Small Changes in Habits Revitalized My Creativity

Late last year I started getting back on my bike regularly again and bought a point and shoot to take with me on my rides. The first rule of biking was to bike. Not to take photos. But if I saw something I liked, or if I wanted to take a better selfie with friends I'd use my camera. My point and shoot made photography fun again. It reduced the noise and cleared space for creativity in all areas of my life.

I do not enjoy every ride - and when I hear people say that they do, I'm baffled. I enjoy 50% of my bike rides - maybe I'm inherently lazy, a workaholic, or a cry baby because cycling can super hard. But endurance events make me stronger. Moving makes me happier. And even when it isn’t fun I never regret the ride.

This series didn’t start off as a planned photo story. Instead, they evolved from tests. The first images were test shots for my experiment at the gravel/off-road event, Land Run 100. The red dirt in Oklahoma, the determined effort of the riders, and potential mud called to me.

To prep for my test I rented a 200-400 lens and took my partner Dave out to our local trail to work on camera settings and angles. Since Land Run is an event I wouldn’t get second chances. The lens wasn’t what I was looking for - it was challenging to control the angles. It felt like I was shooting sports and documenting an event instead of controlling my photos. This sounds like excuses, but it’s a nod to how challenging it is to creatively shoot action events. Photographers Jo Jo Harper and Michael Cerveny, I respect you even more now!

I stayed within my wheel house and worked with my favorites lenses to capture Land Run 100 photos. When I got home and started pairing images together, I was missing the personal side of the day. Being out on the course meant that I wasn’t around when riders were preparing - I wasn’t able to get close, shoot details, and see faces in different angles. I grabbed some photos from my test with Dave, and loved how they fit together to tell a story of hard work on the bike.

Personal work transitioned from playing, to testing, to a fleshed out visual story. My next step is to add on to the story with storytelling action shots - the images captured at Land Run were fun, but I don’t like that the Land Run badge is in most of the images - Once the weather warms up and the trees start to bloom I’ll head back out to complete the series.