Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas Lights & more

Joined a group of fellow photographers in visiting an area where the stores decorate for Christmas. A good place to practice night photography, playing with lights, motion and the festivities.

First, the Wine Store, 
Didn't go in, sorry.
When the lights are of varying intensity, it is hard to not get blow outs. 

What is Texas without a Hat store?
Something peaceful about this shot...

 Or Handmade Boots? Another iPhone shot.
It still amazes me how advanced the phone cameras are today. Why lug around a big heavy expensive camera when you can capture 90% of your photos with what you use to receive 
auto warranty robo-calls.

Reality stays outside, Fantasy is inside.
Or is it the other way around? Which is real?
another iPhone photo...

Dos Equis Honky Tonk in the Christmas spirit
Nothing like Christmas carols and cold beer...

Can be down right dangerous at night.

 Yellow lights, Silent night in the barrio

And of course we can't forget a little motorcycle porn. 
Not mine but wouldn't mind owning it.

Merry Christmas ya'll
2020 is already shaping up to be an exciting year. 
Stay tuned for more travels, photos and adventures.


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.