If you ride a bike much you’ve probably taken a picture like this. Raw, on the go, just you, just for fun.
Well, sometimes you just wander into things that you don’t know and don’t expect.
For some reason I was on Flickr and I wondered into a picture in the same style as the one above, either captioned or titled as “Panda”. Now to set the obvious aside, there were no big black and white animals in the shot.
So, dutifully following the rabbit trail of digital knowledge I discovered the Panda Portrait Flickr group.
As it turns out, the panda portrait is a very specific kind of cycling photo.
It’s a photo taken of yourself, by yourself, on your bike, while moving. The only exception to these rules is shooting the aftermath if you crash while doing it.
Here are a few tips (from a non-photographer who uses his cellphone to take pictures most of the time):
- Set the camera to take the picture faster (set the ISO to 400 or higher, higher is faster, compensates for wobbly arms)
- Try a few first to get an idea of where to aim (or just forget it and see what happens, just as fun)
- If you really want a decent shot, check the image after taking (take again if your head is half cut off etc.)
- Watch the road! Quieter roads without too many cars are better. You’ve been warned!
- Capture yourself, bike and… something else. Getting a friend in the shot, or something interesting in the background adds a little something to the basic panda.
In the end, just have fun. Be aware that although you probably won’t get fined for using a cellphone on your bicycle, that you still need to pay attention to the road and where you’re going.
Here are some interesting ones for your viewing pleasure. Big, happy smiles were my main criteria when picking. (Photos that are not mine are linked to their pages on Flickr)