by Joaquim Agostinho



It was shot at the end of the day, during a bike ride with some friends at work. I decided to test a more dramatic perspective to the passing bikers and crouched down on the trail. One of them, spontaneously, held his fist in the air yielding a winning gesture and I took the picture.

Even though I was not aiming for the silhouette effect, the fact of having the sunset background granted the photo even a more dramatic message.

I tried to erase some unwanted elements - such as power posts and fences, but I am afraid I haven't managed to get the hang of the clone tool.

I also try to adjust the levels so that I could get dark areas darker to improve the silhouette result.

All critiques are welcome as I am just a curious in photography, but I'd like to improve my technique.

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It's been a long time since I was on a bike. I remember in the old days (1980's to put a time scale on it – the decade of big hair and shoulder pads) riding my bike.

No helmet back then. They were only for Olympic cyclists. For Joe Public all you needed to stay safe was your wits about you.

Only one day I must have left my wits at home. I was speeding along, and if speed cameras had been invented then I would surely have had my grinning mug captured as I raced around.

Big grin – yes. Wits – no. Because as I neared a line of cars, and noticing that one of them had only just parked there, I should have anticipated the car door opening into my path.

But I didn't, and I hit it with such a force that seismologists all over London were scratching their heads. Over the handlebars I went, sent sprawling on the tarmac.

My bike was a wreck, I was tangled up in it, and all the car owner was bothered about was his bloomin' car door.

As I picked up my chin from the floor and tried to stick it back on I staggered home with my broken bike. Amazing anyone came through the 80's alive really.

But back to Joaquim's photo. It's an interesting take on a cycling shot. Clearly there are two things that make this photo stand out from the average cycling shot – the shooting angle, and the silhouette.

By choosing a low shooting angle this has added some drama to the photo. I think Joaquim could have even gone a little further here and actually lay down on the road to get the photo. This would really emphasise the angle – much more so than crouching down.

The other aspect is the silhouette. It may not have been intended, but it works well. In the photo there is still a lot of the road that can be seen. It would be better if it was a pure silhouette. This can be achieved by loading the photo up in some software and adjusting the brightness.

There is one final tweak I would make – crop the photo. The drama is in the cyclist and his celebration. There's a lot of extra wasted space around him. I would crop close to him and cut out a lot of the background.

Joaquim says that he has tried the clone tool to get rid of distractions. It's a good idea to tidy up a photo if there are obvious distractions and the clone tool can be a real friend here…if you know how to use it. Have a look at this clone stamp tutorial for some tips.

All in all it's a really nice photo. Thanks for the submission Joaquim,


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