Motorcycle Photography – Mr. Inside, Mr Outside.

Each year at Martin Moto, immediately following the widely acclaimed Modern Classics Motorcycle Show (www.modernclassicsbikeshow.com),  we publish a book that serves to document the hundred or so magnificent bikes as seen in our show. Creating that book is a not inconsiderable task and, of course, a key element is the photography performed by our resident photo artist, Joseph Luppino (http://pixelnation.us/) The staging, lighting and overall creation of  Joe’s museum quality shots of the show bikes is facilitated by the professional quality studio that has been created inside the Martin Moto showroom. And static photography of the visually fascinating and detail-rich motorcycles is one key way of capturing the beauty and excitement of the motorcycling sport.

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Joe Luppino at work in the Martin Moto bike studio.

The studio yields shots like this.

Photo work in the studio yields beautiful shots like this.

 

However, static photos are but one way to capture motorcycle imagery. We’ve also had the opportunity to work with other professional photographers who choose to venture beyond the studio in an attempt to capture machines at speed, in their more natural riding environment. Like these shots courtesy of our New Zealand friend Bruce Jenkins  (www.brucejenkins.co.nz)

Bonneville Speed Week 2013.

At Speed at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

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Road Racing Kiwi Style.

We’ve had the chance to talk to both of these talented guys and pick their brains about both the similarities and differences in the two approaches. Not surprisingly, its more complicated than simply, Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside. And yet there are similarities. Both artists talk about composition – how to most effectively frame the image. In the studio there are a multitude of angles available. High. Low. Left. Right. and so forth. At the track those same considerations apply but there is SO much more. Which corner? With what background? One bike alone? Several? Lighting, obviously, also comes into play. At the track the challenge is to deal with ever changing natural light. In the studio lighting is a variable that can be controlled and managed. Then there are the camera settings that must be managed – like shutter speed. At the track we may wish to shoot at a high shutter speed in order to “stop” the speeding bike or perhaps we wish to create the illusion of speed by panning and allowing the background to become slightly blurred. Like this example.

Moderate shutter speed with a blurred background yields the illusion of speed.

Moderate shutter speed can yield a blurred background and the illusion of speed.

On the other hand, studio work, by definition, involves stationary objects and camera settings like shutter speed and f-stop can be selected for other considerations like depth of field and level of detail. As seen here. BMW R69s 2013

Another major difference is lens size or magnification. In the studio the bike is never more than 6-8 feet away from the lens. At the track , or in the field, bikes can be quite distant and are, of course, a great deal smaller than cars. And yet, while studio work for magazine covers and such may sometimes require larger format gear, according to Jenkins, “the majority of that sort of work can be shot with same gear that I take to the race tracks.”

The fact is that, while these two guys tend to specialize in either studio work or field work, they each have experience with, and a passion for,  the other discipline. And they both love shooting motorcycles because they are motorcyclists at heart. Bruce’s connection to bikes goes way back.

Likewise for Joe who is a rider of many years’ experience. And both are fascinated by the richness and diversity of technical details to be found in motorcycles as well as the dynamic character of motorcycles at speed, with both riders and bikes offering a much wider range of movement and action than can ever be seen in cars.

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Motorsports photographer (and motorcyclist) Bruce Jenkins “back in the day.”

 

Whether you love motorcycles for their inherent beauty or for their speed, performance, and dynamics there are great photographers ready to capture that feeling and offer you photos that will fuel your enthusiasm. We love bikes for all those reasons and greatly appreciate the variety work of our talented friends in capturing that imagery. And we are hugely supportive of these hard working souls who endeavor every day, each in their own unique way,  to capture the magic that is motorcycling.

 

 

 

Moto Photo. A Dedicated Photo Studio Just for Motorcycles.

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In recent years being a motorcycle dealer has not been an undertaking for the faint of heart.  In a tough market everyone in retail knows that a key element of success is simply generating floor traffic. Get ‘em in the store! Let ‘em to see and touch the product!

Successful motorcycle dealers intuitively “get” this concept and most offer regular “blowout” sales”, seminars, open houses, demo rides and every manner of special event, each one intended to simply get people in the building.

Then there are the stores that go a step further by transforming their showrooms into destinations. It’s not so hard to find dealers with embedded cafes and restaurants like the world’s oldest Harley Davidson dealer, Kegel’s in Rockford , Il where they have a full on diner. A personal favorite of ours is Moto Corsa in Portland, Or.  Not only does this Ducati dealer have an indoor coffee bar with a full time barista but they offer their own brand of coffee! Starbucks eat your heart out.

motocorsa coffee

The next step beyond food and drink for “destination” dealers may turn out to be a photo studio. A photo studio you say? Really?

Time will tell how this all works out but Martin Motorsports in Boyertown, Pa has taken this daring leap by creating a 12 ft. x 16 ft. permanent photo studio, specifically designed for motorcycle photography, in their showroom . Why would a dealer allocate a couple of hundred square feet of valuable floor space to such a thing? It goes beyond the obvious – having a new and arguably unique product to sell.  Reaction to professional photos done the past two years at Martin’s acclaimed Modern Classics show has been extraordinarily positive.  The professionally done photo book which documents the show each year is also in great demand (ck it out HERE) and owners outside of show entries have regularly inquired about having their bikes shot. The presence of enthusiast and professional photographer Joe Luppino on Martin Motorsports staff further made the decision to begin construction an easy one.

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The studio features a turntable, custom lighting, radiused interior corners to cut down on spurious reflections, and a sliding door with height adjustable “window” to shoot through. Shots can be taken from any angle and any height from floor level to just about 12 feet up.  Check out a couple of examples from recent shoots – both with and without people! And all of Luppino’s pics are shot in crazy high resolution that lends them to poster size blowups and even larger.

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Modern Classics (13)

Why would an owner want pictures like this? It may be as simple as the fact that a great many of us have treasured and carefully posed baby pictures. And we all know bike owners who refer to their bike as their “baby?” Hand crafted customs, successful race bikes, and other “special” rides deserve such quality pics for posterity. No?  Formal pics also make great gifts – remember that Father’s Day is coming up. Wouldn’t something like this look great in dad’s den?  Or yours?

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What do you think? Does this idea have legs?

Want to know more about getting pics of your favorite ride shot? Contact Joe Luppino of Pixelnation at 610.223.0715 or at pixelnation1@mac.com.