I recently working on a project to photograph Lake Murray for the Oklahoma Department of Tourism. My assignment was to photograph people doing all the fun activities at the lake, but before my models arrived that morning I was out scouting locations and ran across these floating hotel rooms at sunrise. I wish I had a person to put in the photo but they did not arrive until well after sunrise. Like most photographers I love shooting in the early morning “golden hour” of sunrise.
My story on Canola in Oklahoma was just recently published in Oklahoma Living Magazine January 2013 edition. I spent several months over the summer of 2012 researching, interviewing, writing and photographing for this story. This was basically a self-assigned story that I pitched to Oklahoma Living Magazine editors in the spring of 2012. My wife Kay and I had been riding our motorcycles in western Oklahoma and kept coming across these huge fields of yellow flowers that we didn’t recognize. After some research we discovered they were canola plants and I thought “if I don’t know what they are, I bet a lot of other people don’t know what they are” so pitched the story. It was picked up and finally ran in January.
In 2010 is was at the BMW MOA rally in Bend, Oregon and was asked to be a judge for the BMW GS “Anti-Concourse” bike show. The purpose of this show was to highlight bikes that were used in odd and unusual ways. During the judging I came across two bikes that were obviously different than the others – both had kiteboards strapped onto the back of each bike.
After the event I had a chance to meet with the riders and discovered they were Mexican nationals who were traveling to Hood River, Oregon to spend a few weeks kiteboarding. They had decided a few months prior to jump on their bikes, load up their kiteboards – and Chano, a dog – and spend the summer riding from Baja north to Hood River, kiteboarding along the way, camping out when necessary, and just exploring life on a bike and on the water.
I had a couple of days to spare before my next appointment in Montana, so I hooked up with these guys and rode with them to Hood River. They were staying at a rental house with about 12 other Mexican nationals who were also kiteboarding Hood River that summer. People threw air mattresses and sleeping bags on the floor, sacked out at night and kiteboarded during the day. I pitched my tent in the back yard and spent a few days following them and documenting their fascinating story. I created a short video of them and the story was picked up by Adventure Rider Magazine.
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During the summer of 2010 I was asked to document an off-road ride from Canada to Mexico called the Continental Divide Ride. Put on by Rawhyde Adventures, along on this ride was Pieter de Waal, then head honcho of BMW Motorrad (motorcycles) North America – basically the big cheese of BMW motorcycles in North America. I joined the group in Montana and we followed a mostly off-road route south along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. At night we would camp under the stars, high up in the Rocky Mountains. During the day we would blast along dirt roads, rough jeep trails, and even abandoned railroad tracks, taking in the incredible scenery and enjoying the camaraderie.
Of course, as the official photographer for this trek, I wasn’t able to enjoy the view as much as most, since I was typically blasting past the 25 riders in front of me so that I would get to a good vantage point, shoot photos and video, jump on my bike and then eat everyone’s dust while passing them once again. At night when we arrived at the campsite, I had to set up my tent like everyone else, but while they kicked back and enjoyed the evening I was still working taking pictures, backing up memory cards, charging batteries, and cleaning my cameras. I was usually the last into my sleeping bag at night and first out the next morning so I could capture camp as it got ready to leave.
The story ran in Adventure Rider Magazine and made for a really fun, informative layout.
Let’s face it. Motorcycling is dominated by males. Sure, women riders are one of the fastest growing segments of the industry. I applaud and encourage women to ride. Heck, my daughter and wife both ride.
Regardless, if you look at industry statistics, the pastime is still dominated by men. Right or wrong, men make up well over 80% of all motorcycle riders. Talk to any magazine publisher, any motorcycle industry web site, anyone in the know, and THEY all know that the market is made up primarily of men.
And what do men like – other than motorcycles? Women. Yep. No big surprise there. Guys like to see sexy, scantily clad women on motorcycles. That is proven out by the thousands of photos you see of girls in tight fitting bikini’s and stripper heals posed next to a custom motorcycle. Heck I see it in my own web site statistics.
So as a photographer specializing in the motorcycle industry, it is pretty much required that you shoot scantily clad women with a motorcycle. Yea, tough gig, I know.
But for me that isn’t enough. Mind you, I certainly don’t mind shooting bikini clad playmates cavorting around a studio. But it just never was my style. I always thought women were more alluring when they were strong, empowered, and independent. I wanted to reflect that in my photography.
So when I had the option, I would always try to show women as the rider of the motorcycle, not some object that adorned a motorcycle. Even if my customer wanted the oft repeated girl on a bikini on a bike, I would keep the set up afterwards and do something that would represent my own style. And I think a lot of men think like I do, that a woman who can outride them is sexier than a bimbo who doesn’t know the throttle from the brake.
So that is what I try to do with my photographs – depict a women who can outride a guy in a sexy, alluring way. I also think authenticity is important, so I try to make sure we have proper riding gear – boots, not high heels. Unkempt hair like they just removed their helmet. A bit of dirt and grime from a long day on the road.
So tell me. Do you like your women faster than you, leaving you in the dust? Or do you prefer them to ride behind and let you do the manly thing and ride a bike.