The Flying Bicyclist

By: Gustav Hoiland

Jan 30 2010

Category: bike polo

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Focal Length:18mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

Where's the Photographer?

Question time.  Did you look at this shot for 1/10100013204230th of a second and then look right to the text, or did you look see the bike, wonder why there’s no one riding it, spot the foot in the right top corner, and realize that someone is in the process of flying off of their bike?

The next question is, did you think about what happened in the next second?  Was your thought “wow, that guy flew off a bike” or was it “wow, that guy flew off a … holy crap that guy must have knocked the photographer down.”

The reason I ask is because every time I look at this image, the first thing I see is the handlebars.  They’re the brightest spot and they’re up-center, a pretty good formula for attracting first sight.  Then I see the shoes, and then I remember that guy hitting me.  I don’t think I fell, and I know he was alright and while, perhaps a bit flustered, he just picked up his bike and got right back into the game.  Of course those final steps probably can’t be seen here.

The only problem is, I don’t particularly like the image.  I’ve tried to dissect it and figure out what it is, but alas, I know not.  Not too fond of the colors I guess.  The composition is alright, but it’s not striking.  Is the photograph itself made better by forcing the viewer to collect some clues and assemble a story in their head?  I have the experience of being there and so seeing the photo triggers the memory in me, but the viewer doesn’t have that.  I just don’t know.

For the polo players out there, that tournament was the COG Invitational in Milwaukee (click here).  COG is a bike magazine based outta that fair city, and within its pages are my first two published photographs.  You can see one of them at the above link – just a keg of beer really. Also, in the B&W team photo on the linked page, I’m the guy on the left.

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