I do this thing here in Japan I’m calling biking photography. It’s a huge pain in the ass, but very fun at the same time. I actually started doing this in L.A. a few years back but sort of stopped when it became infested with homeless who cover the sidewalks in human excrement – and the Mayer thinks he’s going to run for president. 🙂
Anyway, biking is great because it combines two things I love doing into one, riding bikes and shooting photography.
All the photos here are from the Fujifilm X-T2 and the 7Artisans 35mm f1.2 lens. I’m updating that post with these photos, so if you haven’t had a chance to read that review, it’s been updated with some of these images and more.
I have a road bike, a Fuji Ballad that’s been fairly customized to fit my size. You can’t find bikes for a 6’3″ person in Japan, so I had to change the seat post and get bull horn handle bars to get the right stretch.
I’ve added a rear rack for some panniers. I use the rack to mount my tripod and the panniers for my Sony A7rIII when I go shoot landscapes.
For street photography I’m using a small backpack. This awesome ripoff of the GoPro backpack that I got for $50 bucks that’s just amazing.
What I do then is ride around town until I find areas that look interesting and I look for little moments of great lighting, hop off the bike and grab a few shots.
The advantage of using a bike
I can carry all my basic gear and can get to most places in town faster than car or train.
I get a great workout and I get to see areas that wouldn’t be accessible otherwise.
It keeps me happy and fit – which I guess is a bad thing if you’re trying to shoot street photographer.
The disadvantages of using a bike
It’s kind of annoying trying to take photos while managing a bike. Japan isn’t like the USA, you can’t just lock your bike to a parking meter, you have to find bike parking (which costs money) or just set your bike down and hope nobody steals it.
I usually keep my bike with me and just set it against a wall when I’m taking photos. I take no more than two lenses and one camera to keep things light and simple.
Riding a bike also limits my range. I can uncomfortably go about 20 miles in the country when I’ll go to shoot landscapes. But, when you ride 20 miles, it takes about an hour at least to get home and it’s not the funnest thing to do when it’s completely dark out. Japan’s countryside gets a little spooky at night as strange spirits lurk just behind the forests edge.
I also once had a cicada or something big hit me in the forehead and go under my helmet, all while a car was passing me on a dark country road. Another time, I took a spider right to the face when I was riding near some trees. I found him about thirty minutes later hanging out on my helmet.
More coming soon. I’m finishing up shooting for my Rokinon 50mm f1.2 review. I’m going to grab a Fujinon 50mm f2 for comparison since they are similar in price and a lot of people keep asking me about that lens.
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