This weekend I had the opportunity to work photographing the Velothon Stockholm. Velothon is a series of cycling races held in different cities across the globe. The even offers amateur cyclists an opportunity to compete like pros and ride a course on completely closed roads.
The event was stretched out over the corse of two days. On Saturday there was a Grand Prix styled event where contestants competed on a short course and did as many laps as possible under a given time period. Then on Sunday there was the primary race. This was split into two groups. The first group doing a longer 155km course and the second group doing a shorter 55km variant.
On the first day with the shorter course I worked on my own and just my way up and down the course looking for interesting photo opportunities. On the second day the real fun began and I got to work the race from a motorcycle. I meet my driver Håkan early that morning and we spent the day zipping in between cyclists and documenting the race.
Working from a motorcycle was both a lot of fun and very challenging. Since the race was sanctioned by the UCI it meant I had to ride the motorcycle facing the direction of traffic. For non UCI sanctioned races sometimes a photographer will sit on the motorcycle facing backwards in order to have a better working vantage point.
The most challenging aspect to working while in motion is that you are two separate minds that end up contributing to the images. You might be lining up the shot and thinking that in a few seconds your composition will line up, however as you think that your driver might have to accelerate or decelerate to avoid the riders. So you always need to communicate clearly what you want from the driver. And even with the best communication sometimes it is the just the restrictions of the course that impede you.
My only disappointment is that I really would have wanted to see and travel the course ahead of time. In my briefing I was told that I would travel the course with my driver on Saturday in order to prepare for Sunday. I showed up motorcycle helmet in hand only to find out the organizers had a completely different plan and had me photograph the Grand Prix races instead. In that situation you make the best of it and get on with the job, but traveling the main circuit would have made a huge difference. It would have given us the opportunity to map out locations of interest and alternate routes to allow us to drop away from the pack and surpass them. If you find yourself covering this type of event I really recommend that you request or even demand an opportunity to travel the course with your driver.
Thanks for stoping by!