Was it all worth it? Portrait of a CX bike.

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Blog | One Comment

As you may have seen in my last post, I was planning on doing some lighting tests on location (er… in my garden) today, but it’s too small and windy for anything meaningfully resembling a location test.
However, a quick scoot over to the local woods proved much more promising.
Trees, you see, have a habit of sheltering you from the wind – always good when you’ve got a 1 meter softbox on the end of a light stand that’s ready to catch even the slightest breeze and take off – and make a pleasing backdrop. They’re also entirely appropriate for photographing a cyclo cross bike.

Trek Crossrip Ltd, in 'cross racing trim.
Trek Crossrip Ltd, in ‘cross racing trim.

It’s not a new bike (I’ve had it over a year) but the fitting of ‘proper’ CX tyres in preparation for a mate’s birthday ride meant it was worth taking it to it’s natural habitat for a bit of a portrait.

The location itself is one I’ve had in mind for this sort of shot for some time now, so it seemed to be coming together nicely. Enough faffing in the garden of eternal turbulence, the woods beckoned…

The set-up was simple enough: an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra with Mk2 adaptor and a Rotalux 100cm Deep Octa for lighting, and my Canon 5D mk3 for capture, mounted on a Nodal Ninja NN2, so I could easily join up several shots as a panorama afterwards.

The ambient lighting was sufficiently dim that I managed to get f1.8 @100th sec, ISO 100, which made both darkening the background by a stop and overpowering the ambient with the Quadra a piece of cake. I could also back the light far enough away for fall-off not to be an issue, even though I could have sorted it out in post.

Speaking of which, a little de-saturation and a slight split tone to give it a vintage feel were all that needed doing to the image once all frames were composited.

Here are a couple of alternative versions…

Not *just* because it's fashionable...
Not *just* because it’s fashionable…
Un-treated version, just for a change.
Un-treated version, just for a change.


Anyway, I think the answer is yes, it was well worth an hour of my time!

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