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How to take ‘real’ cycling photos

Cycling Blog

How to take ‘real’ cycling photos

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May 12th, 2014

We’re not ashamed to admit it – WE LOVE CYCLING PHOTOS! That is why we asked previous Ride25 ‘pic of the week’ winner, John Taylor (who also writes a cool blog called Real Yorkshire Crit) to write us a blog post on how to take great photos while you’re out on your bike….

When the Ride 25 crew asked me to write a small piece on cycling photography, and in particular what makes a good snap, I decided that rather than talk about some scenes I had already captured I would go out and look for something new, hopefully inspiring a few words in the process.

cycling-photos-woodI picked a route around South Yorkshire based on an old figure of eight road race circuit and then I modified it slightly to take in a few trails as well as small town called Howarth just over the county boundary in Nottinghamshire (it just so happened the route was a 25 mile jolly, it seems like it was the number of the day!). I find picking an interesting route with a bit of history often lends itself to ‘good’ photography and so I guess that would be my first ‘rule’.

So what else makes for a ‘good’ photo, well that is a little harder to quantify. I could talk about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc but the truth of it is that I think the best photos are those that preserve the memory of the journey that you are on when you take it. A good photo is one that captures the pleasure and the pain encountered on the ride itself. A good photo is one that illustrates the freedom of cycling along the lost lanes and the woodland trails that only you know about (or at least only you knew about them until you shared the photo!).

To coin an old cliche, in my opinion taking a great ride photo is more of an art than a science and the shot certainly doesn’t have to be perfectly composed, in focus and on a sunny day with a beautiful backdrop. Being a club cyclist and (very) amateur ‘cross racer I often find myself on ‘training’ rides, chain gangs and big group social spins to get in base miles and so every now and then I like to throw on my rucksack, pick a short-ish route like the one described above and just enjoy the ride for what it is. I stop as many times as I want to and take as many pics as I like. It’s amazing what you see when you ride slowly and I hope you enjoy some of my shots from this weekend achieved doing exactly that.

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