Saturday, November 23, 2019

Snapshots versus Photographs

Under comments in a previous posting, JerryM asked to see both the original photo and the finished image so he could see the changes made. Great suggestion, thanks for asking Jerry.

He's right, we all see wonderful photos everywhere, but are never shown what the camera initially captured. Only what the photographer wants us to see. So here are several examples of original and final images, gives you a peek behind the curtain so to speak.

 First going back to my previous posting, this was the early morning shot I took in Rancho de Taos. The camera being very sensitive, captured more light than was actually there at the time.
The colors were not as rich as I wanted for this early morning shot...

The final image, richer color, more shadows, less light. 
The power lines in the upper left corner were distracting, pulling your eye out of the photos, 
so removed them. The mission structure looked like a grey monolith, 
so darkened it to bring out the lights in the middle.  More contrast was needed.
 I wanted to highlight the tire tracks in the dusty road as they lead your eyes into the image... 
now it has more of that crisp cold pre-dawn morning feel.

Note: If you want cold, add more blue, if you want warmth, add more yellow. 

This late afternoon shot was okay as is, but the car was distracting and the sky was dull.

Cropped the photo, applied a sky accent to the clouds that the camera had captured, 
then lowered the color saturation to accentuate the setting sun.

Here we have an early morning empty dirt street, with a street light still on in the distance. 
Has an old Mexico feeling but not quite there.

Converted the image to an old tintype print to age it, took out the color, cropped it and gave it depth.

Here is another typical raw image. 
Was trying to get a good angle shot of the Isleta Mission south of Albuquerque, 
but this stranger kept standing or walking into my shots. Was hot, middle of the day, not a good time to be taking photos anyways.

With a cloudless sky, had nothing to work with up there. 
When you get lemons, make lemonade.

So crop the sides, convert to higher contrast B&W... Done.

And that is the amount of post processing I do. Some shots need a lot of work to bring out the desired look or feel. Others are a simple click, click and you're done. 

So what is the difference between a snapshot and a photograph?

 In my mind, a snapshot serves to offer information about people, objects, location, etc., i.e. facts.
 It gives information to the viewer. Like this shot of my rig at a I-10 rest area in southern New Mexico. Not a particular attractive image but it provides details to the viewer about the type of trees in the area, the weather, the bike, etc.  A snapshot...

Now this next is a photograph of the same sidecar rig, color was enhanced, image cropped, sharpness increased, warmth added. Doesn't really tell you who, what or where.

This image was accepted for a national publication and featured in their calendar. 
The snapshot above would have been rejected. 

The first image gives you information, the second is eye candy. 

Thanks for following along.

Ride safe, take lots of photos my friends


Thursday, November 21, 2019

More Photo Tweaks

NOTE: If you wish to leave a comment, 
try using the Chrome browser. 
Using Safari will not allow comments on 
this Google Blog platform. You write them and they disappear. I never see them.

Did you know that if you click on the images, it will expand the image to the size of your screen?

And now for some newly edited or tweaked photos...

First some street scenes:

A New Day Dawning...

 Autumn Setting Moon 

Coffee's on...

Carved Door

Looking in on St Francis

Now for some of the old and new missions...


Crisp and clean, Our Lady

 Come on in. Gate's always open.

 Old Sandia Mission
Some structures lend themselves to a particular look or feel...

The Good, the Bad, th...
Can you hear the jingle of spurs,
the metallic spin of a six shooter,
a slow Mexican guitar...
a body lies face down in the dust.

Setting Sun
Fading warmth..

For telling a story or giving trip information, those are pics. My philosophy for photography is the image should evoke a feeling, an emotion or tell a story. There are millions and millions of beautiful images out there that have no feeling.  Eye candy. Calendar photos.
Many great images, even technically perfect images, but with no soul. 

In the motorcycle world, we have a saying: 
Four wheels moves the body. Two wheels moves the soul.  
That's what I'm searching for, to move your soul when you view my images. 

Still learning, practicing, having fun creating a particular look or feel,
 then trying another... there is no final destination, only the journey.

Life is a ride.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Learning to Tweak Photos

Been learning a few new techniques for post-editing one's photographs. Ansel Adams stated that good photographs are taken, great ones are made. He was known to spend hours and hours in the darkroom using chemicals and lights to tweak his photos until he was satisfied. 

Today we spend hours and hours staring at a computer screen striving to achieve Ansel's look...   frequently falling short in the process. 

Here are few of my latest efforts to master the craft of post-editing... enjoy and critique at will. 

First what I call street portraits, 
or photos of people busy doing other things. 
Some of which you have seen, before I spent more time with them, tweaking.

 Stoic Elder

 The Stare


Eagle Feather Warrior

 Shy Maiden

Watching the older ones dance

Posed Photos or people posing for photographers

Title: Chatter in the dark... or GRIT.
I think I like GRIT better.

 Young beauty

Giving them the eye

The Real McCoy

To me what is most interesting are comments strangers will make.

On a hot dusty side street in Mora, New Mexico...

...this old sheepherder replied, when I asked how he was doing..." Waiting to die."

People are most interesting creatures.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Project Warthog: Fork Caps part II

The machinist delivered the new fork caps ready to install. They are exactly two inches longer than the original caps.

The owner who sold me the Rocket included the Triumph Service Manual, a godsend. 
The large O-ring tool on the table is critical to accomplish the task of compressing the fork spring and tightening the jam nut inside the fork. 

The spring retainer is needed to hold the spring down while the cap is screwed on to the center shaft. While waiting for the machinist, ordered heavy duty Progressive springs for the front forks. 

With both forks reassembled, we installed the front wheel with a new tire.  
The Rocket is ready for a test ride.

WOW !!!!  does that Rocket have power and torque.... it begs for a throttle roll on. 
It might never get higher than third gear with the sidecamper attached.  It could do wheelies even with a side camper attached, though I doubt I will try that....

Now to pull the sidecamper off of the Vstrom1000, the Beast. 

****    ****    ****   ****

Here the Beast with side camper on our return from Alaska in 2018. Texas Sidecars needs the side camper frame in prep to attach to the Warthog.

With the Beast on the lift, the camper comes off relatively easy.  Having the right tools and a lift, helped things along.

Now all four corners of the garage are occupied. 
Sorry honey, your car will have to stay outside for a few more days.

With the camper tub removed, the sidecar frame come off relatively quickly.  The dolly strapped to the near frame makes it easier to roll the big frame around. The big white tool box on the left is empty. The aluminum box on the right is the car battery holder,  now empty to lighten the weight.

Now to clean up the Vstrom in prep to sell it. Claude Stanley of Freedom Sidecars built a sturdy subframe and robust leading link front end for the Vstrom. Stroker supplied the aluminum wheels for the two 15" car tires.

Took the gas tank off in order to better access the K&N air filter. With it out of the way, was easier clean the filter and strip the auxiliary wiring from the bike. 

With the air filter off, one has to be VERY careful not to drop anything into the air intake throttles.  
Plugged them with shop towels. 

Then cleaned up the electrical area by removing all the extra wiring that powered lights on the sidecar, air horn, GPS, iPhone, etc. etc. The Power Commander stays on the bike.

The dilemma now is, do I try to sell the Vstrom without a sidecar or pick up an inexpensive sidecar to attach. Then the next owner can decide which route they want to take in building out their adventure rig. 

The few problems I had with this rig were with the aftermarket add-on stuff, not the bike itself.  The known weaknesses of the Vstrom1000 are the clutch basket and the clutch slave cylinder, both of which were replace and upgraded. 

Texas Sidecars does not have room in their shop for the Warthog and the side camper frame for another couple of weeks. They will be fabricating the Warthog's subframe then connecting the side camper frame to it before returning it to me in a couple of months. 

In the meanwhile I'll finish cleaning the Beast/Vstrom to sell to another Adventure Rider.



p.s. posted this on Within a few hours, had a buyer for the Beast/Vstrom.  He is driving down this weekend to pick it up. Better get scrubbing and have it ready for him. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Project Warthog - front forks

The last time we were here, had mounted both new tires ands new longer rear shocks. Now the rear end sits higher than the front. In order to level out the bike, the front needs to be raised. There are several options for doing that, the least expensive will be to install extensions on top of the front forks.

Discovered the Rocket 3 underwent a few changes mid-2011 model year. Mine is a later 2011 model. All of the aftermarket fork manufacturers have built for the early model Rockets, none for the later. So far no one has been able to tell me what changed with the front forks. Might be something important, or might be just a color change. Who knows?

Looks like a custom machine shop is needed. 

Today we removed the front wheel, fender, fork guards, brake calipers in order to remove the two front forks. Just to remove the two fork tube caps so a machine shop can make a two inch extensions. 

Kent and John from Texas Sidecars came over to see if they wanted to tackle the project of building a subframe for the Rocket. There are not many Rocket based sidecars out there to copy from, so one has to reinvent the 'wheel". After inspecting the Rocket, the side camper and the GSA/EZS rig, much discussion ensued. Finally they agreed to take on this project. 

They do all the welding and fabricating, I'll do the powder coating, wiring and plumbing. 

Texas Sidecar is based in Houston now, which is really nice. So between the three of us, we'll figure out how to make everything come together. 



Thursday, October 3, 2019

New Spanish Missions found

We came here to see the changing of the colors, but the brilliant yellow aspen colors will not appear in northern New Mexico for another week or so.  Did find a few small pockets where the leaves were just starting to change...

Love the smell of aspen after a rain.

In the meanwhile, visited a few new adobe missions and of course, revised my old standby...

St. Francis de Assis Mission in Rancho de Taos
Considered the most photographed church in all of New Mexico, maybe the US.

As the sun peeks over the distant Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the east, the rays illuminate the steeples as parishioners arrive for morning mass

Returned in the late afternoon... with a warming west sun.
 The gateway is always open for all to enter...

St. Francis de Assis at sunset
Note there is only one window on each the east and west sides of the building. 
One smaller window in the choir loft above the entrance faces south. 
There are no windows on the north walls. 

Three-quarters size statue of St Francis de Assis in the courtyard

Have tried unsuccessfully many times to capture this image of a St. Francis statue as seen thru the Mission's west window. The secret was to be there with a late afternoon sun.

St. Anthony Catholic Church, Questa, NM 
The Questa parish church was rebuilt over last few years with modern materials yet
 still maintaining the New Mexican adobe color and appearance.
It is a historic Spanish church, but not one of the original missions from the 1600's.

Parishioners installed a statue of St. Anthony in the new courtyard as part of the renovation.

Nuestra SeƱora de los Dolores Mission, Sandia Pueblo
Also known as San Antonio de Padua.

The growing Pueblo recently built the larger modern St. Anthony church a few blocks away 
to replace this older smaller historic Mission.

San Augustine Mission, Isleta Pueblo
Originally built in 1613 as St. Anthony church, is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the United States. It is the southern most, and most likely the first of the Spanish Missions built in the early 1600's along the Rio Grande river. 

This church was rebuilt in 1716 on the original foundation after the first structure was destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Was renamed San Augustine at that time. 

The tall outer wall was added to the original design as a defensible bulwark 
overlooking a large open plaza.

Church of the Immaculate Conception

Found along NM Route 39 between Logan and Mosquero, NM
Is a well taken care of historic adobe church of vernacular architecture. 
How the simple buttresses supports the adobe brick sidewalls grabbed my attention. 
Still has an active congregation as evidenced by the recent burial and simple cross headstone.

Three different Pueblos refused my request to photograph their missions, 
so... simply move on to the next one on my list. 

Originally there were twenty-four Spanish missions built between Albuquerque and Taos along the Rio Grande river. Some were not rebuilt after their destruction in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. 

Today some Pueblo elders do not allow any photography within the pueblo, including their church. Others allow photographs of the church exterior only. Still others allow as many photos as you want but not of the people, unless they give you permission. Some persons request payment from you to take their photo. Is a complicated system as there are so many variables. 

There are still many of the old missions I have yet to locate.

The quest continues...

Ride safe y'all