It is interesting to see how my preconceived idea of how I would tackle this assignment has fallen by the wayside in almost all respects. Hoping to extract entire bicycles from their backgrounds with a long lens and wide aperture has proved impossible with the equipment available and calculation suggests that it is impossible (or at least problematic) in any event.
If I want to do a typology of bicycles, I suspect that it would be best achieved by removing a group of bikes to a studio, rather than trying to ‘collect’ them ‘in the wild’ which seems to be the object of this assignment.
I have had some more success in isolating detail features, which has promise for a pictorial panel of prints.
Alternatively, I could ‘collect’ a particular type of feature. I had considered rear hubs and derailleur mechanisms, but these give the image an incomplete look as there is always some drive-chain leading out of frame to the right.
My ‘eureka’ moment was the decision to include complete drive-trains, (front and rear chainwheels, gear mechanisms, pedals and enough rear wheel to make contact with the ground. This places my viewpoint rather further away (about 1.5m) and the depth of field at f/8 (or at f/5.6, which is the best my standard zoom can manage at the 42mm (84mm equivalent) end of its range) is too great too isolate the subject.
I have therefore turned to the short end of my telephoto-zoom, 50mm (100mm equivalent) at f/2.8
This has promise, but I can understand why the Bechers chose to use flat lighting for their typologies. A further tour of the bike parks this evening should yield the images that I need.
Some work will be required in post-processing, to make my intent clear. A reduction to monochrome may be too much (especially as I used a monochrome set for Assignment 1) but a reduction of vibrance, coupled with opening-up the shadows and increasing clarity, gives an interesting look.