The Blue Bicycle – Bike Week

The Blue Bicycle, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 223 / 365

This has been on my hit list for the 365 for quite some time. This bike lives outside a rather well known York resturant with an all too obvious name given this prop.
Safe in the knowledge that I’d be doing another bike week I kept the shot in the back of my mind until now. Luckily for me the old Blue Bicycle bike appears to have been stolen as this is a much prettier one than I remember.
Yup the summer weather was with me today.

Olympus E-P2, 35mm f1.7 so more of the odd focus / blur thing, kinda fun though.

Commuter – Bike Week

Commuter, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 222/ 365

Another benefit of using your bike, you get to park right outside of your workplace.
The reversal of camera equipment is in full swing at the moment. Back to an Olympus PEN from the Fuji X100, I have my reasons, shear enjoyment of use is one of them.

Olympus E-P2 35mm f1.7

So the newly reformed PEN kit is;
Olympus E-P2 instead of the E-PL2 I had before. Why? well the E-P has better build quality, the shutter has a nicer sound (I’m so fickle i know) and I found a bargain of a body only deal.

Olympus electronic viewfinder VF-2 – This as I stated before is a must for these cameras in my eyes. It becomes a “proper” camera to me once this baby is on board.

Panasonic 20mm f1.7 – I LOVE this lens. I think it goes to say something when this is the only lens I ever really missed after letting it go. Also it’s the only lens I’ve ever bought a second copy of. Why do I love it so? dunno, maybe I’ll do a post on it one day when I figure that out.

Olympus OM 50mm f1.8 (via adapter) – This is the same lens I had from before as it wasn’t worth selling, after all it only cost me £6.

Finally the odd ball lens. One of the plus sides (if you’ll call it that) of micro 4/3 is that due to the design pretty much any lens ever made can be rigged to fit the camera. So now I have a 35mm f1.7 c-mount lens. What the billy-oh is c-mount? Yeah I never knew until about a week ago but it would seem that CCTV cameras can have interchangeable lenses also and these are c-mount. This on the PEN becomes a 70mm f1.7, which in my eyes is a niffty little thing indeed.

The 35mm f1.7 was used for the photograph above and you’ll notice that it’s sharp in the centre and then goes very soft at the edges, so I’m thinking this could be a fun portrait lens and also useful for some fun street stuff. I’m just messing around with it at the moment so let me get back to you once the novelty has worn off.

False Sense of Security – Bike Week 2

False Sense of Security, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 221 / 365

Lock it or lose it. Or sometimes to those unlucky ones, Lock it and still lose it.

I thought I’d go down a slightly different path for this installment of bike week, maybe less about the actual bikes and more about the issues around them.

Bike theft would seem to be one of the downsides to bike ownership. Let’s be honest they’re pretty easy to steal, you don’t even need to learn how to hot wire them. I have a number of friends who over the last year have had bikes stolen. Some from being locked on the streets, some from garden sheds and one from the back of his van. You can spend a small fortune on locks and such but to be honest they are simply a deterrent and not guarantee of security.
Having said that one good way to increase the odds of it being there when you come back is to lock it near lots of other poorly locked or unlocked bikes. Or do what I do and employ a really big scary Russian bloke to stand next to it until you return 🙂

Fuji X100 & early morning light.

Designated Rider – Bike Week Returns

Designated Rider, originally uploaded by bang*.

Day 220 / 365

It’s the return of bike week!

One of those little city alleyways, a pub with bikes propped up outside, cobbled street and sunshine. Ah how very quaint, somewhat removed from the current issues in south at the moment.


I promised that I’d do another bike week, so here we go, another seven days of bikey shots all being well.

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.