Behind the Picture: Tod Seelie on capturing tall bike jousting: Digital Pictures Overview

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Tall bike jousting at Bike Kill 2022. Picture: Tod Seelie

Bike Kill is a delightfully unusual and barely harmful occasion, which has been going down yearly in an undisclosed New York Metropolis location for practically 20 years – and photographer Tod Seelie has been there for the reason that starting. Organized by the Black Label Bicycle Membership, Bike Kill is one half block occasion and one half group bicycle experience – besides you merely experience in a circle and the bikes are all mutant bikes that are available a wide range of sizes and shapes and may be fairly difficult to experience.

‘It is a number of enjoyable, most likely the first time of the yr I see the most individuals laughing and smiling, actually,’ Seelie says.

The occasion ends within the tall bike joust. This can be a questionable occasion the place riders mount tall bikes after which bike in direction of each other, with ‘lances,’ for a joust. Seelie has been capturing the unusual spectacle for the reason that earliest days of the occasion, and in a latest interview he shared how he all the time manages to get the shot earlier than the cops present up.

What is the power like at Bike Kill within the lead-up to the tall bike jousting?

Bike Kill is usually a daytime occasion. Black Label builds and repairs tons of weird and inventive bicycles for the occasion yearly; after 18 years, that’s a number of bikes. It is largely a chaotic mutant-bike-riding free-for-all block occasion nowadays. Tall bike jousting is the finale.

It jogs my memory a little bit of capturing in mosh pits at punk reveals.

The power through the jousting is a little bit of benevolent bloodlust. Everybody is worked up, cheering, and crowding ahead to see the hit, however nobody desires anybody to get critically harm. It jogs my memory a little bit of capturing in mosh pits at punk reveals, with a really actual danger of getting knocked over whereas looking for a spot in a dense crowd that lets you see and shoot.

What’s essential to think about when capturing the joust?

The jousting is pretty tough to shoot as a result of it is so unpredictable. Not each joust ends in a success, or in the identical place. Often the jouster will experience into the group earlier than assembly their opponent, they usually nearly all the time fall into the group. Should you’re within the entrance of the group you may have a greater view, however are very prone to get crashed into, so it is a trade-off.

The jousting is pretty tough to shoot as a result of it is so unpredictable.

One challenge is coping with focus points in a darkish place with transferring objects. I discover that the mirrorless cameras actually aren’t as much as the duty, so I decide a degree within the discipline and depart the concentrate on handbook mode. I’m truly contemplating going again to a DSLR for Bike Kill subsequent yr. Since it is so tough you must take each likelihood you may to seize some good photographs. One other challenge is the forest of individuals holding cameras and telephones you must work round. This previous yr was thick with cameras. You simply hope you do not have anybody being a giraffe and holding their digital camera up over their head in entrance of everybody the entire time.

Are there any precautions that you just take to maintain your self and your gear protected through the occasion?

I’ve discovered from expertise to all the time hold my left arm prepared as a block. Initially it was to guard the digital camera, however I’ve discovered the laborious manner that your head and face are extra essential to prioritize. I’ve additionally needed to restore the foot on my flash so many occasions I began doing it myself.

Have you ever ever tall bike jousted? Would you?

I have not. At this level I am unsure I’d, I am no spring hen. Though I lastly have medical insurance, that does make it a bit extra tempting.

What’s your favourite bike to experience throughout Bike Kill?

That’s a troublesome query. Tall bikes are most likely probably the most thrilling, however I’ve an actual mushy spot for a great swing bike. Swing bikes are constructed with hinge factors within the body, so the entrance of the bike can swing to both aspect when you’re driving however it maintains the route. It is a problem of balancing and steering to maintain from crashing. Like each bike at Bike Kill, it has one thing to shock you each time you get on the seat.

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