Archive for the ‘bicycle blogging’ tag
Even if style and fashion don’t hold much interest for you, the quality of The Sartorialist‘s spontaneous portrait photography is consistently excellent.
Plus, the site’s creator, Scott Schuman, seems to be on the lookout for interesting people — mostly street chic woman — using bicycles for their everyday transportation. For that reason alone its worth a look.
(Note: I believe Copanhagen Cycle Chic was the first to popularize the-girl-riding-a-bike genre. UPDATE: a couple more interesting sites along the same line have been pointed out to me– Bike Fancy and bikes + babes)
Finally, a beach cruiser bicycle used for what it’s intended for: cruising the beach!
- The original post can be found here.
This is not a model, just a regular New Yorker spotted by The Sartorialist.
The bicycle, however, doesn’t seem appropriate for the task at hand (where’s the basket to hold those groceries and there’s water in the street, but no fenders to stay dry?).
- The original post can be found here.
Trying to lock-up your bike without getting your semi-transparent skirt dirty…I’ve been there, haven’t we all, lol?
- The original post can be found here.
This posting (and my next one) highlight blogs/websites that — while not focusing on bicycling per se — post intriguing images relating to bicycles every now and then.
A favorite, and one I’ve mentioned before, is Tokyo Green Space.
The author, Jarad Braiterman, is a design anthropologist (what a cool job!). He documents all the bits of biodiversity emerging from the sidewalk cracks, street medians, balconies, and store fronts around Tokyo.
His larger project is to investigate how our urban areas can evolve into richer, healthier places for humans and the rest of nature.
If it hasn’t already done so, the site will hopefully spawn imitators in other cities: New York Green Space, San Francisco Green Space. Heck, I’m inspired to start a Tucson Green Space.
There’s something utilitarian and magnificent about this row of hundreds of commuter bikes lined up outside JR Tokyo’s Ryogoku station on a hot summer afternoon. The sun bakes in this concrete canyon, and even the salary men are wearing short sleeves. — original posting: tokyogreenspace.com
Umbrellas on parked bicycles during rainy season. — original posting: tokyogreenspace.com
Landscape deadzone in posh Omotesando: Why is this major intersection so ugly? Pedestrians deserve better. — original posting: tokyogreenspace.com
I said, in Part I of this post, that I’d share my general approach for practicing photography while out rambling around by bike. Here’s an example from a recent ride:
Something on the side of the road catches my eye. A prominent fern; some pine needles…
…I lay my bike down…
…and I make some quick images, but I’m not too thrilled with the result (see below).
But now I’m off the bicycle, in a landscape I might never stumble upon otherwise, and I notice one of my favorite trees — a Madrone. I make this close-up image of its bark, which really pleases me.
Ride. Look around. Stop. Shoot. Look around. Ride some more. That’s about it, but here are a few specific suggestions:
1. Don’t aim for perfection: If a subject interests you take numerous shots from different angles and focal lengths — explore the scene with the camera. Working this way, I think less, get into a more creative zone, and avoid the pressure of having to make one perfect image. (Despite this advice, I’m often struck by how often my first composition is the most pleasing.)
2. Be willing to stop and follow your senses: I can’t prove it, but I believe that sense perceptions are much higher when traveling by bicycle then when traveling by foot or by automobile (everything else being equal).
But if you intend to make a photograph (and blog about it) you need to stop and get off the bike. Stopping can be a hassle — you lose your rhythm and momentum, you delay getting to your destination (if you have one), and there are safety issues to consider.
It’s easy just to keep riding — but when you stop and look around all kinds of happy accidents take place.
3. Occasionally, leave the camera at home.
4. Ride with (or without) a purpose. There are three possibilities on any given ride:
- Set-off for a destination and commit to it — unwavering in your goal;
- Set-off for a destination — but be open to changes as you go;
- Set-off with no destination.
I tend to err on the side of spontaneity and the rewards it creates.
Since I began publishing this blog a year-and-a-half ago, I haven’t talked much about behind-the-scenes stuff.
So I’m changing things up today.
In this post (Part I), I’m outlining some of the tools and equipment I find most useful as a Velo-Geo-Photo-blogger. Then, in the next installment (Part II), I plan to talk about my general process for making photographs and observing my surroundings while out on a ride.
First, the tools of the trade:
A camera: When riding, I almost always bring along a Panasonic LX3 with its Leica branded 24-60mm lens. I’m a big fan of Panasonic/Lumix cameras. I had the LX1 before this and also own the less known L1. At 60mm, the LX3 is a bit lacking on the long-end of its zoom range (I think the updated LX5 zooms to around 90mm), but it is very compact and fits perfectly in the pocket of my handlebar bag.
A gps logger: My AMOD 3080 is critical for determining the GPS coordinates of a photo or location. I can record individual points of interest by pressing a button during the ride. After the ride, I can also time sync the gpx file of the data logger with the photo files in order to determine the precise location of each photo. (Note: a more elegant and time saving solution would be to carry a camera with built-in GPS capabilities which writes geo-data automatically to the photo’s metadata. Then I would only need one gadget on board, not two.)
A front rack and handlebar bag: My old Guerciotti has neither cantilever brake mounts on the forks nor eyelets on the front dropouts so my rack choices are limited. I ended up installing the versatile Mark’s Rack from Rivendell and use a classic TA bag I bought on eBay many years ago. I don’t have a decaleur so the bag flops around a bit when I ride. Some plastic stiffeners would help I just haven’t gotten around to addressing this problem yet.
Photo processing software: I use Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Bridge (which acts as a digital light table for viewing and sorting images) on an older Mac G5 and Apple cinema display.
For making images and posting them to the web I usually follow these steps:
- First, create a composition to best capture the subject matter (this can take several attempts and may require careful cropping of the image).
- Make creative changes as needed (e.g., adjustments to contrast, color, or luminosity) so the image expresses the feeling of the scene as it was experienced. This is critical. Remember what Ansel Adams said: “The negative [read: digital raw image] is the score; the print is the performance”.
- Re-size the image (in my case to around 650 pixels wide) and down sample the resolution (to around 100 ppi) so it properly fits the intended space and so the file doesn’t take up too much memory.
- Lastly, sharpen the photo while viewing it at the final size and resolution. This is very important and a reason many images do not look very good is that they are not optimized for viewing on the web at the actual size they are displayed.
A blogging platform: I use WordPress.org and a heavily modified version of the Black Letterhead theme. I also use various WordPress plug-ins. The most indispensable is Geo Mashup. It’s fantastic. One of its most useful features is the ability to display each post’s image on a main map page. I also use XML Google Maps, WP-prettyPhoto, and WordPress Video Plug-in.
A bicycle: Often it’s a steel-framed Guerciotti that I’ve owned since high school outfitted with mostly Campy components, a recently added 12-28 suntour 6-speed freewheel, a Brooks titanium rail saddle, and Grand Bois 28mm tires!
Initially, I told him I was a little embarrassed by the distinction. The cycling community is full of so many riders that are accomplishing amazing physical feats or doing other extraordinary things with bicycles. I felt a little inadequate in this regard. But I’ll continue to do my part, whatever that may be. Thanks Jack!
And this reminds me. I’ve been remiss in acknowledging other blogging friends and supporters of The Friday Cyclotouriste to whom I am most grateful. They include:
- Myles at Rat Trap Press;
- Eddie at The Everyday Cyclist;
- Esteban at velo-flaneur;
- Alan and Michael at EcoVelo;
- Meli at Bikes and the City; and,
- Dave at Yurtville.
All are amazing blogs. I encourage you to visit.
(P.S. The above picture, which I sent to Jack, was made with the camera on the ground using the 10-second timer on a recent Thursday evening ride up the hill near Alpine Lake).