The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Archive for the ‘bike portrait’ tag

On the Road……Coastal Sunset & Digital Metering w/ Sony RX100

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Here’s the sunset at 8:04pm from Thursday’s ride in the Marin Headlands.

The light was tricky. It was well into twilight, and there was a sharp contrast between the lightest and darkest areas in the scene.

(Note: roll your mouse over the image to see the extreme difference in the unprocessed camera file.)

For a landscape scene like this a serious photographer would typically use a large-sensor DSLR camera plus:

  • a tripod (to allow for a long exposure to let in more light without introducing blur from inadvertent camera movements) and
  • a graduated neutral-density filter (to control the scene’s dynamic range by reducing the brightness of the sky — but not the foreground).

However, my little Sony RX100 (reviewed here by NY Times tech writer David Pogue) handled the scene fairly well.

Here is the processing technique I recommend for this — or really any — digital photograph:

  1. Choose an exposure that preserves the brightest areas in the scene. That is, “expose for the highlights” to retain the vivid color and detail which might otherwise get “blown out”.  Metering the scene like this will render the rest of the image too dark, but that’s okay. When mousing over the above image, you can see how everything — except the sky, the bike’s shiny metal parts, and the clear water bottle — is way (and I mean way) underexposed.
  2. Tweak the shadow areas in post-processing according to taste.  Here is where we adjust areas that are too dark. When I opened-up the shadow areas in Photoshop using a curves adjustment layer there was surprisingly still enough detail hidden in the file to create a decent image (at least for viewing on the web). In most images the before/after differences will be less extreme, but the technique will be the same.

By the way, this is the exact opposite of what Ansel Adams did in his black and white film photography. He would “expose for the shadows“, that is, meter the darkest area of the scene to preserve wanted detail, then in the darkroom develop the highlights to taste.

The difference in technique is a function of how digital sensors and film emulsions handle highlight rendering. For a good discussion of Adams’ technique and his Zone System, see this article.

-Nathan

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May 5th, 2013 at 5:11 pm

On the Road……Coastal Trail near Rodeo Beach

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Sometimes when you’re exploring by bicycle you discover little things you never noticed before. On Saturday, I discovered this section of the Coastal Trail.

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April 15th, 2013 at 4:34 pm

On the Road……Above Bonita Cove: Views of the Bridge and Sutro Tower

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I’m not exactly sure what this graffiti artist is trying to communicate. Perhaps, it’s that war = destruction? (since the opposite of creation is destruction).

But speaking of language, the December 24th issue of The New Yorker magazine had a curious article by Joshua Foer about an amateur linguist named John Quijada. When he wasn’t working at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Quijada spent his spare time (extending over 25 years) engineering a new language and grammar system combining what he believed were the best aspects of all the world’s languages.

Here’s a quote from the beginning of the article:

In his preface, Quijada wrote that his “greater goal” was “to attempt the creation of what human beings, left to their own devices, would never create naturally, but rather only by conscious intellectual effort: an idealized language whose aim is the highest possible degree of logic, efficiency, detail, and accuracy in cognitive expression via spoken human language, while minimizing the ambiguity, vagueness, illogic, redundancy, polysemy (multiple meanings) and overall arbitrariness that is seemingly ubiquitous in natural human language.”

Ithkuil has two seemingly incompatible ambitions: to be maximally precise but also maximally concise, capable of capturing nearly every thought that a human being could have while doing so in as few sounds as possible. Ideas that could be expressed only as a clunky circumlocution in English can be collapsed into a single word in Ithkuil. A sentence like “On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point” becomes simply “Tram-m?öi hhâsma?p?uktôx.”

This is really quite odd.

Ithkuil seems to be a language devoid of nuance, implication, metaphor, and for that matter: poetry!

-Nathan

 

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January 26th, 2013 at 6:33 pm

On the Road……Saguaro National Park at dusk

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The warm glow of the desert at dusk.

I passed one car and one rattlesnake during the ride. Plus, I got to see the sunset.

 

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November 13th, 2011 at 5:07 pm

On the Road……San Xavier Mission, Tohono O’odham Nation

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On a recent bike ride, I ended up at perhaps the finest example of Spanish mission architecture in the United States.

  • Constructed in 1692 (under the auspices of the Jesuits);
  • Raided continuously, then finally destroyed by Apaches in 1770;
  • Turned over to the Franciscans and re-built from 1783-1797.

Above, the obligatory bike portrait (with more pictures to come).

 

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September 24th, 2011 at 6:35 pm

On the Road……Searching for Tucson’s Polar Bear, Reid Park

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I took a leisurely ride on my Nishiki city bike around the Reid Park Bike Path in Central Tucson this past Saturday. I intended to visit Kobe the polar bear (at the Reid Park Zoo) to see how she’s adjusting to life in the Sonoran desert and to see if she had any advice for me.

But dark clouds and lightning were quickly building and I decided not to linger outside too long.

I got caught in the deluge anyhow so I was mighty soaked when I arrived home (reminding me that I really need to get some narrow honjo fenders for this bike).

In total, 1.25 inches of rain fell Saturday. Temperatures have cooled considerably ever since, especially the evening temperatures which have dropped below 70 degrees the last few nights!

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September 13th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Route Map……Sabino Canyon Trail with elevation chart

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Note to self: starting at my house — rather than the Sabino trail head –  would make this an interesting 30 mile ride.

Elevation Profile

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August 1st, 2011 at 10:44 pm

On the Road……A Sabino Canyon ride on the Brompton

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More and more I reach for the Brompton when heading out for short rides. I suppose it was just a matter of time before I took the little folder up the Sabino Canyon Trail.

Just a few weeks ago, the Brompton was transporting me around downtown SF and now here we are out in the desert — such a versatile machine!

Nathan

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July 27th, 2011 at 8:53 pm

On the Road……Brompton along the Waterfront

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I’ve positioned the Brompton just north of Pier 1 and the Ferry Plaza (which boasts a good Saturday morning farmer’s market) with the western span of the Bay Bridge and Yerba Buena Island faintly visible in the background. It’s still early in the morning and there are few people around.

A new, eastern span of the bridge will open to automobile traffic in 2013 with a dedicated bike path (costing a cool $100 million) soon to follow. However, the western span (seen above) will still lack bicycle access.

Here’s an article with more details about this massive planning project. If you’re interested in getting involved in local bicycle advocacy issues, I’m sure these organizations would love to hear from you:

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July 6th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

On the Road……Olema’s Giant Eucalyptus Trees

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The specimen below is probably the largest Eucalyptus I’ve seen. These trees are native to Australia and were originally planted in California — I’m guessing — as wind breaks for ranches and farms. They are quite draught resistant, making them extremely productive trees in this climatic zone. Plus, they smell really good!

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October 9th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

On the Road……Highway 1 @ Vedanta Retreat, Olema

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Just outside of Olema lies the Vedanta Retreat center.

I pedaled up the entry driveway past what they call the Vivekananda Bridge. There really was a palpable sense of peace and calm, maybe because for the last 37 years this has been a place “…where spiritual seekers of all faiths may meditate and study away from the disturbances of urban life.”

Here’s a synopsis of Vedanta philosophy from the Vedanta Society of Northern California‘s website:

The basic teaching of Vedanta is that the essence of all beings and all things–from the blade of grass to the Personal God–is Spirit, infinite and eternal, unchanging and indivisible. Vedanta emphasizes that man in his true nature is this divine Spirit, identical with the inmost being and reality of the universe. There is, in short, but one reality, one being, and, in the words of the Upanishads, “Thou art That.”

Vedanta declares that one can realize God in whatever aspect one wishes, and, further, that one can realize him directly and vividly in this life, in this world. Such realization constitutes spiritual freedom and contains in infinite measure the fulfillment of all man’s ideals and aspirations; it is indeed the true purpose of human life.

Vedanta holds that all religions lead to the same goal. Further, Vedanta reveres all great teachers and prophets, such as Sri Krishna, Lord Buddha, and Jesus Christ, and respects their teachings as the same eternal truth adapted to the needs of different times and peoples.

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October 8th, 2010 at 12:54 am

On the Road……Guerciotti on the Golden Gate Bridge

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I recently did some exploring around the Golden Gate Bridge (and down by The Warming Hut).

This view is from the western side of the bridge looking toward the south-west. I believe the Seacliff/Richmond neighborhood is visible in the background.

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September 11th, 2010 at 7:53 am

On the Road……Two Angel Island Ebisu Portraits

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Along the Tiburon promenade with Angel Island and San Francisco in the background.

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I’m starting to prefer the tighter field of view of this image vs. the (similar) image I posted earlier.

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August 19th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

On the Road……Heading toward Azalea Hill Pass

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April 18th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

On the Road……St. Rita’s Church in Fairfax

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April 13th. I can’t put off doing my taxes any longer. So I take a quick ride to my local library to pick up some tax forms.

After I get my forms, I’m suddenly struck by the view looking across the street at St. Rita’s Church.

Time to make a quick portrait of the Nishiki Mixte, I think.

For better or for worse, this pretty much sums up the way most of my photos come about: spontaneously and a quite randomly.

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April 13th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

On the Road……Meadow Club, Fairfax

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I live in a region with a drought prone mediterranean climate and so expressing one’s feelings about the rain (its frequency and abundance) is a local past-time and, I think, a reflection of becoming a true inhabitant of this dynamic ecological assemblage.

I love the rain — especially late season March/April rains, but it also reduces my riding (above is a fair weather picture from a mid-month ride).

And despite many rumors to the contrary, rainfall this year is just “average”. But “average” = “great” because now our reservoirs are finally full.

Stats from MMWD’s website:

Average year-to-date rainfall (inches): 46.3

Actual year-to-date rainfall (inches): 45.1

Current, reservoir storage (% of capacity): 99

Same time last year, reservoir storage (% of capacity): 84

Now we need to hope plans to restore native Coho salmon populations will soon start paying off.

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March 30th, 2010 at 10:55 pm

On the Road……Super Bowl Sunday

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The view from the the top of the secret (or not-so-secret) bike path connecting San Rafael to San Anselmo that I mentioned here. From the San Rafael side, the path connects with Fawn Drive in San Anselmo.

I’m returning from the farmer’s market and the Ebisu’s rear rack is filled with leeks, carrots, and onions; the front bag with a dozen eggs, a head of cabbage, a turnip, and a shallot.

Oh yeah, congratulations to the Super Bowl champions — the New Orleans Saints!

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February 8th, 2010 at 4:01 pm

On the Road……Rain, Rain, Rain

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In between rain showers I went for a little ride around downtown Fairfax today. I spied this cruiser, parked under an awning to keep it dry, I guess. Not even a lock! It’s all good.

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January 20th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

On the Road……Nicasio Valley Road

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This image was buried in my cleaning house 2009 posting. On second viewing, it deserves full-size treatment. A few others from that gallery will probably show up full size as well, if they deserve it.

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January 6th, 2010 at 9:29 pm

On the Road……Happy New Year!

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The Friday Cyclotouriste wishes everyone a happy New Year’s Day, 2010.  As you spread the joy and benefits of riding bicycles this year may you suffer few flats, encounter many interesting people, consume delicious food and drink, and experience only tailwinds during all your rides!

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January 1st, 2010 at 3:15 pm

On the Road……Heading South, Golden Gate Bridge

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It may not look so, but it was foggy, cold, and very windy this morning. I was comfortable only after putting a windbreaker over two wool layers.

Also, we found out the bike path on the west side of the Golden Gate Bridge is closed during the week.

Whoops!

This made entering and exiting the bridge a little more complicated.

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August 7th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Ride Report……Heading to Santa Cruz

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A hastily arranged portrait of my fully-loaded Ebisu just before setting out (around 6:30am) for the trip to Santa Cruz.

From Fairfax it is almost exactly 100 miles, one way. My brother and I decided to make the trip in a day.

A few years ago, I covered the same distance, but took two days stopping to camp on the beach near Half Moon Bay. This time there would no camping and I would either pedal back after a rest day or catch a ride back to the Bay Area from our friend in Santa Cruz.

Despite it being just a long day ride, I attached pannier racks to my existing front rack and packed like it was a short tour. For clothes, I had wool riding pants, an extra pair of pants and a short-sleeved collared shirt for my day off the bike, a wool t-shirt, a wool pullover, 2 pair of wool socks, a rain/wind layer, a wool beanie, a baseball cap, and (non-wool) underwear. I pedaled in Adidas Sambas and also packed a pair of Rainbow flip flops and a swim suit for the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

As far as equipment, I brought a miner’s headlamp, two spare tire tubes, plastic tire irons, a bunch of zip ties, a bicycle multi-tool as well as a small selection of allen and other wrenches (to help with roadside repairs that might otherwise be difficult with just the multi-tool), a small digital camera, and a cell-phone and charger. I also brought a few toiletries in a small pouch: shampoo, sunscreen, and tooth brush.

For food, I packed 4 PB&J’s, 4 hard-boiled eggs, a mango, 2 apples, and 2 oranges. Plus, two water bottles.

Fully-loaded, the bike weighed in at around 55 lbs. I think the bike itself (with full fenders, racks, rear basket, lighting, and a handlebar bag) weighed around 30 lbs., which means I was carrying 25 lbs of STUFF. That seems like a lot of weight considering there would be no camping.

Think how heavy my bike would get if I added cooking, cleaning, and eating gear, extra food, a tent, and a sleeping bag!

Read Part II here

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July 23rd, 2009 at 8:24 pm

On the Road……Heading Toward the Summit of Tamalpais

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Lots of variation in terrain on the way to the summit — from oak-studded grasslands and chaparral to the misty Douglas fir and Redwood forests around Alpine Lake seen above.

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June 15th, 2009 at 6:55 am

On the Road……Nicasio Reservoir

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June 8th, 2009 at 7:19 pm

On the Road……Near the Meadow Club

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A rare sight: California grasslands with some green, rather than the typical burnt straw. This is the view looking to the northwest across from the Meadow Club on Bolinas Fairfax Road.

Into the wild

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May 29th, 2009 at 7:07 pm

On the Road……Redwood Grove

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On one of it’s rare flat stretches, Bofax Rd. winds through a redwood grove. I pulled over because just across the way lay the little fawn.redwoods-5-153

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May 18th, 2009 at 11:56 am