Stop Taking Crap Photos!

by singletrackjon 0

Singletrack Magazine contributor Benji Haworth is joining forces with Ed of Great Rock to offer a chance to improve your skills behind the lens of a camera. He’s offering a weekend long course in his favoured stomping ground of Hebden Bridge, Calderdale over the 2-3rd April to offer tips and advice for budding photographers. You can be sure Benji knows his stuff behind a camera as well as all the top spots for snaps in the area, having worked and played there for many years. The full details are below:

“This is a weekend long course in the MTB hotspot that is Hebden Bridge in Calderdale, West Yorkshire. As Benji wrote in a recent route guide for Singletrack Magazine: “West Yorkshire is a unique area to ride. The mix of nature and industry, bleak remoteness and accessibility. The 143 square mile conurbation of Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield and Wakefield is highly urbanised and populated (1.5 million people) but also incorporates substantial areas of agricultural land within it. And it’s incorporated in various beguiling, bizarre and beautiful ways.”

Even before Benji was a photographer and journalist he was riding his bike around Calderdale. If there’s a track on the ground, chances are he’s ridden along it at some point in the past 15 years. No one knows the best photo spots in The Valley better than him.

This means two things are guaranteed: great riding and great photo opportunities.

What will you learn during the course?

– Composition.
– Timing.
– Exposure.
– Attitude.
– Choosing location.
– Action pics, scenic pics, candid pics.
– What Not To Do.
– The Little Things.
– Post-processing basics (cropping and correcting etc).

Who is this course for?

– Keen amateur snappers who are interested in capturing better images.

What equipment do I need to bring?

– A digital camera of any sort (although you’ll get better value for money with a digi SLR or “prosumer” compact).
– Lots of memory cards.
– Batteries and/or a battery charger.
– A mountain bike and riding kit.

What’s the schedule for the weekend?

SATURDAY all day

– Meet and greet. Equipment inspection.
– Photoshoot Session 1.
– Lunch and assessment of Session 1’s photos.
– Photoshoot Session 2 (inc. sunset photoshoot).
– Assessment of Session 2’s photos.
– Riding tips through the day.

SUNDAY all day

– Sunrise photoshoot (yep, Sunrise).
– Breakfast and assessment of Sunrise photos.
– Final Photoshoot Session.
– Assessment of Final Session’s photos.
– More riding tips through the day.

Cost £140 per person in a group of 12 maximum

Please contact Ed to book your place or to ask any questions by email or phone 07545 228209

Hebden Bridge makes a great location for this course with its abundance of great photogenic trails just minutes from the town centre. It’s always easy to get back into town for coffee, lunch and the all important Great Rock debrief with beer at the end of each day.

If you are wanting to stay over in town, Croft Mill Apartments have lovely town centre accommodation with secure bike storage.

Benji Haworth Biography

“My first proper job was in a camera shop as a “minilab monkey”. Nowadays people pay me to take – rather than make – photographs for them. So you could say I’ve worked my way up from the bottom! Over the years the world of photography has changed so much. The rise of digital cameras has made the world of decent image-making open to more people than ever before. No longer does it cost loads of money in film and developing to experiment with photography.

“Although it’s great that the means of great photos are in a lot of people’s hands, equipment is worth nothing if you don’t know how to use it. The fundamentals of decent photography haven’t changed. And the fundamentals, for me, aren’t the dull, complicated stuff about f-stops and sync-speeds. My fundamentals are easier to learn, remember and implement on regular rides than all that guff.

“Just like a lot of mountain bikers spend silly money on new components in the vain hope that they’ll make them better riders rather than just going on a Skills Course and genuinely getting better, it’s not uncommon to see people with this year’s megabucks whizz-bang camera aimlessly and thoughtlessly pumping out hundreds of mediocre mountain bike images.

“I’m really looking forward to helping mountain bikers take better mountain bike photographs. It’s going to be a fun weekend of bike riding too.”

Find out more about Benji at

Ed Oxley Biography

Mountain bike skills trainer, Singletrack Magazine contributor and Hebden Bridge local, Ed knows all the riding in this area. He’s no stranger to being in front of the camera and will be on hand to offer riding tips to make you look better in photos. It’s not just about sticking your elbows out you know!

Over the weekend we will be taking lots of photos, but we will also be models for each other as well. Photo shoots are about being able to ride confidently for the camera. It’s actually really good fun riding a section several times for ‘the shot’ and riding this bit of trail better each time.

Please contact Ed to book your place or to ask any questions by email or phone 07545 228209