Saturday, October 29, 2011

Changing faces, my new bike and photographic evolution.

 Triumph tigris, var. XC
     I've got a few miles on my new motorcycle now.  I'm well past the  first service and the break in period.  It's everything I wanted in the KLR.  Smooth, vibration free, enough power to haul my stuff.  I actually want to ride it, not just commute on it.  I'll be getting some luggage for it soon.  Something large with adventure bike styling,  you know, for getting groceries and other tasks I would normally roll a cage to complete.  After three years on a KLR, you either love motorcycles or you don't.  I guess I do.  Enough about the bike, let's go for a ride!

     I haven't had much time for a real trip lately.  Family concerns will keep me near home for the foreseeable future.  Nothing bad, quite the opposite, my family is growing!  Day trips only for a while, and lucky me, there's plenty to see here in the low country.  I live in a small town and commute to a big town.  There's plenty to see in between.  Near my home, there are plenty of dirt roads.  Lucky me, I ride an adventure bike!

...too wet, nah, go for it!
   I spent a couple hours riding the morning after I brought home the Tiger.  Exploring some favorite areas close to home.   Maybe a half mile from my house, there is a sweet little dirt road.  All the trouble you could want in 2.3 miles.  Clay, sand, hard pack, and even a little hill, not a big hill, just a little hill. It was only wet here, dang, this was the clay section!  I made it, the Tiger need a little dirt on it to look good anyway.

Warm early morning sun self portrait.

Lovely, pine forest and hard pack road, great combo.
      I left town after this and found a few more dirt roads.  It's fall here and the light is getting right for landscape photography.  That harsh summer sun, has been supplanted by lovely, warm and angular light.  I love this time of the year.   

The early Tiger get's the chicken!
    The landscape here in the low country is always in a state of change.  I find it completely beautiful and deeply inspiring. If you are into the nature thing, you will too.  The diversity of habitat  means many interesting flora and fauna call this place home.  There is no shortage of subjects to photograph. 
     I've always been a 'Grand Landscape' kind of photographer.  I studied Ansel Adams, Edward Weston and the like.  I worked hard on my photographic craft, and was successful.  But lately, I find myself leaning more towards the earlier Pictorialist styles.  Wanting to convey more the feelings of the place I'm inspired, than the reality.  I played with Pinhole cameras for a while.  It's fun to build your own camera.  I liked alternative printing methods too.  But,  ultimately, I hated the darkroom.  It's stinky, dark, and I can't help but wonder what I'm doing to myself and the environment with all of those chemicals.  Now I've found digital!  I love it as much as my new Tiger.  I've made a pinhole 'lens' and found a funky plastic lens that matches my old Holga pretty well.  I'm as excited as ever about photography again!  We'll see where this goes, now that I have a motorcycle I feel comfortable taking the expensive camera's out on.
Digital Pinhole image, "Spring Marsh"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In the beginning...

"Red Dragon", my 2008 KLR 650 (sold)
     It all started when I decided that the fuel I could save with a motorcycle, would pay for the motorcycle.  Brilliant logic in my mind. I had experience with motorcycles,  back in grammar school that is.  (A Honda XR80, what fun that was!) I figured I could handle it, so off to the DMV for a learners permit.  Under the sage advice of my brother-in-law, I purchased a 2008 Kawasaki KLR650. It was a love hate relationship from day one.  

     The day I took delivery, was also my first adventure.  A 50 mile trip to the family lake house for the fourth of July holiday.  My mom was completely shocked!   So was I.  I was thrilled by the open road, the pavement rushing by my feet, and the freedom and simplicity of man and bike.  But the buffeting and vibrations!  I thought to myself, "Well, it's a motorcycle, it is supposed to be windy and loud.  I'm sure the vibrations are normal."  I never rode the XR80 on the highway, and I had no other experience to measure the KLR by.  I consoled myself with the thought that while the rider comfort sucked, the experience more than made up for it.  I was in love with the experience.  I spent the weekend with the family, showing off my new motorcycle.  I got away for a few short rides.  Acquainting myself with shifting, braking and numb hands.  It was big fun! 

     Fast forward 18500 miles and three years later...  I'm now fully licensed, well acquainted with motorcycling and the nuances of the KLR.  I added luggage, a windshield and seat.  I rode in rain, cold and heat.  I mastered maintenance and discomfort. I appreciated the KLR's personality. It was honest, and never let me down.  

      My main commuter vehicle is now a motorcycle.  Two years at 60 miles a day, the last year 106 miles a day. I had many adventures, but no real trips, save one to Deals Gap.  That's right, the Dragon on a KLR hence the name. (More on this later.)  I've had tons of fun with the KLR, I'm committed to the motorcycle thing and it's time for a change.

My new bike has a British accent!
     The entire time I rode the KLR, I longed for more comfort.  Call me names if you must, but I'm on my bike a lot and life is too short.  I loved the go anywhere design of the KLR, so my next bike had to have the same qualities.  Even though the 1200cc Adventure bikes are really nice, I didn't want a heavy bike.  I'm an individual too, so the thought of riding a GS was a little confining.  Lucky me, the new class of Adventure Touring bikes is blooming,  the middle weights as they are called.  I did my research, and found my next bike.  The Triumph Tiger 800XC.  Let the new era begin!