Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Looking ahead.

This week marks the completion of four years for this blog. Not that it really matters. We humans, however, seem to have this propensity for observing milestones. Some of these occasions, like anniversaries, always seem to inspire contemplation in us. We look back at what was. We ask ourselves questions. How was it? What worked? What didn't work? Did we accomplish our planned objectives? Then, armed with those answers, we turn our focus forward, into the future. More questions. What will we leave the same? What will we do differently? Do we have new objectives or are we still working on the current set?

I was out at Camp Adair the other day. Once upon a time it was a World War II army base. If you click on the link you can read more about it. The house I'm living in was part of a development built for military personnel stationed at the camp. Now Camp Adair has a diverse variety of uses. There are both hunting and hiking opportunities. Hopefully in separate areas! A lot of it is a wildlife refuge. I wanted to play with the Nikon on a foggy, wet, day. There's some enclosures where a few game birds are on display. Some are native and some aren't.

Katie went with me. There was a bit of drizzle. We'd packed a big umbrella. I felt like such a celebrity with Katie holding the umbrella over me and the camera. When I'd finish with one group of birds she would carry my camera bag for me to the next place I would set up. What a doll!

I took many photos. I found myself especially drawn to eyes, though. Maybe it was partly because of the time of year. New Year's is another time for contemplation. The anniversary of the blog was on my mind. Eyes tell the story. They reveal character. Vision, to a large extent, controls our pathway in life. We go where we look. Specifically in our riding. More generally speaking in our overall lives. Much of the input that affects our lives comes through our eyes.

Looking back on the blog, I sort of apologize to those of you who came here recently looking for motorcycle information and mostly saw photos. Photography has become a new passion for me. The more I learn the more intrigued I get. I don't totally apologize, however. It is my blog, after all, and should reflect what's on my mind. On the other hand, I do bill the blog as motorcycle related. So the content should consist of that primarily.

Then again, there's the photography thing! Oh, I mentioned that already, didn't I? It's been a fascinating journey so far. I see a lot of books on the subject. I've read what seems like a ton of them. Not many reflect the actual journey of discovery. I think there's a lot of folks like me who would venture further with it if they had someone to follow. On a personal and simple level. I'd like to provide that pathway for people. However, I don't really want to start another blog to do it. Maintaining one blog to any level of competence is enough for me. There has to be time for actually riding a bike, you know!


The plan for the blog is to concentrate primarily on motorcycle content. Motorcycles are still my world and huge love. There remains so much information to share about riding and managing risk successfully. I enjoy sharing that kind of thing. My passion as a riding instructor still burns. Those of us who ride a lot, especially as motorcycle commuters, need all we can get in the way of useful weapons and tactics. There's practical information on dealing with weather and other stuff to pass on, as well. I like the fact that I've developed the reputation of being a source for training information. I want to keep that part going.

Somebody recently asked me a question after I put Clement Salvadori's article here in the blog, for example. The article mentioned how many riders have one year's experience repeated several times over instead of actually having several year's experience. The question was about how to actually build that experience, even with a short riding season each year. It's a great question that beckons to be explored.

Riders continue to fall short in their visual lead and scanning habits. Even if they do look, a lot don't actually have a plan for what they're looking for. There's so many things like this that still beg to be addressed. The plan is to spend some time with these kinds of things here.

I'm also finding that I've become increasingly fascinated by my students as individuals. Not that I haven't been involved with them in that way all along. Primarily, though, it's been from the perspective of making sure they get what they need as students. That will always be my primary goal with them. On the side, though, I'm becoming more interested in their individual personal stories. I want to develop this aspect more in the blog. I deeply believe we can all learn from each other. In addition, humans are more alike than they are different. It's so much fun to read about somebody and find that we can really relate.

Somehow along the way I'm going to try to weave in the photographic journey. Not just in the photos about riding. I have this vision of sharing a sort of "here's what I've found if it helps you" thing. It will always be paced at the level I'm at. Which isn't real high, right now, but is increasing. The trouble is that most of those who read here are already pretty good photographers. I've learned from you, not the other way around. The trick will be to attract photography newbies to a motorcycle blog. Hmm, if it could be done successfully there might be some riding newbies, too!

I don't know how it will work out. My crystal ball is a bit foggy at the moment. It might turn out that, if I still feel the urge to share, a separate blog may be required. For now, though, I'll try out this way. I hope it doesn't turn out to be a turkey like this guy.

He did have some pretty feathers, it turns out.

This friendly Tom was so close to the fence that I couldn't get the wire out of the photo. For the most part I put the lense close to the wire which got it out of the way. What to do when the subject hugs the fence? Just call the wire an artistic effect!

As the new year begins, I raise a glass and toast year five. I cherish the friendships I've developed here over the last four years. Here's a wish that these friendships deepen and may more be added to them!

Miles and smiles,

Dan

18 comments:

Chuck Pefley said...

Congratulations on your milestone, Dan. I'm turning two tomorrow. Sometimes it felt more like a mill-stone getting to this mile-stone.

I've enjoyed visiting recently. Your collection of birds today is splendid. Now, if I could just find a lovely assistant to hold an umbrella and carry my gear ....

Chuck

bobskoot said...

IronDan:

The beauty of the internet and of our blogging community is that we can all learn from each other. I like the idea that I have friends all over the country and perhaps one day we will be able to meet. I think a blog can be motorcyle related and still have room for other pursuits, such as photography. If you were to divide your efforts then you would have many projects with less content in each, much better to consolidate your efforts to keep us happy with new content, whatever the topic de jour happens to be

to Chuck, you may act like you are two, but in reality you are 17, as per Jack "r".

Orin said...

Congratulations, Dan! The time can just fly by sometimes, though on days when it's difficult to think of something to write about it can seem like an eternity.

Your blog's first name is "Musings," so that gives you, the author, carte blanche to write about whatever you want. We muse on a variety of topics. Our focus changes. You may recall when I started my journal it was about an old-skool scooter, but has shifted focus to using a scooter as daily transportation, as opposed to fetishizing it.

Your proficiency with photography might lead you to learn the ins and outs of Photoshop (which you can pick up really cheap if you sign up for a class). Then you could publish pictures of birds riding motorcycles! ;)

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool

cpa3485 said...

I have been along for your blog ride for a little over a year or so, and always find it fun and interesting. I like your attitude also about the day that it is your blog and you should do what moves you at the time.
I am learning that photography and motorcycling go together pretty nicely. My weakness is definately in the photography aspect.
Now what would really be cool is for you to mount one of them critters on the back of that FJR and get some pictures of that!
Congratulations on the milestone!

irondad said...

Chuck,

Congratulations on your own anniversary. High praise to hear the word splendid from a professional! I can always use the encouragement. On the other hand, for each good photo of mine are quite a number of flops!

Bobskoot,

Thank you for the help in clarifying my thinking. I figure I can accomplish my objective and use motorcycles and commuting as subjects.

Much appreciation for the insights you've shared with me so far.

Take care,

Dan

Mike said...

Congratulations Dan! Photography does have a way of getting into one's blood. It's nice to see your enthusiasm and desire to learn and share.

I also want to publically thank you for your support of my blog when it fist began.

Keep up the good work both on and off the FJR.

Conchscooter said...

Here's my two cents of which is echoing Orin. I think writing more than one blog is harder work and not effective (I tried and found it better for me to mix up all my essays in one place. Tough for right wing readers who want only pictures of Key West...Oh well). A blog to me is a scrap book and I find it hugely liberating not to be tied to a format or rules or what have yous...You should try it too. One entry about motorcycles, followed by one about training and one about photography won't hurt.

Conchscooter said...

PS Bobskoot is fooling himself if he thinks Key West is across "...the country..." from British Columbia.I have long since advocated giving Florida to Canada to compensate for Alaska being in their backyard but so far no luck. That way we could travel to Cuba and have socialized health care here at home all at once.

bluekat said...

I think motorcycling and photography go quite well together. The photos let us see where you want to take us, and frankly I think you have a knack for telling your motorcycling/training stories through photos that may seem unrelated to motorcycles until it's revealed in the story. That's one of the things I find interesting on your blog.

I enjoy the stories of your students that you share. I've heard others mention this too, but hearing peoples stories of learning to ride can be such an encouragement. I think this may be especially true for those of us who come to riding with no previous background.

I'll have my second "one year's experience" anniversary this spring. I think I'll go look up that article...

Per another comment. Yes, if you're looking to buy photoshop, take a class, any class. (Even a Team Oregon class would qualify.) Actually being an instructor might qualify. Ron took a woodworking class this fall and I got to update to cs4.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

....a lot don't actually have a plan for what they're looking for...On Prtunia it is for what might hurt me....On your blog it is for entertainment and education. You deliver on both of those aspects very well Dan.

Congratulations on the milestone and keep up the good work!!

Charlie6 said...

actually Irondad, the pic of the tom turkey that was up close to the fence, was great....didn't really notice the fencing till you mentioned it...so yeah, good effect...I was concentrating more on how the camera captured the turkey's details...

Sojourner rides said...

Dan, excellent post! I really loved the birds--beautiful clarity on the eyes and nice play with DOF! Besides your words striking a loud chord with me, your banner pic is stunning and I found myself returning to it after reading a paragraph or two. We, bloggers, can't help but influence each other as you have now inspired me to redesign my space.

Looking forward to more of your photographically-ride focused posts.

Best, Sharon

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad (Dan):

Congratulations on the anniversary of your blog, and the success of your editorial formula — which appears to be a fine balance of established best riding practices, personel perspective, and your current interest in photography.

Orin is quite right... You don't really owe anyone an explanation. That is the benefit of being the author.
Naturally, if you are going to run pictures of birds, especially pheasants, you should include a recommended pellet size (and best choke) for geting a decent shot. Since they are pheasants, #4 shot with a modified choke works well.

The pictures of the Chinese Ringneck brought back memories... I have no idea where you could hunt a golden pheasant.

Fondest regards
Jack • reep • Toad

Bryce said...

The "eyes" are in favour of the blog continuing.

Thank you for providing me with a platform to present my story.

Admit I read your blog and certain
others and wish in my own mind motorcycling as it was for me was still there. Reading the blogs of others helps sustain my interest.

Bryce Lee
Burlington, Ontario
Canada

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

Colin said...

My Opa kept a pair of pheasant's in a cage when I was younger. I will always associate them with comfort and my memories of him. Your pictures brightened my day!

Colin

irondad said...

To all,

I am sorry I got behind in responding to comments. The first week of 2010 started out on a frenzied pace. I am going to make this reply a group hug!

The support is extremely appreciated. I treat it as a valued gift. You are all awesome!

Motorcycle training and riding will remain the primary topic but I will mix in other things here. The advice to not dilute the work by running two blogs is very sound.

As to taking a class to update Photoshop, please help clarify that for me?

I'm using Elements 7 right now. I guess CS is a more involved version. How does taking other classes entitle one to an upgrade?

Take care,

Dan

bluekat said...

Hi Irondad

Sorry about the confusion. I was going by an earlier comment; it sounded like you were looking to purchase photoshop.

If you're looking to purchase any abobe software most of it can be purchased at a significant savings if you're a student or faculty member. There are qualifiers, but it's rediculously easy to qualify.

If you're not looking to upgrade (and there's no reason to do so if your current software does everything you need it to do) Then in my best "Rosanna Rosanna Danna"...nevermind :)

kari