Sunday 24 June 2018

Ongoing 360° On-Bike Photography

With some second generation parts I've got the on-bike portrait down to a fine art.  The Lammcou durable flexible tripod is a solid, dependable thing compared to the cheap and terrible flexible tripod I used before that I had to keep gluing back together.  The light, inexpensive and easy to use Ricoh Theta is still my favourite go to camera.  I'd like to try the higher resolution ThetaV but they aren't cheap.

Here are the latest round of photos and video from the ThetaSC.  On the afternoon of the longest day of the year my wife and I went for a romantic ride over to where we got married almost twenty years ago.  On a rainy Saturday I put the waterproof cover on the camera and tried to get rained on.  I didn't get wet, but I did see a ghost on the covered bridge in West Montrose.  That was a weird, atmospheric ride.

Solstice Romantic Ride:

Creepy, Atmospheric, Rainy Saturday Ride:

OK, so it's not a ghost.  A young old-school mennonite woman was walking across the bridge complete with bonnet and black dress.  This is the covered bridge they used in the Stephen King movie, IT.  Creepy, right?

Staying ahead of the end of the world.

Dark and sinister...

To Sell or Not to Sell

That'd get back what I've put into it and mean I've
put 15,000kms on it for free!
I put the Concours ZG1K project bike up for sale just to see how it would do.  I didn't expect a reply but got someone who is smitten with it and immediately offered me a trade worth about $2000 (a Phantom3 drone with a pile of expensive peripherals).  I took a drone training course last year and have been looking for a way to get some flight time in accordance with the Transport Canada flight planning we practiced in the course.  This would do that and also let me explore the aerial photography market first hand.  This is a trade that could end up paying for itself many times over.

Finding a trade that fits this well seems too good to be true.  In my experience, something that is too good to be true usually is.

I'm fighting that skepticism, but what I'm also fighting is some classism, morality and loyalty.  The young guy interested in the bike has the kind of online profile that makes you roll your eyes.  Every photo of him is half dressed and flipping the bird.  Which leads me to the moral quandary.  Handing this bike off to some yobbo who is likely to kill himself on it isn't something I can wash my hands of.  Then there is the loyalty.  I brought the Concours back from the dead.  We've done many long trips, including a once in a lifetime ride down the back straight of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Had the carbs not shit the bed on the worst possible day (the first day of a new riding season after a long winter off), I would have still been happily riding it today.  Had they died the autumn before, I'd have had the winter to sort them out.  Bygones, but I love that my hands brought this old thing back to life.

So here I am, with a great opportunity to make some space in the garage while pursuing a trade that could end up being quite lucrative.  That space could be filled with a new project bike and I'd be back doing aerial photography again.  There is a lot to recommend moving on this, but I've got some issues to work through first.

The classism I can get past, but the selling a weapon to someone without the sense to handle it is nagging at me.  I'd feel responsible if something happened.  As heavy as that is, what really bugs me is feeling like I'm sending Connie on to an unworthy home where she'll be abused, broken and forgotten.  The mechanical sympathy that I apply to technical work often breaks out into full on mechanical empathy.  This is one of those times.  Maybe now isn't the right time to pass on the Concours.  Maybe what I should be doing is re-energizing this project and finishing it to the point where I can eventually pass it on to a more deserving home.  (Hmm, the classism crept back in again).

Monday 11 June 2018

A Commute Home from a Different Angle

Some variations on a theme.  Instead of attaching the 360 camera to the mirror, I'm trying some different locations.  This time it was attached to the wind deflector mounted above the windshield:

Sunday 10 June 2018

A Long Ride Home

Last week I was in Edmonton at the Skills Canada National Competition.  We were there for IT & Networking, but they have everything from metal work and carpentry to 3d modelling and fashion on hand.  One of the competitions I was drawn back to again and again was motive power where competitors were working on everything from outboard motors to a variety of motorbikes.

They had Kawasaki KX450s up on a block as well as some lovely Yamaha MT09s.  Both Yamaha and Kawasaki were sponsors at Skills Canada - which kinda makes you wonder where that Canadian manufacturer CanAm went, but then judging by the long faces of Team Quebec throughout the competition, perhaps they too find the idea of participating in a Canadian event to be bothersome.  How every other province and territory, many of them strongly represented by Canadians from all over the world as well as a strong contingent of aboriginal tradespeople, could be so positive about Skills Canada while Team Quebec looked like they were at the dentist the whole time was both baffling and frustrating.

Competitors in the motive power competition were diagnosing faults and doing maintenance under the watchful eyes of multiple judges.  This (of course) got me daydreaming of alternate ways of getting back to Ontario after the competition that didn't involve air travel.  Though I can't complain as I got bumped up to bulkhead behind first class and spent the entire flight back with Sherry Holmes.

We wrapped up Skills Canada on Wednesday, June 6th just after lunch in Edmonton.  From there it's just over thirty-three hundred kilometres home.

The MT09 isn't exactly designed for long distance trips, but if I could manage doing three tanks of gas (the MT does about 190kms/to a tank) a day I'd be averaging close to 600kms daily.  That means a six day blitz across most of North America and around the Great Lakes to get home on eighteen tanks of fuel.

The only thing I'd need for the bike is a tail bag for essentials and then I'd be off.  It's Canada in June, so the clothing options would have to be pretty dynamic as I'd be likely to see everything from 40°C heat to possible snow.  As it happens, Aerostich is just over half way back in Deluth, Minnesota, and they have a Roadcrafter suit that happens to match the MT09's funky paint scheme pretty well.  It would only take a slight modification to the trip to pass through there.  If I'm looking for something that'll get me through the madness that is Canadian weather, the Roadcrafter's the thing.  The trick would be to get across The Prairies without freezing or overheating before enjoying the final fifteen hundred kilometres in and around The Great Lakes in a made to fit super-suit.  It'd make for a formidable before and after comparison.

Edmonton was packed with motorcycle shops.  We saw everything from Indian/KTM to Ducati and the usual Hawg shops.  There is a lot of disposable income in Edmonton.  The MT09's grey with high-vis paintwork is right on trend with a lot of Japanese helmets at the moment.  I'd have a fine choice of matching Shoei or Arai lids to choose from.

Funny how just seeing a bike after days spent on planes and buses gets me dreaming about riding again, even if it's a six day slog over a quick three hour flight.  I suspect that most motorcyclists have this perverse nature about them.

Beautiful Sunset Ride

T'was a lovely evening and everyone was napping or having quiet time, so I pulled the Tiger out and went for a cool, sunset ride up and down the Grand River.  Almost no traffic at the end of the day, but lots of bugs on my visor when I got back.

Here are some photos of the ride.  If you're curious about how I'm doing this, I'm getting an article on it published in Adventure Bike Rider, but in the meantime you can find the how-to on my photography blog here.

All photos taken on a Ricoh Theta clamped to the wing mirror.  Screen grabs were post-processed in Adobe Lightroom.  The 'little planet' photos were uploaded through the Theta software to the Theta website and then it's a one button click to get the tiny planet look:

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Triumph Tiger sunset ride - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA