Cycle Marathon – The Story Behind The Photo

As announced earlier we want to talk sometimes about the making of of some photos to show how we work.

Let’s start with the Cycle Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017.

Our aim was clear: Document the Cycle Marathon 2017. It was important to catch the mood and the preparations. But also to show where the marathon takes place. You should see that it is the marathon at the Tannheimer Tal.

We arrived on Sunday and moved into our flat at the start-finish area. On Monday morning we had our first meeting:

On that day it was important to learn about what will happen when and where and what we should cover. One thing was the above mentioned showing where the marathon takes place. For the athletic photos other photographers have been hired. They have been waiting at spectacular places for active scenes.

So it was quite clear for us: We have to be at the route. But where are the most beautiful spots for photos? It is helpful to ask around but it is not enough. If a landscape is rather beautiful it does not mean that also the photo will be great. You have to have a look through the viewfinder.

Location Check

We have got some tipps for nice places and went off with a map to drive along the route.

Drive there, get out of the car, look through the view finder, take a photo…

Again and again and again. Drive on. Sometimes do not get out of the car because it is clear that the surrounding offers not enough for a photo. Drive to the next point.

Mark a point while hoping that something better will come up like this hairpin bend in the photo below. This hairpin bend is lovely and would be a great motive but there are also some disadvantages: Our car was in the photo. We could have parked the car in the country lane, but the entrance to this farm lane was very deep. Our car is not really an off road version and the lane was narrow. We would not be able to turn around there. On Sunday around 2000 bikers were expected plus cars, tourists and participants of a meet up of woodstock vans and of vintage cars. So it might be a problem to get backwards out of the farm lane with our car.

So we went on. And looked further. Searched for a photo point. The route stretches about 130 km. We nearly drove all of them. The end of the route with the turning point we did not see as we thought that it would take us too long to drive back. Taking into consideration all those points that I mentioned above it was clear that we could not drive as fast as on a normal day without all those special traffic.

We went back with our test photos, had a look at them and sent them to our customer for coordination.

Timing is everything

The next challenge was: Time. Race bikers like to go fast in-between. So we had to plan when we could possibly be where realistically to be able to photo shoot the leading bikers group. What a relief that there exist lists for that. It is marked at where a driver will be when he bikes with a tempo of x kilometers per hour. Great!

With this knowledge and the places that we picked we were able to plan. Some photo points would be a challenge. At others we would have to wait.

To reach the first photo point right after the start of the long distance was very sporty. Our planning even considered the ‚race track‘ where we could jogg along to our car. And where would we park our car so that we can drive to the photo point.

Streckenplanung für das Startfoto beim Rad-Marathon 2017

That was not easy. With nearly 2000 participants plus company we were talking about a lot of cars that wanted to park somewhere near. The start would last several minutes. During that time we would not be able to cross the street. So we also were thinking about from which side we would capture the start. Because the way to our car depended from this position.

As there were three starts it was clear that right after the first one a lot of people would be crowding the area. Also in the middle of the street. So we were not able to drive with normal speed through the village. But we had to be careful and consider a lot of obstacles. So we were thinking about which street we would take. We also thought about where we had to turn left and wouldn’t it be better to be able to turn right because it would be faster.


After a while we had all made up. The photo position will be at the right side on a ladder. Shortly after the start we would run on the right side to our car. I would have to push the protective grating to the side. Achim would drive through. I will push the protective grating back. Then we would make our way through small streets to the federal highway. There we will turn right and drive directly to our fist photo point.

So far we had already invested some hours of work without any presentable result. It was just preparation.

We also thought about wearing a high visibility vest so that we could be seen when standing at the side of the road.

Rad-Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017 by .

From the organizing team we got some T-Shirts and matching reflective vests. Our car received a sticker to show that we belong to the event.

At some points we parked right at the roadside so it would be great to be able to explain what we are doing there.

So far so good. Everything talked over. Everything planned…

But we forgot one thing: I was standing at a different position as Achim for the twitter start video. So I had to run through the tennis hall. He was running along the street. So I ran directly to the grating to open it und after that jumped into the car.

We could not have arrived later at the first photo point. The first biker already had 20 seconds or more lead….

Teilnehmer Rad-Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017 by Array.

But it was worth while, wasn’t it?

After that we went back to the start-finish area for the second and third start and after that drove to the chosen points.

Here we had some discussions with other car drivers who insisted to park right in the middle of the photo. We told them to park behind our car because they would be otherwise in the photo. Some reacted quickly and drove their car behind ours but some really wanted to discuss the matter.

So in case you read this here. It was all about photos from this position:

Teilnehmer Rad-Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017 by .

And this was just about the preparations.

As mentioned above the preparation ist not everything. But we hope that we could show an insight into our work and also show how much effort and work is sometimes needed for a photo.

The other 699 photos from the racebike week you can admire here:

Cycle Marathon Tannheimer Tal 2017


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