That moment when you realize that your little brother is way cooler than you are…
Also, motorcycles and black & white were made for each other. It’s a beautiful harmony.
I love shooting from unorthodox and sometimes risky vantage points and I’ve done it from some pretty interesting ones. The edge of cliffs, hanging under a bridge, standing on the the bow of an antique speed boat, the back and even the top of moving cars. It’s not the viewing angle that changes, but rather the possibilities for giving life and energy to a still image.
I’m a big proponent of capturing images exactly the way I want them in-camera and doing as little as possible in photoshop. I didn’t want to fake anything by adding motion blur. I wanted these to be as authentic and crafted as I could make them. I wasn’t trying to create anything ground breaking, I wanted to make something that was just straight up, no frills, rock and roll. Gritty and real. In order to create something real, I had to shoot it real.
In my normal shooting style, I keep the aperture wide open for super fast shutter speeds and ultra-shallow depth of field, but in this case I had to do the exact opposite to achieve the look and feel of motion. In order to get the motion blur of the background I had to slow down my shutter significantly. This first image below (my favorite of the series) was shot with a 50mm on my Canon 5d Mk II at f/13 and 1/30th at 200 ISO. We kept the vehicles at the same speed so the subjects would remain still enough in the frame so that I could capture a clear shot of them while the slow shutter allowed the background to blur past the lens. It’s a really tricky shot because literally everything was moving and I was shooting hand-held while awkwardly leaning out the back window of the car. We had to plan our maneuvers and it took lots of tries before everything really came together in a great way. The effort was well worth it though.
About 98% of the post work was done in Adobe Lightroom using VSCO Film. The colors were processed with Portra 400 and the B&W’s were done with Tri-X 400. Both presets were tweaked to my liking. The remaining 2% of post work was done in Photoshop were I added some special sauce to the B&W’s. I layered in some real film texture using blank 35mm film scans. The result is a really nice and natural looking scratchy film grain effect instead of the look of artificial grain. I’m really happy with how they turned out.
This session was really fun for me because I’ve always wanted to do exactly this with a couple on a motorcycle. Getting to cross this off my list of dream shoots was made even better because I got to do it for my brother and future sister-in-law.
Camera: Canon 5D MkII. Lenses: Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 modified for freelensing, Canon 85mm f/1.8, 6″ scientific prism. Motorcycle: 2011 Suzuki Boulevard s40.