Monday 24 December 2012

Shoot Story - Como

The story for this was published some time ago, in the November issue of Cycling Active. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the shoot story written while the magazine article was in circulation. Better late than never I guess.

Firstly, here are a few words from Higg the photographer, and how it is for him when he has to get those all important shots which make a story come to life.

"It's not as easy as it looks:

Some shots just present themselves to you, if you climb a mountain first.

But even then, it's good to get the best light and just the right amount of people around.

Even in these points it's possible to grab an extra shot which gives a bit of local flavour.

Other locations have all the ingredients for a good photo but there are way too many people around.


In those cases it takes a bit more thought to get a clean photo that shows off the location.

Sometimes taking photos attracts unwanted attention.

Taking the photos in a busy park at midday has its pitfalls. There's a bit of waiting around to be done....

......and a bit of repositioning..... order to eventually get that clean shot."

For me, this was a good day just to be out on a bike. I had had my own road bike stolen about a week before so I was just happy to have a steed to ride for the weekend. Thanks to Lake Como Cycling, they were able to hire me a pretty descent roadbike at short notice.

Luigi, the guy who met me with the Pinarello was an older guy but I could tell that he was a pretty handy cyclist, despite his advanced age. I had had in mind to include Monte Bisbino, one of the highest local climbs in the area. On chatting to Luigi he said that advised that Brunate or even Madonna del Ghisallo would be nicer places to ride.

I only wanted to focus on routes that were very local to the immediate vicinity of Como, so we decided to leave out Ghisallo, and focus on Brunate and the nearby roads.

The sun doesn't always shine in Como. On the Saturday, we knew we were up against it timewise as heavy rain was forecast to arrive from around 2pm. We managed to get in some great shots around Lake Como, Piazza del Duomo and Piazza Cavour before the rain came down. Unfortunately we weren't able to get shots of the funicular, a quaint cabin building which is the doorway to the magic stairs that winch you 500m above the lake.

In various parts of Como we kept bumping into the local Police who were also on bicycles. They looked very dapper in their blue suits. As they rode past us, they nodded a hello - partly out of curiousity, and partly as they may have wanted to be included in the photo!

The following day we took shots around Brunate, the village that sits way above Como. We could have taken the funicular, but we needed to get shots along the road so leg power it was! My main focus was to try and ride up the hill without working up a sweat for the photos - a task easier said than done when you have to get up a 10km/7% climb on a scorchingly hot Sunday afternoon!

Thankfully we stopped at intervals along the way to get various aerial shots of the town below us. Some of our shots were done right on steep switchbacks. That led to a bit of fun and games when I had to dismount from my bike and remount in order to repeat the pose, all with the local traffic passing by!

Things were compounded even more when one guy stopped his car to chat to us while all the traffic was backed up behind him. He wanted to know where we were going, what we were photographing for, and what we would be doing later! At that point the sound of impatient tooting of horns from motorists was my cue to say goodbye to him.

We reached the summit at Brunate just as the funicular was spewing out lots of visitors onto our path. The tourists were impressed that we had ridden all the way up. At Volta's Lighthouse a couple of kilometres further up the road folks, including the restaurant owners were even more impressed with our exploits - though not impressed enough to give us a free lunch!

Back at Como we capped off our day with a well earned gelato and beer.

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