Sunday, June 05, 2011

Ready for Duty

I was wandering about in downtown Portland on a grey and hazy morning recently. It was early even for the Big City. My immediate goal was warm coffee after a chilly ride up. Tucking the G11 into the big pocket on the front of the 'Stich has become a habit. I saw these bikes lined up down the street and was compelled to make a detour. A large number of motor officers from this department regularly attend our training sessions. I've probably chased one of these very bikes on a track.

One of the things I've finally learned to do with photography is to find different angles. In this case I tried several of them. This building is also the Multnomah County Courthouse. A couple of times I was under the watchful eyes of a deputy. Offering a wave and holding the camera up seemed to put them at ease. Although one looked a bit unsure when I wandered into the traffic lane to get this shot.

If you look closely or blow the picture up you'll see another bike at the end of the row of cars. Sort of a punction mark at the end of the sentence.

I struggled with the shot as a color photo. Suddenly it hit me that this would be a great black and white picture. Rather than just desaturate it I spent some time playing with levels and curves. I wanted to bring out the high contrast look fitting for urban photography. I think the angle of the bikes along with the various triangles really draws the eyes down the line.

It seems fitting this way, too. The bikes are beautiful, graceful machines. That facet seems to be symbolized by the light colors. These same bikes are called upon to do duty in not so beautiful tasks. The darker colors point to this side of things.

This is what I was trying to call attention to in the photo. Isn't it interesting how something we just happen upon can turn into something deeper?

Miles and smiles,



bluekat said...

Exceptionally nice!
Excellent choice going with black & white. Nice lines and angle, and of course great subject. :)
Blame it on Mike, but I've come to love black & white photography, and this is a very nice example.

...I will make no donuts jokes...

Funny about your audience. I'm kind of surprised they let you continue. Plenty of photographers have been asked to move along even when shooting public places.

RichardM said...

I like the B&W shot. Great choice. I wonder what the deputy was originally thinking...

I have never dealt too much into any post processing of images besides occasionally adjusting exposure or white balance.

Circle Blue said...

A smile and wave often does do the trick at putting folks at ease at what you are doing with the camera. I've never been asked to move along, but have thought I was going to.

Very nice shot.

Thanks for the share,

Charlie6 said...

Irondad, angles which offer symmetry and interesting alignments have always pleased me. Nice shot.

B/W as an effect...must explore that on the really sunny days when the sun washes out everything....


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Mike said...

Very nice shot Dan, and nicely rendered in B&W. It does give the downtown image an older feel.

What I'm really impressed about is that you called late model RT's, "beautiful, graceful machines". I don't think that's the general concensus on the blogosphere. I'm just sayin. :)

irondad said...


Thank you for the compliment. The black and white came after I struggled with color to get the look I wanted. One of these days I'll learn to see in b & w in the first place.

Perhaps the fact that I was still wearing my riding gear helped. What's harmful about a guy in riding gear taking photos of bikes, eh?

Take care,


irondad said...


I was probably lucky it was a deputy. There are also U.S. Marshalls hanging about there.

I, too, try to get it right in the camera. However, my success ratio needle is still pointing firmly at "needs improvement!"

So there is a good chance to learn post processing while fixing my mistakes.

Take care,


irondad said...


Thanks so much for dropping by! It's true that a warm smile can unlock a lot of doors.

Take care,


irondad said...


The interesting thing is that I actually saw the angles and took that shot on purpose. Usually with me it's an accident!

If the sun is really bright the better plan is to go inside some cafe and make food porn.

Take care,


irondad said...


I have seen those bikes in situations that most probably haven't. I've even ridden them. In the hands of skilled riders on a track.....poetry in motion!

Truth be told, it took me a while to warm up to the 1200 versus the 1150. Love the smooth lines of the 1150. The 1200 looks a bit more angular like BMW just sort of piled parts on top of each other.

Once you get to know them, though, it doesn't take long to see what a great bike they are.

Take care,


Raftnn said...

I was sure I had left a comment...anyway what I did say was, you should getone of these old guys to write a bit of how they felt the training went for them, especielly one of the more experinced ones. Just a thought