Monday, June 15, 2020

Flowing Water Photos

It rained hard last night so the Red River near Questa was flowing higher and fast today. Here is the result of todays photography work with flowing water. 




Moved a mile downstream, climbed down a steep river bank to get this shot.



Went to another location, but by accident, took a double exposure.  Hmmm...
From that accident, created this moody 1800's looking 
mountain image with a watercolor painting feel.

An accidental double clicking produced a more interesting image than the straight photo.


Everyday we learn something new when we keep experimenting, 
be open to the unknown, pushing ourselves.
If given lemons, make lemonade!

Most of all, never stop learning and growing.

Ride safe and maskerize...?

CCjon

p.s. Last night the normal sunset was not much to look at, 
but in the north were wonderful lights dancing around in the clouds.


Friday, June 12, 2020

Southern Rockies in June

June found me spending some time in the southern Rockies in northern New Mexico, working on a photography project, learning new techniques and exploring a few new roads.

Love the peaceful aspen meadows in the afternoon light.


The elk come out to eat at dusk after sleeping all day. She looks pregnant and this is calfing season. Soon, Mama, soon...


Rode down to Mora to revisit a rancher I met a few years ago, Don Patricio.
This is what a New Mexican native picket fence looks like


Stopped to talk with this roadside barber. He was combing one of his top donkeys. Suggested I not park downwind as he only does this "de-thatching" of their heavy winter coat on VERY windy days.  The field mice must love getting all this free donkey hair for their nesting material.

These are much larger donkeys than what I saw in Mexico. He said these were mammoth donkeys and would outlive him, even though they were already 20+ years old. Even had to designate who was to inherit them in their wills. 


Near Mora, road construction stopped everybody in the hot sun. Lucky me, got the last piece of shade to wait in. 



The next day rode thru Red River on way to the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
Looking at down Main street Red River, a tourist destination summer and winter.


Doesn't look like much, as the gorge ahead drops off into a significant site. This is where the Red River flows from the tallest mountain in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, to join the cold Rio Grande river rolling down from the San Juan Mountains in southern Colorado. 


In the deepest and widest spot of the 1,885 mile long Rio Grande gorge is La Junta (Spanish for the joining). Red River on the left and the Rio Grande on the right meet at the tip of what looks like a green rocky tail of a dragon.

Being a Monday and with the corona shutdown, not many people out here. All camping sites were closed.  The only security ranger on duty said he was as lonely as the Maytag repairman.

Remember the New Mexican picket fence above? This home owner ran out of native pickets but managed to round up enough discarded abandoned skies to complete his fence. Hmmm, not many pairs of ski there either.


A few days later, tackled Route 17 between Chama, NM and Antonito, CO, with two mountains passes of over 10,000 ft elevation in between. This loop has several great riding sections: Chama to Antonito, Rt 64 Tierra Amarilla to Tres Piedras, and Taos to Eagle Nest to Questa, but not the shorter Rt 522 from Taos to Questa.


Again stopped by road construction, traffic is reduced to one way only following the pilot car.


At Manga Pass, a mule deer photo bombed the shot. 


Cumbres Pass gives name to the Cumbres-Toltec Railroad that still runs today for tourists between Chama and Antonito with their antique coal powered (don't tell the evironmentalists) steam engines.


Stopped to click a photo of this hard working cowboy. 
Be it cattle or sheep, the cowboy's life is hard and lonely.


Toward dusk, the nighttime critters come out. Better to slow down and watch the road edges. If one deer crosses the road in front of you, cover the brakes and expect others to follow.


In case you thought this was a sidecar vacation, have also been working on several photography projects, learning new techniques.

For example, using slow shutter speed to capture moving water. The water is looking okay, but the leaves were fluttering in the wind so they also came out blurred, not okay. 

This shot is a little better. Lots of mountain streams around here with fast moving water 
to practice with.

Don Patricio, the high plains rancher in Mora, let me practice taking street portrait shots using the iPhone camera.


A different look

That's all for now.  Am here for another week, so more riding and practicing of photo techniques.

Ride safe and sanitize my friends.

CCjon

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Color vs B&W

Am self-teaching this week, watching various instructional photo editing videos, 
then experimenting on which approach makes for a stronger image: 
Color    or    Black & White. 

Tell me what you think.

First image, Peruvian Pan Flute street musician


Flipped the image and reworked in B&W


Is interesting to note the viewer's points of focus shift from what they see in the color image to something different in the B&W image.


Image #2
Houston marathoner, Mile 23, Floating on Air.


The bright shoes contrast with the dull grey walls of the underpass. 
A person commented on the dark stripe/wall, it appears she is running into...


B&W image. the dark wall is removed along with the bright shoes. Now the focus is more on the runner and not the shoes.


Image #3

Solar Voyager is a B&W image previously displayed here, but not the original color print.


Stripped of color, the sky and background recede, the focus shifts 
to the various shades of grey standing figures.



Image #4
Sk├│gafoss in Iceland

Lost the original color shot, but here is the finished B&W landscape image. There are three photographers standing close to the base of falls which gives you some idea 
of the fall's scale.

Not standing too close as the mist was freezing cold, quickly spotting the camera's lens. 
The fall's mist and spray created the spidery web of ice on the black rocks.


Working in B&W has its own set of challenges. Some original images easily convert to B&W, actually improving their impact for the viewer. Yet other color images do not convert well,
even with a lot of editing. 

Deciding which approach to use is the photographer's / artist's choice and challenge.

Will continue my studies here in New Mexico for another week before returning to Texas.

In case you think I have no time for play, I did bring the BMW sidecar rig with me. 

Ride safe, and sanitize

CCjon











Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hauling the Warthog

This month's assignment: 
Get creative with a photograph of art,  resulted with this image... 



First comment was....



The reply was ......


******************

Enough of fun and games, let's get back to the serious business to hauling the Warthog. Not that it will spend much time on a trailer, but when the need arises, I will need something wider to haul the Warthog than my current trailer. 

The Warthog is, well not to offend anybody, but SKINNY is never a word to be heard in describing 
the big W.

The search to find a trailer wide enough to haul W took me far and wide. So as not to add unnecessary weight and load to the Honda Ridgeline truck I drive, decided an aluminum trailer would be ideal. Aluma trailers make a 78 inch wide model, while Bear Track has an 82 inch model. 

During a phone call to the manufacturer of BT trailers, was told they will not sell direct to the public. Learned most of their dealers are in the upper mid-west as the manufacturing facility is in Minnesota. 
Then the coronavirus pandemic set in. the search was grounded. 

After several attempts a month or so later, a very nice lady provided me with the names of dealers who had recently ordered the model of trailer I was looking for, the BT82120S. Eighty-two is the width, 120 is the length, making it a ten foot long aluminum single axle trailer. 

One was sent to South Dakota and the other was sold to an Iowa dealer but shipped to Florida... hmmmm. My sister lives in Florida, maybe make a combo trip. 

A phone call to Zypherhills Florida had me talking with Cindy and Todd, the owners of Florida Trailer Solutions. Yes, they still had that trailer on their lot, but Florida was currently shut down with the pandemic. However they agreed to hold it for me until travel restriction were lifted. 

With all the retirees there, Florida was hit hard with the virus. For me to get to Florida, I would have to drive across Louisiana. A state that was hit even harder than Florida. Both Texas and Florida were closely checking every vehicle coming in that had been in Louisiana. 

Checking the map and distances, if I gassed up at the last stop in Texas, I could drive across Louisiana without stopping until I reached Mississippi. 

By the third week in May, businesses in Zypherhills were normalizing, so decided to make the run of  2500 miles. Three days to drive there and back.

After reassuring them I had not stopped nor slept in Louisiana, New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania in the last month, the Florida Highway Patrol kindly allowed me to enter their state. 

Todd and Cindy of Florida Trailer Solutions were super nice and attentive, making sure everything on the trailer worked as it should and was connected properly before allowing me to exit their lot. Can highly recommend Florida Trailer Solutions in Zypherhills.

Forty-five miles south of Zypherhills lies my sister's home. Spent very nice but a brief time with Sis and her husband, walked their dog Jake, told a few jokes and slept in a comfy bed.  Though during the night Jake tried to hide my socks.

Once back in Texas, a test loading of the Warthog. Looks pretty good, easy peasy, right?



Well looking at it from the rear, the story changes. While the trailer bed is wide enough, clearing the trailer fenders is a challenge. Modifications will be needed.



To me, one of the selling features of the Bear Track trailer was the fenders are bolted on, not welded. 
On the sidecar wheel (smaller circle on the right in the above photo and seen below), clearance is tight. But if I use longer bolts, I can insert four 1/2 inch plastic spacers to move the fender out enough that it will not rub on the sidecar fender.



Clearing the trailer fender on the bike side is a different story. The left pannier is up high enough to clear the fender.  But the left engine guard and the left foot peg will not allow loading with the fender in place. Moving it out a half an inch will not work on this side.


In the next photo you can see left foot peg sticks out too far.  The peg does fold up... some but not enough to clear the fender. Note: I had removed the fender completely to load the bike then set the fender back on the trailer to get a better idea of the clearances. 

A coupe of possible solutions were kicked around. 

1). remove the fender completely when hauling the Warthog. 
See the three holes in the fender (arrows) those are for the trailer license plate. If I leave the left fender at home when hauling the Warthog, there will be no license attached.



2). Hinge the fender to swing out of the way when loading the rig. The fender has a wheel well panel on the tailer side (that can be seen in the above photo) that will only allow it to pivot out a couple of inches. Not enough to load big W.

3). Mount the fender on sliding rails hung from the under side of the trailer. Pull pins, slide the fender straight out to load. But that inside wheel well panel doesn't allow it to slide out more than a few inches. Not enough to clear the foot peg. 

Removing the foot peg to load is more complicated than unbolting the fender plus the engine guard would still hit the fender

4). The final solution and the one I decided to go with, rather than involve complicated fabrication to swing or slide the fender, simply unbolt the fender, set it aside, load big W, then reinstall the fender.  Four bolts and we're done. I don't anticipate hauling big W that many times that this will be a major issue. Carrying my other rig will not be a problem with this trailer.

Problem solved.

********************


Wish my other May issue was as easy to solve, but the doctors here at Houston Dental Esthetics think they can fix the teeth situation, by replacing all the uppers. After breaking off two upper teeth in the first six months of 2020, at the age of 75, my teeth are getting brittle. Instead of long distance riding this summer, we'll be short distance dreaming of long distance riding while the mouth heals from a late June surgery.  Road vibrations are not good for strong healing.

Maybe by late summer we'll be up for a long ride. Doubt if there will be much wrenching or riding for several months. In the meantime, will focus on the photography while recuperating. 



Parting shot...  just when I thought the Warthog was the ugliest three wheeled rig, saw this photo on the internet. Now that is one ugly three wheel motorcycle contraption... and needs to be towed.




As the country re-opens... y'all ride safe and far.  

Wash your hands and don't cough on each other.

CCjon


Tuesday, May 5, 2020

More Photos from Iceland

Here are a few of the photos from the interior of Iceland,  well, not the interior interior, 
but away from the capital city Reykjavik. 

Cold, damp fog rolls in, as this photographer waits on the cold beach for that right moment to capture
 the fog shrouded "three elves" in the distance. 



Next day is bright and sunny.  
As clouds receded, exposing the peaks, captured this view of Rangárping Eystra.



Experimented with a panorama shot to capture all of the ice flow. 
Iceland's landscape is vast, frigid, empty...
 yet full of highlites, contrast and points of interest. You can be standing in dark shade while distant peaks are lite up in blinding sunshine. 



We explored an ice cave. Clamp on steel spikes on the boots to keep from slipping and 
a hard hat to protect your head when you do slip.



Down in the caves, captured Jean Pierre from France looking for a way up.



Thousands of pieces of ice wash ashore, slowly melting into the black sand, gives name to this spot... 
Diamond Beach.



Photographers from around the world trek here just to capture a shot of the morning sun's ray reflecting thru ice surrounded by sea foam.  
Often risking life and equipment to capture that perfect image.  

Me? I capture images of photographers working the sun, ice and cold. 



They will brave the coldest ice choked stream, looking for a better angle, wanting that perfect shot.



In pre-dawn light, climb high on a slippery ice slope...



Only to stare into the blinding sun... all to capture an award winning image.



Come night fall, we were all hoping for a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.

On the final night in Iceland, the clouds cleared just long enough. 
Giving us a short opportunity to grab this...
 a 20 second exposure... twenty seconds is forever for a photograph. 


Iceland was a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit some fantastic photogenic locations.

Thanks for following along. 
Ride safe, stay safe, be healthy.

CCjon



Sunday, May 3, 2020

Photos from Reykjavik

Seems life has been very busy lately, finally carved out a few moments to put a better edit on some of the Iceland photos. First from Reykjavick...

Dogs need walking too..



Fishing boats at dock...



Wandering around the docks, spotted this welder repairing a bulkhead hatch.




In English it's called the Solar Voyager, looking across the inlet of Reykjavik 
to distance snowy slopes.



From this angle, it appears to me that the vikings in the langskip, after a long sea voyage, 
stood up, yelled and cheered, celebrating the sighting of land.



For an artistic shot from downtown Reykjavik...    of all things, a gas station.


Next will post up photos from outside the capital city of Iceland,,, when I finish editing them. 

Later....
CCjon




Friday, April 17, 2020

Project Warthog: Camper Opened

In response to a request to see the side camper opened, here are a few shots 
I took before the rains arrived.

Though the Rocket 3 is a huge heavy motorcycle, with the camper opened up,  it doesn't look so big.



A perfect camping spot: planes, trains and trucks within ear shot.... 
next to mosquito infested standing water in a ditch...
on top of clay dirt waiting to mix with the rain water tonight...
What's not to like?

Am not camping here, just a set up for the photos, then we move on.



The camper door has a small swing up table attached, just big enough for my laptop,  
or to set my coffee cup on in the morning.

The camper looks small for my height, but if I sleep diagonally, I don't touch the canvas at night. 



A new addition to the rig, the mascot...
leading the chase...


Ride safe, stay safe and healthy, y'all

CCjon

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Project Warthog: Springtime, First Test Ride

Spring has been in the air for the last several weeks in South Texas. People are working from their homes, still out jogging, buying groceries and picking up drive-thru food in spite of the virus threat.

The crepe myrtles in our backyard are putting out new growth, yes, life goes on...
For those who are not familiar with crepe myrtle's, one cuts back the previous year's growth on St. Valentine's Day.  That promotes new growth with bright flowers and greenery for late spring and summer. In the fall the leaves turn a soft scarlet before dropping.

You can barely see it, but a spider has already started a web on the budding leaves.



Flowers are blooming...  three sisters here are sticking together



With Spring in the air, the Warthog is calling out, wanting to escape the Man Cave,  
stretch its legs for the first time.

So we snuck out of town to give the Warthog a shake down ride.  Dropping over to Bellville for a quick stop at the SFA statue, That's Stephen F. Austin for those northerners... Bellville is the county seat for Austin County, thus the statue.  

SFA is considered the Father of Texas. With his blessings, we moved on...



Soon found an unpaved county road, not much dust with the rain we've had. 
Weeds are green and high. Oak trees are putting out more leaves with... lots of yellow pollen to color cars or patio furniture left out at night. 
Asthma sufferers can tell you when the pollen count skyrockets around here. 



So how does the Warthog handle?     IT IS A HAND FULL !

 If this had been my first sidecar experience, I never would have continued on with them. Very unnerving, not like motorcycles at all. It shakes your thinking that you can handle one of these machines. The Warthog would be too nerve racking for a novice. Lucky for me, I started with a URAL sidecar many years ago, have worked my way up to this monster. 

Yes, there is that low speed, both hands on the handle bars, wobble... settles down around 40 and above... until you hit 68 - 72, then it gets lightheaded up front. Squirrelly, some would say.

Smooth and steady, one handed steering around 55 mph in fourth gear, 2500 rpm. Up shift to fifth gear, rpm's drop to 2000 and a slight lugging is felt. Down shift back to fourth, smooth once more.

The faster you ride (50 - 70 mph), the more you have to push on the right handlebar and pull on the left.  We're pushing a lot of air with that nose. Yet overall, the Warthog meets my expectations. 

Good news, Warthog averaged 25 mpg on this 130 mile loop ride. Better than expected. 

Still needs a few more tweaks and twists before any long trip; a highway peg for the left foot, a taller windshield, cruise control, steering dampener...

*********

With the Warthog back resting in the Cave, I edited a new photo, called "Fresh Face". 
Young, bright, full of life, just like the rig, 
only much prettier.


The Warthog project continues, as does life.

Ride safe, stay healthy, cover your face and wash your hands.

CCjon