Tour de Yorkshire photography tips Part 2
How to get the best photographs of The Tour de Yorkshire
Following on from Yorkshires successful hosting of the ‘Tour de France’, The Tour de Yorkshire is fast becoming THE must watch cycling event in the country. Racing through spectacular countryside the riders can be seen against Yorkshire’s dramatic landscapes, but how as an observer with a camera can you best capture the riders and the sport of cycling? Here Richard Whitehead, leader of the Commercial Photography degree at Cleveland College of Art, explains how to get the best shots.
Most of you will have some sort of camera or device that is capable of capturing photographic images. For those of you who want to take your image making a level higher, here are some top tips.
- Firstly plan and manage where you will be for the race and what gear you take with you . This involves checking the times of the start and finish through the Tour de Yorkshire website, dressing appropriately and picking your vantage point. The best view can be obtained slightly above the riders as they come towards you, so decide whether you will be at the start, the end or more realistically somewhere en-route. Standing around waiting can , weather depending , be strenuous, so have comfortable shoes, clothing for the elements, sun and snow-:-after all it is Yorkshire!
Importantly, make sure that you have enough memory cards; that all your equipment is cleaned prior to shooting and that if there is rain either check the showerproofing of your camera or as I do wrap your camera in a clear freezer bag attached around the lens with an elastic band to ward off the elements. You’ll need a cloth to keep wiping off the rain from the lens as well.
- I’ll assume that as an enthusiastic amateur you have some sort of dslr or camera able to utilise shutter speeds. My advice would be set your camera to 800 ASA/ISO and have a fast shutter speed of no less than 1/500 of a second. This will involve, (weather and light depending) having wider apertures, so you will should either pre-focus in manual on a set point or more realistically use the autofocus modes of your camera. I keep mine not too broad and not too narrow.
- A zoom lens is useful so that you don’t need to change lenses in crowds or at the optimum moment so use something like a 18-135mm or a 70 -200mm ( for 35mm full frame dslr’s). A 24-70mm is also useful on a 2/3rds system.
- The riders rush past you almost instantly so be prepared and also consider photographing not just the ‘Peak Action ‘but also the ‘Reactions’ of the crowd and all the elements that make up the day. There are great shots that can be made of the yellow and blue bicycles dotted around the route; the spectators- some dressed for the occasion; the crowds around pinch-points, and of course any writing on the roads that may have sprung up.
- Consider the riders and the backgrounds. If you treat the race as a landscape shoot interrupted by cyclists there are some great images to be had. Sometimes I frame an image as a landscape , then wait for the riders to be in the optimum position and then make the image
- It’s not to every-ones taste, but If your camera has a built in flash TURN IT ON as the rider s come past and use it with a slower shutter speed, say 1/30- 1/60 and the flash will freeze the motion while the slower shutter speed will blur the riders giving an impression of movement. Read up on ‘panning’ techniques to emphasise movement as well.
- Finally a word of caution. DO NOT jump out in front of riders nor jostle other members of the public or press for position. Not only can you seriously injure others, but you could receive a nasty knock.
To sum up, be prepared, have a plan and most of all try to capture the feeling of the entire day, not just a few action images. The professionals will have the best positions and access to the restricted areas, but you can also capture the unbridled ‘fun’ of the event as well.