Riding a Bicycle in Bejing

Riding In Bejing, 2011

Thanks to Katie Melua, most people tend to think of Beijing as a place with lots bicycles and 30 years ago, that was probably true. No so much now. Mostly cars.

But, there is lots of street life, which I was trying to show a little bit here. And there is a bicycle.

Sometimes, when I look at my photos I try to imagine a narrative about what I can see. In this case, I imagine that it is a mother and son, coming home from dinner. And they seem happy, which I like.

I’m afraid it isn’t perfectly asharp. A few years before I did a session with Gavin Goff (a noted travel photographer), who became known for a while for doing sharp panning shots of street life. To make it really work you need a fast wide-angle lens, be quite close and use a slowish shutter speed. Done just right you get a sharp figure moving through blurred surroundings – which looks good.

In Helsinki, 2003

Mean People Suck, Helsinki 2003

I didn’t really travel anywhere until I was in my thirties and even now (many years later), the list of places I would like to go is pretty long.

Anyway, once upon a time, I visited Helsinki over a number of months, lazing in the long, warm summer evenings and when winter came, shivering in the bitter wind that blew in from the Baltic. Helsinki is quite walkable, with clean, wide streets and friendly locals. 

Technical Details

This picture was one of those things you just catch with the corner of your eye as you walk along. I was using a Nikkormat and 50mm lens with some colour negative film (Kodak Ektapress 400 I believe), which I have changed to black and white – ‘cos I don’t think colour adds to it.