until the result is satisfying. Don’t touch these settings after that (unless it got considerably darker and you need to recalibrate your settings). Note that only the aperture and ISO setting will impact the brightness of the flash on your image. The burst is so short, that […]
The VT 1100 Honda Shadow C3 (what a bulky model name by the way) is a luxurious chopper radiating the spirit of freedom. Its 1100 cc engine delivers only 57 HP, but choppers aren’t built for racing, are they? The rider, Björn, suggested a location about half an hour away from where I live. Let me say in advance that this was a shoot to remember. I’ve had many good shoots, but this one blew my mind (sorry for using this quite stressed metaphor, but it is just the right expression in that case). We met as the sun was setting and I set up my equipment. Let me just show you the first image I got on that shoot: That is an image out of camera. No retouching. And now you might understand, why I started celebrating. Remember I only employed two flashes for this shoot ! The following two images will show how dramatically those two flashes change the image: Sunset does not last for long, so you have to work fast. Move around a little, make different compositions. I made several shots, including the windmill in some shots, leaving it our in other shots. Then I asked […]
On a Saturday morning I borrowed my friend’s bike and embarked on an early photoshoot. I planned to have another „bike and biker“-session, but getting up at 06:30 in the morning on a Saturday is nothing a sane person would do without an urgend necessity. However, taking photos IS an urgent necessity when I am concerned. The name „Lumenatic“ was not coined without background you know… I drove to a small patch of heath in the north of Hanover and steered the Moto Morini Granpasso off the main road. The trail was sandy and quite narrow. Not a good terrain for a bike with street tyres, but it was manageable. I mounted a flash on a tripod and set it at roughly the height of the seat. You can clearly see in the images that the flash was positioned to the camera left. I shot against the sunrise (sun hidden behind the clouds). What I miss in this image is the rider. Which was me obviously, but I had to operate the camera. I need to reshoot this with a second person. Imagine the rider standing next to his bike, helmet in his left hand, contemplating the road ahead. That […]
A good location is the key ingredient for a successful photo shoot. When Carsten approached me with his custom built Kawasaki W800 Retro Scrambler we both agreed, that a special bike requires a special location. Since Carsten rides his bike with a pilot-style bomber jacket and fitting helmet/goggles, we wanted to have an airplane in the background and conduct a retro-style photoshoot. We found a gorgeous location at the Restaurant Silbervogel („silver bird“) in Hanover. As the name suggests the restaurant is housed in an old airplane, a Vickers Viscount 814. It happened to be that Carsten is a regular guest at the restaurant and knows the owner. He contacted him and asked for permission to shoot on the premises. Which we immediately got. On a Monday evening we met. The restaurant is closed that day, so the parking lot was empty. I applied my usual setup – two flashes left and right, triggered via Nikon’s Creative Lighting System. When we started shooting, the sun was setting in the west (left in the image). So we had a wonderful golden sky, which transitioned into blue to the right. At the beginning of the shoot we had enough residual daylight to […]
Having found my genre it was time for new business cards. Back in 2011 I got business cards from moo.com. The company offers high quality business cards and other print articles of all sorts. Most interesting for photographers is the option to get up to 50 different designs on a card. The front looks always the same with your contact information, but the back can have up to 50 different designs. Meaning that a set of 200 cards will contain the same design only four times . I chose fifty of my best motorcycle images and uploaded them to the moo.com designer. The back side of the card was created in Photoshop and looks like this: (Note: My name and contact information are a tad too small. A well designed card should have a larger font. The font is still well readable, but a few points more would have been better). I sent the design to a friend of mine, who is a designer. She replied the other day mentioning the font size, but impatient as I am I had already ordered the cards. Anyhow. The Cards arrived today, they come with a nice black cardboard box for storage. The […]
You know what I said about noon. Harsh sunlight, not good for photography, go into the shade if you must take images in such conditinos. And don’t photograph against the sun, your subject will just be a dark silhouette against a blown-out sky. I chose to break with those „rules“ and went out for a test shooting. The goal: Taking decent images of my bike in direct, hard sunlight, photographing against the sun. I took two flashes with me a SB-700 and a SB-910. I drove to a small parking lot in the neighbourhood and set up my gear. I placed the flashes on the ground, refer to the attached sketch. The camera was set to 1/200, f/20 (to receive a decently lit sky) and ISO100. The flashes were set to TTL with EV +3 (full power against the sun).To prove my point I needed the sun to be in the shot. It was noon and the sun was at its highest point. To include it into the shot I needed to go really wide-angle, 14 mm in this case. Ready, aim, fire. Result see below. The sky is blue, the surroundings are well recognizable. The bike has been illuminated […]
I have blogged many images of motorcycles in the studio in the past weeks. Post-processing these images took time, since the studio background had to be painted black in PhotoShop. Due to spatial restrictions the backdrop is quite close to the bike (our carport is not bigger), therefore the black cloth catches some light from the flashes which hang above the bike. Retouching an image can take up to 30 min. In the video you will see the process sped up 30 times , so 1 min of video time equals 30 min real time.
On the blog we’ve had the Suzuki GSX-R 600, the GSX-R 750, so what was missing is the king (or queen ?) of the line, the GSX-R 1000. This beauty in the classic Suzuki colours blue and yellow belongs to Dana and was in her possession only for a few weeks when the shooting took place. With 178 hp and only 180 kg (without fuel) the bike accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 3,6 seconds. The top speed is 300 kph. Dana had not made any modifications to the bike at the time of the shooting. But directly after the shooting, she installed a new silencer, which pushed the bike from 178 to 184 hp.
Part 3 of the motorcycle studio shoot series features a real beast of a bike. I give you Wotan, the black Kawasaki ZX10R Ninja. Its 188 HP engine catapults the bike to a max speed of over 300 kph. The model is from 2008 and was heavily modified by its owner. To name a few, it sports an IXEL exhaust pot, aluminium chain system, gear shift assistant, LED turn indicators and some carbon parts. I love the menacing look with the mad eyes of the bike. Wotans owner Michael is totally in love with this machine – and you can guess why. When we shot Wotan the day had already progressed into afternoon and the sun was burning. It was too bright to photograph the bike from outside the carport as I had done with Helge’s Honda CB1 400. So we switched positions and moved the backdrop to the other side of the flashes (=to the carport entry). The bike stood in the shade and we could continue shooting. A drawback of this setup were certain spatial restrictions. The carport is simply not long enough to provide a stage for the bike, backdrop AND leave enough space between the photographer […]
These are images I took of my friend Dominik on his Moto Morini Granpasso during a tour through the Harz region. We took turns in photographing, so at first I shot Dominik on his bike, then we switched. Choosing a fast shutter speed freezes the bike and its surroundings, every detail is sharp and no motion blur occurs. But due to the lean angle the images still convey the action of the ride. Slightly tilting the camera adds to the tension and gives the images a more dynamic look.
This is part 2 of another motorcycle studio session. Today I am featuring a Suzuki GSX-R 600. You may remember its bigger brother (so motorcycles have a brother or a sister ?), the GSX-R 750 which I portrayed last year. I have to say that I love the GSX-R line. The bikes are exquisitely designed, they look cool and convey the message „I am fast as hell“. And they are. Those 600 cc pack a punch of 126 hp and a torque of about 70 Nm. The top speed of this crotch rocket is 270 kph. There are few things to say about the studio setup. Two large softboxes suspended from the supporting beam of the carport, black backdrop, one additional flash to light up the side of the bike. The bike is owned by Jehn, a sympathetic young man from Hanover. Jehn sits directly at the source – he works at a motorcycle dealer.
Safety is one of the huge topics when it come to motorcycles. A lot has been done on the technology side to make riding safer. There’s ABS, traction control, curve light to name a few improvements. Protective gear has become extremely elaborate and even the first airbag systems for motorcyclists are available on the market. The biggest factor contributing to a rider’s safety is the rider himself. And that is what professional training sessions are for. The ADAC (General German Automobile Club) is running several training centers throughout Germany where riders can hone their skills. The driving safety center is located in Laatzen near Hanovers tradeshow premises. I myself attended two training sessions in the past. The trainers are incredibly competent, the asphalt is in mint condition with excellent grip. I learned a lot in both courses. But this day I joined the training as a photographer. It was a three hour curve training with eight participants. This is Ulf, the trainer. The training comprised several lessons, starting with several laps on the cource and subsequently driving in large circles to „tune in“. Ulf picked individual participants and gave them an individual coaching if necessary. It is incredibly helpful to […]
After a successful test shooting I conducted another session at the old Continental factory premises in Hanover-Limmer. The protagonist of that shoot were Maike and her BMW R1200GS Adventure. It was a little rainy that day and the sand was wet. Not soggy, but a little wet so that the sand was not loose. Maike made a few rounds on the sand to familiarize herself with the terrain. In the meantime I set up my equipment. I used two flashes with an umbrella on a tripod. The flashes were triggered using my Yongnuo wireless triggers. The third tripod you see in the middle holds a GoPro, which was used to document the session. In the past I had problems with the umbrellas. They act like a sail and tend to trip over when a slight wind blows. That is why I brought two cloth bags, two plastic bags and a small shovel I borrowed from my children’s sandbox. I put the plastic bag into the cloth bag to protect the cloth from the moist sand and started shovelling. These improvised sandbags then acted as a weight for the lighting tripods. The idea was that Maike should drive in circles and […]
In preparation for an offroad-photoshoot I went to the old Continental factory in the northwest of Hanover. The property is huge and was location of a factory complex until it was abandoned in 1999. Since then most of the buildings have been demolished with just the main factory building and an old water tower remaining. The rest of the area is a flat, barren field with sand and gravel. This 360° panorama should give you a good impression. The ruin is an El Dorado for photographers and a perfect stage for an offroad-shooting I’ve had in my head for quite a while now. To test the terrain and get some test shots I drove to the location and carefully maneuvred my bike onto the sand. Keep in mind my FZ6 Fazer is not built for driving offroad, so I was not sure what to expect.Driving on the sand (it is mostly compressed sand) was not a problem for the FZ6. There were patches of loose sand, but with some momentum they could be passed. I set up the camera on a tripod and connected it with Yongnuo wireless triggers. These are wireless flash triggers, but they can also work as […]
In the past I have conducted studio sessions with various motorbikes (Yamaha FZ6 Fazer, BMW R 1200 GS, Suzuki GSX-R 750). I wanted to take more of such images and scheduled another shoot. Finding bikes was easy – I posted in a local Facebook motorbike group some images and asked, who wanted his bike photographed. The response was overwhelming. I selected four bikes, set up the studio under our carport again and off we went. I photographed five bikes that day, each one will be presented in an individual post. The first one is a 26 year-old Honda CB1 400. It is owned by Helge, one of the riders I met via Facebook. Albeit the bike’s age the design is still appealing, it does not look „oldtimerish“. It has a 400 cc 4-cylinder engine which delivers 58 horsepower, the top speed is around 180 kph. The CB1 was built between 1989 and 199 and was intended for the Japanese and American market, but somehow a number of bikes made it to Europe. I used the same studio setup like before – the studio flashes with the 80×120 cm softboxes were tied to the roof beams of our carport, a background […]
While being on a bike ride with my friend Dominik we drove through a patch of forest. I spotted a rough but accessible path branching from the main (paved) road. So we took a break and I grabbed the opportunity to take some offroad(-ish) images of the Moto Morini Granpasso. At first I walked backwards in front of the bike, taking pictures as Dominik approached me. Ok, the path is not really off-road in terms of „driving through the underbush“, but the non-paved road adds to the flair of a travelling enduro. Dominik opted to go bad-ass and drove without his helmet. I then moved a few meters off the path to get some driveby images. It was a straightforward, spontaneous photo shoot. There were no special techniques or tricks involved, Dominik just drove up and down the path and I took some images. Post processing involved straightening the images, adjusting the colours, raising the dark areas to lighten bike and rider, applying a vignette and cropping a little on some images.
After I conducted the bike-to-bike shooting, my friend and I drove a little further to the city pf Alfeld (Leine). The city is located roughly 45 minutes south of Hanover. Alfeld is home of a UNESCO world heritage site – the old Fagus factory. The interesting thing about the site is that it is a fully operational workplace, not a museum. People actually work here, designing and producing shoe lasts (wooden template of a foot to produce shoes), wood processing machinery and specialised fire extinguishing systems. The beautiful factory became a world heritage site in 2011. The building lay the foundation for the Bauhaus style and features huge windows, which was an architectural revolution at the time the factory was built. While my friend Dominik took a rest in the shade of a tree I grabbed my camera and made some images of our bikes before the impressive background. We went there on a Saturday, so no workers were there, only some tourists visiting the site. The premises are still privately owned, but due to its world heritage status it is open to the public on week-ends. What a perfect opportunity for my never-satisfied photographic hunger. It was high noon […]
My location scouting session to the potash mine heap in Giesen produced some presentable images. Time to return to the place with better light. It was a sunny spring day and my friend Dominik and I rode off for a nice tour. We stopped at the potash mine heap near Giesen (which is near Hildesheim, which is near Hanover) for a quick photoshoot. To be honest it was a bike ride with a quick photo session, not a photo session with a bike ride if you get what I mean. So when we arrived at the site at 2 pm there was harsh sunlight, which is far from perfect for an outdoor shooting session as the educated photographer knows. I made some two dozen images from several angles and we continued our tour. Now for my confession. I did not bring a polarizer nor a gradient gray filter for the shoot. A white mountain in direct sunlight is somewhat…bright. The sky was not really blue on the images and so I had to tweak quite a little in Lightroom. Here is a raw image from the shoot: Very high contrast, white mountain, pale grey sky, dark bike and rider. So […]