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Old 02-01-11, 04:14 AM   #1
Grace Johnson
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bicycle touring photgraphy questions?

We are now writing some articles over photographing during a bicycle trip and we wondered which tips and /or information our fellow touring cyclists would like to have? Are you interested in bicycle photography tips? Reading about which photographic equipment other cyclists carry? Interviews with different photographers? etc., All input is welcome!
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Old 02-01-11, 04:16 AM   #2
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wut
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Old 02-01-11, 06:31 AM   #3
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As a retired professional photographer and sometimes photography instructor, I think most folks would like to know what equipment is reasonable to take on tour; DSLR vs point-and-shoot, size and weight of camera, zoom range of lens, lightweight tripod, speed lights, other accessories. For example, I used to carry a Nikon D50 with two lightweight lenses but when I upgraded to a D300, I switched to an Olympus E-PL1. I also have a Nikon s6000 point-and-shoot. I'd much rather have the flexibility of the D300 and several lenses, but would rather not deal with the weight.

I think people would also like to know how to pack a camera and accessories so the equipment survives the trip and weather.

In addition, what's the best way to get images from the camera to a web site; laptops, netbooks, iPad, etc. I also think people would benefit from tips on taking better photographs; framing, vantage point, using the camera's self timer or remote release. Perhaps how to secure the camera to the bicycle so one can shoot while riding.

Would love to see interviews with cycling photographers and how they work.

The photos on your web site are wonderful. You have a great eye. I remember seeing your photos in "Adventure Cyclist."

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Old 02-01-11, 08:14 AM   #4
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Keith Misegades kept a very good journal on the subject as he rode across the US

http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/PhotoTour2008
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Old 02-01-11, 08:20 AM   #5
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Not interested, wouldn't read it.
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Old 02-01-11, 08:26 AM   #6
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Yes i would love to read it, if you able to make it interesting enough.
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Old 02-01-11, 08:44 AM   #7
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Image composition/lighting for emotional impact is foremost. No matter what equipment is being used. Focus on this. And how to use the computer to fix minor issues.

Way too much attention is given equipment. 99% of pictures shot on tour will never see a print larger than 4x6. Just about any cam, from phone to Hasselblad, can do an adequate job for that. If composed nicely.

I use my phone cam for the throw away stuff. A Nikon Coolpix or Canon Powershot for scenes I think I might want to hang on the wall or enter in a contest.
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Old 02-01-11, 08:48 AM   #8
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I think you should stick to basics such as light, light quality and how that translates to exposure. Providing your ideas of which camera is best, what exposures YOU use....I fail to see any value in that. The equipment will become a choice based on many compromises which each person behind the camera will make. In this digital age its so easy to experiment and find your "style" often breaking the established rules anyway. It's never the equipment that makes a picture, its the "eye"; what the person sees that matters. I've seen some pics that could make you weep taken with cheap point and shoots and consequently seen some horrible shots taken with full frame DSLR's. All I can possibly say in regards to the best camera is its the one you have with you when you see something photo worthy.
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Old 02-01-11, 09:15 AM   #9
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I've actually quit bring a camera on tour, since the quality of my iPhone's camera is sufficient for my purposes. I've learned a lot more about how to "see" better and work within the constraints of the equipment. I personally would not be interested in articles about equipment but might be interested in reading about photographic vision and technique.
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Old 02-01-11, 09:52 AM   #10
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I usually shoot with film, both 35mm and medium format. But on the bike I bring a digital Point and Shoot. I can keep it in my rear pocket and pull it out when I want. My "good" cameras are just too bulky to bring on the bike.
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Old 02-01-11, 11:18 AM   #11
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I think taking good photos on a trip can be very difficult, or at least difficult to do well. The tendency seems to be to take posed pictures of the traveler(s) and a bunch of pictures of the sites. That gets pretty boring for anyone who wasn't on the trip.

So, while it helps to have an explanation on lighting and composing the shot, I think it would be more helpful to discuss different strategies which might help people find a more creative way to pick a shot that better captures the essence of the location, the journey, and the rider. I know that is much harder to do, but you asked!
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Old 02-01-11, 01:19 PM   #12
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I started 3 threads on different aspects of cycle touring photography: equipment, picture-taking, and one on management (power, memory, bags, maintenance etc)
There were some useful contributions
Im sure they will turn up in a search.
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Old 02-01-11, 02:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctyler View Post
I think people would also like to know how to pack a camera and accessories so the equipment survives the trip and weather.

In addition, what's the best way to get images from the camera to a web site; laptops, netbooks, iPad, etc. I also think people would benefit from tips on taking better photographs; framing, vantage point, using the camera's self timer or remote release. Perhaps how to secure the camera to the bicycle so one can shoot while riding.
+1

I am planning to take my Nikon D40 and my 18-55 lens, but may also take my 55-200 lens though not sure I will use it; any tips like that would help if I need both?

I am also thinking of taking a mini HD video camera like the gopro or flip with wide angle filming, so looking for video edit software and home made handle bar mount (built a $0.86 one but need to test it).

Also I am searching for a cheap multiple purpose waterproof bag to sit on my Surly Nice front rack? Thinking a softsided mini-cooler with maybe my camera equipment in a zip-lock or other water tight case inside

So any tips on how to solve these types of problems would be nice.
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Old 02-01-11, 03:03 PM   #14
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I take a Canon Power Shot SX20 IS on holidays and bike touring. I chose this camera for the 12 megapixels and 20X optical zoom. But most of all, I like it because it uses 4 AA batteries. I can take re-chargable or disposable batteries. No worries about re-charging because batteries are available anywhere. I get 2 weeks of battery life while on vacation using standard alkaline batteries. Lithium batteries have much longer life. I haven't used a set up while on vacation so I don't know how long they last with daily use.
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Old 02-01-11, 03:18 PM   #15
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rule 1 ...dont drop your camera
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Old 02-02-11, 05:36 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the comments, we really appreciate them! C Tyler – your comments are a good starting point for writing the articles. As for “how to secure the camera to the bicycle so one can shoot while riding.” There are special camera holders that can easily be attached to the handlebars or frame. Our upcoming March “Guest photographer” has taken a number of great pictures with such a camera holder. “So, while it helps to have an explanation on lighting and composing the shot, I think it would be more helpful to discuss different strategies which might help people find a more creative way to pick a shot that better captures the essence of the location, the journey, and the rider. I know that is much harder to do, but you asked!” - Actually those are exactly the type of tips that we want to write. We aren’t really interested in writing about how to take a better landscape or architectural shot – there are a number of internet sites that explain that. We are planning on writing tips that help people capture more interesting / better bicycle touring shots. Right now we are cycling in Laos with a REALLY slow/bad internet connection. As soon as we come across a hotel with a fast wifi connection we will check out the other sites that were mentioned such as the three threads over photography on this forum and Keith Misegades site on Crazy guy on a bike.
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Old 02-02-11, 07:47 AM   #17
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...I think it would be more helpful to discuss different strategies which might help people find a more creative way to pick a shot that better captures the essence of the location, the journey, and the rider.
This.

Consider this shot:


The nominal subject matter is the lake to the left. Many people would shoot it as "scenery". The real subject is the road. It beckons. It whispers "Come hither. See where I take you." There is a story before it and after it.

Can you teach people to shoot pics like that that?
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Old 02-02-11, 09:39 AM   #18
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The nominal subject matter is the lake to the left. Many people would shoot it as "scenery". The real subject is the road. It beckons. It whispers "Come hither. See where I take you." There is a story before it and after it.

Can you teach people to shoot pics like that that?
That's probably one of the best applications of the "rule of thirds" that I've seen recently. The photog was able to apply it three dimensionally. JMO, but I see the subject matter as the activity of cycling, though I think we are saying the same thing overall.

It's an easy rule to understand, but difficult to properly apply in practice. As a technical tip, I usually widen the shot a bit so that I can crop it to the most pleasing part of the scene. It's not my idea, but rather a tip passed along to me years ago by a big format film photographer.

Such a great shot - is it yours Jim?

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Old 02-02-11, 09:59 AM   #19
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Do people actually pay money for such books?

It is the photo, not the cost of the camera. This sunset was taken with a 6 or 7 year old 3 megapixel point and shoot that has been dropped a few too many times.




But a more expensive DSLR may be useful at times, the out of focus areas in front and behind the subject can add a lot to the photo and you would not get that out of focus "look" (or bokeh) with a cheap camera. But, this is still only 6 megapixel, so the camera is not that expensive.

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Old 02-02-11, 10:15 AM   #20
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As a technical tip, I usually widen the shot a bit so that I can crop it to the most pleasing part of the scene...
Such a great shot - is it yours Jim?
Thank you. Yes, it is, taken on PastorBobNLNH's Lakes&Hills C&V Ride in October. It was taken from a moving bike with a P&S camera (6Mpixel, I think). I cropped it a little on the left and adjusted its orientation slightly with PaintShop Pro. (On a moving bike you don't have time to micro-manage the composition!)

Tourist In MSN - Nice sunset. I makes me want to put a canoe in and paddle away.
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Old 02-03-11, 10:19 AM   #21
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That's probably one of the best applications of the "rule of thirds" that I've seen recently. The photog was able to apply it three dimensionally. JMO, but I see the subject matter as the activity of cycling, though I think we are saying the same thing overall.

It's an easy rule to understand, but difficult to properly apply in practice. As a technical tip, I usually widen the shot a bit so that I can crop it to the most pleasing part of the scene. It's not my idea, but rather a tip passed along to me years ago by a big format film photographer.
While it is a nicely composed from a technical perspective, knowing the technique is different than knowing where to point the camera. He could have nicely composed the lake to the left, but as he said, that changes the subject of the picture. Deciding where to point the camera is just that - a decision - and as such it is harder to learn than the basics of technique that may still result in nicely framed shots of the wrong subject.
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Old 02-03-11, 11:39 AM   #22
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Many people here have touched on ideas about general photography discussions - framing, lighting, choosing interesting subjects instead of just another scenery/tourist site shot.

But that's all material for a general photography book. If you're looking to discuss photography specifically in the bike touring context, then you need bike specific discussions.

How to carry the equipment. At the low end, you can keep a P&S on your belt, or a consumer grade DSLR and maybe one extra lens in a bar bag. But if you're trying to bring 10 lenses for every purpose, how do you pack and protect them if your bike falls over. Advantages of a bar bag vs a rack bag or a pannier. How to arrange your gear so your camera and other equipment are quickly accessible.

Tripods that are easy to store on a bike and quick to remove. Maybe a discussion of actually turning your bike into a tripod by attaching a ball head and a kickstand.

Basically all the things that make photography from a bike platform different from a hiking or car-based platform.
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Old 02-03-11, 11:59 AM   #23
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my useful techniques to capture the mood of the tour while sole touring is

1:shoot low with bike in foreground.
capture images of the bicycle shooting from low and close to the bike with a nice piece of scenery in the background.



2: Frame with the bike also is nice.



3: field of view leaving one plane out of focus.

use a small tripod to capture some campground scenes, posed but candid, as you pack or make food.



sometimes these get some interesting shots for solo cyclotourists even if the grain or exposures here are a little off.



shooting from the bike is also a worthy topic.
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Old 02-03-11, 12:16 PM   #24
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my useful techniques to capture the mood of the tour...
Interesting shots. The first sure grabs me, makes me feel like I'm there or like I want to be there. The second doesn't work for me so well. The subject is so obviously the bike that it looks like a magazine ad. In the third I can't buy the premise that you were biking with the skis (though maybe you really were)! They are all intriguing. But the first is really intriguing.
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Old 02-03-11, 02:16 PM   #25
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For Jimmuller......


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