May 19, 2011 Ride: Into the Sunset, Camera in Hand

I’ve been away for four days, travelling with a few of my students to various Northwest colleges as part of their “Spring Adventures” (you do this sort of thing in private school). Driving from Seattle to Portland to Salem to Portland to Seattle to Bellingham to Seattle in four days has left me achy and exhausted.

On Thursday, I received a call from DHL while touring Linfield College, asking if I had the international customs papers done for the Creme. “Uh, no,” said I. “What are they, and why would I have them?” The kind courier explained, sort of, what they were for and then asked if the bike was being returned. I affirmed that it was. Would I like Chain Reaction to do the international customs papers? Why yes, I would! We’ll see how that pans out. Later that day, I received the news that The Panasonic was on its way to its new owner in Albuquerque. Hopefully, he’ll have the bike soon, as I now have his money!

As soon as I arrived home yesterday from Portland, slightly earlier than expected, I hopped on The Viva. The weather was stunning, my body was bored, and The Beloved was busy roping himself to the balcony off the kitchen in order to practice crevice rescue. Besides, after spending three days looking at beautiful old bikes moldering away on college bike racks — I think college is where old Schwinns go to die — I was ready to take one of my bikes out and redeem cycling from the depths of battered, rusty hell. The Raleigh remains too risky to ride, as I haven’t had time to take it in and get that rear brake caliper either adjusted or replaced. So I had to sacrifice myself and ride my new bicycle, again. Oh, the horror!

As the light was rapidly disappearing, I decided to just do the Cedar River Trail, as usual. Only after I had arrived, did I realize that The Viva had no rear blinky. I had left the temporary one at home. This settled it for me: I’m going to buy a fender-blinky, like this one from Spanninga, and have it attached to the rear fender permanently. When I will do this is uncertain, but do it I must. At some point one would think I would finish doing stuff to bikes. One would be wrong, of course.

Fading light offers interesting problems for photographers like me (read: totally ignorant). Preventing the photograph from being over- or under-exposed and at the same time maintaining the proper contrast was tough. Fortunately, having no other means of keeping myself mentally stable on the NINE college tours I’ve done this week, I have been snapping pictures like I’m Diane Arbus. This has led to some additional experience, and over 125 photographs of kids looking slightly bored in both natural and artificial light. I think this helped with the bike photography. At the very least, it didn’t hurt.

Here is The Viva luxuriating in the “vivid color” setting on the camera.

Here is the same shot done in normal color mode. While I’m not certain that the “vivid color” adds anything to the photo (other than, obviously, vivid color),  I like playing with it. I want to call it the “lurid color” setting, though that sounds almost pornographic. Still… I think we’ve found a new name, here, Canon. Get on that for the next camera model, will you? Thanks.

My ride passed remarkably quickly. I really wanted to put in some mileage before the sun disappeared (and in Seattle, that last bit has so many different meanings), so I didn’t stop quite as often. Instead, I tried the obligatory Long Shadow Shot, so popular on cycling blogs:

Because this is my cycling blog, I also indoctrinated The Viva into the Photo-in-Front-of-the-Ridiculous-Speed-Limit-Sign Club, though we tried a slightly different sign than usual. The Raleigh was inducted into this club on April 9th, and The Panasonic posed prettily on Christmas day. The Viva was so proud.

I turned around at the five mile marker and headed back with my hand held up against my forehead in a salute to the sun, which was busily blinding me.

In the brilliant light, the newly-greened trees and bushes were dazzling. We tried to capture this with a black-and-white-and-green photo or two.

Here The Viva admires the fleshed out rose bush hedge, but wishes the city hadn’t gone quite so crazy with the trimming of said hedge, as last year it was head-high and created a much more effective sound barrier.

And here The Viva enjoys the shaded tunnel of green created by the trees overhead. We like the first shot the best.

As we passed into the last, most dappled section of the trail, the light became almost iridescent through the thin canopy of leaves. Everything glittered as if gilded, shifting playfully while we rode. The Viva and I tried to capture this quality of evening light in one last shot.

Did we succeed? I’m not sure any photographer really could. But The Viva appears to be slowly levitating with delight, which is an exciting concept.

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About rideblog

Love to ride my bikes!
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2 Responses to May 19, 2011 Ride: Into the Sunset, Camera in Hand

  1. Doug says:

    I like shooting in slanting light, either morning or early evening. I shoot across it or away from it i.e. I try to avoid backlit shots. I have a setting for backlighting, but I never think to use it.
    I think the last shot here works the best, with the backlighting subdued somewhat by the trees. I like the first one, too.

  2. jerping says:

    i saw the pictures with the sign post. there is a speed limit for bicycles of 10mph, and a $101 fine. what an odd amount for a fine…

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