Rider’s Lens: The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

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Good light is the critical element in all photography. But for Jason Boucher, it’s scant fragments of light that catch his eye.

Words and photos by Jason Boucher

I have spent the better part of the past 10 years filling hard drives with digital images and drawers with 4×6 film prints. Some days I don’t know why I keep shooting given that I only shoot for myself and for sharing with friends and family. Other days it’s the only way I know to deal with the world. You see, roughly 10 years ago I married my two passions—cycling and photography. That matrimony was a formative milestone in my personal and professional career. Over the past decade, both cycling and photography have powered many trips, relationships and memories, and helped me see purpose in my career.

Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher
  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher
  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

As I look back over this body of work, I think there are really two themes in my cycling photography. The first being the overarching idea that the world is big and we are small. The second being darkness, sunrise and the search for light. Maybe the latter is a reflection of my introverted tendencies, but I like to ride in the dark. Whether it be a late sunset ride that ends in the dark or an early ride in the dark that ends with a sunrise, I like the challenges of shooting with little or no light. I like seeing the beauty of a good sunrise or sunset. I like the warmth of morning light. I like breaking the rules that I was taught; “Don’t shoot into a light source.” I just find light, and the use of light, both challenging and inspiring… and this theme has been ever present in my work. In my chase of light in the wee hours of the morning or dark evening, It’s often just fragments of light that stand out and catch my eye. It’s those moments that I grab my camera.

Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher
  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

In my chase of light in the wee hours of the morning or dark evening, It’s often just fragments of light that stand out and catch my eye. It’s those moments that I grab my camera.”

Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher
  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

I don’t leave home on a bike ride without my camera. These days, Leica and Fuji X mirrorless cameras are my tools of choice. I am one of the early adopters of mirrorless. This in itself has been a challenge and worthy of its own article. My switch was not driven by the recent advances in mirrorless technology, but by the size of the camera bodies and lenses.

  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher
  • Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

Photo Breakdown – Under the bridge

Bike Photography, The Search for Light, by Jason Boucher

The shot which I chose to dissect is one of my most popular photographs. This image has garnered more comments, memories, and print requests than others in my collection. It was shot on a Leica digital camera with a Zeiss 35 C f2.8 lens. I shot this not too far from my home on the ever changing and popular Minnesota River Bottoms Trail. I’m a sucker for under the bridge shots and pretty much every time I go through this area, I ramble around looking for another angle and fresh shot. My friend John and I frequently play in this area and on this particular day we left in the dark and timed the sunrise perfectly. I saw the shot right away. The light was perfect. The symmetry of the bridge arches going to infinity. The warm side light casting beautiful triangles and reflection. I pulled out my camera and told John to ride back and forth a few times. I took a couple of different angles but when I saw the lines and his front wheel rise from the ground I snapped 3 quick shots. All perfect.

Jason Boucher likes to travel, ride bikes, drink coffee and take pictures. You can follow along with Jason’s photographic explorations at ImagineGnat.com or on his Instagram feed, @ImagineGnat.

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  • bjorn olson

    Fantastic stuff, Jason.

  • James Novak

    Great article. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://www.fueledbyporridge.tumblr.com Mario Angst

    A nicely put article with the images to match it – I have been following your photography for some time now and it has been a source of inspiration both in terms of photography as well as cycling and adventure. Thanks.

    The image of the flower losing its petals with the blurred rider in the background is just a perfect embodiment of the beauty of cycling, especially in the “off-season”, on so many levels.

  • GnatLikesBikes

    Thank you all. I truly enjoy being out there with bike and camera. Your kindness and encouragement means a lot to me. Thanks again Logan and bikepacking.com for the opportunity. Jason aka Imaginegnat.

  • GnatLikesBikes

    Thank you!

  • http://przygodnik.net/ Andrzej Brandt

    Inspirational! Thanks, Jason! For the last couple of months i tought im shooting the same kind of pictures, you just gave a very new perspective.

  • GnatLikesBikes

    Thank you!

  • Dexter

    Need to make sure I pack my camera every time I head out now – great shots and great inspiration!

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