Photographing bikes in action can work in two ways. Either the camera is static (at the side of the road) or the camera is moving (on a drone, car or another bike). I’ve conducted plenty of static bike shoots (aka bike portrait). I have shot bikes in action while standing at the side of the track. I have made a bike to bike shoot with a remotely controlled camera. That proved to be a totally blind thing as you can’t see what the camera sees. So it was time to dive deeper and conduct an action shooting with me as the pillion rider. I assembled four riders for the shoot: a Suzuki GSX-R 1000 (been there, done that), an Aprilia Caponord 1200 (see it here and here), a BMW S1000R (the naked variant of the S1000RR superbike) and a Kawasaki VN 1700 Grand Tourer. Ergonomics The shoot involved me riding as the pillion rider, shooting backwards. That meant I had to shift my weight to my left buttock on teh pillion rider seat, twist my torso to the left and shoot images in that position for a long time. Riding on the back of the BMW S1000R was a bad […]
And the title „most photographed bike“ goes to… the Moto Morini Granpasso and my Yamaha FZ6 Fazer ! If you read this blog regularly you will encounter those two bikes on a regular basis. The FZ6 is my bike and the Granpasso my friend’s bike. He lives next door and we park our bikes next to each other, so those are the two bikes I have regular access to. After my short excursion to the heath I drove further to the northern harbour of Hanover. It is an industrial harbour with cranes and railroad tracks. It was Saturday morning, so not much happended there. I brought with me two flashes and wanted to capture some bike portraits against the morning sun. There are also some freight wagons with colourful graffiti, which make an excellent backdrop for posing the bike. A short anectode from the shoot: the harbour is private property, so I was not sure what would happen if I just went there without permission. There was five minutes into the shooting Train tracks are an open invitation to position the bike. The viewer’s eyes are guided from the bike along the train tracks towards the horizon. I love the […]
Part 2 of the Aprilia Caponord shooting (part 1 here). After shooting on the open road, we moved to a nearby agricultural dock and positioned the bike in front of a huge metal roller door. The background is ideal. It is free of distractions, yet provides some structure due to the rounded blades the door is constructed of. The shooting setup is simple. Two flashes, placed left and right to the bike, camera and flashes in TTL mode and fire away. As you can see the procedure was quite simple. Take a few images, then rotate the bike a little. We worked our way around the bike employing that method quickly – perhaps 30-40 minutes and everything was done. I like these on-location shootings, because in contrast to the studio shootings only minimal post processing is involved. In this case only a few things were done: colour correction darkening the visor to black (he had a darkened visor but due to the flash his face was visible) cloning away a small label on the door in the background.
Readers of my blog will remember the giant potash mine dump I used as a gorgeous backdrop in previous posts (location scouting and quick shooting). I returned to that location to take some more images. I’ve got that perfect image in my mind with a deep blue sky during magic hour, a shining white mine dump and a perfectly lit bike in front of it. Well, for that I would have needed a full moon to illuminate the mine heap, but it was a new moon. I started with some bike and biker portraits. The sun was setting off camera right, so there was a pink-ish sky. I placed camera and flash on the other side of the road and dialled in my settings. Again I was rider, photographer, lighting guy and the model (at least I was able to wear another jacket). This is the setup shot, nothing fancy. You see the remote trigger on the camera with the connector cable. Another trigger was mounted underneath the flash, the third trigger was in my hand to take the image. Using such a setup it was hilarious to experience every single passing car slowing down noticably once the outline of […]
This week I feature another bike from beautiful Italy – The Aprilia Caponord 1200. Its V2 engine delivers 125 HP and 115 Nm of torque. Being red like a Ducati Multistrada it can be easily told apart from a distance by the missing beak at the front. I have to say I just love the Italian bikes. When it comes to design, the Italians know their trade. The shooting setup consisted of two flashes on a tripod, shot through an umbrella. The flashes were controlled by a master flash which I mounted on the camera. The following two images required a trick. In order to capture enough residual light to expose the sky in a nice dark blue I had to make a 1,3s exposure. I instructed Tino, the owner of the bike, to stand still for 2 seconds after the first flash had gone off in order to reiceive a sharp image of him. The extreme colours contrast of the machine (screaming red fairing, matte black and grey engine parts) posed a challenge for the lighting job. The light had to be placed at a very flat angle before and after the bike in order to achieve a good lighting […]
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 […]
After I went to the heath on sunrise I was happy with the results. Yet it was another shoot with „only“ a bike and not the rider. I decided to visit the same heath on sunset and include myself as a model in the shots. I was alone, so my job was riding the bike, setting everything up, lighting, triggering the camera and modelling. All that in full riding gear and a 26°C ambient temperature. Don’t forget to bring enough water on such a shoot ! The two images above were made without flash as the setting sun behind the camera illuminated the scene perfectly. The camera was triggered with a set of Yongnuo RF-603N wireless triggers. Those are usually for triggering a flash, but by means of a connector cable it can also trigger the camera (With this setup it is also possible trigger flashes as well). Then I moved to another location and shot against the setting sun, thus requiring artificial light. I carried two tripods, one for the camera (a MeFoto Backpacker Travel Tripod) and a no-name cheap aluminium tripod for the flash. The flash is positioned off-camera to the right. I manually balanced the flash power, […]
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 […]