I've had this concept in my mind for a couple of years now since seeing something similiar, but had never had a chance to get a bike into the studio. Finally when I did, it took me 6 months to find a background that I really liked that I thought would work nicely. This was a personal project different to the normal portraits I create, so I was pretty excited to see what I could do with it.
I got several angles of the bike but this one stood out. In terms of lighting, I used 2 softboxes and a beauty dish, so relatively simple setup, and all on a white background, ready for cutting out in photoshop. Course, the challenge with this concept was that the bike was stationary, and I needed to convey motion in order for the composit to work.
I was recently in Geneva and whilst walking near the train station, came across this tunnel which I knew I had to capture and use for backgrounds. It was perfect. Loads of texture, gritty, lights with different colours, leading lines, curves etc. So I ran back to the hotel, grabbed my gear and got back to start clicking. As always, taking backgrounds like this doesn't always make sense to people, and I can honestly say, the amount of strange looks I got standing inside this tunnel taking pictures was very funny. Just as funny, although not to me, was trying to capture different exposures without cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians coming through it every few minutes. This didn't make it easy, and meant preparing the background for the bike involved quite a bit of repairing.
CREATING THE IMAGE:
Here is the image made up of several exposures with some clarity and details added. I opened up the shadow areas and then made it wider for more of a 16:9 film kind of frame. I also did a lot of cloning removing specific elements that were either distracting or didn't work. Notably the barrier that runs in the middle. This went right through the image, yet, when I dropped the bike in and angled it to make it look as if turning, it would look like he is about to crash into it, so it needed to go. Cloning can be simple at times, but can also present it's own problems, particularly when trying to use different textures and bits of a picture that have light spilling in places. Any way, I managed to make it work.
I messed with the lights adding some small rays, and then put some blur in there to help create the impression of movement.
For the bike, once I was happy with the resizing, angle and composition, I worked on details, cleaning up blemishes and the beauty dish reflections, enhancing some shadows and highlights, light on the front of the bike, and then added some streaks and more motion blur, again, to add to the effect and feeling of movement.
Finally, where the tunnel had some blue light, I wanted to add some blue to the overall picture which also helped blend the bike into the background and help the image make sense.
I'm pretty pleased with the results. You can click on any of the above images to see a larger higher quality version in my portfolio.
Any questions, comments etc, feel free to send them to me. If you have a concept in mind, I'm always keen to hear about ideas so feel free to get in touch.
Thanks for reading.