July 28 2011 Ride: Photo Madness

I swear, if rideblog ever makes it to The Big Time, all I long for is to hear someone say: “And her photos are so remarkably unblurry.” That’s it. I don’t need to hear that the writing is funny or charming or that I’m gorgeous and interesting. Just that my photos Are Not Blurry at All.

Can you tell this bothers me?

Now, the Canon is waaaaay better than the old camera about this, but it’s still not as reliably blurless as I’d like. After figuring out the other night that I was saving my photos in a way that cut down on their scalability, I realized that I needed a lesson in photography using a digital camera. Blurry photos needed to DIE. What better time to get that lesson, than 1:00am when I’m hyped up on hyperness? So I headed upstairs and fiddled with shutter speed and ISO until I found out what I needed to know to get clear, scalable pictures in almost zero light.

Then I headed out to Marymoor Park, to try the same effect in sunlight, shade, etc. I haven’t had complete success. The process of readjusting my shutter speed all the time is slow. If I was a nervous photog around others before, appearing to adjust ones digital camera is even more embarrassing for some reason. But I’m working on it. So… without further ado… a mini-photographic tour of Marymoor Park, by bicycle.

The bike posing in front of Clise Mansion, which is by no means a mansion, but is a pretty old house. One can get married here, which seems like a nice place to do it. Note the recently resurfaced paths out front. Smoooooth. The sky in this picture isn’t as blue as I’d like. This is what I can’t seem to master: shady spot, blue sky, bike bright enough. I can have two of the three, but not all three together. Around here, that’s a lot of missed blue skies or dark bikes!

Another attempt at a blue sky, which just got me a blue bike, and washed out house:

Note the gritted teeth as I say this: “I will master you, blue-sky-shady-problem. I WILL MASTER YOU!”

Okay, moving on. Next to Clise Mansion is a pretty little windmill. It never worked, and is more of a garden folly than anything else. The gardens around Clise Mansion were designed by the Olmstead brothers, who designed Central Park. I don’t think they did a particularly spectacular job here, but there are some nice old trees. Anyway, we wanted windmill shots. But when we got there, there were two rather plump sunbathers asleep on a blanket directly in front of the mill. So, parking The Raleigh slightly to one side, I tried to get creative. I ended up with two shots I really like. In the first, I like the angle of the bars with the angle of the blades above. Rotate, Raleigh, Rotate!

Note that lovely blue sky, and that nicely lit, clear bike.

Then I got this shot, which accidentally included my shoe. Fortuitous!

I like the reflection on the chainring, too. Like The Raleigh is a gleaming diamond of a bike, which it IS.

We headed around to the back of the windmill, which had a pretty, rustic doorway to photograph, fully in the shade.

There’s that damned white sky again… Then I parked the camera on the brick wall and attempted about 200 self-portraits in various positions. I liked… one. Kinda. I feel like I’m Ophelia in this photo, and any moment I’m going to drift away down the river on my bed of wildflowers (10 points if you get the painting reference that’s in my head).

This was the first time I have cycled in a dress. Yes, that’s right. I don’t usually wear dresses. They’re rarely flattering in my overly-critical mind, and ever since I was 18 and weighted more than 100lbs, my inner thighs have rubbed together when I walk. It’s just how I’m built. This means I have to wear shorts or something underneath a dress, unless it’s pantyhose weather. And let’s admit it, ladies: it’s never really pantyhose weather. Anyway, shorts were worn here. And I still felt ridiculous. Too cute, actually, like I was trying too hard. I’m just not a dressy kinda gal.

We rode out through the old gates of the mansion, which allowed another opportunity to get in a white-sky, shady bike shot. But I like the ambiance of this one anyway.

Sort of sinister and foreboding, don’t you think? Like any moment now, some brooding Victorian hero is going to lounge around the corner like a panther and rip my bodice. Um… or just kind of shady and nice.

And now for something completely different… the community garden. When I was a child, my mother briefly had a spot at the local p-patch. How I hated being trucked out there to sit, bored, among the cabbages, like Peter Rabbit without the mischief. I did Not inherit the gardening bug. At any rate, some folks here did, because Marymoor’s p-patch is beautiful and bounteous.

And sadly, blurry. Okay, I’m allowed one fail. How this, instead?

Next, we were determined to find that cycling wonder: the Velodrome. There are few active velodromes around, from what I hear, though Portland also has one (Stoooopid Portland. Always trying to steal our thunder!). When The Raleigh and I arrived, we were actually welcomed by the local race organizer, whose name is Phil. Something. (must get better at remembering names…). He even told me that had I arrived on a non-race night, I’d have been welcome to take The Raleigh for a spin around the track!

Perhaps not.

Phil and I chatted for quite a while. He showed me the tiny track bikes they let kids on the track bike training team ride. They start at nine years-old, so I can see my future with The Boy quite clearly. He’s already decided he’s going to be the next Lance (minus the testicular cancer and the steroids,  Mama says). I think I’ll bring him out here one Friday night before they close for the season to see the races.

The Raleigh and I only caught a bit of the action, but it was very exciting.

We had to go at this point, to head home to dinner. We clearly violated the track rules anyway (see the sign). But we’ll be back to watch another time!

So overall, I was pleased with the photos. They aren’t yet expert. But they are better. Less blur, more detail, and it was fun to figure it out for myself. Ireland is just three days away (holy shinola!) and I want to be ready! The weather promises to be partly cloudy, so I should get plenty of opportunities to photograph white skies. Grrrr.

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Love to ride my bikes!
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8 Responses to July 28 2011 Ride: Photo Madness

  1. Emad says:

    Excellent Photos From Different Views !

  2. rideblog says:

    Emad, thank you! Your photos are simply beautiful! Something to aspire to, indeed!

  3. Jim Duncan says:

    Do you remember your first bike or car; every little smudge you noticed? Maybe others saw something else though?

    I’ve bend sending links to your blog to my sis (who hasn’t ridden a bike since childhood) and here’s what she said about your July 15th post: “She is so funny. Cute kid, too. Her photos are beautiful.” Thanks!

  4. rideblog says:

    Thanks, Jim, and please thank your sis. I think your analogy is exactly right. I see all the imperfections since they’re mine. Ah well, I’m pushed to improve!

  5. w1gfh says:

    It’s all a matter of perspective. Just last week I said to myself “Damn! Her photos are always so sharp. Unlike my crappy camera phone photos.”

  6. rideblog says:

    w1gfh, that’s true about camera phones. I hate them. But that said, you don’t see all the photos I don’t post because they’re blurry. Those are the ones I’m pissed about!

  7. Phil Miller says:

    Great to chat the other night – we look forward to seeing more of you and your readers at the Velodrome!

    Phil Miller
    USA Cycling/Marymoor Velodrome Association

  8. rideblog says:

    Phil! I’m so glad I got the first half of your name right!

    My plan is to bring my son to Friday after this one. He’s very, very excited. You were an absolute pleasure to chat with, and have me convinced that my son would enjoy your program. Thanks!

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