Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Making photographs!

Making photographs. I borrowed that phrase from Steve Williams. It's a term that he uses and has been applied to him by others. Interestingly, I finally have a clue as to what it really means. More on that in just a bit.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven't posted much, lately. If you're one who's noticed, I'm flattered and honored. I guess I just sort of lost interest. So many things demand our time, don't they? I'd gotten to the point where I felt like I'd run out of things to say. It's interesting how time seems to "label" us. For example, the above mentioned Steve Williams has always appeared to me to be the philosophical professor with artistic leanings. When I think of Steve I first think of photography. Gary C. was the dashing test pilot. Jack R. is the naughty boy who was always getting his hand whacked by the teacher's ruler. Lucky in Arizona is the quintessential Viking, looting and plundering. Conchscooter? Well, he's sort of in a unique and refreshing class by himself. Although I noticed he just satisfied the urge to become an Iron Butt member! Congratulations.

The above descriptions are meant with the utmost respect and high regards, by the way. All of us have our unique spaces we occupy. Mine has been that of a teacher and riding guru, it seems. That's both rewarding and limiting at the same time.

I'm still riding and teaching. Just not writing about it. I mean, how interesting can it be reading about where I go during my day? I like reading about you all, but don't find the same interest when it's about me. There's still some great stories from my students and people I meet. I just lost interest in sharing.

You might remember how back in July I took a photography class. It was a five week course, meeting one night a week for three hours. Something clicked for me. Since then I have spent most of my spare time reading and studying books on photography. The world of exposure, composition, ISO selections, shutter speeds, and aperature settings suddenly make sense. I'm finding out what an amazing camera the Nikon D40 actually is for someone like me. Obviously, I'm nowhere near an accomplished photographer. However, I've let go of the automatic settings and set out on fully manual adventures with the camera. With some results that aren't too bad, either.

Here's an example from this weekend. This is inside a dark room at an aquarium. There were so many people trying to get photos with point and shoot cameras with a flash. While this particular photo isn't spectacular, I was able to get a clear and colorful shot by manually adjusting the camera's settings. It was something I would never have known how to do until recently.

Another amazing thing has happened. A lot of my enthusiasm has returned. Motorcycles will always be the main part of my life. Behind Katie and family, of course. I'm a motorcyclist. It's who I am. It's what I do. Exploring photography has started me out looking at everything in a different way. Maybe I was ripe for a new challenge. I've always been the kind that needed a carrot on a stick held out in front of me. The experience of trying to conquer photography has gotten me looking at motorcycling in a whole new way, also.

It's time for a fresh approach. I'm going to try to make motorcycling connections through my camera lense. It will be fun, I think. Photography and motorcycling are alike in one way. When you first start out, everything looks like this:

This was actually the result of a dumb, but funny mistake. This is from a hotel room balcony. I had the camera on a tripod and set for a slow shutter speed. Then I used the self timer to make the shutter fire so I didn't shake the camera when I pressed the button. So what do I do? As soon as the camera clicked, I forgot that the shutter was still open and whisked the thing back into the room! Interesting effect, though. I'm sharing this because if we're afraid to look silly then our learning will be severely curtailed.

Keep working at it and the picture will begin to make more sense!

I know I have a loose end hanging from the last post. Sooner or later I'll tie it up. Right now I have to go sort through this weekend's photos!

Miles and smiles,



Lucky said...

Jeez, I'm all flattered. What can I say? I'm genetically predisposed to kick ass.

Anyway, you keep posting whenever the mood strikes, and we'll keep reading.

And feel free to post more pictures of your bike in front of tanks, and such, along with the more serious, artistic photos. ;)

cpa3485 said...

That photo in the aquarium is really nice. Continue to post photos like that and we readers will remain impressed with your abilities.
And if anybody complains that you aren't writing about motorcycles as much, just tell them to go back and read some of your older posts. That'll keep 'em busy for awhile.
I for one will continue to visit often.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

If truth be known, I get sick of motorcycles from time to time. And I get sick of writing about everything at least once a month. And I get sick about worrying that I'm losing my touch as a writer, or what little ability I have as a rider. And then I get a idea, or take a ride, or see something unusual, and life gets interesting again.

Actually, it generally gets interesting when I'm in mid-sentence, hip-dip in some shit, and I get a really good idea. Thankfully, I know I take really lousy pictures and this never becomes a challenge.

Thank you for mentioning me in your blog today. I am always amazed when seasoned, professional riders like yourself, find a reason to include me in their number.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Richard Machida said...

What cpa3485 said... reading your blog has never been a waste of time whether it has been about riding or photography or other.

bobskoot said...


sometimes you just have to sit back and watch the grass grow, or watch the ocean drift by. There are pressures everywhere, work, home, instructing, mentoring . . . you need time for yourself, explore new horizons such as photography to renew different interests. Lack of time and too many projects in the works to overload the mind.
don't feel pressured to keep us entertained, we will grab what tidbits that you throw our way. Perhaps make a photograph once in a while with a short caption.

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Conchscooter said...

What was that? not ragging on me? Two bits of friendly advice. One is never announce in your blog your plans because plans get mislaid. Second throw away the flash until you have figured how to mess around after dark without it. Winter time is coming and you will have opportunites to practice.
The reason I call my blog a diary is because it's that and it doesn't lock me in to oine subject or one format or anything. Write what you feel and what you think.

irondad said...

There could be worse things to be genetically predisposed to! The bike in front of the tanks is artistic. Notice how the bike and tank turrets are facing into the photo?

Thank you for the encouragement. I hope to have some good photos to share off and on. I also hope to be able to tie photos and riding together more.

Take care,


irondad said...

I guess we all need a change from time to time. I do consider you a serious rider. Not to mention seasoned. Or is that pickled?

I guess that's about the highest compliment a blog can get. Thank you!

Take care,


irondad said...

In your honor, knowing you like a lot of photos with just a bit of text, I'm going to try a post just that way!

Even though I may have once in a while thrown a friendly barb at you, please know first and foremost that I find there is much to admire about you. There. I said it. I hurt myself, but I said it. I am also quite sincere.

As to your advice, both items are sound. As you will see, I am trying not to flash anyone for a while.

Take care,


bobskoot said...


If I didn't know better I think you are trying to say to Conch, "I cough love cough you"

As we all know, it takes a big man to say the "L" word. LOL

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Sojourner rides said...

You're right. Things start out very blurry and nebulous...stick with it and things are bound to clear up when given the right attention. Interesting to see your growing interest in photography.

Steve Williams said...

I certainly am familiar with the ebb and flow of blog posting. Whenever I feel as if I have to post I know it's time to take a break.

The description of me as a "philosophical professor with artistic leanings" made me chuckle. It's amazing what a point and shoot camera and a dictionary can do! Thanks for the support. I feel almost mythic. And on a Vespa to boot!

Glad to see you are enjoying photography. I've always thought is was a natural connection to riding.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks