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Monday, December 3, 2012

All Good Things...

The venerable Concours (C10) out on the Parkway last summer.

A couple of weeks ago the inevitable happened - someone answered my Craigslist ad where I had listed my Y2K Concours for sale...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Brisk Fall Ride...

Riding in cold-weather gear can make you feel like
the Michelin Man!
(or fixate on the number 20)

So, with sunny skies predicted and the thermometer hovering around 36 degrees, I decided I'd been on too long a riding hiatus (I mean, its been like, days) and scootered into work this morning. Living in the Southeast, figuring out how to stay cool while riding takes precedence over how to stay warm for me. But every year around this time, for the past 20 years exactly, I start thinking about getting some heated gloves as fall slips into the winter riding season. And for 20 years, I've not purchased a set yet. In the past, the excuses were money, complexity of hooking them up, money, general bulkiness, and money. But both the Concours, and now the FJR, have hookups that allow plug-and-play of electrical equipment, including heated apparel. So I guess its just the money holding me back now.

As it is, this morning was like every other cold start to a ride over the past 20 years - with me layering up and feeling a bit like the man on the bike in the above image. Being born and raised in the great white north, my tolerance for cold is a bit better than most, so my layers this morning just consisted of my normal riding jacket, pants, and boots, supplemented by the jacket's windproof liner. To that I added a quilted insulated liner scavenged from my old Motoport jacket, winter gloves, and a neck gaiter that was hand-knitted for me by a friend while she rode pillion with her husband as we all rode down to Daytona, just about 20 years ago.
All of that was more than sufficient for the mere 20 mile commute, and I even took the long way this morning. For the same reasons I like riding in the rain sometimes, riding in the cool air gives me a concrete sense of where "I" end, and the universe begins, as the cold air or rain (or both!) press up against me and define my place in the physical world; kinda like a human-shaped cookie cutter.

The roads were dry and clear of leaves, traffic was light on the secondary I added to the route (old NC10), and the FJR's engine was liking the cool dense air as I accelerated quicker out of each turn. It was only thirty minutes or so of riding, but it was the best thirty minutes of riding I've done in awhile.
I arrived at work pumped, refreshed, and grinning, and as I doffed some of my gear to stow in the cases, it was nice to feel the heat coming off the bike in the still air, while the engine ticked and pinged as it cooled down. Glad I geared up, glad I took the bike today, glad 36 degrees isn't too cold, and thankful the ride was quick-paced, fun, and safe.
But as soon as my hands warm up around my coffee mug, I may have to google some heated gloves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Guest Blogger: Crostini and Chianti

If you're a motorcyclist doing any kind of long distance touring, you've most likely had to make-do at some point regarding sourcing some grub when out on the road. Our guest today is my friend Greg, from "Crostini and Chianti", who shares turning a quick convenient store find into a hot meal, to keep you going till you reach that late night hotel or campsite far from home. Greg's blog features "Healthy food with an Italian Influence", but some Irish influences have been creeping in recently as well. I especially like that I can easily follow and replicate Greg's recipes. 
Here's his recipe for  "Flamin' Frito Frijoles":

Featured Bike: Honda GB500

1989 GB500
Came across this photo in my archives. This is my very own 1989 GB500, back when it sported a Supertrapp exhaust (very loud but added a few extra ponies). The GB500 is a single-cylinder motorcycle, sometimes called "thumpers" due to the unique sound of a single piston engine: "thump...thump...thump". There used to be a retro-diner north of me headed into Virginia. They had these vintage (or vintage styled) gas pumps out front. One evening ride, I had brought my camera and caught this photo. This was back in the film days folks (wayyy back in like, 2000) so this was shot on Fuji Velvia on a Nikon F3 High Eyepoint with normal lens.
I still have this bike, although the Supertrapp rusted out long ago and the Stockers are back on it. Still very cool though. Just thought I'd share.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big Ride - Interlude

Bro and Dad at Portland Head Light

We've taken a break from updating the blog, due to the fact that Quebec City just kicked our butts, in a good way (up early, out late) and I haven't been able to get a blog update out till after 4am, and then getting up again at 6am after a quick nap - at this point I just need some sleep in order to be a good ride captain. This morning (Day 9) we had breakfast in Rutland VT, stopped in Bennington VT to look at some covered bridges, and made it just south of Harrisburg, PA for dinner. A pretty long day.

Rest assured - Dad's bike was fixed in Vermont, and the repair seems to have solved the throttle non-response - its been humming along ever since. We lost several hours due to that repair, and have been running behind about 60 miles behind schedule since leaving Quebec (we're currently in Harrisburg PA, and should be home by late afternoon Sunday)

I'll have days 7, 8 and 9 as soon as we take the wheels off when we get home. We're all missing family and friends at this point, and due to NY and PA traffic, ready to be home.

BTW - The rumours are true - there IS a video in the middle of the Day 5, you just need to click it to play it (to see me pretending to go fast).

Also, its very helpful to the author for you to leave comments on this blog, if you are so inclined.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Big Ride - Day One

Friday, June 15th - getting ready to start the 558 miles of the first leg from Hillsborough, NC to Port Jervis NY

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I know I've got some baggage..

When looking to fit a topcase on my newly acquired FJR1300, the FJRforum was invaluable in discerning whether to go with the Givi 357 full rack, or just use the universal plate adapter. Based on feedback regarding stress to the rear subframe, I decided to go with the perceived strength of the 357 (for more details on this history, search the FJRforum), but was worried a little about looks in replacing the color matched tail rack with a rather industrial looking rack. I've always been a "function over form" person so I wasn't too worried, but couldn't find a lot of photos that revealed to me exactly what I might be in for. So, here's some "before and after" photos so others might benefit:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Au Natural...pt1

Its all about the light, and in this first installment of Nature Photography tips, we look at some basic tools to enhance your nature photography, and some simple ways to modify light...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The good old days...weren't

Like a lot of folks, I tend to wax nostalgically about the good old days, when I was younger, girls were prettier and my photography was more fun. But was it really that way?

I have a small collection of old film cameras, many of which I've used extensively, in a glass case in my home. Of these, there are a select few that I really, really enjoyed using, and I still miss the feel of holding those cameras, winding the cranks, thumbing the focus, and how each was a unique experience to use. Using my old Nikon F3, for instance, was vastly different than either the Yashicamat or Speed Graphic, and here you get a sense of why that was...

Nikon F3 (Google Images)

Yashicamat (Google Images)

Speed Graphic (google Images)

Obviously, very, very different machines from one another, and none of them remotely like the auto-everything, slick as a baby's butt modern cameras we have today.
But as much as I loved these machines, I just can't see ever going back to using film. Its not the waiting for development, or the inability to "chimp" the photo on the LCD screen that makes me feel this way. In addition to the fact that digital is just plain sharper, and gives me more detail than film ever did (and yeah, I'm including Kodachrome 25, Fuji Velvia etc etc), my biggest reason for ditching film is the freedom from the dangers and mess of the chemical darkroom.

As much as I'm a "materials and processes" guy, and trained at R•I•T in the imaging sciences back when chemical photography was all there was, I don't miss trading the chemical fog of the darkroom for the "lightroom" that is my computer. I just wish I could place a digital sensor into any of my old machines and still use them, but negate their chemical dependancy. (I theoretically could do that with the Speed Graphic, ironically about the oldest camera I own, by placing a large format digital-back in its Graflex Holder. Albeit for about $20,000, that's not a practical option for me)

Tangentially related, as a very young person, I melted a mixture of lead, tin, and old typeface to make the pigs for the Linotype and Mergenthaler machines at a hot type printer in Buffalo, NY in the early 1980's. They were still running Meihle's, Hiedelberg Windmills, and a couple of Kelly "C" presses well into the 1990's, and may still be for all I know.
It was dangerous stuff. One guy had lost a finger in a Kluge hand-feed press right before I arrived, I myself was crushed by a truck in the loading dock, requiring 5 surgeries in all, and the Linotype guy lost a thumb to a type-trim saw while I was in the hospital from my own accident. Yeah...those were the days.

Here's a video I found on YouTube that shows some of the actual presses I worked with, and around, in those days. Watch out especially for the guy using the hand-feed press, you can see how easy it would be to leave your hand in there:

Now, this stuff was more mechanical, industrial and dangerous than my photography ever was. And it was my being injured in printing that led me to attend R•I•T for photography, even though I continued to work in printing for another 20 years. My point being, that while I miss certain physical and mechanical aspects of the old days of photography (and printing), I'm also really happy that we have safer ways of creating an image.

And creating images is what its all about.
Be Safe.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Today's Levitation

There's a teenager in Japan, Natsumi Hayashi, a self-trained photographer who took a simple idea and ran with it. I love her photos for their simplicity and testament to hard-work and perseverance. She takes hundreds of photos jumping, trying to get just the right pose to make it appear as if she's actually levitating. Her work reminds me of the levitation in such films as "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Hero".

Allen Murabayashi, of Photoshelter, had this to say about her and her work, and I totally agree: "lots of people take homage shots, but they’re just jumping in the air. They don’t levitate. They don’t jump 100 times for the perfect image. They don’t do it over the course of a few years to make it their own. She’s just a girl with a camera, and then all of a sudden she got a gallery show and a 5D, and I was really psyched for her. Her photos inspired me to levitate, and what could be a greater gift?"

Maybe her hard work will inspire to you go that extra step in pursuing your idea of a great photograph.Her work is here, enjoy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Of Motorcycles, Moose, and Missiles

My Father, brother and I are all long-time motorcycle pilots, and while we've had an opportunity to ride pretty long distances one with the other, we've never all-three ridden together at all for any distance, as far as I can remember.
Soooo, one of my resolutions this year was to spur interest in a Long-Distance (LD) father/son motorcycle ride with just the three of us.
Initial ideas ran from the Grand Canyon, to California, to Prudhoe Bay Alaska (okay, that one was solely my idea and no one bit), riding the Gulf Coast, and Ozark Mtns.
But after only a few email exchanges, it became obvious where we must go:
Caribou, Maine.
Why here, at the most northeastern city in the US, deep thru the North Woods where the moose, black fly and jumbo mosquitoes lie?
Its a bit of a long story...
Without telling too much on my Dad, he met my Mom while stationed at a Nike Missile Base in New York in the early sixties. Soon after they were married, I was born and the next 50 years or so are history.
But, my Dad also had the option of being stationed in Caribou, Maine at a Missile base there. He chose New York because it was populated by more than the occasional Moose, but there's always been that "what if"?  Choice of location was a bit of a "Scylla and Charybdis" affair for my Dad, as he was born and raised in the Southeast, and I think having to choose between either Upstate NY or Maine was like having to choose between either getting an enema or having your teeth pulled without novocaine.
As the ride is partially in honor of my Dad's 70th birthday, and because he's probably mentioned Caribou, Maine after every marital spat, new kid, blizzard, or some other reason, every year since I can remember, we figured it was about time we went and checked this place out.
At this point, I've mapped out the final route, and it looks like we'll be doing about 3,000 miles (never touching I-95!) in about 10 days round trip, starting in mid-June. And we've thrown in a "side trip" to Quebec City to boot.
We hope to have the chance to visit one of the better preserved Nike Missile Base remnants while there, as well as take in the Maine Coastline. I plan to post the bulk of our trip day-by-day in June so you can follow along with us. More in June...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That close, fuzzy feeling I get...

This is a wee bit of a followup to the "Fun in the Dark" and "Dare to be Square" posts, both of which employed "large" apertures. Here's a few tips on something else to do with all that "fast glass" in your hands:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hope you enjoy...

...this small gallery of some of my photos. I hope one or two might inspire you to go out and photograph something of your own.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wheels through Time...

The Wheels Through Time American Motorcyle Museum, in Maggie Valley NC, is the self-proclaimed home to the world's premier collection of rare American vintage motorcycles, and is usually closed for the winter season.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dare to be Square!

Back in the day - yipes! - I've reached the age where I say things like "back in the day...", it's just not fair...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fun in the Dark

Even among consenting adults, playing in the dark doesn't always work out the way you thought it would...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Of Mills and milling...

Last August, my lovely pillion ran down to her sister's for a quick visit, leaving me solo for a quick jaunt up to the Parkway, and Mabry mill...
Foggy start to the day's ride

Friday, January 13, 2012


I started this blog as a way to familiarize myself with myself. Join me in confronting the questions that arise from sometimes living life behind the viewfinder, or from the unique viewpoint of a helmet's faceshield. I look forward to hearing of your own experiences with photography and/or motorcycling as well (motography?)

Stay Tuned...