Fashion photographer Bill Cunningham said “when it rains, it’s a whole different scene.” This is also true when riding a bicycle through puddles.
Dealing with puddles in cities like Toronto is a bit different than in Amsterdam. You may have to contend with getting violently sprayed by cars next to you. In Amsterdam, separated bike lanes helps you avoid getting splashed but puddles tend to easily form after a heavy rainfall.
On this particular day along Marnixstraat, I was able to avoid the puddle. But only as a result of witnessing others ahead of me veer off the path. Curious if others would do the same, I paused for a moment to watch. It was late morning rush hour, so there was still a steady stream of bicyclists who simply mimicked the rider ahead of them and rode on the sidewalk.
Later in the afternoon, I was riding in the opposite direction. From the corner of my eye, I noticed someone hit the puddle at full speed much to their surprise while causing a tsunami of water in all directions. Since traffic was sporadic, there was no follow the leader mentality and they simply saw it too late.
Capturing bicyclists riding through puddles
The time of day provided me an opportunity to capture some interesting shots of candid life. I unassumingly stood nearby and shot unsuspecting bicyclists as they rode into the puddle.
Nearly everyone raised their feed as a natural instinct to avoid the water. Only one person rode through it slowly while still pedaling. The most enjoyable part of capturing this series was watching bicyclists hit the water at variable speeds only to be matched by a myriad of facial expressions.
Puddles are fun
Riding a bicycle through puddles is a fairly common occurrence in Amsterdam. If anything, it adds a little amusement and variety to a commute. If you’re not keen on doing it yourself, perhaps it can be an opportunity to get some great candid shots of people, or even do some reflection shots.