Growing old disgracefully, or the Ulysses Bikers hit town.

Growing old disgracefully, love it.

An 82 year old lady, who I was photographing in the studio, told me that your body may get older, but in your mind you are always 21. A week after I photographed her she went tandem hang gliding off the ramp at Mount  Buffalo in Victoria. Never forgotten that. What an inspirational lady.

However I digress. This last week Mildura has been home to around 6000 Ulysses bikers and their associates. All living the dream. By all accounts having a great time doing it. I’m not into bikes that much but gotta say going to miss having them around. And just love their motto, “Growing Old Disgracefully” Kinda says it all.

Photo of Ulysses motorcycle club member during the grand parade at the Mildura 2012 AGM. Photo by Ian McKenzie the outback phjotoghrapher.

When I heard that there was to be a grand parade, I just had to get along and do a photo. To be honest I didn’t want just any shot, but one that said something about growing old disgracefully, and living the dream. I had this notion in my head of an abstract sort of thing, maybe with lots of blur. Started out in sorta safe country shooting the normal slow shutter speed panned image, bit like you would see of a motorcycle during a race. While I like this shot, of one obviously cool dude and his bike. I wanted to delve deeper into the unknown.

Blurred art photo of Ulysses Motorcycle member riding in the grand parade at the 2012 Mildura AGM. Photo by excitations.So down went the shutter speed to introduce a whole new world of blurring. I have to say when you’re shooting these Hail Mary kinda speeds, you have to expect a lot of things to be , shall we say fluid. Ok, lets be honest here, there is a whole lot of luck  anytime you try to drag exposures this far. Especially with objects moving quite quickly. Not enough blur, to much blur, rarely just the right amount. The other problem I had was that these folks where just plain too friendly. Most tooting their horns or waving to me as they passed. Nice but every wave meant another picture that wasn’t going to make the cut. As the hand used was most always the hand closest to camera. Which looks kinda strange in a wildly blurred image. I guess some old fool laying at the roads edge with a camera, was always going to attract a bit of attention.

Highly blurred image of Ulysses motorcycle club member riding the open highway during the 2012 Mildura AGM grand parade. Growing old disgracefully by the outback photographer, Ian MckenzieThis is the image that I went hunting for. Some of you will get it. Others not. That’s fine. I wanted to say something about hitting the open road on a bike. I wanted the shot to be relatively anonymous. A sense of adventures ahead, conveyed by the open road ahead. Also chose the location so that our riders would be riding into the sun, adding to the feel of the best yet to come sort of thing.

There we have it my tribute to the 6000 or so bikers, many of whom are living the dream, and no doubt growing old disgracefully. Now all I have to do is try and explain to my neighbour, who was riding with the group, that I wasn’t taking pictures like he’d would want to hang on his wall. I was leaving all the official photography to  photographers appointed by the club to do the photography. Why shoot it at all? Well it was a great chance to do some different stuff. Polish up the technique, so that if one day I need it for a paying client, I will have already done my homework.

Dear neighbour…. the picture of you on your bike is all blurry, because….. Ahmmmm


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