Cycling, Photography


Today’s post is about cycling.  On the weekend I was very fortunate to be able to borrow a couple of lenses, one was a 150-500mm lens.  I wanted to borrow it for the time trial.  In the world of cycling one of the favourite events of most photographers is the time trial.  They are challenging, but you can also get some of the most amazing results.  I love them, though, I wouldn’t say that particular event is my favourite.

When I was going through my photos on Saturday night, I was looking at the photos that I got, and I was thinking, these are amazing, and probably the best TT photos I’ve ever taken.  Of course, the sad thing is that the parents of these kids will look at them and say they want to get some, but never will.  Oh well, that is life and I need to move on from it.  I really wanted to show you some of those photos today.

Shots like this can be almost impossible, but I found the long telephoto lens meant that I could get shots like this, and I got a lot of them.  I love the expression on the faces, the pain of the time trial. I have heard they hurt.

It is also great to get some personality.  This little boy weaved all over the road, and looked like he had something in his eye the whole time, either that, or he was winking at me.  It was so cute and so wonderful.  He was hard to get a close up because he moved so much.  This image was taken from the other side of the road.

I usually photograph cycling with the camera on shutter priority, but I decided with these that I wanted the widest aperture, which on this lens, when at 500mm was f6.3, so it helps to get that very nice Bokeh, is that what it is called? The blurred background.

This is another image where she was on the other side of the ride, basically coming back.  It is good to do photos of them going both ways, but it is really hard using two cameras to do it.  The cyclists tend to like photos of them side on, then they can see their position on the bike.  I have done many in the past and I don’t sell that many of them either, so this time, I thought I would do the photos I like.

This one was the very last shot I took, and I got a few like this, but they were so hard to do.  To zoom in on their face and just get this part, I kept missing them.  Perhaps I need to practice more, but I won’t get to use the lens much.

If I was going to continue photographing the cycling I would probably think about getting one, it wasn’t bad.  The lens is good for outdoors, but I think it would be too slow for indoors, which means no good for the track.

I have done almost no processing with these.  I did put them all through camera raw and turned down the clarity to give them that lovely soft effect.  With the last shot I used that feature in Photoshop of extending the right side and then filling it. I wanted it to be a square image, and it is pretty much.  Images like this, well they should stand on their own and I don’t think I should do too much to them.  I like them as they are, hope you do too!


  1. Very nice shots. Perfect amount of softness you added too. With those lenses and that background blurring they almost had like a sort of Vignetting. I think thats the term. At any rate they came out quite well.

    • Thank you Dave, I love how the lens gave that really blurred background, and I have to admit, I opened the aperture as wide as possible to get that. oh and yes that is the correct term, though I will admit I did add that, can’t help myself.

  2. These are great and I am completely jealous. I would really love to have a 500mm lens in my arsenal. You did a wonderful job capturing the personality…which is always my favorite part of photography. And p.s. you are right the blurred background is bokeh.

    • I would love to have one as well, I just don’t think I can justify the price of it. It was certainly good enough for what I was using it for. I really like the images and I do try and capture that. Many people have said that is what they like about my cycling photos, the personalities that I capture. Thanks.

  3. If it were my child who devoted so much time and energy to a sport, I would want one of these to hang in my house…Pedro has it right – they’re portraits. They capture the emotion of the rider, rather than just being another picture of a kid on a bike.
    Nicely done!

    • YOu would think so wouldn’t you, a moment in their child’s life, but, it seems, no, they don’t want them. I like to think of them as portraits on bikes. Thank you Marie, I really like them as well. Oh well.

  4. Wow! These are beautiful! The emotions are well-captured and I definitely learnt some lessons on photography~ Thank you for this post! :D

    • There is no need to thank me, it was a pleasure. I am so glad you like the images. Thanks Vanessa.

  5. Excellent shots! I have a Sigma 175-500mm in my arsenal and it comes in great for action sports, birding and moon pics..:-))

    • That would be great, that lens as well. I don’t know that I could justify getting my own. If I stop photographing cycling, I don’t know what else I would use it for. Thanks Ed

  6. smilingtoad says

    What vivid and beautiful shots! Feel as if I had actually was there, pouring over these characters, feeling the energy and unique personality of each bicyclist exuding from each photograph. Too splendid!

  7. These are wonderful, Leanne. You really captured the “feel” of the sport. I like how the images look sorta windswept, like one would feel while cycling. Was the lens very heavy?

    • Thank you Jennifer, surprisingly no it wasn’t too heavy. It was different to handle. I was given a monopod to use with it, but I ended up hand holding it. I crouched down as far as I could and use my arm to rest on my leg, I probably haven’t described that very well, sorry. It certainly was a great way to photograph them.

  8. 7dshooter says

    Beautiful images. You really captured what these riders were going through!

  9. Beautiful shots Leanne! I’ve done some of this myself, a triathlon actually, but I like my cycling shots the best!

    • My first experience with photographing cycling was in a triathlon and the photos were horrible, I think i have improved somewhat. Thank you.

    • Thank you. You don’t really have to get permission because they are on a public road, though I do have permission to photograph the racing through Cycling Victoria. I make sure that nothing identifies them on my website, and if someone has a problem with images of their children on my site then I remove them.

      • I’ve been lucky at the cycling and it has never been an issue, but when I was doing netball, I would have people come up to me and ask who I was and did I have permission. That paranoia is certainly there, in some sports.

  10. cool shots leanne! you have to take that 500mm lens to a beach and get surf shots – it’s such a graceful, aesthetic sport…

    • I even looked at how much one was the other day, but I don’t think it is worth it for me. If I was making enough money from the cycling, then I would probably look into it, but I don’t so I don’t see the point. Surfing would be cool to do, I have seen some amazing shots of it. Thanks

  11. Deceivingly simple shots but your post about the shooting techniques and as you say not a lot but certain processing, reveals images that have depth and feel.

    • They look easy but when they are coming straight towards you they are very hard to do. You think you have them in focus, and then take the shot and they aren’t. Especially the older kids, some of them are travelling over 40 kph, and it can be really hard. Side on it is much easier. Thanks EllaDee, glad you like the shots.

    • Thank you, I thought so as well. Not very often I love the shots of the cycling that I do, but I did love these.

  12. Wow, those are great! Love the faces, and the effects you’ve added. :)

    • Thank you John, the faces are great, though I hardly added anything to them, really, it is pretty much how they were. :)

    • I was rather proud of the bokeh, such a strange term. Thank you, they do work well as portraits.

    • You should have a go, it is interesting, and you know that after one goes past another will come along soon after. Let me know how you go. :)

    • I was really surprised with the lens, I didn’t expect good things, but I was really happy with how the images turned out and I would probably consider buying one myself, if I was going to keep doing this that is. Thanks Jim.

    • Isn’t she gorgeous, and there is a hint of the pain she is feeling as well. Thank you Margaret.

    • Thank you, haha, I would love someone to say, here, you should have this, wouldn’t that be wonderful? :)

      • LOL wouldn’t it be something .. knock knock on the door … “Hi, saw that you love taking photos, I have a 500 and don’t use it that often, would you like to have it?” hehehehe

      • Yes, it would be amazing, or even to have some one say, “hey I have one, but I hardly ever use it, why don’t you hang on to it and I will let you know when I need it” I could live with that as well. :)

  13. Wonderful portraits of the cyclists. I love the last couple where you shot the face and front of the subject. I can’t imagine why parents wouldn’t jump to buy copies of these. The bokeh is great and the softness is perfect.

    • It is always interesting to see what people like, or how different from one another they are. I have no idea, but it has been a problem all along. I get lots saying they would like to buy one, but they never do. I don’t know what it is either, I think it is a dud market and time for me to get out. I think I might just do a select few, the ones I enjoy doing and that is all. Thank you George.

      • I think that’s what I’d do too, Leanne. Your photographs are so very good that I can’t imagine people not buying them if they’re readily available, but I know how people are about that sort of thing too.

  14. I think these are absolutely fabulous!!!! I would definitely buy these if they were my kids – fabulous images – I hope you are wrong about not getting many sales. Is there any way you can ensure the parents see these? Or better yet grandparents?

    • There is always pain with time trials, some get off their bikes at the end and can’t walk. The pursuit on the track is the same. Thanks Zelmare. :)

  15. these are really great, love how you’ve processed them to give the kids a slight glow. it looks really great.

    • Thank you, I didn’t realise about the slight glow, but I guess you are right, that is wonderful, glad you like them. :)

  16. Hi Leanne, I loved these and the effects you used. The colours are so vibrant. I just read somewhere on ur blog that ur from Victoria. I hadn’t realized u r a fellow Aussie. I loved that street in Melbourne and would love to visit it one day. Very European in feel.Love ur work. Thanks

    • Yes, very definitely from Victoria, where are you? I tried to see on your blog where you are, but couldn’t see, but guessing from some of your images, NSW. Melbourne has a lot of places with a very European feel. You will have to come and visit one day. It was great meeting you.

  17. These are great shots, having covered a few cycling events myself I know how difficult it can be. Having also ridden the odd time trial I also know how difficult that is :)

    • You are a cyclist, how wonderful. I used to ride my bike, but then started photographing instead. It is an interesting sport to photograph, you can get some gorgeous images, or some crap ones. I like it, but not great if you want to make money, well not here. :)

      • I think the thing I find most annoying is how upset they get when I don’t go somewhere. Apparently I am meant to work for nothing so they can look at the photos, haha. Can’t win. :)

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