Friday, September 17, 2010

Photographing the Tour of Britain Cycle Race

Team Garmin Photograph by Tim Irving
Team Garmin by Tim Irving
I love to photograph bike racing, it's a great spectacle with a lot of potential for a photographer and the sales of my cycling photographs have always been respectable. This week the Tour of Britain came very close to where I live so I was hoping to get a few snaps of the riders. I did several hours of preparation by driving the route on Wednesday and Thursday, looking for a good viewpoint with interesting surroundings. I found a spot last night, not too far from home, where I could look down on the action and get very close to the riders.

This morning I walked the dog one hour early. Then, because I had time to spare, I walked out of town to my chosen spot. I didn't have long to wait before the procession started, first dozens of police motorcycles with flashing lights and sirens, then the event cars again with flashing lights, then the race itself. The 100 odd riders in the peloton were level with me in an instant, then gone, travelling so fast that I had time to take 2 photographs. I could have taken 3 if I hadn't fumbled the film wind after the first shot. The riders passed, I was left in silence with my mouth open.

I'm happy enough with the 2 photographs, the one above is OK, I've seen worse. The other (you'll have to wait to see it), looks very nice, a potential good seller. I would have liked one or two more photos but there will be other races and I'll be there. I'm an experienced race photographer, I've covered the classics in France and Spain but on my home turf I forgot my own golden rule which is "always photograph the race when they're riding up a hill". Now I can add another golden rule "Don't panic, keep winding on".


  1. Great photo! Can't wait to see the other one..

  2. Beautiful pic of a beautiful sport. If that's second best, you know I'm eager to see numero uno. I'm sorry you bumbled, but your account of the experience made me laugh, so you get points for good story telling.



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