Shooting from the saddle ... the Basics. - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 4:33 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
Shooting from the saddle ... the Basics.

This article was originally posted on Tripwired.

In this discussion I will share some of my basic experience in Shooting from the Saddle.

First let me make a few things very clear ...

1. Shooting from the Saddle is really potentially very dangerous and it is not recomended for novice riders.
2. It is recomended that you do it with a bike that is fitted with some form of throttle control.


Ok now for some basics ...

a. Digital cameras are better suited for this because you will trash many frames on a film roll.
b. Not every camera is suitable for this.
c. The camera must have a robust neck strap system and you must be able to adjust that so that if you drop the camera it will not hit your tank. I have been forced many times to drop the camera because things happens in the road.

Right let us look at some cameras ...

I have tried a few cameras and in the end I came to the conclusion that the standard "point and shoot" pocket style cameras are not really suitable. The problem with them are that ...

a. You do not have a positive grip on them.
b. Usually the On/Off switch is not accessable with your gloves on.

I have found the cameras that follows the old style SLR body shape to be the more suitable ones and I have personal experience of two models.

1. The Fuji Finepix 9600

This camera is fairly light weight and it has a nice 28mm - 300mm Zoom lense that is not detachable. The Zoom control is mechanical and as such you can tweak that while you are riding.

The Fuji also have a very comfortable On/Off switch and the shutter button is good for use with gloves.

I have heard rumours that this model is discontinued and cannot confirm that. The Finepix 5600 is very similiar and should also work fine. You might be able to pick some second hand bargains up if you shop around. This camera use the Compact Flash cards and you can get some really big ones.

Another advantag of this camera is that it uses normal Penlight Size batteries and you can use rechargeables and buy replacements from most shops. This is handy if you are on long trips.

The camera does become heavy around your neck after 2 hours or so.

2. Kodak Easyshare Z612

I saw this camera in December 2006 and it took me less than 2 minutes to decide to buy it. It comes at a very decent price.

The camera has a lightweight metal finished body and the body offers a good grip on the righthand side. The power switch is accessable with a glove and the shutter button is also easy to operate.

The camera is fitted with a 35mm - 420mm Schneider Kreuznach lense and the optical quality is excellent.

I have one serious issue with this camera and that is that the Zoom is an electric Zoom and useless on the bike because you have no idea where the Zoom is set to. Another problem with this zoom setting is that everytime the camera powers down and is switched on again you start at the widest angle.

The Kodak uses SF cards and as such most Laptops have a built in reader for it. The camera comes with a rechargeable battery that has a very good lifespan and you could do around 300 shots without a problem. You also get a Lithium non-rechargeable battery for it. Kodak was clever in the sense that you can interchange the two types of batteries.

Software:

For a complete novice the Picassa software available from Google is superb ... it gives you basic image manipulation features to adjust most digital flaws in you images and it has an excellent catalog management interface. The best part of this software is that it is FREE.

I personally use Picassa and Photoshop CS2.

Here is a shot of the two cameras ...


The Fuji is on the left and the Kodak on the right.


Me shooting from the saddle.


Next I will talk about about the practical issues when shooting from the saddle.

Please note that this is my personal opinion about the hardware and software and in no way whatsover do I suggest that this is the only way to do things.

A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 4:35 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
One of the main reasons why Shooting from the Saddle is so rewarding is because you will get shots that you will never even dream of stopping for. In the next two shots you can see what I mean. The actual content is not that special to make you stop, park the bike, take off your helmet, remove your gloves, get out the camera and take the shot. In the meantime you had to make sure you did park on a sfae spot and that you do not drop your bike due to a bad landing site.

The first shot was taken on the road from Victoria West towards the N1 junction. The scene is like 1000's of the same flatland and it will really take some effort to make me stop and take this shot. However, taking it from the saddle made it possible to show my wife the vastness of the land and to me it brings back memories of that trip.


This second shot was on the N1 going down towards Touwsrivier. My friend was ahead of me and the the sun was at around 3o'clock in the sky ... the harsh reflections off the rocks and on the tar triggered me to shoot. Today I am glad I did. Once again, nothing really spectacular enough to make me stop.


I am sure that by looking at this you will begin to get flashbacks of the many shots that you should have taken but the effort was not worth it.

A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 4:37 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
In the following two shots it is clear that to stop was not advised, especially if you are on a big tourer. By shooting from the saddle these two amazing images are in my album will always remind me of my trip into the Swartland.




A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 4:38 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
The next two shots are a very clear example why Shooting from the Saddle makes sense ... they were taken less than one minute apart and there is NO WAY you will stop for that.

Look at the images and you will have to agree ... they are the type of images that makes us ride.


Approaching what I know will be a scenic shot ...


... and here is the shot I really wanted.

A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 4:54 am Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
Since I published this originally I have changed my camera to a Canon 400D with a 17-85mm IS Lens. Initially I have struggled to get the proper shots but after lots of experimenting the SPORTS setting seems to give the best results and it is really hard to work with a lens that does not have Image Stabilization (IS)


There are many features on the wide variety of Digital cameras on the market and the main thing for me is if the camera is GLOVE friendly. By GLOVE friendly I do not only refer to the various controls but the main one is the power switch.

I have seen people mentioning the role of the LCD screen but to me that is first and foremost a waste of battery power. If it is Shooting from the Saddle that you want to do then you need to practice and practice and practice until you get your shots consistent by just POINT AND SHOOT ... you have no real time to look at the LCD or to try and get the viewfinder in line.

Another point mentioned by many is the degree of wide angle available in the lens. To me TOO WIDE is not so good for this because you will get lots unwanted clutter into the shot. I use the 17 - 85 on the Canon 400D but most of the time I set the lens close to 35mm.

The Kodak Z612 has been upgraded by Kodak twice now ... Z712 and now Z812 ... this camera is an excellent bike camera because of ...

a. Weight.
b. Ergonomic design.
c. Price.

Add to this the fact that it has an excellent lens on and runs on a variety of types of batteries and it uses SD cards. The body design of the Kodak allows you to get a good one handed grip on the camera and that helps in shooting from the saddle. The square point and shoot cameras is awkward for me in my gloved hands and it is difficult to judge your shooting angle and direction when you cannot look at the viewfinder/LCD.

Although I use the Canon mostly now it is still the Kodak that I grab when the weather looks a bit dodgy. The Canon has been discounted in value for me due the high number of shots I got from it and as such is actually "paid" off now but it is still an expensive piece of equipment and it is not sensible to just go and trash the camera.

The Kodak has also paid for it self with the shots I got from it but in the end it is a cheap camera to replace if things should go South for the camera.

I hope this post is of value to somebody.

A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 11:40 am
Addict
 
Sharkbait's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Santa Rosa, CA, USA
Posts: 461
Very nice write up! I've always been jealous of the shots that some people get while on the road. Iím usually too busy enjoying my ride to want to stop for pics and as you mentioned itís not always easy to find a good/safe location to stop but I do regret not having the pics to share with others. Maybe one day Iíll invest in a bike camera.
Sharkbait is offline  
post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 31st, 2007, 9:30 pm
Senior Member
 
TxWhiteKnight's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Grapevine, Tx, USA
Posts: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colyn
c. The camera must have a robust neck strap system and you must be able to adjust that so that if you drop the camera it will not hit your tank. I have been forced many times to drop the camera because things happens in the road.
Have you looked at the retractors they sell in scuba shops? I just put one on my Kodak Z650 and it will pull it in with no problems. Just a thought

BTW great writeup, thanks
TxWhiteKnight is offline  
post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 2008, 1:12 pm Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
Is there a reason why I cannot EDIT my own posts ?

A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Jan 4th, 2008, 1:13 pm Thread Starter
Noob
 
Colyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa
Posts: 20
Hmmm ... now I have the edit button but not on the original posts.

A bad days riding is better than a good day at the office.
Colyn is offline  
post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 3:07 pm
WAX
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 18
Smile Some Photo's While Riding Through Town

CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK


















WAX is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Shooting while riding bonafidebob Photography 22 Jan 17th, 2008 2:51 pm
Carbon-Fibre Silver Corbin Saddle Chrisdy K12/1300GT (Next Gen) 9 Jun 13th, 2007 3:04 pm
Problems getting my Corbin Saddle....... Chrisdy K12/1300GT (Next Gen) 3 May 4th, 2007 4:53 pm
New Corbin Saddle Project John06KGT K12/1300GT (Next Gen) 41 Oct 11th, 2006 9:27 am
How safe are the saddle bags? simply K1200RS/GT (Classic) 25 Sep 1st, 2006 9:03 pm

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome