Moto-photo

Discussion in 'General' started by bobs, Oct 10, 2010.

  1. bobs

    bobs Member

    Location:
    Saratoga
    Name:
    Bob
    Saturday I drove a photographer for a big bicycle event in Sonoma County: Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge Gran Fondo. The big route was 103 miles, which drew about 3000 of the 6000 participants. That's a bunch of bikes on some steep narrow twisty roads. We were on course from 7 am until about 3 pm.

    It was a great experience, lots of fun and lots of learning. It was gratifying to see the cyclists trust me up close (where the cameraman wanted to be), participating in their flow, even around curves. It was challenging to maintain a steady line in traffic (between 5 and 45 mph), and provide a steady camera platform even when he was moving around behind me.

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    My steed for the day was this 1976 BMW R75/6 - rollin it old school. We chose this loaner ride over my much newer (and higher-tech) 1985 BMW K100RS because of the huge pillion perch. The cameraman was moving all over it too - and not necessarily at the most convenient moments.

    On the negative side, old school means a single front disc brake, cable-actuated, and a cable-actuated drum brake in back. A similarly ineffective headlamp, when I wished for much more help spotting Bambi when we left our campsite in the pre-dawn hours. And it took me a while to remember to turn off the choke after I was going and the fuel petcocks when I stopped, but that's not the bike's fault.

    On the positive side, those Bing carburetors were nicely tuned and had a sweet feel. Excellent control with feather-touch changes, unlike the Bosch Motronic fuel injection on my bike, which responds with lurches that shift balance between front and rear, which is especially problematic in corners. Also, a good steady never-say-die torque waaay down low. While shooting cyclists climbing goat-trail roads in the mountains, I was often below 2000 RPM, just chugging along with two big guys on board. On my bike I would have had to keep the revs up and slip the clutch, which would have smelled bad.
  2. Andy

    Andy Wheelie for Safety

    Location:
    Los Altos, CA
    Name:
    Andy
    Sounds like a fun time Bob. :clapping
  3. bluesjr

    bluesjr New Member

    Name:
    Bob
    I've gotta say, that BMW really does it for me. I lived in Germany in the early 70's and that's my idea of a vintage look. And it's interesting to hear how well the carbs work vs FI from 10 years later. I'm pretty amazed how well the carbs work on my current/modern bike also (not what I remember with my Hondas from the 70s).

    I'm a big bicycle fan, so I rode my m/c up to where the Tour of California met Woodside and Kings Mtn this spring right after I got my V Star. I've just recently returned to riding after a 30+ year break, and was more enthralled by all the motorcycle/photographer teams than by the mass of cyclists. Btw, Levi was the defending champion and #1 seed (as they say in tennis) in that race also.

    edit: hmmm, just realized this is my 1st post. been lurking for a while though ...
  4. 3stripes

    3stripes Still learning, still leaning

    Location:
    San Jose
    very cool gig Bob..that would have been fun to be in the mix and not on the side watching the bicyclist go by.:rad

    I would love to do some thing like that..sounds fun:rad
  5. Solomon

    Solomon Still learning to ride

    Location:
    Santa Cruz
    Name:
    Solomon
    That's pretty cool.

    Do you have a link to some of the photos taken? :)
  6. bobs

    bobs Member

    Location:
    Saratoga
    Name:
    Bob
    Not yet - they're all still in post-production.

    This team is sponsored by Rapha, a manufacturer of high-performance clothing and lifestyle accessories for road cycling. They participate in rides like this that aren't races, for the purpose of capturing images for their website and print publications. So this was basically an ad photo shoot, and the cyclists were basically models. The work by the guy on my bike who was shooting stills, and by the guy on the other bike who was shooting video, will show up on the company website in a few weeks, after they're edited into the rest of the content there.
  7. bobs

    bobs Member

    Location:
    Saratoga
    Name:
    Bob
    I had a lot of fun, but "squirming" is waaay too mild a term for it. He was roaming all over back there, even when I was holding formation at six mph, four feet away from the riders, because that was the shot he wanted. My shoulders got tired from holding the bike's course steady.

    He is a motorcyclist, which is good, but he rides a Harley, which means he's not accustomed to leaning over to turn. Once on a twisty descent we were maintaining about 35 mph in a blind curve to the left, around the end of a ridge. Mountain to the left, air to the right, bikes all around. He grabbed my jacket just above my left elbow :wtf and shouted "hey take it easy" or "I don't wanna die" or something like that. This contributed some extra countersteering force, which leaned us over a bit more, which steered us into a tighter turn, more toward aforementioned mountain than I had originally intended. :eek

    We subsequently paused by the side of the road for a brief discussion to clarify our respective roles. I agreed to continue not advising him on aperture and shutter speed, and to maintain an even wider buffer within the bounds of my/the bike's cornering capabilities. In exchange, he agreed to stop advising me on riding technique, and to keep his hands the hell away from my arms. We got along just fine after that, and all his squirming seemed pretty mild by comparison.
  8. skos

    skos Registered User

    Location:
    Texas
    Name:
    Steve
    :thumbup I realy like old school
  9. bobs

    bobs Member

    Location:
    Saratoga
    Name:
    Bob
    The photos are up at http://www.rapha.cc/levis-king-ridge-granfondo. Click on the "Full Flickr Set Here" to see them. All the black-and-white photos were taken by my passenger, who used a pair of Leica 35mm film cameras, which he would re-load while we were rolling. (Old-school indeed!) The images will give you an idea how close we had to be, even at either walking speed up a hill, or 35mph down.
  10. Tyler

    Tyler Miss Demeanor

    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Name:
    Tyler (Ms.)
    Wow... an amazing set of photographs... looks like you both did a fine job! :thumbup