Hit the Road With the Pennsylvania Environment Ride

The Pennsylvania Environment Ride is a three-day journey from Elizabethtown to Philadelphia. Riders enjoy Lancaster County Amish country, farm vistas, and covered bridges. The ride features the region’s history and bounty, treating participants to an unforgettable weekend. The ride benefits the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and supports development of the bicycle trails in southeastern Pennsylvania. This vital network of trails is used extensively for commuting, recreation, and sightseeing throughout the region.

In May I had the pleasure of photographing the event for the second time. The week began with a few days of severe thunderstorms, but the weather cleared up in time for the ride, and the weekend was mild and cloudless with brilliant sunshine. While the weather was ideal for riding, it made photography a challenge. Direct overhead sunlight makes harsh shadows on the riders’ faces, and the dappled sunlight on the tree-lined roads and trails was even worse. At the rest stops I was able to take people into the shade for portraits, but in general I had to do a lot of post-processing to balance the exposure of the photos by darkening the highlights and lightening the shadows. For example, in the photo above, the rider in front was lost in shadow while the trees behind the rider in the red jersey were nearly entirely blown out. Setting a good exposure in-camera was easier when I was stopped along the road, but many of the shots were made on the fly as I hung out of a car window shooting as my driver sped ahead of the riders.

I had a lot to keep in mind as I made the photos, as there were multiple end uses. Not only will the photos be enjoyed by riders and crew afterwards, but they will be used by the beneficiary and the production company to celebrate the ride’s success and to promote next year’s ride in print and on their website. You can see in some of the photos that I was able to conceive them as brochure covers or poster backgrounds, as I put the subject low in the frame with plenty of space above for headlines and text.

This is the first in a six-part series on the Pennsylvania Environment Ride. Stay tuned for posts on other aspects of photographing the ride.

Read the second post in the series: Faces of the Pennsylvania Environment Ride.
Read the third post in the series: Ephrata Cloister Welcomes the Pennsylvania Environment Ride.
Read the fourth post in the series: You Don’t Need a Desert to Find an Oasis.
Read the fifth post in the series: Personalities of the Pennsylvania Environment Ride.
Read the sixth post in the series: Pennsylvania Environmental Council Celebrates a Successful Fundraising Ride.

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