I said, in Part I of this post, that I’d share my general approach for practicing photography while out rambling around by bike. Here’s an example from a recent ride:
Something on the side of the road catches my eye. A prominent fern; some pine needles…
…I lay my bike down…
…and I make some quick images, but I’m not too thrilled with the result (see below).
But now I’m off the bicycle, in a landscape I might never stumble upon otherwise, and I notice one of my favorite trees — a Madrone. I make this close-up image of its bark, which really pleases me.
Ride. Look around. Stop. Shoot. Look around. Ride some more. That’s about it, but here are a few specific suggestions:
1. Don’t aim for perfection: If a subject interests you take numerous shots from different angles and focal lengths — explore the scene with the camera. Working this way, I think less, get into a more creative zone, and avoid the pressure of having to make one perfect image. (Despite this advice, I’m often struck by how often my first composition is the most pleasing.)
2. Be willing to stop and follow your senses: I can’t prove it, but I believe that sense perceptions are much higher when traveling by bicycle then when traveling by foot or by automobile (everything else being equal).
But if you intend to make a photograph (and blog about it) you need to stop and get off the bike. Stopping can be a hassle — you lose your rhythm and momentum, you delay getting to your destination (if you have one), and there are safety issues to consider.
It’s easy just to keep riding — but when you stop and look around all kinds of happy accidents take place.
3. Occasionally, leave the camera at home.
4. Ride with (or without) a purpose. There are three possibilities on any given ride:
- Set-off for a destination and commit to it — unwavering in your goal;
- Set-off for a destination — but be open to changes as you go;
- Set-off with no destination.
I tend to err on the side of spontaneity and the rewards it creates.