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 […]
Shooting moving bikes is all about action. Bikes are associated with speed and agility, and that is exactly what photographs of moving bikes must convey. I will dissect the anatomy of action shots in this post and present the effect the shutter speed has on an image. A fast shutter speed (1/320 s and above) will start to freeze an object in motion with the moving object becoming sharper the faster the shutter speed is. On the opposite site, the moving object becomes unsharper („motion blur“) the slower your shutter speed is. There are no fixed values when an object can be depicted tack sharp and when not, because it also depends on the speed of the moving object. If the bike is driving at walking speed you might get a sharp image at even 1/200s. If you photograph a MotoGP race with bikes zooming past you at 300 km/h and more, a much, much faster shutter speed will be necessary to receive a sharp image. Fast shutter speeds As mentioned above one can’t name a certain value for what a „fast“ shutter speed is as it depends on the speed of the moving object, but for the sake of […]
Photographing motorcycles is all about the action. Capturing the speed and showing the dynamics is at the heart of motorcycle shots. I already wrote an article about shutter speed in motorcycle photography (read it here), but I wanted to do a separate article on what I dubbed the „piggyback method“. This method involves the photographer sitting on the pillion rider seat and shooting over the shoulder of the driver. The slower the shutter speed, the more motion blur will occur. I set my camera to burst mode and fired off a series of images. Even at 1/20s I was able to take at least one shot, where the cockpit of the bike is sharp. Using LiveView on the camera helps a lot, you can’t use the viewfinder due to wearing a helmet. The cockpit is sharp, because it is not moving relatively to the camera during the exposure. The environment on the other hand zooms by. That is why the environment is subjected to heavy motion blur. If you look at the above image you will notice, that the motion blur decreases, as the distance from the camera increases. Why ? Everything close to the bike flies past you. But […]
It’s on, I finally moved from shooting stationary bikes to bikes on the road. And yet another bike trip with my Yamaha FZ6 and Dominiks Moto Morini Granpasso. The images were created in the Harz region, a mountain range in Northern Germany. You’ve already seen the images I took of Dominik in a previous post. I set the camera to 1/400s, f/5 and Auto ISO. The autofocus was set to 3D metering, as it is ideal for fast moving objects. And of course the camera was set to burst mode. All pictures of the Yamaha FZ6 Fazer were taken by Dominik. He positioned himself in different spots of two nice curves. I drove those two curves back and forth about five times. Dominik panned the camera and clicked off. He switched position after each pass, so I had a variety of images to choose from. Always stay safe when photographing moving bikes ! Stay behind the guardrail or, if there is none, leave some space between you and the asphalt. Slightly tilting the camera increases the tension and makes the image more dynamic. Usually a photographer is trained to get a straight horizon. Nothing is more painful for the […]
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.
How could I shoot a motorbike from another motorbike ? Bike to bike photography has intrigued me for a while, but I could not get my head around how to shoot from a moving bike. One idea was to sit backwards on a bike while another person is driving. Sounds scary. Or one could sit in the back of an estate car with the trunk open, shooting backwards out of the open back… sounds complicated. After some time of deep thinking I found a solution which is practical and, well, somewhat safe (at least not illegal to the best of my knowledge). I mounted my DSLR on the back of my bike, supported by a beanbag. I secured both with elastic straps, normally used to secure luggage. A wireless remote trigger unit ensured, that I could trigger the camera. The sending unit was simply attached to the left handgrip by using duct tape. Here is how that looked. I set the camera to full autofocus (so that the camera decides where to focus), Auto-ISO, 1/400s and f16 (it was a sunny day). Burst mode („Ch – Continuous High“ on a Nikon). My friend Dominik was instructed to ride a few […]