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jleighkelley
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AngelLappmarkSe September 26, 2017
What a composition! Bike in the heart

Cranks



The crankset on my vintage Trek road bike.
The crankset on my vintage Trek road bike.
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Behind The Lens

Location
I took this photo in my kitchen/dining area in a rather small apartment. I am a self-taught photographer, and still learning so I was playing with aperture and ISO settings for low-light shots.
Time
This was taken at approximately 6:30 am during the winter so it was still dark outside. I was using regular lamps for lighting as well as the florescent light in the kitchen. The light reflecting off the cranks of my bicycle is florescent from the kitchen light with a little help from the lamps.
Lighting
To be honest, I wasn't sure where I was going with this set of photos and this one, in particular. I am in love with the circles and spirals created by the pedaling motion of bicycles so I knew I wanted to showcase the crank set. I moved the bicycle around until I had the light from the kitchen reflecting off the crank set, and shot a few photographs.
Equipment
I used a Nikon D80, no tripod or any stabilizing equipment, a Nikkor 50 mm 1:1.8D prime lens, and no lighting other than the ambient lighting from the kitchen.
Inspiration
I was looking for an object or subject that I could use to experiment with different aperture and ISO settings in low light. For some reason, I kept looking at my bicycle and the crank set. The more I looked at the crank set, the more I realized that this was the perfect subject for my experimenting. Since I love everything cyclical about a bicycle I figured that the pedals, crank arms, chain rings and toe straps represented this cyclical nature the best. I also am what is known as a "retro-grouch" in the cycling world, and I have not really upgraded this bicycle to maintain it's vintage status. It was my "college" bike, and I have a rather fond relationship to it.
Editing
I did a bit of post-processing using Adobe Lightroom. I used a slightly higher exposure than the original photo which really brought out the chrome, and did some highlighting in the areas reflecting the most light. I also worked a bit on the shadows and crevices of the chain rings and the chain itself to add a bit of contrast between the greasy and dirty parts of the bicycle and the not so dirty and reflective crank arms and pedals. Then I turned the photo to monochrome, and found I was very happy with the result.
In my camera bag
I always have my Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 prime lens as it takes great photos no matter what. I also carry 55mm macro lens which is a challenging lens to work with as it was made in the 1970's and does not communicate with my camera; when it is set just so, however, it takes some really nice shots. And then, there is my trusty "kit" lens. A Nikkor 55-200mm 1.4-5.6G. I love this lens for landscapes. I always have a glare protector for those not so perfect midday light shots.
Feedback
The first thing I would say is experiment with lighting, position (both yours and the subject's), take photos of different parts of the subject until you hit upon the part that makes you think 'Wow! That could be really interesting!" Or, like I did, think about what it is you love about the subject, in this case a bicycle. Why do you love it? What does it convey to you and what could it possibly convey to another person? Does the subject look better in monochrome or color? Use different aperture, ISO and exposure settings. Experiment with white balance, and other aspects of lighting. Most of all, have fun doing it!

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