Thursday, March 21, 2019

Changing rigs... again!

Just when you think all is settled in for a while,   BAM... up pops change.

Was not actively working on selling the BMW R1200RT/Hannigan rig, just maybe thinking about it. Then I saw a posting from a gentleman in Chicago looking for a well built touring sidecar for him and his wife. That describes the RT perfectly, plus it is the most beautiful sidecar rig I have ever owned - a Teutonic sportscar on three wheels. Sent him the details, the photos, the price - short story is, we came to terms.

Mark is flying down to Houston, his son Daniel is flying in from California and they are going to ride the German beauty north to Illinois.  Well, there goes the only rig I have for hauling the grandkids around ...or so I thought.

Before Mark left to ride north, had to show him a little of the Texas countryside. Wildflowers are blooming, all is green., temps in the mid-seventies. Great day to be out riding.

Once again browsing the sidecar world online ( no one ever warned me as to how dangerous it is to wander alone in the internet wilds),  up pops a posting for a 2015 water-cooled BMW GSA/EZS sidecar for sale in Santa Barbara. Have never had a Dutch sidecar but hear the EZS rigs are quite the cat's meow. Well, another story short, that rig is now mine. Though I have to go to California to pick it up. 

Weather is looking good for a fly-n-ride in April. Will take the slow route and hope for many photo opportunities along the way. 

Is not as pretty as the RT rig, but much more functional with the right kind of modifications for my type of riding. Plus I can still give the grandkids rides. 

That rig looks right at home exploring national forest roads.

Or, one could bop on down to the local Starbucks... but that's not my cup of tea.

So the world turns and we change with it. 

I WILL see you out on the road this year.

Be safe, ya'll


As a side note or add-on,  entered my first photography competition in the Northwest Houston Photo Club. This photo  "The Storyteller" brought home a second place ribbon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Learning Portraits

Have heard it said that fear is a stronger motivator than pleasure. It stops us from doing so many things we want to do but won't because we are afraid of failing. 

Some might say after experiencing too many failures, one learns to quit trying. That may be, but my view is, having experienced many different types of failures more than once, you can learn to look past your fear of it. After all, it never was the end of the world, just a bump in the road.

So many cliches can be quoted about success and failure, but suffice it to say
 overcoming one's fear of failure is a great trait to have. 

Am saying this to admit to having a fear of taking portraits. As I delve deeper into photography the more that fear of having to work up close with people... all their personalities...  grew. Never have I work with models in my photography because I am uncomfortable in telling them how or where to pose, what to do or not do.  Even asking their permission to take their photo. Is it fear of rejection...?  WOW, hadn't thought much about that since dating days many decades ago. 

While still recovering from the accident, am pushing myself in new directions with my photography. Subject matter that is new to me but old hat to professional photographers.  But PORTRAITS.... ah, risk failure?  Really need to try it, but....      whimp! Just do it!

What you are about to see here are both portrait failures and a few photos I like. If I did not show you the failures too I would not be completely honest with you or myself.

A Model?  Who will be my model(s)? A family friend has twin daughters that I took snapshots of a year or so ago in New Mexico came to mind. What better than to take photos of someone familiar. Asked our friend if she, her twin girls and her mother could maybe be models for my learning experience. We agreed to take the photos in their home.

Recently have been studying using natural light for all types of photography including portraits. Fits in great with my equipment limitations as I do not have a photo studio with lots of professional lighting gear. Just a camera and a tripod.

 I called to set up the photo session on a moments notice because the sun was bright that day. In the afternoon it would at the right angle where I wanted it. Arriving with just a tripod and camera, am sure they had their doubts. They suggested they sit outside, using the natural light and green outdoor space in their back yard as their previous photographers had done. Declining that offer, I said I wanted to look around their home to find a slightly darken room with afternoon light coming in thru a window.
The den will work.

First model, started with Daughter #1. Photographer failure!  Am not happy with the pose or the shots because mentally I was still thinking in that old school mode of posing and lighting people. It even looks like your typical graduation photo, only worse. Stale, lacking any personal feeling. This image did not do this beautiful young lady any justice. Makes her look much older than she is. Operator error. While the subject is beautiful the photo is bad.

Sorry #1, can we try again another day? She agreed.

With Daughter #2, I loosened up, got more experimental, her photos took on a more daring look. Found the right amount of natural light, let shadows play across her face, creating dimension, a little mystery, bringing out more of her playful personality.

Another shot of Daughter #2 captured less mystery, more relaxed, but still interesting light and shadow play. Pros would call pix of daughter #2 a head shot, not a portrait. 
Am learning here... or so I thought. 
Now...on to Model #3, their mother.

Model #3, Mother, I completely lost the light and mood. There is a challenge in using only natural light, in that it is not constant. It comes and goes. Clouds block the light, maybe they will reopen, maybe not. After reviewing Mother's photos, they were all thrown in the trash. Could not capture her.  She agreed to allow me to try another day. 

Mother returned to the kitchen, on to the next model...

Now Model #4, while situating this elegant lady the bright natural light came back. Quickly clicking away, was able to capture the radiance and smile of her beauty before the light faded again. 

Final model, #5, the grandmother. We are still using the same window, same seat, same light streaming in, but this model was not warming up to the photographer. 
Was suspicious, not trusting. 
The eyes..., "What do you think you are doing in my home?"

Then came a break, one of her granddaughters cracked a joke, she looked up and laughed.  
Click. Got it.  

After the session we retired to the kitchen, visiting while the meal was being prepared. Here my old standby style of photography kicked in... tell a story with the photo.  Something I am very comfortable with and know what to do.  No posing. Just capturing people going about what they do every day.

Title this photo:  Grandma's Snap Peas.

As is the case 99% of the time, one's fears and apprehensions are all imagined.
 The portrait session turned out well for my first practice. No one died. 

A few good photos were captured, a lot was learned. 
Gaining confidence I can do better the next time.

Doing these exercises will make me a better photographer when I get back on the road.

Ride safe my friend,