Thursday, May 20, 2010

Week 20: Bike Messenger

In last week's update I mentioned that I've been playing around with panning lately. While moving cars are interesting to photograph I found that trying to capture bike messengers in motion was far more challenging.

Freezing their motion against a blurred background is definitely hard, but the hardest part was actually finding them. I started out waiting on a corner on Congress Street near Post Office Square in downtown Boston thinking there would be a lot of bike traffic through the financial district. I only saw one bike. So I wrote about it on twitter and a friend of mine whose wife used to work downtown sent me a note about how he would see a ton of them when he would visit her.

Turns out I was about a block away form there when I was first shooting, so while I was in the neighborhood, I was just far enough away to miss the action. I went back there the next day and sure enough a whole clutch/gaggle/school of bike messengers was hanging out in the park on Devonshire Street.

I parked myself on the sidewalk and waited.

I ended up catching about a dozen messengers on that street. This was the only one that I really liked. I shot this one on the Canon 35mm film camera I have, on some Velvia 100 film. Actually all of this week's shots are from this setup.

The next time I try to go on a panning hunt I'll be bringing my digital camera. Being able to get some immediate feedback on the shots with the digital camera will make the outing a bit more successful. As it was with the film setup I had to guess at what exposure settings would work, and just how slow of a shutter speed I would need to keep the biker relatively crisp against a blurred background. I obviously have a ways to go...

Here are the outtakes from the week:


Elias said...

The blue sky in that bottom picture is intense.

C. Wade said...

The Velvia IS awesome, especially in the last shot. I love your outtakes. I myself need to practice panning; I think your bike shot is pretty impressive for film...with no instant feedback!

Abbie said...

Very nice go at the panning on film! Can't wait to see your next attempt. As C. Wade said, I need to practice panning as well. Looks like a fun challenge.