Motorbikes

Mac Motorcycle Photoshoot in Germany’s MO Motorrad

Many thanks again from Maik Schwarz and MO Motorrad Magazin for placing a great spread of the prototype Mac. I discussed the shoot some time ago but haven’t been able to put the images up whilst they have been going through the process.

The four page spread was as a result of our initial approach to Maik Schwarz on behalf of our client Mac Motorcycles.

I guess what is nice about working with MO is the strong sense of design and the simple approach. The images have barely even been cropped. For this shoot photos were captured on both the Nikon D800e and the Leica M9 although the selection that has appeared in the magazine are all from the D800 pool. Interestingly (to me at least) a couple were with a short zoom Nikkor that I no-longer have.

MO-1034183

Pleased to see the portrait of the bike’s creator Ellis Pitt shown without a crop too.

Postscript

OK, so it’s last thing on a Friday evening, Ellis has just forwarded this comment that he has received via email. Yes, this is why we do it;

I’ve seen your bike in the german motorcycle-magazine MO. What a great piece of work – congrats!

I can’t remember that ever a picture of a bike got me by the balls as this one did and I’m in love with motorcycles for about 30 years now.

What’s striking me most besides the fantastic line is the sheer beauty of the raw material

Bike Exif Feature Photography Generates Great Viewing Figures for Customer

Motorbike photographs taken by Andrew Butler have appeared on the prestigious Bike Exif website. In their own words the Bike Exif site is about,

…exposure. Bike EXIF is the most popular and influential custom motorcycle website in the world. We have the largest readership of any custom site, and more readers than most of the mainstream websites too. Many of today’s most successful builders got their break with a profile on Bike EXIF.

Working closely with Chris Hunter of Bike Exif we have supplied a set of simple but striking images of the Kevils BMW R100 café racer. The shots were taken at short notice the day before the bike was to be shipped to its new owner in Belgium.

Website Design

Design Credo have previously produced the Kevils website that Chris was kind enough to mention,

and now that he has a decent website, we’re guessing that business will get even better.

Shooting For Results

The shots were taken with the Nikon D800e with a 24-70mm f2.8. We took our studio to Kevils location and in this instance we used a deliberately simple lighting set-up. As is our general approach post-processing was kept to a minimum, chiefly cropping and tidying up the background.


As Bike Exif mention, the bottom line of a shoot like this is about exposure. Through appearing on Bike Exif’s site (with a worldwide audience) huge volumes of viewer traffic are being fed back through the Kevils website resulting already in a record two days readership. If there is any doubt about this claim consider the graph below. Kevils’ website shows a solid upward trend since its launch but there can be little doubt about the effect that appropriate image placement has had in the final week.
figures

Our work spreads beyond the taking of the photographs, recently we have had further success in placing quality motorcycling images in hi-end European magazines on behalf of clients; we look forward to reporting on this shorty.

Andrew Butler/Design Credo have handled all aspects of the Bike Exif submission. Give us a call to see how we could add value to your viewership through quality photography and design.

Classic Bike Guide – Seven Page Spread

Great to get the Kevil’s seven page spread in this month’s Classic Bike Guide, it seems like an age since we did this shoot

The new format bike magazine is published in the UK by Mortons Media and is edited by Gary Pinchin, it’s available in all good news stores, I got my copy from Smiths after the tense visit to the dentist earlier! Came home to find a counter copy and commission order waiting (nice).

Good quote by Kev;

I started this business building bikes myself, but I’m so busy now. I get 30 emails a day and we have 1000 hits a day on the website.

Design Credo created the WordPress website for Kevil’s featuring photography by Andrew Butler. Actually a bit low on the hit count Kev but no complaints really.

Mac the Life

As a rule I like to go on a motorbike to photograph a motorbike but there are times when this isn’t viable. To be honest flecks of snow in the air thwart the enthusiasm slightly as does having to cover all bases with a wide selection of gear and the equipment list for this shoot included:

  • The Leica bag
  • The Peli full of Nikons
  • The Bowens flash
  • The ridiculous Manfrotto collection
  • The old bike gear (great for grubbing round on the ground)

Really silly of me to forget:

  • The Thermos

So, early start, daughter hurried off to school, a flyer up the motorway and why oh why did I stop for that low grade Crappuccino. The M50 was slower than I’d hoped for and the neat idea of printing the Google satellite image wasn’t really helping in this indeterminate season, I really couldn’t recognise the fields.

Vodafone oh Vodafone how useless thou art in Devon how redundant thou art in wherever I was stood this morning. Tech wasn’t helping and eventually the coffee was screaming so loud that I had to turn into Mythical Hackney Cab-driver and abuse the rear nearside of the Saab (modesty assured courtesy of the open rear passenger door). Full flow and a ‘Giles’ pulled up in a Jag. Seriously, this place was remote but the chappy needed instructions and I looked like a chappy in the know. Eventually the Giles glanced towards Brisbane (and chappy) and duly apologised.

Giles chose not to shake hands as he departed, wise.

Men don’t like asking for instructions but in the next village I betrayed menfolk and asked a woman who was taking her kids to be educated where RTS was. “Just down there” she said “the end of this road, it looks a bit like a house.” She was correct on both counts.

Many years had passed since I last met Ellis, he still has hair, I don’t. Great to meet him again, really great. A busy morning though, lots of people too including:

  • Ellis
  • The man who builds motorbikes
  • The Glamorous Assistant
  • The daughter of The Glamorous Assistant
  • The man who had arrived from Melbourne to look at the bike
  • The customer of the man who builds bikes
  • The wife of the man who builds bike who makes delightful cakes

and latterly:

  • The young French design student who had just ridden through the night from Paris
  • The son of the man who builds bikes who builds bikes himself

No, I don’t remember names easily.

Ellis has created a new motorbike, I think this is a fantastic achievement. RTS Racing design and build grasstrack and speedway bikes, this is where the Mac is being developed. My commission was to photograph the bike. To be honest it was quite some time before I even got to see the bike but there was lots and lots to see in this location that looks a bit like a house in the country.

In an ideal world the remote location would have been a bit less busy, in an ideal world there would not have been snow in the air and in an ideal world there would have been a bit more ‘life’ in the light. This world is rarely ideal, however the part of the world that I was in had life in the air, was fun and full of interest.

This bike is a prototype, I was honoured to get the second ever ride on it, up the lane and back. Many of the bits that are on it will change and as it stands this is a bare-metal creation, no paint, no powder coating. This is an summation of the work to date and an expression of intent. All of this has a bearing on how the photography was to be approached. Little point in paying too much attention to details that may change, this shoot was about recording the form and creating a conduit for discussion.

This bike is Marmite, that’s how it was designed, it’s never going to be a me-too.

I cannot begin to explain the carpet, the lampshade or the al-fresco seating. I have no idea why this emerged from a blue Ford. I can’t show you the shots yet, hopefully they will appear from a screen, book or magazine near you soon. What I do know is that we are going to do it again and this is a good thing.

BMW Cafe Racers, Uli Cloesen

Some time ago Uli Cloesen contacted us from New Zealand about using some of our shots of Kevil’s Ruby BMW café racer in his new book. The bike was only around for a short while before going off to it’s new home in Poland. Well it’s been a long but worthwhile wait, the book is out.

This is what WH Smith says,

Many books have been published about BMW motorcycles, but this is the first to cover the evolution of the BMW sportsbike to the BMW cafe racer. A marque not commonly associated with the cafe racer scene, the growing trend of custom BMW cafe conversions is illustrated in detail with stunning images of sporting, racing, and ‘cafed’ BMWs. From Airheads to Oilheads, modified singles to parallel twins, Fours and Concept 6s – see the ‘cafed’ side of BMW.

I say there’s some neat bikes very neat bikes indeed.

OK, so WHSmith.co.uk weren’t the quickest to deliver but hey, Uli told me it was the cheapest place to get it so here you go, it’s the hardback too.

Sun!

The problem with having a humungous head is that if someone offers you a small helmet (stoppit) you will have to politely decline. In doing so you may miss the opportunity of riding a Kevil’s BMW café racer up the hill past Hay Tor on the first sunny day since Richard the Third parked his Astra in Leicester.

Yes, Kev assumed I would be travelling light on the GS, but no, I had brought the full compliment: Nikons, Leicas, reflectors and most of the Manfrotto timeline. So we ended up with two bikes a car, a T5, a trailer and a shuttle service up and down the hill.

Anyway, it sunned, on the bikes, the early morning dog-walkers, the woman in pink on a horse, the PCSO who stopped to say hello and latterly the ice-cream man.

Afterwards we went to The Hound of the Basket Meals and ate dogs.

Quote of the day? (Kev) “I didn’t know this was here” (Dartmoor)