Lens Guides

Bermuda Mountain Biking

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.

The opening spread is a critical shot to get. Be sure to mind the gutter. Sigma 24-70 f2.8 A lens. 1/1250 sec. f/5.6 ISO 1000.

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 building is long gone but the remaining staircase made for sporty riding. It was dark in the jungle but an off camera flash helped me keep the rider sharp. Sigma 24-70 f2.8 A lens. 1/100 sec. f/5 ISO 2500.

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.

Long days shooting from the saddle can be exhausting but when you are on assignment you have to deliver the goods. Bike shot: Sigma 24-70 f2.8 A lens. 1/1250 sec. f/5 ISO 2500. Two stop split ND filter.

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.

One of many shots from the coffee shop scene. Shooting a story means capturing all elements of the adventure. Sigma 24-70 f28 A lens. 1/1250 sec. f/3.5 ISO 400

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.

Warm afternoon light contrasts nicely with cool blue ocean and dark clouds. Bike shot. Sigma 24-70 f2.8 A lens. 1/1250 sec. f/5.6 ISO 1000. Polarizing filter

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.

Two shots that made the cut to print. Bike shot: Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX. 1/500 sec, f/4.5 ISO 1000.

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!

Abandoned staircases make for fun riding. Sigma 12-24 f4 A lens. Off camera flash. 1/100 sec. f/5 ISO 2500.
Dragging the shutter in one of the rail trails. Sigma 12-24 f4 A lens. 1/40 sec. f/6.3 ISO 3200.
Night ride or beer ride…it’s a bit of both really. Sigma 24-70 f2.8 A lens. 1/5 sec. f2.8 ISO 1250.
Photographing a rider through an old hallway in a dark jungle is no easy task. But we pulled it off and were rewarded with a two page spread. 1/800 sec. f3.5 ISO 5000.
Comments (1)
  1. Fried Al says:

    Wow, what an assignment. LIke the story

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