Tour Of Britain (Stage 4)

After a busy night at Old Trafford on Tuesday, I ventured over to Llanrwst in Wales the next morning to cover a small section of Stage 4 of the Tour Of Britain cycling event. This particular stage stretch started not far from me, in Stoke-on-Trent, and stretched more than 180km through the hills of Cheshire and Staffordshire, finishing up in the town of Llanberis in the Snowdonia National Park, in Wales.

When you’re not travelling with the peloton on the back of a media bike, and you don’t have anyone else to cover different parts of the stage for you, it’s really a case of finding a location that will work best for big picture, and that will have as much scope as possible for more than one picture. Trying to sum up an entire 180km cycling stage in one picture is almost impossible, so you simply have to do your best to incorporate as much as you can into the small window of opportunity you’re given. Having researched the entire course in advance, I’d decided that Llanrwst would be the best spot for a picture. A market town with a narrow stone bridge and leaf-covered tea room, it seemed to be the most picturesque location for a big picture, and also offered a few different viewpoints for me to cram in as many different shots as I could.

In the morning, I introduced myself to John, the Landlord of the Pen-y-Bont Inn, a pub with the only accessible window overlooking the bridge. From ground level, I knew I’d struggle to see the riders as they made their way over the bridge…the height of the wall, coupled with the direction of their racing line meant that I’d be lucky if I could see more than just a line of heads moving along. This meant I needed some elevation, and this is what the pub window offered. However, it only offered one viewpoint, restricting my ability to shoot more than one type of picture. This meant that a remote camera was the obvious solution, so I set one up on the window sill with a 14mm lens and Pocket Wizard attached, overlooking the bridge.

I then decided to stand on the bridge and shoot from a point there that allowed me to capture a number of angles…one being the peloton winding down through the town, then the cyclists coming over the bridge in front of me, and then turning to see the cyclists go past me, with the decorative tea room in the frame.

After hours of deliberating, moving cameras, attaching and then removing clamps etc, it was time for the cyclists to come through the town. In the space of 2 minutes, the entire group had been and very quickly gone. I managed to get the pictures I wanted, although it didn’t seem much for what had been an extremely long afternoon!…

 

The peloton makes it's way past spectators onto the Y Bont Fawr bridge in Llanrwst
The peloton makes it’s way past spectators onto the Y Bont Fawr bridge in Llanrwst

 

Sir Bradley Wiggins (R) and Mark Cavendish (2L) cycle over Y Bont Fawr bridge in Llanrwst
Sir Bradley Wiggins (R) and Mark Cavendish (2L) cycle over Y Bont Fawr bridge in Llanrwst

 

The peloton make their way over the Y Bont Fawr bridge & past the Tu Hwnt Ir Bont tea room in Llanrwst
The peloton makes it’s way over the Y Bont Fawr bridge & past the Tu Hwnt I’r Bont tea room in Llanrwst

 

After discovering that Wiggins and Cavendish were cycling side-by-side as they crossed the bridge, I decided to send my pictures out sooner rather than later. Despite the cosmopolitan field of competitors, I knew the UK newspapers would still concentrate most of their reports on the two famous Brits. As it happened, this worked in my favour, and a few of them ran the same picture the next day…

 

Mail Online
Mail Online

 

The Guardian
The Guardian

 

Metro
Metro

 

 

 

 

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