Dakar: most epic motorcycle race on Earth. Dakar: too big, too wild and too much for even its organizers to cover effectively. A list of names next to a list of times does little to capture the sheer magnitude of the undertaking. 5,000km, off-road, in 14 days. A minute-long video recap can’t do it justice, but somehow, frozen in time, images seem too.
Take this shot for example. That’s just a top-down image of Juan Pedrero sliding his KTM 450 Rally on the very edge of a hundred foot precipice. An inch further and he’d be dead. Here’s nine more like it.
Photos: Red Bull/KTM
Francisco Lopez, on his Aprilia RXV450, powers his way through a depression full of soft sand. All that is being kicked up by just his little rear tire alone.
This one is similar to what we try to do with photography on HFL. It's not just a big going fast, the bike is just one object that's part of a landscape, conveying a real sense of unique location and experience that's about way more than high shutter speeds and close crops.
Uncommon perspective always helps make a good photo, as do interesting scenery and contrasting colors. You almost don't notice that the rider is sitting down, just cruising. It's this kind of alien landscape that makes Dakar photos so unique.
The two secrets to an iconic Dakar image? Scope and speed. This image has both, drama is created by the dust cloud, clearly conveying that the bike is hauling ass, through a barren valley in the absolute middle of nowhere. If I could do something like this every day, I'd be a happy boy indeed.
All 10 shots are available as high-res desktop wallpapers in the gallery.