Photo of the Week | Moab Mountain Biking with Dogs

Every Friday I will be posting a Photo of the Week. Here I’ll be sharing the details on how I got the shot, where I was, and the backstory that went into it. I hope you find this enjoyable, and helpful in your own photography.


Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T3i
Lens: EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II
ISO: 100 25mm f/10 1/200s

I’m not sure if there is a single bad view when mountain biking in Moab, and because of that, sometimes the trail itself can be overshadowed. So when my friend Adam, his dog Koa, Gregor, and myself set out from the 7-Up trailhead, I couldn’t stop trying to take photos on the ride.

We set out early in the morning to try and beat the afternoon heat and keep our dogs cool. Pedaling off from the truck at 8AM, we had the trail entirely to ourselves. We cruised down the outstanding Bull Run trail that mixes, perfectly, jagged technical rock and grippy dirt. The trail descends over 600ft from the trailhead, making our first ride of the season much more enjoyable than a stiff, Wasatch-style climb from the parking lot. And not to mention the incredible views of Bull Canyon as the trail heads down the rim.

Having not really (intentionally) shot any mountain biking photos yet, I figured this would be a challenge. Unlike skiing where there’s a full turn’s time that is good photo material, mountain biking shots seem to have a smaller window of opportunity. Not to mention having dogs also be in the right spot at the right time. I also try to not interrupt the flow of a ride just to take a photo or two, since it’s not a photo shoot and we were just out here to ride!

Trailforks info on Bull Run

While riding out in front, I saw the mesa walls out in the distance with the trail turning from left to right. Framing the shot in my head, I knew it would be perfect. I waved Adam on to keep riding ahead so I could shoot a photo. He came around the bend, with dogs in tow close behind. With the slow “fast shutter” on my Rebel T3i at 3.7fps, it’s always a gamble if I’m going to get the right moment or not. So as he hit the turn, I pressed the shutter down and followed the rider through. Without checking the photos, I stowed the camera away on my Peak Designs Mount and pedaled as hard as I could to catch back up to them.

It wasn’t until I got back to the truck at the end of the ride was I able to check the photos I took. And even on the small LCD screen of the camera, I was stoked.

Bringing the photo into Lightroom, I was able to bring out the lighting I wanted in the photo. To bring your attention directly to the rider, I darkened the foreground and decreased shadows on the vegetation. I increased the clarity and sharpness on the rider and dogs who are directly in the center of the frame. Lastly, increased the vibrance and increased the exposure of the mesa in the background to fade the photo into the distance. Overall, I couldn’t be more stoked about the photo and the day we had on our bikes getting to ride with the pups in the desert.

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