Honda RC213V-S: Photographing “the world’s most expensive road-going motorcycle”

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Honda RC213V-S: Photographing “the world’s most expensive road-going motorcycle”

Let’s start with the thanks; Lee, Stuart and the team at Bridge Motorcycles Exeter; Karin; and Honda. Also Shaun at Bridge because in all honesty he was my tipping point on this one.

A couple of weeks earlier I’d taken some 2017 calendars in to Bridge, they had provided bikes for this year’s Superbikes calendar and I had also photographed service foreman Shaun’s own bike. I mentioned to him that I was looking for next year’s stars and he took me upstairs to show me the Honda RC213V-S. Yes, the team at Bridge had carried what is described as “the world’s most expensive road-going motorcycle” up a rather tight staircase and the Honda rests in the first floor office. Respect. Shaun was correct, this really was a bike that I should shoot.

So this one was a total coup but only ever going to be shot in-situ then?

The plan was simple enough; the bike was being shot with the cover in mind, a simple 3/4(ish) shot would square the bike up nicely for the format of the cover and the background needed to be simple for the cover graphics. We were offered a shoot at the weekend, whilst still in use the office wasn’t overly busy but, even though it is a large office there was only really one position to set up in and even that was going to be marginal. Previous shoots offered reference data for camera distance but these sessions didn’t have desks in the way.

The ‘studio’ was set up prior to the bike being moved an inch. Everything has to be considered a falling hazard with any bike, the risk assessment for this one was “I can’t afford the risk”.

Setting Up a Motorbike Photography Studio On Location

Ultimately the bike was shot with six light sources. Bowens Geminis formed the basic lighting with the trusty humungous Wafer in front of the bike. A couple of older Esprit 1000s added detail to the front and a touch of backlighting. Finally a couple of Nikon SB910s were used to highlight the wheels. As we worked through the shoot we realised that many of the team at Bridge including Paul and Phil have a developed interest in photography; no pressure there then.

Camera was the Nikon D800e with the 70-200 ƒ/2.8 and I believe it’s essential to shoot this with the 3-sec mirror delay and using the Nikon remote wireless triggers, even the slightest movement will show.

The shoot lasted about four hours from in to out, most of that was lugging gear up and down and setting up with about an hour actual shooting time. Yes, thanks Karin, big thanks.

As ever I aim to get the shot in the camera rather than on the computer, the after work is mainly at a detail that no-one in their right mind would notice.

So, thanks indeed to Honda for making it. Speaking with Lee we both share a love for the RC-30. I own a more humble V4 Honda a 96 VFR. There’s an approach that I believe runs through all of these bikes, they are understated but the appeal runs deep and frankly not everyone will get them. My only regret is that I didn’t spend more time on my hands and knees examining the detail of the thing, you know, searching for God.

For the record, around £150k to you sir/madam, this one has the bits on.

Honda RC213V-S

By | 2017-07-06T15:43:01+00:00 November 13th, 2016|Bowens, Motorbike photography, Nikon|0 Comments

About the Author:

Andrew Butler is a professional photographer and designer based in the South West of England. He has had a long career photographing for clients as diverse as Arts Council England and Motor Cycle News.