Old School Photography Feels At One Moto
Goofs Only

When Sara and I headed across the Willamette River from Northwest Portland to the convention center for the massive The One Moto Show a few weekends back, we decided that Sara would handle the main coverage for the event and that I would spend the day generally goofing off.

While I did provide a handful of shots for her first article as well as shoot a couple of spotlights for myself, I did in fact spend the majority of my time fooling around, and the results of this hard(?) work are shared here. You can learn a lot by trying something new, and my time at One Moto was no exception.


My weapon of choice for the weekend was Lomography’s 58mm Petzval Bokeh Control lens, wherein you can achieve a swirly bokeh effect by turning a dial on the fully-manual assembly. And when I say fully-manual I really mean it; you have to swap out the aperture inserts if you want to change settings, and the focus system is handled by one of your eyeballs.

That’s nothing new to old-timers or hipster film shooters, but a far cry from our quick and dirty automatic lenses of 2020.


Thus, getting used to the lens was a bit of a frustrating experience if I’m honest, and it’s really easy to overdo the user-chosen swirly bokeh ‘imperfections.’ This is clearly a lens designed with portraiture in mind, but I was determined to make it work at the motorcycle show.


Of course, you can dial the settings back and use it like a more or less normal 50mm, but where’s the fun in that?


Eventually I learned to stop using it to shoot entire bikes and honed in on details, where the focal length and the Soviet Helios-esque swirl really started to bring my images to life. In a small format like my camera or phone screen I wasn’t that amazed, but on a big monitor or for large-format prints I think the result becomes quite nice.


While I only took a few dozen photos with this lens, I easily spent more time with it than I did taking hundreds on my main setup. Once I got the hang of how the lens liked to be used, it was hugely rewarding.

With a new version at 55mm recently released and two versions around 85mm available, it will be a serious consideration if I’d like to include some version of this lens in my regular kit (this one is in my bag on loan). The lens has obvious shortcomings, but certain scenarios allow it to really shine, and the glass creates a look unachievable by anything else in-camera or even with post.


In the gallery below I did use a wide-angle lens so you could properly see the bike in question due to the tight space where the vintage bikes were on display, but the rest are taken with the Lomography piece. You’ll also notice I took a liking to that bad Moto Guzzi.

I need to take the Petzval out on a proper shoot with a full-size car to see how this 58mm works for that application. In the meantime though, I’d love to hear about (and see) some examples of other out-of-the-box camera setups that you’ve shot with, be it an offbeat expired film, tilt-shift, or something I’ve never even heard of. Catch you in the comments section below.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: trevornotryan

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It's an interesting effect, honestly looks like drunk vision haha! It almost reminds me of the time Dino broke his lens and was forced to use a Tilt-Shift for the day. Being a Bokeh lens, I wonder if this would really shine when used in low-light where you would actually get a Bokeh effect. Interested to see something else shot with this.


Easy to overdo it and turn it into drunk vision for sure. The show was pretty low light, f/2.8 was pushing it. The main issue is its really hard to quickly grab focus with a digital body; some old analog viewfinders would be preferred. Definitely similar to a tilt-shift in some regards, but very much its own thing. I'll be shooting Sara's car with it soon!


I'm a big fan of analog photography on SH but to use this camera for an entire article is kind of boring and cheapens the effect.


Appreciate your feedback but this was not an analog camera but rather my normal digital one, which is part of why I think this lens is neat. When shooting with film of unique equipment sometimes it's worth pointing out and sometimes not; with this unusual lens I thought it was!


Dear Speedhunters, please keep the focus on cars, bike are really uninteresting and boring... Fortunately the photography quality is awesome as usual. Faithfully yours.


Nah, bikes are very interesting and captivating, but it seems that this site don't know how to pick the interesting ones and get the story behind it, who built it, and why they built it.
It seems to me like none of the writers are bike people, which is probably why it comes off poorly.
Add in some photography wank and quasi-philosophical commentary and it's boring.


I disagree with the comment on bikes. I think they add something different to the page. All of these motorcycles are very detail oriented and are fantastic items to photograph. The only thing I'd like to see change on this page is a bit more 'in the build' photos, as well as more technical information, and things like photographs of car undercarriages and so on, instead of the usual 3 quarter angle shots and accompanying articles which try and add an unnecessary philosophical spin to everything.

Think about what car magazines had back in the day before the shift to online - usually before and after photos, articles which told anecdotes of challenges that the owners had to overcome during the building process, highs and lows of the experience etc.


Instead of two-wheel builds I'd rather see real-world cars, i.e. cars not owned by rich oil barons in the Mideast, not cars belonging to a shop owner or tuner company owner. Please show us more of what an average middle class kid in the UK drives, or what a kid from the Midwest USA would be dd'ing. Show cars get old after a while even with cool pictures. I'd like to see really creative pics of cars whose owners have a real world budget.


When those more run-of-the-mill cars get posted people say 'why is this even on Speedhunters' so its a double-edged sword. Definitely agree that more of that would be nice, but it isn't always possible. You can't build something no one uses... at least not too often.


I like the occasional motorcycle article, but I second this. I keep hoping to see some cars built by normal people on here, but it is very rare.


With all due respect - if folks want to see average cars - go check out Instagram.

It costs money to do business and taking pictures of cars and flying around to do so, isn't cheap. It's not worth the effort of people to fly somewhere to take pictures of average cars, it really isn't. Because people don't click on pages to view average cars at the same rate as they do exceptional cars and thus the ad revenue isn't generated.

And to be entirely honest, I don't give too hoots about someone's daily driven VW GTI. Average is the most boring aspect and the top 20% of innovation and work is really what I desire to see.

That said, those top 20% are not just built by shops or owned by rich oil guys. Many of them are built by the average guy in his home garage or shed. And SH has shown many of those cars over the years. I can always see more of those builds, but it is difficult to get them highlighted, because those builds are often already all over IG or other social media and thus don't rate "new" coverage on SH.

Think of it this way: If 2 people have seen it, sharing it with 200,000 more is novel. If 200,000 people have seen it sharing it with 2 more isn't novel.


I can see how you got better with the lens as it went on, Trevor. I want to like it, but I think the effect is too much in most cases, when you're dealing with the depth and three dimensions of motorcycles. I think it will work better on flatter surfaces where depth isn't as important.

Example the 'War Chief' has so much great detail to it, that the effect on the front fender obfuscates the Indian Head ornament, but also does not do the painted feathers justice. I want to like it - but it's too limited.

It may seem counter-intuitive to call a motorcycle "deep" and in fact, maybe that's the thing, maybe they are "shallow" such that a single image can capture all four sides of a bike to some degree, meaning that each photo has the ability to capture more of the full object than it might with a car (for instance, rarely do front 3/4 car shots capture the rear of the car. Where as the the bike shots can capture tailight and rear-frame details).

If anyone thinks that motorcycles are boring - speed takes all shapes and forms. Motorcycles are among the most accessible form of speed, due to low cost and ubiquity. Cars are actually the vehicle of the privileged and many countries rely almost solely on motorcycles for transport. The end result is that there are many amazingly great motorcycle builds out there that put many car builds to shame. A more finite space for expression and a simplicity all their own allows bikes to be more meticulously crafted and have greater detail per square centimeter than the average auto build. If you truly believe motorcycles are uninteresting and boring - you're not opening your eyes wide enough.


Totally feel you here Rob! Part of the shortcomings with the lens you see here are my own, which is why I pointed out that it's actually really easy to take a crap photo with the lens. It's was definitely designed with a singular, small-ish focal point in mind (a face) but I just really wanted to see if I could make it work outside that.

I'll need more practice until I'm really happy with the results, and shooting a car with the lens is a whole new ballgame. I finally found it quite nice for some of the detail shots but as you pointed out, easy to miss the mark. Certainly satisfying when you nail it, though, and the lens allows you another level of creativity on top of what you're doing already so it's really fun to use.


Nah - I can only take so many supra and skyline builds.

Speed does take many forms. But they are diluting their brand. Lots of things are fast. What's next? Trains, plains, bicycles? They're better off building a sister site.

SH has shown itself to be creative and interesting. There's lots of room for them to expand besides doing features on the same two types of cars all the time. How about articles on speed hunting culture rather than the cars themselves or articles about fabrication techniques and tools. There would be lots of advertising opportunities.


I definitely hear you but, in fairness, that's what's to be expected at some of the major shows we've been covering of late. And those stories always do well here, so it's hard to argue with that. We post very little motorcycle content, and I would also say we focus on the culture a lot more than other similar magazines, that is, if they're even still around. Even stories on the new Supra are also a commentary on the culture around them, which is why each Supra feature is much deeper than a mod list and another Supra... Definitely a balance to be struck, though.

Anyway, how 'bout an piece on old-school metal forming techniques? I shot something with Ron Covell a couple years back for a magazine that suddenly decided to stop being a magazine. Maybe I should post it up here. In the meantime, you might enjoy my articles from KoogleWerks: http://www.speedhunters.com/tag/kooglewerks/


Trevor thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to reply to each comment. It's very telling about your character that you care enough to address everyone's comments and concerns.


Is that red bike with the silver tank a Hodaka Ace 100? Sure looks like one.