- How to Be an Environmentally-Friendly Landscape Photographer
- Health Benefits of Photography Trekking
photo by vm via iStock
Photo trekking is the best new thing I’ve started in a long time. It combines the joys of two of the things I love most, landscape photography and bike touring. Biking and photography mix perfectly together. When you photograph landscapes from a bike, you are exercising your body and your brain.
Trek, the manufacturer of premium bicycles of all types, has recognized how wonderful photo trekking is. Trek has created an initiative called #GoByBike to encourage bikers and photographers to engage in this campaign which helps the planet as well as the benefits to the mind, body, and soul that we receive.
Here are some photography tips while cycling that you can use, add these to the landscape photography tips you already know and use to craft your superior images and videos.
There are a lot of things to consider and remember whenever we get on a bike for any reason. Adding the joy of photography to our biking means there are possible distractions we need to factor into our thoughts of safety.
Always be a courteous rider and obey the rules of the roads that apply in your area. A lot of the photo trekking I do is off road, but we usually have to bike on roads at some point just to get to the places we want to in order to photograph landscapes.
Personal bike safety also includes a helmet and proper shoes and clothing for the conditions we’ll encounter. As part of your plans of how to photograph landscapes from a bike, make sure someone knows where you’re going and have check in times.
Having a top end bike will give you increased safety, too. A bike like the Trek Remedy 9.9 will put you into a safer ride experience by reason of being a very good bike. Read my other photo trekking articles to see exactly why I absolutely adore this bike.
Finally, don’t become so engrossed in the photography part of photo trekking that we ignore personal safety and our surroundings. Stop and make sure of yourself and then craft your awesome landscape photographs. If you want to shoot while moving, look into an action cam.
Biking and photography have excellent and helpful accessories that are useful for improving our riding and photography. Your first choices of equipment were the big things, your camera and lens and what bike you want. Accessories enhance these choices for the better as you photograph landscapes from a bike.
Since you’re outdoors, photo accessories for outdoor shooting are at the tops of my list. I like the advantages of a filter holder system and a tripod alternative such as the OctoPad. Both of these are great for landscape photography in general and have extra benefits in biking and photography.
A filter holder system can hold multiple useful filters at the same time and can also fit on a variety of lenses simply by changing an adapter ring. Using a GND filter and a C-POL filter together can enhance your landscape images in a lot of ways. A filter holder system is a wise investment for anyone who loves to photograph landscapes.
Travel tripods and carbon fiber tripods are good tools, but sometimes a tripod alternative is the best answer for our needs when we combine biking and photography.
The OctoPad is one such alternative that landscape photographers should check out. It is a weighted, semi-rigid pad with a non-slip bottom that has a ball head mount on top. You can place it on almost any type of surface, even if angled by up to 45 degrees, and will hold your camera rig steady without needing to clamp onto something or use a suction cup.
Of course, you need a quality bag to carry your photography gear while biking. Some bicylists prefer a backpack for their gear. But if you want the convenience of a sling bag, the HEX Ranger Sling V2 is the ideal choice.
This bag has a streamlined build so it gives you eight liters of space without being a big or bulky bag. And since it's a sling design, you can easily move the bag from back to front for easy access to your gear without having to take the bag off.
Inside is a large compartment for your gear that features adjustable dividers so you can tailor the main compartment to fit your specific gear.
This bag also has a faux fur-lined pocket for your phone or glasses, a front access organizer, and adjustable bottom carry straps for carrying additional gear if need be.
All this comes in a bag that's compact, lightweight, and covered with water resistant genuine Cordura® to keep your gear nice and dry when you're out on the trail.
Energy Food and Hydration
photo by victoriya89 via iStock
This is a safety tip, too, but I like to think of making sure our body is operating at peak levels so that our creative brains are working as well as they can. In order to photograph landscapes and bring back excellent images, we have to concentrate on the art and craft of photography.
I don’t know about you, but if I’m hungry, thirsty, or generally exhausted, my brain isn’t going to work at the top level I need for excellent imaging or videography. Looking at the images and stories from Trek’s #GoByBike campaign, we find a lot of nice tips on how to hydrate and what types of energy foods work best.
How to Photograph Landscapes from a Bike
I may be biking and cycling together, but I won’t always be on my bike when taking the photos. When I am still on my bike, I try to plant my feet well so that I have a stance that will lead to stability and steadiness.
Other times, I will actually get off of my bike in order to find the right perspective and a pleasing composition. All of the usual landscape photography tips apply when you photograph landscapes from a bike. The Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and S Curves are probably going to come to mind first, since these work well for landscape photography in general.
Another very helpful tip for most landscape photography is to shoot in RAW. Using our camera’s RAW file mode for landscapes allows us to have the most to work with when we get into our post processing program.
Time of day is another aspect of biking and photography that will affect our final images and our bike riding. Many landscapes simply look best during Golden Hour or Blue Hour, either the morning or evening times of these periods.
We may need to really do some research to make sure we maintain rider safety as we try to shoot during these times of day. You really don’t want to get stuck somewhere when you weren’t planning on it being an overnight trip.
Biking and Photography
photo by nazar_ab via iStock
Photo trekking combines all the best of landscape photography and bike riding. Try it out yourself and let us see what you’re shooting and where you’ve been with your bike and camera.