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The expert guide to gadgets

Sarah Storey – Cyclist
Technology in cycling has a mass of implications:  Global Amend wheels, frames, helmets and the power-to-weight aspect of frame and rider have to be taken into account, and each rider has a jigsaw puzzle to put together to reach their optimum. Technology is enhancing certain aspects of cycling, but it isn’t replacing skill. The faster a bike goes and the more technology it has, the greater your skill base has to be to cope with that technology and speed. Computing the messages that are coming at you at high speed takes huge neurological effort, so we train overspeed using motorpacing to ensure that we can receive and process the messages that our eyes are taking in.

Sarah Storey gadgets


1. Boardman Air/TT 9.89
In terms of technology and dimensions, Boardman‘s time trial bikes are very similar to the bike I rode to win my first gold medal in Beijing. I now ride a bespoke bike engineered by the UK Sports Institute and developed by Chris Boardman and other members of the ‘Secret Squirrel’ club.
The technology is so secret and specific that not even the athletes are involved, but the R&D that has gone into my frame ensures the aerodynamics are the best they can be within the rules and the frame is stiff to channel the power into propelling the bike forwards., £1,699

2. Shimano Di2 electronic gears
Because I don’t have a left hand, I have to do everything on the right-hand side of the handlebars, so shifting takes longer. Normally someone would change the front ring and back gears simultaneously with either hand, whereas now, with a swift movement of one hand, I can perform the same action in almost the same time. In a race with lots of twisty, up-and-down roads and hairpins it’s a godsend.
Parts shown are Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 derailleurs (£269.99 and £449.99) and dual control levers (£449.99), parts shown are Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 derailleurs (£269.99 and £449.99) and dual control levers (£449.99)

3. Rolf race wheels are a personal preference as are the tubulars you run on them and the pressure within them, which affect the balance and the handling of the bike. We chose Rolf because they’re very light and they use their own hub-and-spoke setup for the front, with no flexing in the wheel, no energy lost and no unnecessary vibration in the spokes.
• 2pure, 0844 811 2001. Wheels pictured are Rolf Ares 8, POA

4. SRM PowerMeter
This is one of the most helpful pieces of technology for a cyclist: without it I’d be training and racing blind. There are strain-gauges inside the crank, which measure the power you’re producing, and it also measures the cadence and records speed, altitude and temperature. It means you can analyse every ride down to each pedal-stroke to work out how efficient you’re being and how much more power you’ll need to go quicker up climbs. And it all feeds back to you instantly, the box on your handlebars tells you what you’re doing at that moment, so you can compute that constantly in your own mind. It’s really the brains of the bike, and the challenge is how you can utilise the information to ride most effectively., POA

5. REN skincare
Skin can be highly stressed by environment, and mine suffered for years firstly from chlorine when I was a swimmer and now the elements outdoors. These products contain no parabens and no sulphates., from £15

6. CNP nutritional supplements
Due to the number of calories an athlete burns, it would be impossible to take on sufficient nutrition from ordinary food and still have time to do any training. The nutrition in these supplements is condensed and very high quality. The research for the supplements was done in conjunction with British cycling., sample gels from £1.30
In photography, the jump from film to digital changed everything – not only the look of the image but the way you work and the way you share the result. Personally, I have found it incredibly liberating; digital photography is more collaborative and allows everyone to get involved on set. Models, stylists and make-up artists all get to see their work on camera while we’re shooting and be part of the process, and I can edit what I’m shooting while I’m shooting, which helps me to work more efficiently. Digital post-production enables me to achieve effects in seconds that would take ages to achieve manually. The downside is you have a load of untalented people who now think they can take photos.

There is a clear distinction between being an Instagrammer and being a photographer. I use Instagram every day and think it’s fun to play around with filters, but when I’m shooting on set I like to keep an image as real as possible – capturing as much as I can within the frame and minimalising post-production. I don’t think post-processing is something to be viewed negatively, but I think people should feel comfortable enough to go filter-free as well.

The use of different filters is all part of the trend itself – the vintage look links to people’s nostalgia for film. I still like film; I always will, as I worked in it for so many years, and although I have fully embraced digital, I understand and remember the excitement of the big reveal when you develop photographs. Photography students should learn on both digital and film. Each can teach them so much.

rankin gadgets
1. H20 Audio Surge 2G Waterproof Sport Headphones
This isn’t really a photography gadget, it’s for listening to books and music when I swim. I’ve loved swimming since childhood and this just enhances the experience., £34.99

2. Nokia 808 PureView
This is the best cameraphone on the market. I embrace mobile photography – if it gets people taking snaps then I’m all for it.
•, £359.99, handset only; newer Lumia 1020 model, from £599.99, handset only

3. GoPro Hero 3+ and remote control
The GoPro camera is great to use outside attached to something moving. It gives this incredible wide-angled view of the world, but is so small that you can put it nearly anywhere. So far I’ve just messed around with it – but I’ll find something to do with it eventually., £353.99 for both

4. Leica S-System
This is now my preferred camera: it’s easier to use, the lenses are the best in the world and the file sizes and detail are closer to a medium format than a 35mm. They’re just the best for what they are., body £16,000, lenses from £3,410

5. Lensbaby Spark

The Lensbaby is something to have fun with. It’s like using a more convenient and simpler tilt and shift, which makes areas of the plane go out of focus. It’s fairly difficult to master and is very unpredictable, but some results you can get are astonishing., £72

A major retrospective monograph of Rankin’s portraits, MORE, will be published on Friday by teNeues.

Leo Houlding – Mountaineer
Satellite communications have changed everything. People used to find their way with a sextant and a watch, but now with a GPS and half a day’s training, you can navigate across the Antarctic. Ultimately it’s much safer and more convenient, but at the same time it makes expeditions less adventurous. I spoke to my wife from the summit of Everest when she was on a beach in an obscure part of Indonesia. That was amazing, but the negative side comes when I can no longer tell my loved ones no news is good news.

Does GPS mean the world is completely discovered? You’re not going to find the highest mountain in the world or another North Pole. The north-east face of Ulvetanna in Antarctica, however, where we went this year and where I used all the technology I’ve listed below, was unclimbed. There’s a whole world of more subtle challenges to discover and modern technology opens those doors.

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