Tag Archives: Sydney

Interview: Rob Hamilton, Motorcycle Photographer

Like Deus ex Machina, the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride and sweating while riding, Rob Hamilton and his ‘MotoFeelz’ brand is a staple of the Sydney motorcycle scene. If you’ve seen a post on a certain, very popular, custom bike blog about a cool Sydney bike, chances are the photos were taken by Rob. And don’t get me started about his Instagram channel. It’s top shelf.

But like all great content creators, we don’t often get to hear about why they do what they do. They are oftentimes so busy making content about the subjects they love, they’ll leave their own stories by the side of the road. So in an effort to rectify this, we wrestled Rob off his bike, took away his keys and forced him to answer a few personal questions. Here’s what he said.

Motorcyclists on a freeway

Can you introduce yourself?

Hey! My name is Rob Hamilton. I’m a Sydney-based professional musician, photographer and now YouTuber for my sick lil moto brand, ‘Moto Feelz.’

Where are you right now?

Right now I’m in my office wearing my dressing gown. It’s getting damn cold here. Before this I was replying to a bunch of emails, preparing a few shoots and getting ready to set up my new home flash studio. Exciting times ahead!

Motorcyclists rides a Triumph Bonneville on a road in Sydney

What is it about motorcycle photography that inspires you?

It’s the challenge of trying to capture the feeling that riding a motorcycle brings. I was a late bloomer when it came to riding, and photography for that matter. Mum never wanted me to ride after all the accidents my dad has had over the years, but I was always fascinated by them.

Being in the music scene, I didn’t know anyone else that rode a moto. I was a complete loner and was witnessing one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. I wanted others to know what they were missing out on and so I started shooting different kinds of motos including the lifestyle, culture and art behind the builds. Now a whole bunch of my muso mates bought bikes and are frothing.

Motorcyclist with a Retro helmet at dusk

What makes for a great motorcycle photo?

Location is important. Mostly it needs to relate to the style of the bike. Also lighting; if the moto has some mega chrome on it then you don’t wanna be out in the direct sun. I prefer shadows or clouds to shoot with. Adding the rider in with unique moto gear that matches the bike always adds another level of emotion to the snap.

Motorcyclists on a Harley-Davidson Livewire in Sydney

What are your go-to camera and lens combos?

I’ve been rocking my Canon 5D MK IV and either my 35mm Sigma ART 1.4 or my Canon 70-200mm 2.8 for quite some time. I love the compression of the 70-200mm but the thing is HUGE and it can get pretty weighty on the back when going for a ride longer than 30 minutes. I occasionally bring my 16-35mm 2.8 for when I shoot my rolling shots due to space limitations, but it’s so wide, it can warp the image and make the bike look all whack.

Motorcyclists and scrambler bike standing stationary on sand at dusk in Sydney

Describe your dream outdoor shoot location.

This is a tough one. Time is always at sunset. Always. It’d be during Autumn so we’re not freezing or dying of heat. Bike and place? I have always dreamed of being asked to shoot for Arch Motorcycles and hang out with Keanu Reeves in the Californian desert, kicking up heaps of dust. Maybe replace the Arch with something more 1200 Scrambler style with massive, aggressive tyres and epic lights. Just as long as Keanu is riding it!

Triumph Scrambler Motorcycle at dusk parked by the side of the road in Sydney

What bikes do you own?

I own a Triumph Street Scrambler that I bought new in September 2018. Since then, I have customised it with a new spray job, pipes, fabrication, suspension, lights, tyres and more. It looks and sounds the absolute business, but it was also a bike that I wanted to ride every day. Last year I went on a massive 5000km ride around New South Wales, where I dropped it a few times and put a few cred marks on her, but I’m totally cool with it.

That’s the vibe I’m going for. I want it to look used and semi-beaten. It is a scrambler after all. Saying this though, I do take very good care of the scram and learnt pretty fast that parts are expensive, so I bought myself a 2003 Yamaha WR450F for practising my off-road shenanigans.

Motorcyclists wearing helmet and jacket at dusk in Sydney

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Make sure you do this for you. If your sole purpose is to gain a massive following or get heaps of likes then you will most likely fail. Passion is the winner in this industry. Where there’s passion, there’s motivation. And where there’s motivation, there’s nothing stopping you and you will win.

A MV Agusta Brutale motorcycle on an industrial road at sunset

A good question to ask yourself is, “if I had all the money in the world what would I be doing?” Yeah, I’d have a blast exploring the world (not that we really can at the mo) and blowing coin on the best hypercars, but ultimately I’d still have my camera in my hand, taking photos of dope bikes and making Youtube vids. Oh, and still playing music.

Motorcycle rider stand next to their Triumph Scrambler at dusk

Social media and photography. Match made in heaven or hell?

Social media helps photographers in so many ways. It helps inspire, it’s informative and it’s somewhere for photographers to share and display their work with the world. On the flip, it can also discourage photographers by them comparing their work negatively with others or become a trap where you only end up shooting for the ‘Gram’ and the likes, rather than for yourself. I could go on for ages about this but it’s mindset dependent.

Motorcyclists rides through a tunnel

What do you like to do when you’re not taking photos?

Making videos! Seriously, it’s something that I’m enjoying as much as taking photos. Did I mention I have a YouTube channel? Also, I enjoy working on my bike, riding with mates, hanging with my girlfriend Romina and playing music, along with having a solid Xbox session with the boiz.

All photos by Rob Hamilton – Instagram | Web

Rob Hamilton Moto Feelz Photo Gallery

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Sydney tests recycled concrete road

Riders concerned about road surfaces and maintenance may be interested in a test Sydney City Council is running with concrete made with recycled material.

Council has installed a short 30m test section consisting of 15m of traditional concrete and 15m of recycled “geopolymer” on Wyndham Street, Alexandria, a heavy use road to the airport.

The geopolymer material is made using industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel factories mixed with concrete.

Council seems more concerned about scoring greenie points with their recycling, but riders will be more interested in its traction and wear capabilities.

Concrete concerns

We asked council whether it had been tested for suitability for two-wheeled vehicles, given riders are the most concerned about road surfaces of any road user.

A City of Sydney spokesperson assured us the surface of geopolymer “is just like traditional concrete”.

While concrete usually has good traction in the dry, it can be slippery in the wet.

However, the spokesperson says the road pavement of the Wyndham St trial has been “broom finished”.

Concrete road surface
Workers pour the geopolymer concrete (Image: City of Sydney)

“This finish allows for small ridges in the pavement that increases traction, meaning bike riders’ braking and steering controls are not compromised,” she says.

Depending on how it is laid and the materials used, concrete is often considered longer lasting with better traction (at least in the dry), but also noisier and more expensive.

The latter is the main reason it is not used more extensively.

Use of recycled materials makes concrete a more attractive proposition.

However, concrete is also laid in slabs which can shift and create ridges between them that can destabilise a motorcycle.

In this case, the road is already made of slabs.

Uni monitors

Nine sensors have been positioned under the surface to monitor and compare how the geopolymer material performs.

UNSW Sydney researchers will monitor the road performance for up to five years.

Professor Stephen Foster, Head of School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, describes the trial as “a huge step forward” but he is talking about the recycling component.

“This trial will help drive step change in the industry. Many concrete companies are already doing a lot to change, but this trial really gives it another push,” Professor Foster says.

“Research into geopolymer has been undertaken since the ‘90s, but it’s only now that it’s starting to be commercialised. 

“While we’ll monitor the road performance for up to five years, a lot of the data collected in the first three to 12 months of this world-first trial will be used to confirm our models and strengthen our predictions.”

Geopolymer is made from fly ash and blast furnace slag and generates 300kg of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared with the 900kg from traditional cement production.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com