Photo Day

CA Highway

The day started gloomy and cold in Silicon Valley, we were invited to a Ducati ride to go out and do a photo shoot, practice panning shots, and our photography in general. All and all we put in approx 3 hours of practice and backed that up with some research.

We got off to an early start and met up at a 76 gas station just off of highway 84. This Hwy would lead us to some nice curvy back roads, that would eventually end up at the uber popular auto and moto enthusiast restaurant, Alice’s Restaurant, where we grabbed breakfast.

hwy 84

After leaving Alice’s restaurant we began the hunt for the perfect photo location, as we kept passing turn after turn of great and some mediocre locations, we soon realized how important it was to have known the road beforehand.

We were looking for a nice chicane leading to a nice sweeper turn. We wanted to both be able to take different photos while not getting into each other’s frame, so we planned for one of us to capture photos leading into the turn, and the other past the turn, taking shots of the riders leaning in.

With that in mind, we kept passing sweet spots hoping to find a better one up ahead but not being sure if there was.

Again, this was a bit worrisome since we were not sure how long the road was. We decided to pull over at the next spot with even lighting, the turns we were looking for, and a scenic background.

One issue we had faced in the past, was harsh uneven lighting; It was almost lunchtime so the sun was at its brightest, this caused a lot of shadows in the wooded areas along with very bright spots where the sun broke in. Last time we faced this, we had to expose for the riders in the shade and we’re left with overexposed backgrounds. This time we planned ahead and decided to take the photos in even lighting.


After having the riders do two ride-bys for us we moved on to the next location; The Pescadero Coffee Shop.


The photo objective here was to capture some group photos and some filler shots of the riders enjoying a cup of joe. One of the obstacles we faced was that the group split up to find parking, in this case, we as the photographers trying to get good shots for our “clients” AKA friends, who did us a huge favor of letting us practice our photography skills. We instructed the riders to set up the motorcycles in a more appealing fashion.

Sometimes you can’t rely on moments to happen, and you as the photographer have to create the moments.

hwy 1



Hypothetically, if we were actually getting paid for this photoshoot, it would have been in our best interest to manage the schedule a bit tighter. The subjects would lose track of time, and that could have caused us to miss the proper lighting from the sun for the locations we had planned to capture the certain photos. We spent a long time at a goat farm, which was out of the planned route, this put us a bit behind schedule.This left us rushing to the next photo location.


Next stop: Pigeon Point Lighthouse.

hwy 1

The objective here was to take individual shots of each rider; We quickly scouted the area and found a nice location where they could pose for the photos. While we were there we thought it would be a great idea to roll the bikes onto a cliff so each of the riders could pose with their motorcycles, with an oceanic background. But there was a sign that stated no authorized vehicles beyond a certain point. We decided it would be worth a shot to go in and ask if we could have a few minutes to take the photos, all we got was a Big FAT NO! looking back now, it might have been easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. We learned from the kind pen pusher that we needed to get professional photo permits, and have reserved the location before hand.

Hwy 1

 At the end of the day, the shot you didn’t take is always the shot you needed, make sure to capture every moment.  Once it’s all said and done, keep turnover time in mind. After the day is over and the subjects have long gone, you still need to filter and edit the images, conserve some energy to go back to your laptop and edit your work to turn in photos quickly. Many clients require complete work within 24hrs, take this into account on your next photo day.

Thanks for reading!

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