So the other day I was discussing my quest to photograph more interesting stuff, with a good friend of mine and he says: “Hey – do you want to take some fat bike photos?”
First question: “What the heck is a fat bike?”
Second question: “Where are we going to photograph you riding a bike? Its January and there’s a foot of snow outside.
Well, as it turns out a fat bike is a mountain bike with tires built for the snow – or as I like to say, built for The Frozen Tundra Mountain Biking Expedition.
So, I agreed and away we went to the family cottage. We checked star charts, plotted the direction and time of sunrise, sketched out a half dozen concepts, made our shot list, planned the gear requirements for each shot and discussed fat bike stunts in detail.
The plan was to head down to the beach just before sunrise. Which we quickly found out was cold and windy. But not just cold and windy – more like freeze your fingers to your light stand cold and blow the dog off the leash windy.
We ended up spending about two hours photographing the fat bike down at the beach. My favorite photos are definitely the handful that I got with the sun before it was swallowed by clouds.
The first few sunrise shots were photographed with a Nikon SB-800 strobe with a full CTO warming gel, on a lightstand (with the base buried in the snow so that it didn’t blow away).
After the sun came up, I switched to just shooting ambient.
NATURAL LIGHT WINTER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS
1. Expose your photos 2 or 3 higher than your camera thinks.
2. Even if it’s dull and cloudy the light is still directional so make sure to take advantage of the light.
3. The sun hangs pretty low in the sky all day so you’ll get what looks like early evening light in your shots all day.
Despite the cold and the wind, it was a lot of fun – and in case you are wondering – yes, riding a mountain bike, (even one designed for it) in the snow is somewhat difficult.
In the end, I think challenging weather makes for much more interesting photography than smooth sailing – which was the whole point of this shoot.
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