After the success of regular IM touring correspondent R. Bruce Thomas’ recent online feature, ‘Capturing Your Adventure, Part I’, we decided to give him his own dedicated blog. Bruce will be discussing everything you need to know about touring, from gear to maintenance to tips for the road. In his latest blog, Thomas continues his discussion on how to best capture your road trip adventures.
If you haven’t read Part I, click here – www.insidemotorcycles.com/features/item/1700-touring-essentials-part-i-capturing-your-adventure.html
I recently attended a number of seminars at a winter photography trade show in search of ideas to help improve my photography skills. Sadly, most of the cool accessories that were discussed require the use of a DSLR camera. A big camera is simply too much to pack and haul around on our long journeys, so I use a 14 megapixel point & shoot camera for my touring photos. As such, I am limited in accessories, but not imagination.
The best time of day to take pictures is early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the harsh midday sunlight, but being in the right place at the right time isn’t always possible when a person has distance to cover. A polarizing filter can help improve your pictures by making blue sky appear bluer and removing glare from water and windows. But these filters are not available for point & shoot cameras.
Since a polarizing filter is basically a set of sunglasses for your camera, I found a rubber band to attach a set of clip-on sunglasses from an old pair of eyeglasses to my camera and that works just fine when taking timer/delay photos on the tripod. For handheld shots, I just hold the polarized lens in front of the camera. While my test photos are noticeably different, I’m excited to see what difference this makes on our next adventure.
The camera I use these days has 20x zoom capability, but that wasn’t always the case. A pair of binoculars works great as a telephoto lens for your camera, and you can create some neat images when shooting through them.
Great Sandhills far off in the distance in Saskatchewan, taken through binoculars
Something else that is great to have is a remote control for your camera. Coupled with a tripod, you can get pictures of yourself riding through scenic areas, but remotes aren’t available for point & shoot cameras. If you are taking travel pictures with your smartphone, there are remote control options available for close-up photo ops. The optional GoPro remote control made it possible for me to capture riding selfies.
GoPro and other action cameras are also great to catch those shots you otherwise can’t. I wear one on my helmet and usually have it set to take a photo every 5 seconds as I ride. The helmet-mounted camera lets you get photos of more than just the road. Occasionally Mary wears one since she can stare at the passing scenery longer than I can (but she also gets a lot of photos featuring the back of my helmet). Sometimes I mount one on the bike, which provides a unique perspective for action shots when riding with friends.
Thanks to Youtube and Super Bowl advertisements, everyone is also well aware of the great video capabilities of GoPro cameras and similar action cams. The variety of mounts available for these versatile cameras means your friends will often be grasping for something solid to hang on to while they watch footage of your exciting travel memories.
Remember to pack along a notepad and pen so you can quickly jot down notes and highlights during the day. Dictating or typing short notes into your smartphone can also help you capture important information and memories.
Finally, the only way to get that great wildlife shot is if your camera is not buried somewhere, so keep all this gear close at hand. I carry my camera on a long strap around my neck and all the rest of my essential photography gear lives in my tank bag – again, for easy access.
You’ve got to be quick on the draw to capture roaming wildlife. Bighorn sheep along Alberta’s Highway 11 in the Canadian Rockies
Hopefully, some of these tips will help you be prepared when you head out on your travels this summer and make it easier to relive your experiences and share the excitement of your journeys after your return.
— R. Bruce Thomas