During our recent trip to Texas, on the way home to San Diego, we stopped by Kathleen’s brother’s home and posed him on his Harley Davidson. We were experimenting with a few ideas that we will perfect for a photo shoot in San Diego this weekend. We will be using some off camera flash techniques using our powerful Quantum Q-Flash, perhaps an SB-600 Speedlight for background fill, some light modifiers and all on location close to Coronado Bridge. We have found that most Biker Shots are against garage doors, boring backgrounds (mostly Non-Pro), or in a full-blown Studio with complex lighting and often with a scantily dressed Models straddling the Bike. (Our Mother of will be doing our Security Detail)…..We will be doing something different!
Now a bit about this Bike, the venerable Harley and its universally recognizable sound!
The classic Harley-Davidson engines are V-Twin Engines, each with a 45° angle between the cylinders. The crankshaft has a single pin, and both pistons are connected to this pin through their connecting rods. This 45° angle is covered under several US Patents and is an engineering tradeoff that allows a large, high-torque engine in a relatively small space. It causes the cylinders to fire at uneven intervals and produces the choppy “potato-potato” sound so strongly linked to the Harley-Davidson brand.
To simplify the engine and reduce costs, the V-twin ignition was designed to operate with a single set of points and no distributor. This is known as a dual fire ignition system, causing both spark plugs to fire regardless of which cylinder was on its compression stroke, with the other spark plug firing on its cylinder’s exhaust stroke, effectively “wasting a spark”. The exhaust note is basically a throaty growling sound with some popping. The 45° design of the engine thus creates a plug firing sequencing as such: The first cylinder fires, the second (rear) cylinder fires 315° later, then there is a 405° gap until the first cylinder fires again, giving the engine its unique sound. Cool. eh?
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Kathleen and Erik