A Daily Commute with @rbehner

Nearly every day for the past six years, Colorado Instagrammer Ryan Behner (@rbehner) has commuted by bike to work. About a year ago, he started posting daily pre-commute self-portraits right outside his house, facing east with his bike in hand. “When I started mixing commuting with my other passion of photography, the series kind of materialized on its own,” he says. Ryan’s Instagram photos serve as a visual diary of the past year and the progression of his style. “If you look back at my stream, you’ll see it started with me drinking coffee on the curb and watching the sun rise. Then as sunrise got later and later, it switched to being right as I left for work. From there I started experimenting and iterating.”

For Ryan, the best part of his year-long photo challenge has been the reactions of other Instagrammers. “The response to the shots has been far greater than I could have imagined, especially as I am getting towards the end of my goal. The beginning was just an experiment, seeing if I could take a shot of myself everyday as I headed off to work. Then I slowly I started to run out of ideas and poses, and I’d have to try something new right on the spot. The feedback from my friends and local followers is really what motivated me to keep it going and to keep experimenting every morning, no matter how silly I looked out on the curb in front of the passing cars.”

Want to start your own series like Ryan? Here are his tips:

  • Learn to count to 10. “All of my shots are taken with a 10-second timer. This guarantees countless takes and embarrassing poses to sift through to get to the final gem where I actually hit the timer right on.”
  • Know your sunlight. “Trying to find the position and pose that perfectly blocks the sun from the camera and have it still look good is a fun task every morning. It’s either a perfectly silhouetted shot, or a lens flare explosion of nothing. I’m looking forward to the later sunrises where I can start playing without the sun in the direct field of view, my eyes will also thank me.”
  • Find a safe and stable place for your device. “My street goes from being divided by a double yellow to a huge median filled with trees. Thus I use the curb of the median every day to set my camera on and take the shot. It’s kind of how I get away with doing what I do, the traffic splits around me every day, and I just sit in a little pocket and goof off every morning.”