Updated: Nov 2, 2021
written by Abby Corrigan
Two mountain bikes, two willing volunteers and eight camera-ready club members - that’s what made up the group that trailed through the trees of Castlewellan Forest Park one early Autumn morning. Our purpose? To try out some action photography, using two of our own club members as subjects.
Setting up for speed
As we set off from the car park, we followed the pair who had so graciously volunteered themselves to ride Castlewellan’s mountain bike trails in front of our lenses - that being Paul and Colm. We swayed through trees, trailed through mud and played hide and seek with a few of our more adventurous members, until we finally reached our first stopping point of the day - a beautifully lit autumnal scene, where the daylight met the crisp tone of the forest’s floor between the twinkling leaves of the trees.
At this particular point of the forest, an area of interest had caught our eye - carefully placed logs and rocks which formed a tactful jump, and as as the bike trail swooped round to reveal this formation, the mountain biker would tactfully take his stance and prepare for lift off - queue our volunteers. As Paul and Colm rode jump after jump, the rest of us snapped away utilising the space around us, to try and capture various angles of the same scene. Some members merged with the ground as they lay across the leaves to create dramatic compositions - and thankfully we had dressed for a day of becoming one with nature.
During our stay at this spot of the forest, a few guests crossed our paths - other mountain bikers taking advantage of the sunny Autumn day, and we welcomed them as additional subjects to photograph. We stayed at that spot until we all felt happy that we had managed to capture something that resembled a speedy biker, rather than a passing blur of colourful gear.
Panning the forest
The next part of our adventure led us on a very picturesque walk uphill, where the canopy disappeared and opened up to the sky above. We took in the beautiful views across the top of the trees and beyond, until we were led back onto a mountain bike trail through a small alcove amidst the trees.
We walked along the trail until we reached a small lake, and decided that this was a great place to try some panning shots. The desired shots at this location, were those which would capture the rider in sharp focus, but where the background would be blurred using a panning technique to create drama. A difficult shot to master, this part of the day was quite comical as our club members stood side by side in a line, snapping Paul and Colm as they rode past in top speed. Each time they did so, the members would shout in unison “No, I didn’t get it, go again”. After a (long) while later, and once our two volunteers had finally given in for the day, we decided to retreat for a well deserved cuppa - and quietly hoped that we had managed to capture something worthy of editing later.
A happy day for all
A new type of photography for a lot of our members, the day of action photography gave us a chance to get out of our comfort zones and have fun experimenting with new techniques. Each member took away a new learning, and once we returned to our cosy homes we happily shared our images with the rest of the group. Check out our content smiles below :)