texasmonthly.com: I understand this was a joint project with your son Stu. Describe how the two of you got involved with this photo shoot.
Wyatt McSpadden: Stuart’s an avid cyclist, and we needed a rider who wouldn’t break the budget.
texasmonthly.com: Did your son assist you with any of the photography? And what was your most inspired, joint idea?
WM: Stuart’s been assisting me for years, and he helped when he could, and we certainly discussed what we wanted to do as we traveled. For example, I had Stu riding over and over in front of a great sunset, doing a lot of different, interesting gestures.
texasmonthly.com: Who were your subjects?
WM: Stu and a fellow who lives in Amarillo, Gary Wixom, who was kind enough to come and ride in the Palo Duro Canyon.
texasmonthly.com: Did you follow your subjects as they rode the trails, or did you have them repeatedly ride by you and your camera?
WM: We were on asphalt roads; this is not mountain or trail biking, but road biking. I rigged a camera to the vehicle and tracked the bike. We had a driver on a couple of sessions, and I followed or led the bikes.
texasmonthly.com: What shot proved most painstaking?
WM: Rigging the camera to the bike, which made it very difficult for Stu to ride safely.
texasmonthly.com: What was the most challenging aspect of the assignment?
WM: Travel and time constraints. We drove from Austin to Fort Davis to Amarillo to Palestine to Austin in five days. I probably shot 500 photos, which took six days and 1,200 miles.
texasmonthly.com: Were you focusing more on the biker or the scenery? And what landscapes proved most photogenic?
WM: Some of each. With their cool temperatures, the Davis Mountains, at 5,000 feet in elevation, were a welcome relief from the August temps in central Texas, plus it’s just grand scenery.