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Photo test: cycle training

So where do you start on a project like this? Obviously for me as a photographer it’s all about the photos and since I’ve never used my camera to document an athlete before I had some very cloudy ideas about certain things.

Like bicycling. I mean, how the hell do you take nice documentary photos on an object that usually travels around 35-45 km/h? Do I want motion blur or not? Should I perhaps rig up a lot of flashes to be able to freeze the fast moving two-wheeler? Is it possible to take picture while riding the bike at the same time? How do other people on Flickr do? Or should I just go my own way? Help!

As you can see I had really no idea what so ever on how to take these first photos. But why be scared? This is the most fun part of photography: new challenges!

I met up Marcus around the recreation area Hellas, which is quite close to where I live. When I rode there I found some nice pieces of asphalt and thought that a small climbing hill could be a good start. This would mean that Marcus couldn’t bicycle too fast, since going uphill, and I would also get a better overlook over the scene.

About 100 shots later I decided to go more with motion blur, placing the camera directly from the side of the road, having Marcus bicycle from left to right (or vice versa). I think that these photos really grabbed the moment better, since this part of triathlon is all about speed and optimizing your aerodynamics.

When we headed back towards the city I suddenly stopped and decided to try this really unsafe photo technique: taking photos on Marcus while riding the bike myself. This was actually really fun and even though 80% of the material turned out blurred or out of focus I got a really huge kick out of it! I will definitely try this again. For those interested I have some tips: since you don’t look through the lens while taking pictures, auto-focus is a must, but remember to point towards the object before pushing the button since it’s very easy to end up with out of focus photos…

So, the first photos of this project have been taken. Maybe not a biggest step for mankind but certainly I smiled the whole way home and even more when I realized that the so called ”photo test” ended up with at least 5 photos that I would consider ”good enough”.

Judge for yourself!

All photos are also available on Flickr, click here.


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