The Making of "Buckle Up!"

Winner of our November, 2015 "Motion" photo contest

By TroutHunterJohn in Photo Contests on Jan 8, 2016

"Buckle Up!" - Click to enlarge

There is nothing like the Pacific Northwest in the summer. I often explore the region's clean air, sunny days, mountains, and forests by hiking, driving and motorcycling.

My vision for this image was to convey that feeling of movement, excitement, and sparkle I experienced while driving through the woods on a sunny June day. My ultimate goal was to shoot this from my motorcycle, but I first needed to determine the ideal combination of gear, settings, and location so I decided to experiment from the relative safety of my wife’s car (which has an open sun roof).

It only took me a short while, and about 20 exposures, to arrive at the location and settings that produced this image.

First I attached my DA 10-17mm fisheye to my Pentax K5 IIs. Then I found a road segment that was straight and had a good combination of trees and roadside vegetation to show movement along the image perimeter. I found that the 10mm focal length did the best to combine a sharp center point of the image (look closely and you can see an on-coming car) with the sharp but blurred edges that communicate speed and movement.

I varied my vehicle speed and camera settings and determined the best final recipe was:

  • Car: 50 mph
  • Shutter speed: 1/8 s
  • Aperture: F22
  • ISO: 100

Original image

As you can seed from the original image, post processing on the final was very minimal. I enabled the lens profile correction in LR to "de-fish" fish-eye effect of the lens, and applied some careful dodging and burning to further pull the viewer’s eye into the center of the image. Now that I have the recipe figured out, maybe this summer I will shoot it from my motorcycle...

John Mankowski (TroutHunterJohn)

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