Cycletography is not a real word – not really. But it is such a good word. When I began using cycletography it was a simple reference to photo’s taken when out on a ride, whether that be scenery, a picture of a bike with a nice backdrop or a mid-ride action shot. I also have to take a lot of pictures for the website. I guess it goes without saying really – unless you buy them or pay someone to do it for you, but where is the fun in that!
With the advancements in technology, the quality of images taken on mobile phones is really very good. And the birth and ride of the ‘Action Cam’ mean its possible to get great video footage from rides too. Devices like the GoPro Hero(s) and the Garmin Virb produce some fantastic quality video and are getting more and more popular with road and off-road cyclists as well as commuters – although I think the latter is more about feeling safe whilst riding in rush hour traffic.
When my last phone contract came up for renewal, I was determined to find the best camera phone I could. At the time, there was one standout phone which was the Sony Xperia Z5 – with its 23MP camera and Carl Zeiss lens. The plan was to be able to use this as my main camera because of its convenience and keep my more technical (bridge) camera for more advanced photography – and taking on holiday with the family of course. Being able to take great quality photos on a ride became very rewarding and somewhat addictive.
Following the success and enjoyment I was having taking cycletography on my phone – I recently decided to invest in a camera for my bike and opted for the GoPro Hero 4 Session. This was a reluctant purchase as I couldn’t work out if I was getting one because I felt vulnerable on the roads when commuting, or because I was hoping to capture some video. I am a firm believe that a riders safety has to start with the rider – but, and this may be a bold statement, some drivers just don’t want to share the road with cyclists. So maybe my reasons we a little bit of both. Anyway, having treated myself to a new toy I found that these cameras take some fantastic stills.
It’s about where you’ve been.
Riding a bike is awesome. Even when it’s not a great ride, it’s good to be out on the bike. Living in the east of England, we are not exactly blessed with the peaks of Cumbria or the rolling hills of Dartmoor. But we do have some fantastic countryside, lanes and a wonderful coastline. But I only really started to take pictures on my early weekend rides because when I got home, my kids would ask “where did you ride today daddy”? Armed with a mobile phone (for emergencies of course), I could snap off a few pics so they could see the fantastic views that I had seen on my ride.
I always carry a mobile phone when I ride – how else am I going to share the awesomeness that I see on around me on when I’m out on the bike?…….
For me – All About The Ride is and has always been about the simple enjoyment of being on my bike. But part of that pleasure is taking in the surroundings. It can be a beautiful world out there and I think seeing it by bike is one of the best ways to take it in. I always carry a mobile phone when I ride – how else am I going to share the awesomeness that I see on around me on when I’m out on the bike? It is as much a part of my essential kit as say my cycling helmet or my shoes. There is also the safety, ‘in case of an emergency’ element too.
But cycletography is not just about taking scenic pictures when out riding around the countryside. Or taking a product picture of the next review. Like a lot of photography, I think it’s about capturing something that catches your eye. It’s about seeing something that someone else hasn’t seen or isn’t there to see, a reflection, a shadow or a movement or moment.
Share your ride!
The idea of ‘share your ride’ came as part of my own love of cycling photography (in the loosest term) and a curiosity in where other people liked to head out on their bikes. I was pleased to find that many of AATR’s readers and followers were proud to show off their bikes pictures and the often beautiful places they ride them – via social media. It seemed to breed a genuine appreciation and recognition amongst cyclists of all disciplines, experience and locations. Social media and image sharing sites like Instagram and Flickr have made it easier than ever take a good picture (filter it if required) and share it. The concept of cycletography seems to have gained recognition to the point that a Twitter account was set up to share awesome cycling photos.
Cycletography may mean nothing to many people or a lot to a few. I guess, from personal experience, the psychology fan in me would say – cycletography is a picture of a shared passion that can be as inspiring and motivational for the viewer as it is rewarding for the photographer/rider.