Monday, March 20, 2006

fast boys in Lycra

Here are a few of my fave shots from Saturday's CU crit. My student did really well there and I took a ton of photos. I don't know what to say about many of these besides I was experimenting with a few different techniques and just trying to figure out the camera. I converted the first one to black & white because I had a brain fart and somehow toggled the white balance to tungsten. When that happens it's really tough to fix.

Same deal with this one, except I also missed the focal plane a bit. I liked the composition and subject tho, so I tried out a new faux-lomo recipe in Photoshop that works pretty well. Doesn't look much like a real one, but it has a somewhat vintage feel.

Caught this kid with a panning shot as he took a flyer off the front. Makes a super nice subject, since you can see the chase all blurred out in the background around the corner.

Switching from the telephoto to the wideangle on this course makes for some super rewarding scenery shots... despite the many, many light poles in the background. Makes for mad barrel distortion, too, with my cheapy Sigma 18-50mm wideangle zoom. In this shot the distortion actually kind of lends itself to the whole feel of the shot, at least I think so.

These guys were flat out hauling. Check out the facial expressions. It never gets easier, you just go faster.

I was just farting around trying something new with aperture priority, stopped down to about f/16 or so and caught this awesome shot of Dave Towle, the emcee, framed by Catherine Powers as she soloed off the front for the win in the women's race.

I really worked on the panning technique on Saturday. I was surprised how many good shots I got, especially since I was framing up pretty tight. These are hard because you're shooting small aperture, slow shutter, and you miss a ton of shots, but between the auto-advance feature on the Nikon and just good karma, I really lucked out.

I liked this one a ton despite the missed focus because to me it really represnts what being in the middle of a breakaway at speed feels like. Kinda dizzy and blurry and painful and exciting all at once.

Last but not least, another wideangle 'beauty shot' of Arapahoe Peak with the B race in the foreground.

It's snowing today and I have Richard Ashcroft's new track rolling thru the speakers. I think I'll brew myself up a hot cup of tea and do a bit of online shopping.



Saturday, March 11, 2006

the new ride

Check out my newest ride. I've been sans fixed gear since I sold my old Trek to my bud Eric Reber (
Pedal Pushers Cycling Team in Lowry) last winter.

That's right kids, I caved and got myself the ultimate cliche' hipster bike. What can I say, it was dirt cheap, it's my size, it's mint because the chick I bought it from NEVER rode it, and it's already got a front brake and flipflop hub installed. In other words, it came with the 2 major upgrades I would have invested in had I ordered one stock, and I got the whole enchilada for less than four benjamins. It's a 2004, meaning it even came with the original cool solid silver WTB saddle, which my butt seems pretty happy with so far. I was concerned it'd be a torture device from all the bitching everyone else has done, but it seems fine to me.

In my own defence, I've been riding fixtes since way before they were ever cool or half the poseur hipster crowd owned one. I built my first one in like 1990 or so, and rode it all over for race conditioning, because that's just what you did back then. My old one had toeclips not because that was all cool or retro, but because no one but rich people could afford clipless pedals, of which there were 2 ridiculously expensive, klunky heavy models to choose from: Look and Time... and you for damn sure didn't put 'em on your crap winter rainbike / fixte.

The new scoot runs some of these badass old Time ATACS because I have 2 sets (and I think I spent like a grand total of $40 for both) plus they're idiotproof, weatherproof, easy to engage, and I wouldn't be caught dead using death cages these days. Yeah I know a lot of people swear by Crank Bros. but after having thouroughly minced my shins with a pair of (L)eggbeaters at Dirt Demo a couple Interbikes ago, I think I'll keep the ATACS and rock the retro grouch motif. Emphasis on grouch.

This right here is what it's all about. This is the fixed side. 48x16 baby.

I rode ALL OVER Boulder today. Up and down, in and out. Played in the traffic, rode up and down the Boulder Creek Path, in and around campus, etcetera etcetera. Scared some cars, scared myself, scared some college kids, it's all good. Basically I did a cafe' crawl from coffeehouse to coffeehouse, and made sure to stop in every bookstore, bike shop and odds and ends vendor on the way in between. I drank some awesome peppermint/chocolate black tea and picked up a new
Moleskine. It was a pretty crappy day, and it kinda snowed off and on, so the fixte was definitely the way to go.

I love this bike. I think the previous owner said she rode it all of about four times, which means I got it in showroom shape except for some FUGLY blue bartape which I immediately removed. I gave the whole rig a thourough cleaning, tightened the drivetrain, flipped the stem, swopped out pedals, re-wrapped the bars, measured everything up to my road rigs and man does this guy ride nice. It's light, stiff and utterly silent on the road. The geometry is dead on perfect and it's super comfortable too, even with the major drop from saddle to bars (not unheard of for track geometry). This frame shows as much seatpost as my Dream roadie, despite that it's not a compact / sloping setup. I can definitely see this one becoming my bike of choice for everything besides racing and group rides.

The sweetest part is that when I got out of Amante at 18.30 and realised it had started snowing in earnest, I just whipped out the 15mm wrench, flipped the back wheel (which takes all of 30 seconds) and rode home on the freehub side. I mean, I dig riding fixed and all but I'm not quite crazy enough to want to attempt the combo of fixed, dark AND icy... not out on U.S. 36 at any rate.

Oh and before I sign off tonight, give these guys a listen and if you like what you hear, hook 'em up with a membership. WOXY, one of the top 5 webcast stations online, a multiple award winner and one of the last truly independent stations still (barely) making it in a hostile corporate-clone ruled environment. If ClearChannel's craptacular programming has you pissed off, I guarantee this is the cure. Originally the home of Miami of Oxford's (Ohio) college indie station, their FM callsign was made famous as '97X BAM! The Future Of Rock N Roll' in the 1988 Academy Award flick Rainman. But seriously folks, I've been listening to this station for twenty years and they haven't played a bad track yet. When I moved to CO in 2001, I hooked into their streaming webcasts / netradio and they've always kept it on the cutting edge.



Thursday, March 09, 2006

grab bag

Here's a smorgasboard of shots, from a lovely Saturday spent riding around Boulder just shooting photos of anything I could get my lens wrapped around. These first 2 are details shots from the kerbstones outside my favourite tea shop.

Another kind of interesting experiment. I'm not sure if this shot works or is just stupid. but for whatever reason I didn't want to delete it, and those are usually the shots people say they like. This Golden was tied to the same parking metre as my singlespeed outside the Trident coffeehouse. I don't know whose dog this is, but she was a pretty photogenic subject. Shot this one thru a narrow gap in the slats of a patio chair, with the lens wide open (f/1.8), handheld, at night. usually a recipe for disaster, but you be the judge.

Glass block. At night. With light shining through it. Yeah, okay it's a cliche', but the colours are at least cool, and it gave me some interesting pattern / texture / composition issues to try solving.

Okay enough of the artsy fartsy crap, let's move on to one of my perennial faves: hot men without shirts! These guys were bouldering up in Sanitas when I asked them if they'd mind me shooting some photos of them. They were really nice about it. I gave them my email addy and told them I'd send them the caps for free if they were interested. Most people don't seem to care one way or another.

Sanitas is really gorgeous, and on my way back from shooting the rock climbers, I tried to capture the late afternoon light framing the rock outcrops on the south side of Sunshine Canyon.

The biggest challenge with these shots is that in order to frame what I want, I am forced to use my wideangle zoom, which is an extremely cheap plastic lens. It's not all that sharp or fast, so it loses a lot in translation. I'm looking into a new 20mm f/2.8 prime though. Soon, very soon.

Last but not least, a colour capture from a slightly different angle of last week's most excellent train. I'm definitely going out to re-shoot this one with better light and from some other angles.

That's all folks,


Saturday, March 04, 2006

back in the saddle

So I've been sick with a nasty case of flu for about ten days. Finally feel a TON better, but man for awhile there, I felt like I got hit by one of these things.

So I've a crapload of files from today's shoot, but I'm too tired to post 'em all right now.

tho for whatever reason I really like this drunken bus station bench. Kind of a cool screwup, no?