Years ago I enrolled in a photography course.  It was in the days of SLR, developing solutions and film.  My main takeaway from that course is that capturing a great image is a game of photographic probability.  The greater the number of images you capture, the greater the probability that you’ll capture a great image.

On www.wikihow.com/Take-Better-Photographs the article covers 22 “rules” for taking better pictures.  And there is the theme again in #22 – “The more pictures you take, the better you’ll get, and the more you (and everyone) will like your pictures.”

But there is one major challenge when you’re on a bicycle or on a tour. It’s hard to take many pictures,  especially while you’re on a bike! Some days it is nearly impossible to take any pictures due to weather or saddle time.  And on a bicycle, it is nearly impossible to take pictures of yourself and photography could be dangerous.  At Build Your Tour, we have several techniques we suggest for capturing images for photo books. 

Ride a Tandem 
One of the great joys of being a stoker (the person riding behind the captain) is the freedom to ride hands free more frequently.  The slower or boring straights of highway can easily be transformed into rolling feed zones for you and your partner or into your latest photography studio.  Frequently I’ve captured shots I wouldn’t be able to take by stopping or wouldn’t have seen the value to bother stopping.

I carry a water-proof, a.k.a. sweat-proof, point-and-shoot camera in my jersey pocket when on the tandem.  (Many of the images you see on our website, www.buildyourtour.com, were taken with our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS1.) When a rolling peloton develops after a road closure, the camera is pulled out to quickly snap 5 or 6 shots.  When the clouds look just the right amount of poofey, out comes the camera again. So find a gracious captain and give it a go.

Above images taken from the back of our rolling  tandem.
Be Good to Your Friends
There’s a great chance you are on tour with friends and other people. Your friends will most likely be willing to share images they’ve taken that will be gems to you.  On several occasions, we’ve enhanced relationships with new cycling acquaintances specifically because we had photos to exchange. Don’t be shy to include other cyclists in the pictures you take of your tour.  Check those digital images daily and share them. Just think how great it would be if someone approached you at dinner saying “I stopped and was taking shots of everyone screaming down that hill.  I got a great one of you.  Would you like a copy?”
Images provided courtesy & with permission of great friends.
Mount a Camera 
A 2013 addition at Build Your Tour is a GoPro Hero 3 Black camera.  Mounted on handlebars or helmet, the camera to date has been primarily experimental but satisfying none the less.  Perhaps you’ve viewed our first video release entitled “Build Your Tour….to Carino Coffee” which chronicles about one hour (condensed to 8 minutes) of a favorite local ride.  That video was shot entirely from the handlebar mounted GoPro.

I can hear you asking, but why would I want a video camera?  I don’t want videos on YouTube or for any other reason.  Consider our third BYT video, “Skinny Tire Festival 2013 – A Day in Arches National Park” includes both video and still shots.  The still images in this video were captured entirely by the GoPro video camera.  (Find all our YouTube video channel by searching for “Build Your Tour”.)

I set the GoPro in advance to take three sequential still images. With my handy remote control, I get three images when I activate the shutter release.  Looking at the three images below, you’ll see the cyclist is further and further away; and the shadows of the tree are different even though the clouds and the setting are the same.  By capturing three sequential images I’ve tripled my probability of having an image with the composition I hoped to achieve while cruising past this leafless tree.  The downside: there are now three times the images to review before selecting the images to use.
What to Photograph?
Well, everything.  What is not to be photographed? Town signs, road signs, elevation signs; old buildings, new buildings, funky buildings; artistic sculptures and ugly sculptures; restaurant menus and hotel billboards; gorgeous scenic views and trash heaps.  Images of nearly anything will stimulate your memory to return you to that wonderful achievement or sense of bliss from the tour you completed.  Learn more about photography at sites like http://theartofphotography.tv/.  And remember rule #10 from the wikihow article…break the rules!

Tail winds and thanks for reading!

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1 Comment
  1. That’s not just the best aneswr. It’s the bestest answer!

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