Cycling Photography

It's notoriously difficult to take pictures of cycling, especially road cycling. Sports photography generally isn't easy, but cycling photography can be a real problem. This is mainly due to the fact your subject matter will just not keep still. Most sports involve a certain amount of movement, but most sports also need a structure of some kind, like a pitch, as in football pitch, or a court as in tennis court, or even a course as in golf course. This means, so long as you are able to get into the stadium or onto the course you're in with a chance of getting some decent pictures

Cycle races have a course or route, called a "Parcours" Which is French for the course, of course. But the Parcours in cycle racing tend to involve hundreds of miles of road, up and down mountains, around lakes, through tunnels, across bridges, down mines, you name it they will go there. Cycling Parcours designers are all masochists, the harder they can make it, the more suffering they can inflict the happier they are. Cyclists, especially racing cyclists, especially professional racing cyclists have a tendency for speed, they're a bunch of speed freaks, and therefore it's just not in their nature to keep still

Consequently, anyone who's tried cycling photography, like for instance photographing the Tour of Britain or the Tour de France or any major cycle race will know that the top of your equipment list will read something like:

  • Press Pass
  • Helicopter

cycling-photography1

  • Motorcycle complete with driver
  • As many cameras as you can carry 
  • Eyes in the back of your head
  • Ability to swivel your body through 360 degrees from the waist up 
cycling photography2

 

  • Nerves of steel
  • A camera that never fails
  • Luck

If you are like the rest of us standing patiently by the side of the road, for the peloton to arrive only for it to speed pass in the blink of a shutter, then you know what I'm talking about. But there are somethings with cycling photography you can do to give yourself a fighting chance 

Cycling photography is no different than any other kind of photography, so, planning is everything. Recce all possible locations well in advance, till you can see them in your sleep. Every angle of every location, every time of day, because every hour of every day is different, difference light, difference weather, different setup, different possibilities, try them all until you find what works for you 

Of course, it does help if you are a cyclist and you've done a spot of racing, especially on the road as this gives a good insight into how the speed freaks, sorry, professional cyclists, are likely to react to certain conditions or challenges, like a hill. Also being an armchair expert can be useful in deciding how you would approach the race, where, and how you would attack, or not. 

 

Current cycling collections:

Ride London
Cycling Box Hill
Chasing the Rainbow

 

davidt cycling photography as art