Cycling and photography

I like photography and I like cycling – and they go well together. When I’m out driving a car in the countryside, I often see a view that cries out to be photographed, but there’s nowhere to park. On the bike, I can stop just about anywhere. Because I’m not usually going too fast (except maybe downhill) I also have time to study the best angle for a view, and stop at just the right spot. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be, and taking a few photos gives me a good excuse to stop and rest.

I have some foam taken out of a rigid camera case lining the bottom of a Carradice saddlebag – which is 30 years old and just getting nicely worn in. That makes a reasonable amount of padding for a camera. Usually, I’ll carry an Olympus XA, or even two of them loaded with different film stock. But medium format is certainly possible, with either a folder or a twin lens reflex. I sometimes carry a small tripod, which either fits inside the saddlebag or on top. I’ve not yet tried taking my Mamiya RZ67 on a cycling trip – that would be a bit much.

I wouldn’t claim that my best images have been made on cycling trips (see edit below) – perhaps because I have to take whatever lighting and weather there is at the time, and if I have to get home or to the next stop on a tour then I can’t wait too long for light and weather to change. But I do get some images which I consider to be interesting and give me a reminder of, hopefully, a good day out.

Here are a few images taken from two recent rides around Northumberland. They were all taken with an Olympus XA loaded with an expired roll of Fuji Superia 400 purchased for 98p in a supermarket, and all home developed with Digibase C41 chemicals in a Jobo CPE2 processor.

Haltwhistle Red Square (Portra 160)

Haltwhistle Red Square (Fuji Superia)

Bardon Mill pottery (Fuji Superia)

Bardon Mill pottery (Fuji Superia)

Bardon Mill pottery (Fuji Superia)

Bardon Mill pottery (Fuji Superia)

Stamfordham Church (Fuji Superia)

Stamfordham Church (Fuji Superia)

Resting (Fuji Superia)

Resting (Fuji Superia)

Edit – this is actually one of my favourite photos, which I have printed on the wall at home. It was taken on a cycle trip in the Tyne Valley, on a Yashicamat 124G. But I did have to leave the bike and walk through a field to find the right viewpoint – so not a pure cycling photo.

Ovington poppies

Ovington poppies


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2 thoughts on “Cycling and photography

  1. rpmx2 October 20, 2013 at 5:08 am Reply

    You know I agree. Cycling gives you a bunch of opportunities to see some a amazing things that you would not see otherwise. And once you realize the view from a bicycle, you tend to look at landscape different from a car! nice Photos! 😉

  2. mrmatthewharris October 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm Reply

    Yes, I nearly always have a camera with me when I’m cycling too (usually an XA2 as it can fit in a pocket of a cycling vest). However, I’m not terribly good at multi-tasking so I’ve either gone out for a bike ride or to take pictures and I’m not successful at combining both.

    I’m glad I found your blog – via ipernity. It looks like we may have covered some of the same ground (with very similar cameras!)

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