Boasson Hagen talks: Photography
In the second instalment of our 'Off The Bike' series, Edvald Boasson Hagen reveals to us his love of photography.
Last Updated: 06/04/14 12:13pm
One of our main goals on TeamSky.com this season is to bring you closer to our riders and give you the chance to learn more about the lives they lead away from the bike.
With the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix now on the horizon, we thought we’d continue our series by chatting to Edvald Boasson Hagen about his longstanding love of photography.
TeamSky.com: How did you first get interested in photography?
Edvald Boasson Hagen: My aunt was a professional photographer so I grew up around it. I’ve always taken photos but it’s only in the last five years or so that I’ve been able to afford a good camera and good equipment. Having someone like my aunt to learn from was great – she used to work for advertising companies so her work was always varied.
TS: Have you learned through trial and error or have you ever taken any courses?
EBH: I did a course for micro-photography a few years ago and that taught me a lot about using flashes and light settings. Being on the road so much means I don’t get to go on many courses though, so I spend a lot of time searching Google and watching videos on YouTube. I also buy photography magazines every now and again, and I look at those on races.
TS: Is everything you use fully digital, or do you have any cameras that use film?
EBH: No, everything I have is digital. I know how to develop photos in a darkroom, but I don’t do it so much anymore because it’s quite a slow process.
TS: Is the editing side of photography something that you enjoy?
EBH: Yes, it’s fun, but I always try to get the settings right on my camera first which means I don’t have to do as much editing. It seems like cheating a bit otherwise – even bad photos can be made to look good these days - and that takes away some of the skill for me. I’ll use editing software to make minor tweaks, but if you edit a photo too much, it’s no longer a photo really.
TS: How much time do you get to spend on your photography?
EBH: A few years ago I got really into it but I haven’t had time to do as much as I’d like recently. I used to take my camera on races and got some really nice shots, editing them on an evening was fun as well because it allowed me to relax and take my mind off racing.
TS: How many cameras do you own?
EBH: I have four cameras and a whole range of lenses from 8-500mm. I like buying them and trying them out and every one gives you different results.
TS: Do you have one camera and lens that you use more than the others?
EBH: Yes, I have a Samsung NX camera which is smaller and easier to carry around, and I use the 80-200mm lens more than anything else because it’s pretty versatile.
TS: When was the last time you took your camera out?
EBH: When I was home a few weeks ago I went for a walk in the forest and it was nice to take pictures of the scenery and wildlife. I prefer going out by myself because that way you’re not restricted and you can do what you want.
TS: What’s your favourite type of photography?
EBH: Definitely nature and wildlife photography. It’s fun to take photos in towns and cities, but I think I look like a tourist when I do that, and people always look at me. In the countryside, it’s just you, your camera and the wildlife, and you don’t have to think about anything else.
TS: Do you have any favourite photographers?
EBH: Not really – I don’t really look at other people’s work because I’m not really into it for that. I just like to take my own photos and try and make them the best they can be. It’s the same with cycling – I never really knew about the history of the sport when I was growing up – I just concentrated on doing my best and focusing on that.
TS: What do you do with the photos you take?
EBH: I make prints of my favourite photos and have some of them hanging in my house. It’s really satisfying to see them blown up big and on high-quality paper. I also have a few on aluminium frames and the shine you get off them looks really cool. Other than that I don’t do a lot with them really, they’re just stored on my computer.
TS: Do you have any cycling-related photos on your walls?
EBH: No. In fact, if you came in my house you probably wouldn’t even realise I was a cyclist. It’s only when you get in the garage that that becomes clear (laughs).
TS: Have you ever had any of your work published?
EBH: Yes. A few years ago I had a my Tour de France photos published in the two Norwegian newspapers, and ProCycling magazine have also featured it. Sky Sports News also did a piece with me one year as well at the Tour Down Under.
TS: Do you talk a lot about photography with (Team Sky photographer) Scott Mitchell?
EBH: Yes, especially when we’re on the Grand Tours together because in those races you have more time. He’s given me plenty of tips and I really enjoy watching him work. He takes some nice pictures.
TS: You like using Instagram as well don’t you (@EdvaldBH)?
EBH: Yes, it’s a lot quicker doing things on Instagram, that’s for sure! The phone I have has a really good camera on it as well, which makes it better still. It’s nice to be able to post things on there and I get lots of nice comments from fans.
TS: What tips would you give someone who’s just getting into photography?
EBH: Have fun and try new things out. Don’t just use the automatic setting all the time, have a play around and you’ll learn a lot more. The aperture and shutter speeds are especially good to mess around with and they give you good effects.
TS: Are any other riders in Team Sky into photography?
EBH: Ian Stannard got into it briefly but he doesn’t use it much any more. He was the only rider I spoke to about it really because he was just starting out and wanted to find out more.