After photographing the ADAC curve training I had some thoughts about the basics of bike photography. Today I would like to share some of the insights and provide tips which -hopefully- might help you in improving your photography. As stated in Pirates of the Carribean – these are not fixed rules but mere guidelines. Other things work, too, and I urge you to break the rules. 1.) Get down low Photograph from at least the level of the fuel tank, if possible get lower. Photographing from a low position gives a special perspective and makes the image look more interesting. Not convinced ? Switch positions in your mind – if you take an image while standing you will get the same perspective that everybody has who is looking at a bike with his own eyes. Getting down low will provide a special touch. Most of the time I sat, kneeled or even lay on the ground while photographing the bikes. 2.) Take only what you need Work with light gear. Photographing moving bikes means you have to be agile, move to another location more often. I only carried my camera and a spare battery. I left the backpack with all […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
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, […]