What made this one so fiddly? Oh, yes. That.

Cyclepath Composite(Click on image for fullscreen version)

When I did my first composite shot a couple of months ago, I had the idea to try one based on the cycle paths in Stevenage. Having spend what seems an age putting this one together, I’m wishing I’d never had the idea.

I’m quite pleased with the result, but not nearly pleased enough. I couldn’t print this one out and exhibit it; it’s not nearly good enough. So let’s look and see what made this one so much more fiddly and awkward than the others I’ve done?

First is the easy one: unlike people, you can see through the wheels and frames of bicycles. And what’s behind them? More bicycles. Which you can also see through. And what’s behind them? Yeah, you got it. Meant a lot more complicated masking to layer them all up. As before, every one of the cyclists is photographed exactly as they were as they rode through that morning. I’ve not ‘moved’ anyone. I did learn something from last time: it was definitely easier to plan ahead a bit and add them from the back, working my way forwards.

The other thing that surprised me – but shouldn’t have – was just how much the shadows changed during the time I was there. Every one of these cyclist’s shadows is a slightly different angle and a very different length, and the difference between the first ones I shot (about 8:20am) and the last (about 9:30) is really quite marked. I should have anticipated this; I’ve seen how a sundial works for goodness sake.

cyclepath shadows 8:20am

cyclepath shadows-2 9:00am

cyclepath shadows-3 9:20am

Notice how much the shadow of the tall lighting column moves across these three sample photos. The bicycle shadows do the same! 

Suffice to say, if I do another one of these, it won’t be bicycles!

On a cycling note, all I can say is: look how few helmets there are! 


2 thoughts on “What made this one so fiddly? Oh, yes. That.

  1. Ash

    Hi Trevor,

    This is a really interesting technique. I liked the one you did of you in the woods recently, too. I was more impressed by how few cars were using the roundabout and didn’t notice the see-through bicycles issue!

    Is one cyclist shown twice, by any chance?

    1. Trevor Post author

      Thanks Ash. I could have included more cars! The road was busier than the cycle path during that hour. I also shot plenty with pedestrians but decided to stick with my plan of just making the cycle path look really busy so they got edited out. Maybe I should have edited out the cars too.

      There’s actually two cyclist who appear more than once. One lady went both ways through the roundabout while I was there, so I kept her in both directions. And there’s one chap who’s actually in it three times, but I changed the colour of his helmet to disguise the fact!


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