Miss Grace

Miss Grace, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 56 / 365 – Bike Week Cycle Chic continues.

The cycle chic gods were smiling down on me today. It just goes to show that if you keep on looking you’ll find a gem. This is looking like the favourite for bike of the week.
So it was one of those drizzly mornings and I was beginning to think I’d never find anything beautiful. I’d got some good shots of an injured commuter bike against a red brick wall which I liked but the light was really bad. I was about to call it a day when I walked up to this.
It’s a Gazelle Miss Grace and she’s pretty right? So much so that you get five photographs instead of the usual one or two.
In honesty I think the sun rise this morning fooled a number of people into thinking it was going to be a nice day, this does not look like a rainy day bike to me.
The green paint, wicker basket, retro lines with modern comfort and that front light is amazing looking tucked up in there.
This is the kind of bike that should make anybody want to ride.
The details on this thing were just out of this world and the metal engraved badge on the top tube just finished it all off.

Shot with the Canon 5D mkii and my trusty Sigma 50mm at f1.4 (as always).
I’d just popped the lensbaby on and was starting to fear I needed to take a different path shooting wise but as soon as I saw this bike it went straight back in the bag. I knew how I wanted this series to turn out and the lensbaby look had no part in it.

Every shot just popped out of the camera, the look the sigma shot wide open has on the 5D is just beautiful. It complements my style and vision so much that it’s become almost scary how I know exactly what I’m going to get before I shoot.
This is the feeling I lack with some of my other lenses, so much so that I decided to do something about that this year. I’ve had (like most photographers) a wish list of lenses for a long time, some have been removed as I learnt more what my style was and how I shoot but others have become more desired. Now I’m also a HUGE Leica lover and if ever I come into a HUGE amount of money I’ll be ordering an M9 with a 35mm & 50mm in a flash. However the M9 isn’t really a camera which suits my professional work, it would hinder rather than free me.
One thing that has come from my M9 lust though is the whole simplified lens thing, Leica users tend to have one or two lenses and that is it, us dslr folks though for some reason desire to have every possible focal length covered. I don’t just mean 24mm, 35mm, 50mm etc etc, we feel the need to fill in the gaps too 24, 25, 26, 27 . . . . . you get my drift. In my early days I had a 50mm and a 75mm, that was it. Now I’m covered from 12mm-300mm and I don’t think it’s helping.
So the refinement of my vision and style is beginning, a lens revolution is happening here at bang Photography, I like things zen, simple and clean. In this respect I’m making plans to usher in the Prime brigade. Out with the zooms and in with some lenses with a little character, lenses that make me think a little more and work for my shots. I may not be ready for the manual focus of the Leica just yet, but the ethos behind fixed focal lengths, I’m all over that.
So what’s going to be in my bag? That’s still under wraps until I’m certain I find what I’m looking for, I know what I use and I know the look I want (selfish aren’t I?). I think I’ve got it about right but the proof will be in the next couple of weeks with some testing.

Shabby Cycle Chic

Shabby Cycle Chic, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 55 / 365 – Bike Week day 5

Faded glory, aged elegance, everyday beauty.
This one just struck me as all those things. An everyday bicycle with a faded beauty, harking back to younger days and warm summer evenings. It evoked an image of country lanes, a girl wearing a long summer dress with her hair blowing in the gentle breeze.
The matching leather saddle, white wall tyres and wire basket against the frame and chrome details made for a beautiful example of “Cycle Chic” if only a little shabby around the edges.

Canon 5D mkii, loaded with the Sigma 50mm again as the lack of depth of field I’m getting with the 35mm at f4 is starting to bug me and the Sigma at f1.4 is just bang on the look I want, no other lens I have gives me that look at the moment. I’m going to say it reminds me a little of the look from certain Leica lenses, strong praise I know.

I’ve had a number of people enjoying and sharing my bike week work over the last couple of days, so firstly a huge thankyou to those who have enjoyed my work of late. Secondly this little side project seems to have resonated with people and myself more than I had initial realised. It’s made the 365 project somewhat easier, knowing what my shot is going to be before I even get out of bed in the morning is a beautiful thing for a creative. I do feel a little like a hunter stalking the city streets for just the right bike but it’s a process I’m really enjoying. I’ll admit that ladies bikes are far more beautiful than the gents. Having said that the good looking mens bikes tend to be really expensive so I don’t expect to see them left in the street. I can feel a side project forming out of this week, and maybe i’ll continue hunting out bikes a little while longer than I intended, kind of like the Sartorialist but for bikes and cyclists (man i LOVE that site).
I’ve spent a good few hours browsing the blogs of those who have commented on here and I found some really interesting sites and I’ll try to link to some of my favourites over the next few weeks. Also one site had some really great photographs of bikes also, I love the first one of the bike against the white fence, to me it looks like it was shot with a lensbaby and it made me think about breaking my lensbaby out for this project too, so thanks for that Kerry, beautiful shots.

Cycle Chic

Cycle Chic, originally uploaded by bang*.

51 / 365
Cycle Chic

Feeling a little generous today so I’ve put a diptic together. I had no plan what I wanted to shoot for todays image, well that’s not entirely true, I have a wide angle, 10 sec f22 exposure city shot I want to take but I’m waiting on the weather for that one.

So I loaded up the 50mm on the 5D and headed out into the city. A few things caught my eye, two pigeons roosting high on an aged building facade, some funky side alleyways, A traffic sign (random eh?) and some bins. Oh yeah and a papered out shop window during a refit, only the paper they used is Christmas wrapping paper so It just says “Is this for me Santa?” repeatedly over the windows.

In the end though you get a shopper bike.

I wanted more of a filmic look to todays shot, I’ve been on a slightly nostalgic trip for the film days of late. I’ve very nearly bought a Voigtlander Bessa on a number of occasions just to shoot some 35mm colour reversal film. So in that regard I’ve gone for a slide film look here, smooth & creamy, neutral colours, with just a slight warm tone. It’s not a million miles away from what I consider my “normal” look so that probably explains a lot.

I found a great website that runs down the strengths & weaknesses of films from the past, for anyone wanting to try and get that filmic look back it’s worth a read. It also has reviews of a load of other photographic equipment, I’ve never looked at anything but the film reviews but it may have something of use elsewhere too.