OK, so everyone is pretty familiar with the classic GoPro ‘chesty’ video shot but a great tip is for using the Photo Time-lapse function on the camera.
This does mean that you may end up with a whole bunch of photos that might not be that great but every now and then you’ll end up with a perfectly timed gem of a shot! Another thing I like to do is run the camera in a portrait position when shooting stills, this way you end up with more of the bike, trail and scenery in the shot.
Now, GoPros can take fantastic still images in bright sunshine (such as in the first image) but for us mtb’ers hiding in the woods we don’t often get much sunshine! In these trickier shooting conditions where the camera shutter speed is much slower, then my recommendation for shooting stills on a GoPro in the woods (or any other low light environment for that matter) would be to try and pan / follow the rider when shooting.
In this image I set the camera up in Burst Photo mode taking 10 photos a second, the reason for this is that I can pick and choose from a selection of images, allowing me to pick out the sharpest one. When the rider was dropping in, I pressed the shutter button and followed the rider past with the camera. This then allows the rider to remain sharp with some motion blur in the background and I can just pick out the best shot from the sequence, job done!
My personal favourite feature about using a GoPro is all the unique angles that you can achieve with just the one camera! Why just stick with the traditional helmet and chesty angles when you can get creative and mount the camera on the bike?!
Here I used the GoPro Hero Session as the smaller form factor works well for mountain biking and mounted the camera on the side of my chainstay using the Jaws Flex Clamp mount. Once I used the GoPro Capture App to frame up the shot I set the camera on the Photo Time-lapse mode and rode down the trail.
At the end I used the app to scroll through all the shots, some weren’t so great but then there were a few perfectly timed shots such as this which more than makes up for it!
Most people associate GoPro with the traditional wide-angle, almost fish-eye effect when it comes to photos and videos. What I love about the above photo is that it doesn’t look like it was shot with a GoPro, this was achieved by changing the Field of View (FOV) in photo menu settings on the camera to the narrowest setting.
I was still able to capture a lot of the landscape in this mode but it also allowed me to pick out the riders on the trail ahead of me better and not have them seemingly disappear into the distance if I was to shoot in the typical Wide format. Also, as I was using the Hero 5 Black for this shot I was able to fine tune my exposure control by tapping on the screen and selecting the exposure that I wanted, in this case to really pronounce the silhouette of the riders.
Hero 5 Black
Single Photo Mode
Exposure Control to select the exposure on the sun to darken the rest of the image
So my final shot I chose for this article is something a little different and that I wanted to highlight just how capable your GoPro can be! This shot is actually a self-portrait taken at around 10pm on a super cold night at home in the Lake District. Here I had the camera mounted in the snow at the top of the mountain pass looking back down.
Using the Night-lapse photo mode that can be found on both Hero 4 and Hero 5 camera models I was able to take multiple long-exposures (15 second exposures) and capture the light trail from my bike light snaking its way down the trail. With a bit of help using Photoshop I was then able to stack 5 of these long exposure shots into one final image, showing off the snow-capped hills in the distance lit up by the moon as well as the trail dropping off down into the valley.
Hero 5 Black
Night-lapse photo mode
15 second exposure set to continuous shooting
ProTune on – GoPro colour, ISO 800, sharpness low
Keep an eye out for more top tips on how to get the most out of your kit while out on the trails. Big thanks to Pete Archer for giving us the insight.
Taken your own GoPro banger? Be sure to tag @Wideopenmag or #Wideopenmag!