Blog Entry

Work: Cyclist Portraits

September 12, 2011 by , under work.

Photographed the RBC GranFondo bike race that goes from Vancouver to Whistler here in BC, Canada. Brendan and I picked a spot along the scenic sea-to-sky highway at around 6am, set up a single light with a reflector and just waited for the action to reach us. I had decided long before when we were scouting our spot that I would focus more on portraits of the cyclists instead of trying to capture wide shots of the whole pack.

Here’s a quick video of me at work.

And here are a few of the images.

The final selects for the project can be seen in the “Projects” section of my site here

Would love to here which shots you guys prefer – the tighter portraits or the wider shots of the riders. If you have an opinion I’d love to here it in the comments.


19 Responses to “Work: Cyclist Portraits”


Comment by John.

I prefer the tighter portraits of the individual riders – especially with the cool treatment that has been applied.

For pictures of multiple riders, it’s neat seeing vibrant jersey with intense colors.

While I realize that using flash limited your shutter speed options, it is a bit odd for me to see the spokes of the cycling wheel stopped. ie, as with propellers, it just seems more natural to have a bit of blur.


Comment by Daniel.

Some great images! What lens did you use?


Comment by Dave.

Daniel – Most of the shots were with either Nikon’s 85mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8 on a D3x body. I did throw the 17-35mm on for a couple shots as well, but I don’t think any of those shots made the cut.

John – Thanks for the thoughts. I agree, the still spokes make it feel a bit odd… I’m kinda liking the oddness for some reason, but I agree a bit of blur would give it more of a natural feel (I also really pushed the flash up over the ambient to give it even more of a surreal feel).


Comment by Justin Van Leeuwen.

I’m inspired by this Dave – I think I might cover a section of an upcoming race and see what I get. Noticed the ND to keep your dof shallow… a good touch.

I think I like your medium wide images, not so tight as to be restricting, but not wide enough that the individual racers get lost in the pack.


Comment by Dave.

Justin, if you do go out email us a couple shots images(at) we’d love to see your results.


Comment by anon.

I love the profiles without any bike parts or scenery. The only context being the facial expression and the helmet. Certainly an idea that could be applied to other sports like running, soccer, golf, etc.


Comment by Anonymous.

Love the one of the older guy with Argon bike!


Comment by Anonymous.

love these shots! they are even better than the ‘marathon foto’ company officially photographing the race. Wish you had gotten one of me!


Comment by dani kreeft.

hey dave!
rad shots, and excited that i actually got ON to your blog so i can see some of your work.


Comment by Anastasia.

Love this! Happy to see I made it in!
Great Job!


Comment by Geoff Heith.

What a great idea!


Comment by dylan.

the picture with the white cervelo uniform is me…any chance I could get a full version copy of this?

I don’t mind throwing you some bucks for it.




Comment by Dave.

Dylan – we’ll get a shot to you by early next week. No Charge.


Comment by Steve.

Awesome photos. You’ve actually got a picture of me up there as well. I’m the one in the bright green jersey and shorts riding a black Giant bike. I’d love to get a copy if I could. Thanks!


Comment by Dave.

Hi Steve. Glad you dig the shots. Brendan will be in touch soon to send a copy of the photo along.



Comment by Sarah.

I really enjoyed the video clip! Even more so as my husband and I are in ti. Is there any way to purchase the photos? I am in the “clcllist project”-number 2151 with white glasses and my husband is in the video but not the “cyclist project” He is number 2150 (on helmet) with the sunglasses stuck upside down in his helmet. Once again the video was really fun to watch. Sorry I don’t have any constructive comments for you other than I think it was well done. Liked the music you chose to accompany the video clip!


Comment by Dave.


I can send you the hi-res images for free but I need your email address. You can email me at


Comment by Shelley B.

I just realized that the lady in the red jersey with the glasses is a physician i work with at St. Paul’s.


Comment by Justin Van Leeuwen.

I FINALLY DID IT! (and it only took almost a year)

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