A few weeks ago I was contacted by a reporter in Bristol who was writing an article about a cyclist living in Rothbury in Northumberland. The story that he was capturing was an amazing one from an ex-footballer, who worked at the fire service who has always been a keen cyclist. Had a stroke and then onset Parkinsons and is still out on his bike at 60 years old, absolutely doing amazing things on a bike.
Straight away this sounded like a fantastic story and it really intrigued me. So obviously I said it would be fantastic to do the shoot and I managed to get the nuts and bolts ironed out on the logistics.
Roll on a week and I was driving up to Rothbury on the hottest, sunniest day of this year so far thinking to myself, “Can we just have this weather for another two hours?”
I pulled up at Kevin’s house and what a nice, genuine man he is. He wanted to help in any way he could. He was so accommodating and came up with ideas himself which is always handy because he obviously knows the terrain around Rothbury a little bit better than I do!
We planned out two or three little locations that we could include; Simonside and some of the hills and the background and really capture some nice light on him.
I obviously had my car full of equipment to get some extra lighting involved. If you have an interest in my kit and why I pack the way i do, there is a blog about it here!
We had about two hours’ worth of shooting. We got some great stuff and then we got somebetter stuff– I got the one shot I wanted which was a long shot with the road and him looking off into the middle distance. This felt appropriate as he is a road cyclist and it was rural Northumberland paired with the road and him in all his biking gear. Then, just as I thought we were done I thought, “We’re here, let’s do more.” My assistant Karl was with me so we could do some VTLS stuff in the middle of the road.
I got one of my little lights (Pixipro 100)– I did have my really big lights with me but that would have been overkill for where we were on a main road. I used the little light and I said, “I’m not sure if this is going to work, the sun is so powerful, I’m not sure if the light has got enough clout in it to really do what I want it to do,” but that’s me being naïve and not pushing my lights to their full potential to try them out. It was a good opportunity to test them out and – guess what – it absolutely smashed it.
We reshot my winning shot that I was really happy with and it completely popped. For me it was great to go, “Ooh that worked!” Then we went to the opposite extreme and I raced around and shot with the sun behind me and a really cool shadow coming off the bike underneath him and then flashed on him to make him pop out, which was just fantastic.
The magazine didn’t use that image in the end but for the purpose of it and for me doing one of those shoots that I really felt I pushed my creative juices to, it was fantastic. Here it is in print!