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by kaeru published 2021/11/21 17:42:55 GMT+8, last modified 2021-11-21T17:42:55+08:00

Photography while Cycling

by kaeru published 2024/05/27 00:35:00 GMT+8, last modified 2024-06-05T16:11:54+08:00
Setup for carrying a camera while bike touring or bike packing
Chrome Kadet with Peak Design Capture Clip

I like photography, and also cycling. Why not do both at the same time?

Cycling allows me to get to explore and get to many places that would not be possible if I were to drive. This opens up opportunities for unique and interesting shots.

The challenge has been how to carry my Sony APS-C camera and lens, yet still have it easily accessible to quickly stop and take photos.

Handlebar Bag

Chrome Doubletrack Sling Handlebar bag

Originally I thought of carrying the camera in handlebar bag, such as the Chrome Doubletrack Handlebar Sling which I reviewed some time back. The ideas is that it would be accessible, and not have any weight on my back. In practice it works, but it was it was still not that easy to open the bag cover, take out the camera, and then put it back in again. Also I did get worried about all the jarring and vibrations the camera and lens was subject to while in the bag above the front wheel. Both have built-in stabilization electronic components, and neither are cheap to replace should anything get broken.

Chrome Kadet Sling Bag

Chrome Kadet Sling with Camera and Lens

Chrome Kadet Sling is my everyday carry (EDC), which I bring with me almost all the time, which I also use sometimes as my camera bag. The concern was that for very long rides, that it would be heavy and eventually uncomfortable on my back. After a 40km ride with 500m elevation climb, I realized it wasn't an issue at all. The total weight of bag, camera and rather large F4 18-105mm zoom is 1.4kg.

The Kadet actually has thick padding on the shoulders, as well as padding on the back, that on daily use is to pad a u-lock, but also pads the contents from your back. Since I ride an endurance road bike with drop bars, in my normal riding position, the bag is resting on my back, and not carried by my shoulder. Additionally since Chrome bags are mostly for cyclists, it also has stabilizer strap, and has quick slide mechanism to easily loosen and tighten the sling strap.

Chrome Kadet Sling with padded back and u-lock holder.

Peak Design Capture Clip position

Peak Design Capture Clip attached to lower part of sling strap.

I attach the Peak Design Capture Clip to the sling strap near the bottom of the Kadet sling. Chrome messenger and sling bags usually have wide "seat belt" straps which is perfect the way I use it.

You can adjust the strap length so that, you can attach your camera pointing downwards and it will sit nicely on your hip, holster style like a gun duel at high noon.

You can easily press the release button with your left thumb, while holding your camera with the right. For those familiar with the PD Capture Clip, you know it's easy to reattach your camera with tactile click that makes you confident the camera is locked in.

When you're actively shooting, you can leave it attached to the clip, tighten the main strap so that the camera is on your back while you ride and snap on the stabilizer strap. I recommend attaching a lens hood as additional protection for your lens, in case you somehow accidentally bump it against your bicycle or something else. This was comfortable enough, that I didn't notice it much difference when the camera was clipped to the Capture and outside the bag, but for safety, for stretches when I'm just riding or not shooting, I would keep my camera in the bag where I have additional padding from an insert of cover of some sort like the Peak Design Shell.

Plan your ride

Now that I've solved a key problem of carrying camera gear for my needs, one of the challenges of now being able to also do photography and videography while cycling is focus and planning. Too much of a good thing can also be problematic. What I've learned is that it's usually best to plan what type of ride you will be going on.

Are you documenting your bike tour? Then you'll have to plan to make sure you have the shots you need to document your tour well.

Are you planning on some street or landscape photography? Then expect less riding, and plan for more shooting. You're riding to get to the spots for shooting, and also plan based on time and lighting. You might even carry more gear like a tripod, gimbal or additional lens in your panniers or saddle bag.

Or combine plans, such that you might have a long ride segment, to reach an interesting place for a photo shoot.

Are you planning on enjoying the ride or tour? In this case, taking photos can take away from just enjoying the moment. It might actually be better that you leave the camera behind, and just use your smartphone camera for random photos and videos of interesting things if you feel like it.

So for my future rides, I'm going to plan better so that I can enjoy both cycling and photography more.