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Old 06-15-11, 03:11 PM   #1
TomD77
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Bike Photography

It was mentioned on another thread that they were having problems in getting acceptable still pictures of their bike in motion. Thought I'd post a few tips and examples.

I'll assume that you are shooting a point and shoot camera with at least a small amount of control above pure automatic

Tip 1: Light-Unless you are very lucky, you aren't going to get a good shot of a bike in motion unless there is plenty of light, like daylight. It doesn't have to be high noon direct sun but it can't be a dim overcast day. If it is sun, make sure the sun is behind when you make the shot or maneuver until it is. Never shoot into the sun. Make sure the object isn't shaded. A very common mistake is to shoot with the subject shaded and the camera meters on the bright area leaving the object too dim.

Tip 2: Motion blur: There are three ways of dealing with this, freeze all, freeze bike and blur background, blur bike and freeze background. First would be shutter speed, if you have control of shutter speed on your camera, try to keep it at 1/1000th or shorter if you want to freeze the action. You may not be able to do this because of the camera or lack of light, in which case you will have to pan the camera. By that I mean smoothly swing the camera to keep on the subject. Takes a little practice to keep the swing smooth while pushing the shutter. Same concept as wing shots or skeet shooting. You may want to purposely slow the shutter and pan to freeze the bike but blur the background. Examples of both below. There is also an example of slowing the shutter but holding the camera still to blur the bike while freezing the background. Think about what you are trying to achieve.

Tip 3: Frame the subject: Get the entire subject in the shot, get too much in the shot and use easy software to crop it down. When I don't get the entire subject in a shot, it is a conscious decision but I default to too much and crop later. There is an example below of a shot where I elected to concentrate on the rider. Look through the viewfinder and think just a second before shooting. Don't center a face and cut them off at the knees and have half of the photo showing sky. The owl below is an example of getting in close, sometime a partial subject is more effective.

Tip 4: Misc- Don't bother with flash, set your cameras ISO to 200 (I won't explain but take my word), only occasionally is the best photo one in which it subject is centered in the shot.

I shot the examples below at a race in Pensacola last September











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Old 06-15-11, 03:23 PM   #2
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Hey, you forgot #5: post the results here for us to all ogle.

Nice photos and thanks for the tips.
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Old 06-15-11, 03:41 PM   #3
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Great photos TomD. So we'll call that photo tip #1. Maybe you can provide some guidance on using point & shoots while riding on the bike and we'll call it photo tip #2. I generally get too many blurry shots while riding (in auto mode). Might be the camera but I've been through three of them.
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Old 06-15-11, 03:57 PM   #4
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Great tips thanks, here are few I took some years ago..













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Old 06-15-11, 04:44 PM   #5
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Great photos TomD. So we'll call that photo tip #1. Maybe you can provide some guidance on using point & shoots while riding on the bike and we'll call it photo tip #2. I generally get too many blurry shots while riding (in auto mode). Might be the camera but I've been through three of them.
Here are 2 shots I made last week from my bike with a Canon SX130, a fairly cheap point & shoot, while riding the new bike trails near Alpharetta, Ga.

I'd say your problem is probably focus, the problem of focusing on a changing subject is confusing the camera. Ride slowly while shooting for several reasons; these were made at about 9 mph. I'd say in addition to riding slowly, shoot shutter priority and try to keep it at 1/250th or shorter, 1/500th preferred. If you know how to get your camera in shutter priority, do that and point the camera at a sample and press the shutter button 1/2 way, the screen should show your f stop, it should look something like f5.6. Try to keep the number 5.6 or larger, if you can't, the shutter speed may have to be reduced some but certainly not less than 1/125th. If you have plenty of light, shouldn't be a problem.

And don't try to shoot anything close.



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Old 06-16-11, 07:09 AM   #6
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Better bike photography. Here.
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Old 06-16-11, 07:59 AM   #7
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Great photos TomD. So we'll call that photo tip #1. Maybe you can provide some guidance on using point & shoots while riding on the bike and we'll call it photo tip #2. I generally get too many blurry shots while riding (in auto mode). Might be the camera but I've been through three of them.
The problem with automatic digital cameras is that they often have a very limited exposure range, and the cameras exposure meter can select a shutter speed that is too slow, for the amount of motion your encountering, while in motion. The key then is to stop pedalling while taking pictures, put your feet on the ground, and then take your picture, which is what I do.

I will say though, the bicycle is one of the best image hunter platforms around, you can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, but still your slow enough, you can actually look around, whether the birds your hunting have fancy coloured wings, or very short skirts, you see a lot more from a bicycle then a car. Bicycles are also nearly silent, so your less likely to scare off wild life (of any kind) then when you are in a car. The problem I have, is that one bicycle is set up for shooting from, the other one isn't, unfortunately I prefer riding the one that isn't more.
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Old 06-16-11, 09:16 AM   #8
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Great photos and thanks for the tips. I'm no pro and can use all the help I can when it comes to photography.


I'd say the "pale" guy needs to ride the roads more. Too much time on the trainer?



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Better bike photography. Here.
Fail.
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Old 06-16-11, 09:51 AM   #9
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I'd say the "pale" guy needs to ride the roads more. Too much time on the trainer?
I don't know him but look at his bright reddish hair color! Those guys don't tan worth a flip; he's probably got about 1/2 gallon of SPF 178 smeared all over. Those two guys knew what they were about, they just ran away from the rest of their group.
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