Photographing the 2015 MV Agusta F4 RC Motorbike

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Photographing the 2015 MV Agusta F4 RC Motorbike

A quick photography trip from Exeter to a small village near Shaftesbury in Wiltshire on Saturday to shoot the 2015 MV Agusta F4 RC; thanks to Moto Corsa and Motomecca for accommodating me. The shoot is one of a series for a superbike calendar.

My degree is in psychology not photography and one of my favourite tutors (sadly now departed) John Ives used to claim not to have the power of mental imagery; I totally rely on it. The image above is the one that I had in my head prior to setting off, the lighting setups below were in my head too and the mental rehearsal of the setup on the journey across to Ashmore allowed me to reflect on the fact that the Manfrotto boom stand counterbalance weight was still sat back in Exeter.

The MV Agusta F4 RC is basically a £32k limited edition superbike. A hand-painted carbon fibre bodywork covering a mix of titanium and magnesium adorned loveliness. Or put it another way, not something you drop happily or for that matter transport for the sake of it. So, the studio comes to the bike.

Planning the entrance of the star is essential. The MV was wheeled in backwards to minimise manoeuvres and I greeted the wheels with the trusty towel; yep, it had been raining.

Setting Up a Mobile Photography Studio

Basically as you can see the light setup is three main lights; 2 Bowens Geminis 500s running the strips and one of my old Bowens Esprit 1000s behind the huge Bowens wafer. The strips both had egg-crates in them but we pulled the one from the top light because the reflections were looking messy. The Esprit had an older Bowens Pulsar to trigger it integrating nicely with the current Pulsars in the Geminis. A couple of SB910s running in SU4 mode added edge detail to the tyres.

The Khyam ground-sheet helps make for a clean(ish) working haven in what is after all a working workshop. I was surprised that the Manfrotto Autopoles reached the beams but they did and hung the backdrop via Manfrotto super-clamps and their background support system. The Manfrotto Triman tripod is the oldest bit of gear here with the Bowens Esprit 1000 coming in second (not counting me of course).

And the point of this equipment check-list is that to me its propensity for longevity adds value, I don’t like disposable I prefer lasting. Some of this Bowens and Manfrotto gear has been with me for quite some time now, the Triman probably 35 years (oof).

The D800e is very sensitive to shake and for this kind of work I will use exposure delay mode and a wireless trigger. I could have shot this tethered but to be honest a coffee break with the old MacBook chugging was fine, we were only after one shot, the one I visualised, the one you see.

Thanks to all at Moto Corsa as well as Motomecca and of course to Karin.

Gallery of a Location Motorbike Photography Studio

By | 2017-07-06T15:56:20+00:00 October 25th, 2015|Bowens, Motorbike photography, Nikon, Photographic Equipment|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.