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Posts tagged ‘photography’

the warm before the storm

December ... in shorts

It is December.  And we are riding in shorts.

Do you ever have those days when your responsible self says:  I really should stay at home and get (fill in the blank) done, or do this or do that… ?   And then of course you completely ignore it.  OK, well maybe you don’t.

With the holidays looming, I have a fairly lengthy to-do list – which does not exactly include spending a few hours goofing around on bikes.  Oh well.  But there is a pretty serious storm and rain event in the forecast, so we decided to take advantage of the calm before the storm.  (So if you don’t receive a Christmas card, you’ll know why).

I will also take this opportunity to thank my amazing husband for going out of his way to let me selfishly spend my time this entire weekend doing the things that amuse me (biking, photo-ing, sewing, reading, knitting, movie-watching, napping, etc.), as well as for his unending patience in letting me take his photo – repeatedly – while riding.  He’s actually trying to get somewhere, while I’m completely distracted by the lines of the road and a fence, and a field full of cows…

“Can you just go back down the hill and ride back up toward me so I can get a shot from up here?”  (Sometimes said not just once, but several times…)  Be glad you don’t have to ride with me…  😉

two moo

in the White Oak Valley

adventures in solitude

The first day of September.  For some reason, it feels like such a turning point … leaving summer behind, kids back at school, the last week of swimming outside.  Awaiting the pungent crunch of leaves, diminishing daylight, cooler temperatures.  For me, a time of  Adventures in Solitude.  By bicycle.

I rode today with only my little Lumix point-and-shoot.  It makes me “work” a little harder … and I’ve just been feeling like I need to be challenged.  With the first of the month here, I feel like I’ve been slacking off over the past few months, not feeling especially creative.   And I find myself looking for some long-term personal “project” to tackle, something to inspire me, to spark some creativity, to prod me in some new (?) direction.

I confess that I am a big proponent of 365 projects.  My experiences with ShutterCal and #330daysofbiking were rewarding, challenging, and a “push” to grow, learn and expand my proficiency with my camera and on my bike.  I’ve been trying to figure out another 365 avenue to tackle; as much as I loved the photo-a-day, and the ride-a-day, I’m just not feeling an urge to repeat those.  A variation on the theme would be fine, but just not a repeat of the same.

Some of the more fascinating 365-projects I’ve come across in my search for inspiration:

  • Clouds 365 Project – a daily photo project of a single subject: clouds.  Stunning stuff.
  • Make a Book A Day – a seriously ambitious undertaking of making a hand-bound book every day.  Wow.
  • ThreeSixtyFiveBears – the creative undertaking of my (twitter) friend Meghan’s husband, Phil Barbato (artist/designer/web developer), who is drawing a bear each day on his iPhone.  Awesome.
I just haven’t figure out what to do yet … But I hope something will come to me.  Soon.  For now, it’s bicycle and camera.

Final note:  Thank you to everyone who responded to the jersey give-away; I appreciate the interest and the great rom-com suggestions for my Netflix queue.  ;-).  I will be revealing the random-drawing winner by Monday, 9/5.

365 days of field corn ... ???



lens cleaner

(You can thank me now – despite the initial scare, this is a 100% goat-less post). 😉

There has been a lot of rambling around lately … because I am obviously honing my non-productivity skills.  And because the weather is beautiful, and I’d rather be out on  my bike goofing off, rather than, well … cleaning out the attic or mowing grass.

I’ve been drawn to long rides on the Xtracycle lately.  As someone once perfectly described – it’s not the lycra-clad fast and furious stuff (as if I ever do that), but more of a “long, slow boogie”.  Typical me.  Carry a picnic lunch, stop and talk to cows, linger in the fresh green of spring.

So … a few of the sights of recent days, because there’s not much more to be said.

exploring un-named roads

... and always finding more cows

things that haul...


... and things that haul "better"

the curious ones ...

and the not-so-curious ones


the "end" 😉


milestones and gravestones



365 days of ShutterCal ... it (nearly) killed me, lol 😉


Today marks a bit milestone for me – I have just completed Day 365 of my 365-photo project on ShutterCal.  For anyone not familiar, it basically involves shooting and uploading one photo a day for an entire year … much more challenging than you could ever imagine, trust me.  (OK, well, for me anyway …).

Long before I started #30daysofbiking and #330daysofbiking, I started this little goal-setting photo project.  And while I really don’t understand what compells me to do this kind of stuff (???!), because it often drives me (and my family) crazy, I have to admit that I ultimately manage to take away so much more than I contribute.  I guess that is the answer to the previous question?

Contemplating this 365-day photo odyssey, I can say that ShutterCal …

  • taught me what all of the buttons on my DSLR do, and how to use them (somewhat competently, anyway)
  • introduced me to some incredibly talented, kind and amazing photographers – who did everything to keep me motivated, especially on the lame days
  • considerably shortened the lifespan of my camera (a good thing?)
  • made me covet “good glass” like a cyclist covets carbon fiber (or an Xtracycle ;))
  • made me crazy
  • made me look at everyday things in new ways
  • made me consider how many ways there are to shoot a bicycle (and frustrated me while trying to come up with new ways)
  • through the act of “doing”, taught me more about photography than any book, class, or workshop ever could
  • made me crazy
  • likely instilled a love-hate relationship with bicycles and old barns among most of my ShutterCal friends
  • made me use a camera even when I didn’t want to
  • introduced me to many Holsteins
  • made me crazy(er)

I am now contemplating where to go from here.  Stop or continue?  Since this has become almost habit-bordering-on-addiction, I will probably continue on for a while.  I wonder which will give out first – me, or my camera?  Lol.

Meanwhile, wishing everyone a happy and spooky Halloween … and leaving you with a few Halloween-y shots.  Boo.



the very first day of my ShutterCal adventure - Day 1: Xtracycle pumpkin (2009)



in town; some people are very talented (at creeping me out) - #330daysofbiking, Day 187



#330daysofbiking Day 192 - riding past old cemeteries; Martha Smith (1833-1907)



Xtracycle, headstones, Lensbaby ... sometime over the summer, #330daysofbiking



ShutterCal Day 341 ... the colors of the day


someone stole our bikes (kind of) …

Rest assured – the bikes were not stolen.  Just their image…  I will explain.

I have hesitated to even post this, because I mostly feel that it’s not what I’m about, not what I want this blog to be about.  But I also feel quite strongly about right and wrong, ownership and theft, lessons learned, and I think there is an important message to be conveyed.

(Not to mention I also owe Casey, Jenn and Stan some beer and pizza over this one. 😉

Imagine my surprise when one of my twitter friends, Casey – a great guy, biochemistry PhD candidate, and fellow Xtracycle owner out in Montana(!) – sent me a note saying he was pretty sure he had seen a photo of my bikes in a local magazine, Outside Bozeman.  Yeah – as in Bozeman, MT.  And really, what are the odds of that – on every level?!

naughty, naughty Outside Bozeman...

So I managed to get a copy of the magazine, just to see if he was correct.  And sure enough, there they were – my photo of our bikes that I had taken almost three years ago out in our front yard. In Tennessee.

They had apparently pilfered the photo off of either my old blog, or from my Flickr set – both of which expressly state “License: © All Rights Reserved by (me)”.  They never asked for permission, they offered no attribution.

So, what to think?  Part of me was a bit conflicted.  If it encouraged anyone to start riding a bike, or even purchase an Xtracycle, I felt like this was a good thing and served a good purpose – and really, it’s one of the main reasons I like to share my love of bikes and biking through photography and blogging.  And yes, it was exciting (to some degree) to see one of my photos in print.

But I also feel very strongly about copyright, ownership, asking for permission to borrow or use or modify, having heard several stories of other peoples’ photos being “stolen” for profit-making endeavors (made into postcards, store flyers, etc.).

Wrong is wrong.  And in the end, after discussing with several people in-the-know, I decided it was important to let this magazine know that I didn’t find their actions appropriate or ethical.  I wrote a letter, and I sent them a “republication” invoice for the use of my photo.   And waited.

Two days ago, I received a small and brief hand-written note of apology along with a check for what they claim was “twice their usual rate” – basically about enough for beer and pizza, but more importantly, evidence that they had gotten the message.  And hopefully won’t resort to doing this kind of thing again.  (Or so I like to tell myself.)

When all is said and done (and photographed and posted and published), I want to be clear about a couple of things … First, I am more grateful than any of you will ever know for the kind and positive comments I get on my photos that appear on this site, on my Flickr, and on ShutterCal.  And while I strongly respect ownership – of all art forms, from photography to music to any other medium – I am typically honored to share, to offer the use of my images to those who are considerate and ask.  Please know this, and please feel free to ask. (As long as you don’t intend to print postcards to sell…).

Over the past months it has been an privilege to collaborate and share photos with people like Rick from Xtracycle, Darryl at LovingTheBike, and even recently with an online poetry journal, POOL, put together by another amazing friend and photographer in her own right.  A couple of my friends have wanted prints of certain shots, and I am so very flattered to offer them.   Every one of them has honored me by asking, been more than generous with attribution, and provided me with a wonderful opportunity to share what I love.  Because in the end, photography is meant to be seen; and if the bicycles I love are in the mix, even better.

So – Casey, Jenn and Stan … I will buy the beer and pizza, but I have decided to send the proceeds of this little experience to the Dan Austin and the great people at 88bikes – because it just feels like the right thing to do in the end.  Someday, possibly,  I will be able to put my camera to work for an endeavor like theirs….

from Outside Bozeman ... to

#330daysofbiking Day 98: quotidian

quotidian |kwōˈtidēən|adjective [ attrib. ]
1. Of or occurring every day; daily.

ride of the day

Note to self: it is probably not the best idea to undertake a 365-photo project (ShutterCal) and #330daysofbiking project at the same time…

It’s not that I don’t love the daily activity; I love the riding, I love shooting pictures.  But I have to admit that I tend to drive my family crazy with all of this.   Sometimes it’s the stopping for photos while riding, making them wait for me – other times it’s the time I spend at the computer, editing, posting, blogging, tweeting, yadda, yadda.  Yet somehow they always want to see the pictures, or want copies to update their Facebook status (LOL!).   I’ve been told that at least some of them will be glad to see this/these projects come to an end.

I guess I haven’t yet mentioned to them my fascination with the work of Jamie Livingston…?  (hah!)

My friends Stan and Jenn, my photo gurus & mentors, recently posted about 365-projects and Jamie Livingston – an incredible guy who took a polaroid picture each dayfor eighteen years! An incredibly moving collection of photos, every day snapshots covering his life from college, his marriage, and so sadly – to his last day on earth, when he died of cancer at age 41.  That last polaroid is in the collection on the website; I have to admit it was very hard to look at.  As Stan said, he left an incredible legacy … recorded one day at a time.

I don’t look at this riding project or my ShutterCal calendar as anything that exceptional or resembling a legacy project; I just enjoy documenting it, and I think the documenting part “keeps me honest”.  And while I hope to be riding for at least another 18 years, and will likely always carry a camera, I cannot ever fathom doing such an epic project like Jamie did (don’t worry Mark!).  Mostly, I enjoy the bicycle and cycling conversations with friends – and the photo conversations with my ShutterCal pals.  I have learned so much from so many; it’s all about the sharing.  I definitely receive more than I give.

So today was a road ride on my own … I usually don’t have to worry about driving myself crazy by stopping so often. 😉

our pond; hard to believe there were thunderstorms rolling through only hours earlier


ap pur te nance  |ə-ˈpərt-nən(t)s| noun (usu. appurtenances)

An accessory or other item associated with a particular activity; accessories, trappings, equipment, paraphernalia.

(I'm) Just a Big Dummy with a camera ...

With memories of February’s “snowmageddon” starting to fade, the promise of springtime, warmer weather, and sunny roads gets alot of us dreaming of appurtenances … OK, bike stuff.  New bike stuff.  Maybe a new set of tires, new rims, a new pair of shoes, a new helmet, or even a complete new beautiful bicycle.  (You guys know who you are … finish the thesis & you get the Salsa!  😉

Trailhead Bicycle: better than a candy store

Trailhead Bicycle: better than a candy store!

To be clear, I don’t exclude myself from this Spring Fever.  Thinking that my favorite bike shorts have seen better days, my brake cable should be replaced, a colorful new jersey would be nice … Anyone who steps into the colorful wonderland of a bike shop in the grey days of late winter knows the feeling.

Lately, I have also added camera “stuff” to my appurtenance cravings.  Deciding to participate in a 365 photo project (a photo each day for a full calendar year) with ShutterCal, was big impetus to get a bit more serious.  In the somewhat futile attempt(s) to improve my photography skills, I have spent a lot of time – and yes, admittedly, money – in recent months taking classes, reading books, attempting to master new post-processing software – as well as buying a few pieces of equipment I “really needed”.

I have to admit that I struggle with that inner voice that keeps whispering, “it’s not about the equipment…”. I believe this: it’s not.  I know there is not a bike on the planet that will magically make me a super-human cyclist, yet I also know how pleasurable it is to ride beautifully equipped bike – whether an ultra-light road bike, an Xtracycle, or some stylish balloon-tired cruiser.  The bike does not make the rider – but good equipment can make the ride divine.

And just as with the bicycle, the camera does not make the photographer.  I’ve seen spectacular photos shot with a camera phone, or a cheap point-and-shoot.  An artful and skilled eye will always more-than-compensate for lack of technical equipment; yet good equipment (and the knowledge to use it) can enhance the results for those of  us who are considerably less talented, and make the process much more enjoyable and productive.  Just like riding a beautifully equipped bicycle, shooting pictures with a good camera and lens can be an inspiring experience.

I’m not sure where that leaves me in the end?  There is so much I want to learn, and improve upon – both in cycling and photography.  It will likely require appurtenances. I don’t need to win races, ride around the globe, win awards or exhibit my photos – I just want to reach some personal level of accomplishment.   I’m trying to find the right balance; I don’t want the desire for appurtenances to get in the way of the actual work.  I need to climb more hills, I need to take millions of photos.   Yet I also know that sometimes, appurtenances can help pave the path to getting there…

Spring is almost here…. dream on! 🙂

feels like Springtime...