Simple Tips For Your Own Motorcycle Diaries
Ketan Kundargi tells you what to keep in mind when making a visual diary of that road trip you are about to take.
Royal Enfield’s Himalayan Odyssey is considered as the Holy Grail of all motorcycle rides. The road trip to Ladakh was an experience like no other that took me through some of the most scenic places in the country. And no matter how hard I tried, it is impossible to not stop every ten minutes to make a picture. If you thought mixing photography and riding is difficult, here are a few need-toknows to remember on and off the bike so that you have assured stunning pictures of the ride to reminisce.
Plan Your Story
When you are spending so much time planning your trip, spend a little more time to decide what images you want. Nothing wrong in simply taking bursts of images at random intervals. But for a comprehensive story of the entire journey, make sure you document all aspects of the journey. This makes it easier for you to put together a comprehensive photo essay when you come back.
Look Out for Action
Extended stretches of roads with similar terrain and surroundings might result in a series of similar looking pictures. Avoid the stagnancy and add some interesting action shots on hairpin turns, out-of-the-world terrain, funny sign boards and landmark locations along the way.
Use the Interval Timer mode
When on the road, the Interval Timer mode can be your best aid to get some stunning pictures. This will let you concentrate on riding and navigate some breathtaking manoeuvres while depending on your camera to do the shooting on its own. You might end up with a big dump of images but are sure to find that one stunning action shot in them all.
Early to Start, Early to Stop
The time you hit the roads will matter a lot in the images you get. Just like most other genres of photography, the golden hours are the best time helping you enhance the beauty of the nature around you and bring out magnificent colours. Travelling in the night will let you make you the most of long shutterspeeds for interesting light streaks.
Do Away with Posing
No one expects a biker to be standing in the middle of a beautiful piece of tarmac with a smile on his face! Avoid such posed photographs and instead point your camera to something more natural. From riders leaning on the sides when cornering a turn to the exultation they express at the end of the day’s ride, you will never be short of action on a road trip. If you have to shoot a portrait on the road, be discreet and get a candid shot instead.
Take Care of the Gear
Out on a road trip, you are bound to face some very extreme and varying weather conditions. It will be bright and sunny in the morning and you might stuck in the middle of a rainstorm by noon. This means your camera is going to face a lot of dust, water, fog, low temperatures and other conditions. And while you are tempted to take breath taking pictures in such extreme situations, ensure that your lens is clean before you hit the shutter. Make a provision to bundle your gear for safety if the weather gets really bad.
Understand Your Camera Practise! Practise! Practise!
It is the only way you will understand your camera inside out. This goes a long way to simply take out your camera, snap a picture, pack it and resume your trip immediately. At most times, you are not going to get an opportunity to see what you are shooting till the time you go back to a computer. Spend some time before the journey begins to know the camera’s field of view, battery life, the number of images your card can store and the scene modes available to make your life easier on the road. During the journey, it is very important to think as a photographer rather than a rider. No matter how stunning the landscape is, it is the simple regular rules of photography that will make your images better than random snapshots. So remember the rules of composition but experience the magic of nature around you before trying to photograph it.
Gear You Can Use
If you are an avid biker, consider investing in a wearable action camera like the GoPro Hero 3, Sony Action Camera or Contour+2. If you do not want to buy a dedicated action camera, make one. Use your compact camera to photograph from some crazy angles by building a rig for a tripod mount on the bike or a sturdy gorillapod to do the work.
If There Is No Interval Timer?
The Self Timer mode can be a good workaround, but it will make only one frame. As an alternative, use an eraser and a rubberband. Tie down the eraser on the shutter by using the rubberband such that it continously triggers to take a picture. Switch to the Burst mode and have plenty of space on the card.
This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Better Photography.Tags: Shooting Technique, better photography, travel, Ketan Kundagri, GoPro, Motorcycle