Location: London, UK
- Nikon 3200
- 70-200mm Lens (Usually at a focal length of around 80mm)
An early 6:45am start on Sunday 31st of July to try and catch Jamie Archer taking part in the Prudential Ride 100. This was a closed road event that shut down a 100 mile route of London and Surrey. I didn’t have plans anyway. You’re welcome.
I had initially hoped to catch him crossing the Thames at Chiswick for some attractive backgrounds to the shots as I knew he would be keen for a new Facebook profile picture! Unfortunately for both of us, whilst sitting on the District Line train tracking Jamie’s progress using the Ride 100 app, it became apparent that our paths wouldn’t cross. We jumped off the train and set up just outside Baron’s Court station along the A4.
I snapped a few of the 26,000 cyclists who appeared comfortable in the early stages of the race. I was impressed by the variety of ages, abilities and levels of ‘keenness’ of the participants, from fully lycra and carbon clad cycling geeks to people who had scraped together their most suitable sports wear and jumped aboard their Brompton – something that made the event feel non-elitist – excellent. Here’s a brief guide on ‘Types of Cyclist’
Using the tracking app we discovered that Jamie was nearby, there were few large crowds and competitors were evenly distributed along the course making the perfect conditions to snap him…
Eyes poised on the map “OK, he’s about to come past…” No sign of him. So I snapped rider 16276 – he seemed to like having his photo taken.
Jamie, according to the app was now in Hammersmith. Brilliant. 6:45 wake up call on a Sunday to miss him cycle past… Just then I hear a pseudo-macho ‘MACUS!’ (We all know your voice isn’t that deep Jimmy, especially in those tight Lycra shorts with a rock hard saddle between your legs) but you’re competing – intimidate the oppo., I’ll let you off.
While Jamie’s bellow was helpful, it was a somewhat last minute and unexpected indicator that now was the time to capture that impressive Facebook profile shot. I panned with continuous shots in reaction to the shout. (I have not included the photos of ‘blurred wheel’, ‘extreme leg close up’ and ‘blurred rear wheel’). However, Jamie in his ever photogenic fashion raised his arm to ensure I’d caught him on camera. *Reports say he stopped looking at the camera and lowered his arm somewhere around the Richmond stage of the route.
Pleased that we’d seen Jamie but not necessarily overjoyed with the quality of the photo, we headed towards Putney for some different shots.
Jamie wasn’t due to pass through Putney for another few hours but I found a cool spot to capture cyclists as they came over the Putney Bridge and took a right turn towards Chelsea and into the final 10k of the race. Besides, it would give me plenty of time to have a play about with my camera, settings and panning techniques to help obtain a sense of movement to the photos – some of the cyclists were travelling at ridiculous speeds.
We went for breakfast and observed a trickle of fast riders power through Putney High Street. Flashes of flourescent team jerseys streamed past the window of ‘Bill’s’. Keeping one eye on the tracking app we tried to estimate Jamie’s arrival and I had adopted a panicked excitement to ensure that I got a cool shot of my friend on his bicycle. So smashed through pancakes, bacon, maple syrup and bananas and headed back to the spot on the other side of the bridge. We waited. Looked at the App. Waited…
According to the tracker, He was just the other side of the bridge. Big crowds ensued. I scanned the crowds through the eyepiece looking for Jamie’s baby blue jersey whilst shouting “JIMMY! JIMMY! JIMMY!” (probably in an equally pseudo masculine tone to his). Knowing the inaccuracy of the tracking feature of the Prudential Ride 100 App. We continued to watch and wait…and shout “JIMMY!” Other spectators were reporting of serious crashes along the route, familiar with Jamie’s ‘arrogant’ driving style I was somewhat worried. We waited for another 30 minutes before I called him. He’d finished the race and was emotional.
My favourite shot of the day is this one; I like how the cyclists’ front tyres align diagonally across the photo and I managed to capture some movement by panning the camera using a low ISO and slow shutter speed:
We caught up with Jamie at Green Park where he was having a well deserved and thorough massage by the Children’s Trust volunteers (I’ll refrain from inappropriate comments). I am very proud of Jamie for his achievement.