I was a bit perplexed when the assignment first came through. A mountain biking shoot in Bermuda? Based as I am in the Rockies, I didn’t even know there were “mountains” in Bermuda (there’s not, really.) There are plenty of trails and more importantly a community of riders that is wildly enthusiastic about mountain biking, trail riding, and off-pavement adventures. The thought of getting to photograph bikers in an area that had probably never been shot for publication was also very enticing.
So the plan was solidified. My self and the writer, Brigid Mander, would fly to Bermuda and stay with one of the islands best know bikers and founding member of the advocacy group Fat Tire Massive, James Holloway. We would spend the next four days biking, shooting, and exploring all the island had to offer.
The goal of the shoot was to produce a story for one of my favorite bike magazines, Freehub. Shooting a feature travel story like this is one of my favorite ways to shoot. When my photography comes with direction and purpose, it’s far more enjoyable and productive than when I am just shooting on my own. I enjoy the pressure to produce strong images as it has me seeing and working creatively from sunrise to sunset.
If you wonder what it means to “shoot for story” I’ll tell you. It means that I don’t just photograph people riding on bikes, actually far from it. My goal is to produce a well rounded body of work that complements the writers words. It means I shoot a few landscapes, maybe some wildlife, post-ride beers, travel scenes, portraits and really everything we encounter on the trip.
To pull this off I need to carefully select my gear. For biking I typically bring my Canon 5DMKIII and a host of Sigma lenses. In my bag for this shoot was the 12-24 f4, 24-70 f2.8, and 70-200 f2.8. With this trio of lenses I can cover just about everything on my shot list. Bermuda is hot, humid and salty which can be tough on gear, but everything performed perfectly allowing me to focus on the job at hand and not worry about technical issues.
In my four days on the island, I shot about 2,000 images. Of those I submitted to the photo editor what is called a ‘loose edit” of 461 images. Out of all those shots, 10 images would make it into the magazine. That’s a pretty crazy keep rate.
In the end we had a fantastic time in Bermuda. We worked super hard with two shoots per day riding 20-35 miles with all my camera gear. We shot morning, evening, and middle of the day. We met a crew of great people and came away with a great story. I can’t wait to get back out to shoot another adventure travel story!