John Montanez at the Tri-State Camera Club

John Montanez at the Tri-State Camera Club

John Montanez spoke at our recent camera club meeting on the topic of sports photography.  Most speakers use a digital projector but John printed up large prints with several panoramic photos for the meeting.  It was a crash course in everything you needed to know to start off.  He has arrangements with many of the surrounding universities, the photography was stunning.

 

 

 

Riding the trails at Greenbo, November 2015

Riding the trails at Greenbo, November 2015

Had a great ride at Greenbo today, my first bike ride since my crash two months ago. It was a marvelous day in the woods, found a few leaves and ferns for pictures and was glad to not find snakes!

 

Learn to ride a bicycle.
You will not regret it if you live.

Mark Twain,
American humorist

 

 

Bike repair

Bike repair

Jim Thompson at Huntington Cycle and Sports installs a new cassette on the back of the mountain bike so I’ll have lower gears to climb the hills a bit easier.  I’m hoping to make it up a few more of the hills and avoid some knee pain, might be able to walk as fast as I cycle but what’s the fun in that?

 

Biking at Greenbo, outrunning the storm

Biking at Greenbo, outrunning the storm

Greenbo Lake State Resort Park
Greenup County, Kentucky

It’s the anniversary of this website, 11 years completed now.  There are a few earlier years still not restored to the archives but I’ll get to it eventually.  But first, about today’s image.

As you know, we have been subjected to storms and rain nearly every day.  The trails at Greenbo, however, have a reputation for drying fairly quickly, so I took the window of opportunity to ride the bike before the latest storms hit.  Had a great ride, about 7 miles with the first half being darker and sort of spooky, lots of spiders, whereas the last half was on the ridgetop and more uplifting.  Having hiked this park since a teenager and worked there for a few years, it always feels like home and lots of fun.

So, I don’t for a minute take for granted the health and ability of biking these trails without too many aches and pains.

I started this blog in 2004, not intending to go this long.  The original idea was to develop a visual daily journal with a community of family and friends as viewers, to foster discussions through comments.  That was the days before Facebook and the days before endless spam comments.   Didn’t turn out exactly as originally planned but perhaps better in other ways that I had not anticipated.  I’ve met really nice folks along the way and made long lasting friendships because of these pages.  Even more than that, the photography has given me a reason to look at the surroundings in another way and to be forced to pay attention when I wouldn’t have otherwise.   For a fellow who is full of many regrets, I am glad I have spent the time in doing this blog as the payback was well worth it.

Thanks for viewing.

 

 

Are we lost?

Are we lost?

Jeff Ball checks the bicycle GPS in hopes that we have not missed our turn, something that still strikes me as being somewhat of a modern day miracle that Lewis and Clarke could not possibly have envisioned.

"Enlarge your capacity for wonder, Harris."

(source unrecorded)

 

 

Leaving Four Mile Bakery in the Rain (ACE Ride)

Leaving Four Mile Bakery in the Rain (ACE Ride)

outside of Jackson, Ohio

I’ve worked up to doing a bit longer bike ride so I joined the Ashland Bicycle Enthusiasts (otherwise known as ACE) for one of their “featured ride”.  This one was hosted by some Southern Ohio bicyclists and started in the Minford, Ohio area and cycled over toward Jackson.  Our midpoint, and first rest stop, was the Four Mile Bakery & General Store, a place that we generally just called “the Amish donut shop”.   The ride was divided into two groups, a slower group and a faster group.  After some discussion, I unfortunately figured out that I had a fitness level that fell between the two.  I made quick friends with a nice fellow named Clyde who drove probably a couple hours from Eastern Kentucky and he had similar reservations, so I proposed that we just stick together with the fast group and see what happens.  He agreed.

So off we went.  The scenery was spectacular for the entire 45 mile ride.  In the beginning, the road was pretty flat and we sped along at a good clip.  I am a previous biker from earlier stages of my life, so I know things that can help out when your fitness is a bit lacking,  like how to handle the gears, how to spin quickly, and how to safely draft another rider to catch your breath.  So Clyde and I did well until we reached the first good-sized hill.  There is no way to cheat a hill, gravity takes its toll.  We did well, though, falling back on each hill in proportion to the number of feet we had to climb.  The group was great, sometimes a faster rider would drop back to check on us, sometimes to give us a “pull”, just like you see on the Nascar races.  You can’t underestimate how much a rider can rest up in the draft of a fast rider, all the while gaining ground and catching up with the main group.  So, we continued to enjoy the ride even when I felt like my lungs might explode.

About the midpoint, we arrived at the bakery.  I couldn’t help but notice that faces of the riders who have done this for a while.  Looking refreshed with little sweat.  When my turn came to the restroom, I looked in the mirror and thought “Good lord, what have I done.”  Red faced with streams of sweat pouring off.  After cleaning up some, I found these famous Amish donuts that are big as saucers and as fresh as if they just came from the fryer.  I quickly downed one of those and two bottles of Gatoraid and all was right with the world once again.  I have to say these donuts were great, they happened to be very similar to the ones I’ve purchased at Spauldings Bakery in Lexington, Kentucky (a stop we once made on a Saturday morning photo outing with Mike Adkins and Dennis Adkins).

We waited awhile for the slower group to show and when they did, I noticed their faces looked much like mine. Clearly we are in need of more training, but Clyde and I decided to stick with the faster group and see what happens.

Then the rain started.  Now that might sound like trouble but I know from my earlier years that I don’t mind biking in the rain.  My wife and I once spent 10 days on bicycles and experienced all weather, blistering heat, rain, then freezing rain, then snow.  All in all, a nice rain can be pleasant.  When the faster group took off, we were right with them and that is where today\’s shot was made.

Now the 2nd half of the trip was more eventful. First, we biked a fast clip down this beautiful flat road through some gorgeous farm land.  We worked as a group with little effort, going 16 to 20 mph.  At one point, we figured to be lost but a short stop to look at the map and cue sheet showed us to be on course and the turn off to be 5 miles ahead.  Now that turn off ended up a bit of a problem for Clyde and I, for it was what riders call “rollers”.  It is what it seems to be, struggle up one hill, roll down the other side, and right up another one.   It was beautiful farmland, a sight to see actually.  And I have to admit, I hope to return to this road in the future to build fitness, for I saw the group ahead of me go up these hills with manageable effort, not the exhaustion that I experienced.  But, still, it was a lot of fun.

Now the interesting part, we had left the rain behind us and the weather had turned out gorgeous with white fluffy clouds all around.  But in the background, the sky turned dark.  Then the rain started.  Then became heavier and heavier.  Then become what we call a gully washer.  Clyde and I kept going, though we separated a bit.   At first the rain was like bathwater, then all of a sudden it was like someone turned off the hot water.  Motorcyclists often remark that automobile drivers miss the feel of the air, the feel of the rain, the scent of the woods.  As bad as a good rainstorm sounds, you do gain those experiences.  And it was fun.

We arrived back to the parking area, about 45 miles accomplished, having made new friends, hopefully improved my fitness,  and enjoyed what nature dishes out to us.

 

 

Dean Tires

Dean Tires

Raceland, Kentucky

Sunday was a nice day for a bike ride, not much traffic and nice weather for our town.  Some really great ice cream capped off the day, two chocolate variations:  chocolate peanut butter cup and chocolate brownie fudge.  Can’t beat that, cycling for ice cream rewards!

 

Harold and Dennnis at Greenbo Lake

Harold and Dennnis at Greenbo Lake

Greenbo Lake State Resort Park
Greenup County, Kentucky

I had a few hours to spare on Saturday, so I returned to the bike trails at Greenbo.  While I was setting up the bike, two fellows pulled up also with bikes on their cars.  We struck up a conversation, they were looking for some direction about where the trails started from and ended, so we ended up biking together for the day.  Harold and Dennis had driven from Huntington West Virginia and enjoyed trail biking for fitness and weight loss, something we had in common.  We ended up biking 7 miles that covered a wide range of trail terrain, starting with the lakeshore trails then going into the old farmland that lies in the backside of the park, then up on the ridge for a good amount of ridge top riding.  It was a great day to be in the woods and to make new friends.

Earlier in the week, I had met Michael Boyes on the trail.  He had been having good luck with Canon point-and-shoot cameras while riding, so I went through the box of old camera gear and resurrected one of the older Fuji cameras that I used to have fair luck with.  Not a good camera to shoot while riding but it made a few nice photos today while I was stopped, much better than my mobile phone.

 

Biking at Greenbo, November 2014

Biking at Greenbo, November 2014

Spent part of Tuesday on the trails at Greenbo with the bike. Trails are in great shape, had a lot of fun exercise. When I was 14 years old, my mother used to drop me off with friends and we would bush-whack with topo maps, I don’t think she realized the park was 3500 acres with very few trails. Now the network of hiking, biking, and horse trails are really nice and a treasure for our area.  Since I was alone Tuesday, I stopped quite a lot not only to rest but to admire the deep hollows and rolling ridges of the park, November is a great time to be in the woods.

 

 

Bike racer sprinting

Bike racer sprinting

Huntington, West Virginia

At a recent bike race downtown, two racers sprint along the straight stretch at Pullman Square.  With the following quote, just replace the word “bikes” with “camera lenses” and you’ll get the idea of how it is in our household.

 

The correct number of bikes to own is N + 1

While the minimum number of bikes one should own
is three, the correct number is n + 1, where n is the
number of bikes currently owned. This equation may
also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number
of bikes owned that would result in separation
from your partner.”

Rule #12

 

Ace Time Trials

Ace Time Trials

Here\’s an earlier shot from the 2013 Time Trials held in Huntington, West Virginia.  Our area bicycle enthusiast numbers have blossomed into a substantial community, this weekend a group of area riders are attempting to make a one-hundred mile ride (aka \”a century\”) on each day of the holiday weekend.  Half of today\’s ride was reported to happen in the morning storm but the pace was still pretty good with an average speed of >19mph over the 100 mile route.

There are many ways of going forward,
but only one way of standing still.
 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Fishermen on the Ohio River

Fishermen on the Ohio River

2nd Annual Scott Kelby Photowalk
Huntington, West Virginia

These guys were one of the top 3 subjects photographed by the entire group. They seemed to take it in stride. The smiling fellow told me they were fishing in a tournament and had launched near a dam, which would have been a nice distance away from Huntington.

 

Cincinnati Reds Fan

Cincinnati Reds Fan

Great American Ballpark
Cincinnati, Ohio

Well, it’s hard to imagine but I went to see my first baseball game while in Cincinnati. The Reds beat the Mets and we had a great time. Since we don’t follow baseball and really don’t know all the rules, the only hard part was watching the crowd so we’d know when to cheer and when not to.

The ballpark was fantastic and in an email someone asked how I liked it. Not being a true baseball fan, it all looks just about perfect to me and nearly new but the person who designed the seating layout must have had their training in the airline industry. The seating is tight and intimate. When checking out their camera restrictions before the game, I found that it was oddly written because the restriction was on the size of the camera, even listing the maximum dimensions.

At first I thought this was to restrict the use of telephotos in making closeup shots of the players but once everyone settled into their seats, I saw the true wisdom in the rule. If I had a long telephoto, I’d probably have given a black eye to the lady sitting beside me.

The game was great but the best part was the after-game fireworks that was choreographed to rock and country music. We had some great seats for the fireworks and when the lights came on afterwards, we found that we were covered with ashes.

 

Down the stretch

Down the stretch

Keeneland
Lexington, Kentucky

This is the 2nd race on Friday. The gray horse, Capetown Evening, seems to be pouring it on but she eventually falls back. The nice looking #6, Barefoot Baby, was my pick to win. I’ve got a good head-and-shoulders shot of her before the race and she was full of energy and personality. The race didn’t pay off though, the winning horses were #7 Point Perfect for the win, #5 Siddhartha for place, and #6 Barefoot Baby for show.

 

Fencing in the park

Fencing in the park

Ritter Park
Huntington, West Virginia

I stumbled across yet another odd hobby. There’s evidently a huge, widespread network of folks who meet around the country (and world) to dress up in medieval garb, complete with armor and weapons. They have a king and queen who conduct court, they have items on display, compete in fencing and other games, and seem to have a whole lot of fun. The fellow that I spoke with mentioned that it completely resolved his addiction to video games. I’m all for it, then.