the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

September 9, 2011

Resolution and pixel counts: whatever. When billboards rule the roost.

Filed under: bike, photography — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 8:21 pm

So it’s recovery time again, recovery that is from 3 full-tilt days shooting the shiniest-of-shiny things at the World’s largest collation of new bike products: Eurobike. it’s a long way from my usual expedition-esque exploits, but shooting 2012 bike gear for both MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines still proves a challenge, notably by way of persuading some guy on a trade stand to bend his Germanic tendencies and let you wheel away their one-and-only 2012 dream machine to shoot it off-stand how you want to, and of course make it all look good in the process.

That much I was expecting.

But one thing I wasn’t expecting was the sight of an enormous billboard above the cafe (and a string of smaller boards around the 5 football pitch expo) advertising the SRAM stand, all using one of my images, shot on my very portable Leica M8. Considering the veritable size of the billboard, it’s funny the fuss people make over pixels and megapixels and resolutions.

10.5 megapixles and billboards...

At 10.5 Megapixels, the Leica M8 rangefinder is far from cutting edge by today’s digital imaging standards (its sister M9 boasts 18MP), but when used right it seems to pack more than its weight in punches. Yes it has its limitations: it is impossibly noisy at anything above its 320 ISO speed and its manual-focus and single shot frame rate mean it is perhaps the least likely camera to be wielded by bike photographers, but for me it works, mostly because it is portable and allows me the control I need to shoot. Simply put, I can ride a week through the middle of nowhere with an M8 and four lenses plus a change of clothes without wilting.

You can almost taste the suffering: the shot and the ad. Leica M8, Zeiss 28/2.8

I won’t pretend that it would replace my Nikon SLR gear for many of the shoots I do, but my niche in adventure photography means I have plenty of reasons to pack the M8 instead. In fact this image that is dominating SRAM’s main European and US ads right now was shot at 3500m/12,000 ft up on the Colorado Trail, somewhere between Copper Mountain and Leadville, about ten minutes after we’d emerged from a two-hour hike a bike up to our knees in snow, something that would have nigh on killed me with a big SLR and 2.8 lenses onboard.

So when you’re scouting the reviews for the highest resolution camera you can find, bear in mind photography isn’t only about the camera thats in your hands, its about the hands it’s in as well.

At the other end of the spectrum perhaps, Eurobike also gave me the opportunity to wade in to trying my new Pocketwizard TTL5 set up, that having spent a too long geeking over and setting up, allows me to shoot my flashes at a sync of 1/1250th second (they claim up to 1/8000th). In this case, allowing me to shoot the new Ragley bike in full daylight outdoors .. something that looks like this when it all comes together.

Beam me up Ragley. Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8, 2x Pocktewizard TTL5 & MiniTTL, Nikon 900 & 800 strobes. 1/1250, f5. Outdoors, under covered walkway, 11 am.

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