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Pants Pictures

By Rob - Posted on 12 June 2010

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

It was a slow news afternoon so have been playing with the images from this morning's ride. It's really nice to do a social ride again and get some shots, but that camera (it's an old Olympus) isn't so good. The flash is hopeless and today's bright skies and long shadows were tough conditions.

The sort of shots I like display a sense of movement. Usually when the background is blurred but the rider is mostly still or travelling through that background things look pretty nice. Something a bit like these... which are straight out of a Canon G7 is kindof nice:

Junkie in a Corner Corners Tien

Anyhow, so glass half full and all that - perfect chance to practice post-processing. Let's see if a dodgy old shot can be made a bit more interesting?

Being a nerd I use The GIMP and below are a few samples of what I tried.

1. The original straight out of the camera.
2. Cropped. Not that I was taking particular care with that, but just wanted to get closer to the 'subject' to show other stuff.
3. Cropped, with Pants brightened up a bit. Was trying to get that "Here's what it would have looked like with a decent flash" effect.
4. Cropped, with Pants brightened up a bit, with the background motion blurred. Makes it more interesting and trying to get that "Flash with some panning" effect.
5. Cropped, with Pants brightened up a bit, with the background motion blurred a bit more, with original Pants slightly opaque.
6. Cropped, with Pants removed. Had to do this so...
7. Cropped, with zoom blur on background and a little different motion blur on Pants.

To be honest, the motion blurring is just for fun. Given the shot was almost straight on it does look a bit too fake IMHO. Perhaps playing more with the angle would help a bit.

I think the 4th image below is probably the best one, but what about anyone else?

Any comments? What do people like to see most in bike pictures?

Shooting with the sun in the background is always hard - the flash needs lots of grunt to fill in the shadows properly.

The best shots I've seen by far of any event are Krystle Wright's of the 2008 Fat Tyre Festival at Ourimbah. She really captured the mood of the place and of the event, riding through lush green singletrack in dark forest shadows, with tight shots taken from interesting angles. There was always something interesting going on in the shots.

The pan shots of the riders from the side were just sensational. She really captured the sense of motion, with the rider razor sharp and the forest ferns and trees blurred, creating a sense of speed. Obviously she used a very good SLR, but she seeems to have also used remotely operated fill flashes to really light the subject well.

Trying to find some examples of it now... in the meantime, take a look here:

Edit: found some in the report in Enduro issue 11:

The sixth one is nice Sticking out tongue

Agree, the 4th one is the best. The 5th is a little too blury.

Rob, I just noticed on the 6th one, you removed Pants (sounds a bit wrong) you forgot to remove the shadow.
re 6. When cropping photos, keep your pants on Barf!

@Brian - didn't forget, just didn't bother Sticking out tongue

Given he got put back in after the zoom blur applied didn't think it would matter.

It's amazing what can be done in those photo programs.

I'm a complete flake when it comes to all that stuff. I just take pics, and it I get any good ones I keep them. LOL

I love those panning shots that really capture the moment.

When you take the pics, do you try and position yourself so you can pan a bit more and more steadily? It would require a real fast lens in low light. but you can get some wicked shots without any mods to the pic.

Here's a good example of a dead pic vs an alive pic. lol (no editing done) It makes such a difference if you can get the shutter speed right.



LOL @ Brian's post.

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