I finally got back in the saddle after taking some time. It seems I have an internal ride barometer that keeps me centered and grounded. I needed some time away from the bike to come back to it motivated. My ride wasn’t spectacular in length or difficulty nor did it feel very good physically. In fact, I felt like I was moving about as fast as an old tank. The cold, damp, wet air didn’t help either. But…I got what I needed. Time to think. Time to process a few things going on in my head. Time to take a few pics. I came home refreshed and motivated for both cycling and photography. I am back in the saddle with a new perspective. It feels good.
It seams I have fizzled a bit on my film project. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about it nor is it because I no longer enjoy film. Nope. Not at all. I just was planning for my trip to California and knowing I was not going to shoot film on that trip, I sorta let it go. Truth be told, I’m pretty darn excited to get out and shoot film. In fact, I almost shot film the other night but I ran out of light and the film I had just wasn’t going to cut it.
Today I bring you several images that span 2 months and 3 different bike rides. Again, I found myself pushing TriX 400 to 800 to get that extra stop. I also like the contrast. Falling into old habits here, but I am committed to breaking them in the future as I just purchased 5 rolls of color film for the coming months. These images I am sharing today have a different perspective because a friend of mine loaned me a 35mm to shoot. It’s still pretty wide, but to me it sure looks fairly narrow compared to the 21mm Voigtlander I’ve been shooting for much of the year. Hope you enjoy them. I particularly like a few of them.
Ride # 1 – I shoot this corn crib all the time and in all seasons. It has sort of become a regular stop and shoot place for me. It is also the exact furthest point from my home on one of my normal loops. One of these days, I will pull together a gallery of just images of this barn. I don’t know why, but I just love it.
Ride #2 – Ben Witt and I were riding the Milltown Cycles Rawland Fall gravel route prior to our trip to California. Incredible day with some very cool landmarks along the way. The first couple are an old mill that is no longer there. It’s walls remain and that is about it. The second set of images are my favorite barn on the route. I love the valley that it is in as well. So scenic and remote feeling. It’s a great climb and decent to get there as well.
And here are the last 2 shots of this post. In this blog post it is ride #3 but in reality I snapped these prior to the other two above. I only took my camera out once and the bugs were so bad I didn’t want to stop again. I just like these because of the overall feel of the image, the rolling land scape and the fact that it was an incredible night with friends. That last part about friends likely overshadows everything else, at least for me.
But…Even though I didn’t shoot much film over the last few months, I look at these and immediately have a connection to the images that I don’t always see in my digital images. Some might say it is because of the mystery of film and how much time and money you put into processing them that you have to like them. I, however, believe it is something different. It isn’t just one thing, just the overall feel of the image. I simply love it.
Today’s ride stoke comes from a not so little, fall gravel ride my friend Ben Witt and I had a few weeks back. It was a glorious fall day and we headed out in the early morning with a plan to return home sometime later that afternoon. On the roll out we caught some incredible light. Turned out to be a perfect day. I could use one of those days again.
Today my kids are out of school and I’m at home with my kids. Let’s see what kind of trouble we can get into today.
Enjoy your day and weekend folks.
August marked a change in my film shooting. It seems that rather than forcing myself to shoot or forcing myself to finish a roll of film, I used it when appropriate. When I wanted for what I wanted. I think for me, I am starting to understand just exactly how I want to use film in conjunction with my other digital camera. In many ways, I am starting to see film as just another tool in my photography tool chest.
Going forward, I will be changing the way I write and talk about film. Since film has become just part of my everyday photographic journey, I won’t be waiting until the 1st week or so of every month to be talking about it. Nope, I’ll just be integrating images shot on film as well as film related shots and experiences into my blog whenever I take them and whenever I choose.
This past month, I shot 4 rolls of film. However, I have only got three back from processing. I shot a roll of Ektar 100, expired Portra 400 pushed to 800, TriX 400 pushed to 800 and experimented in an old Olympus Camera with a roll of Porta 400. I haven’t gotten the last roll Portra back from processing yet and I honestly, I only like 2 of the shots from the roll of TriX so today, I am just going to show you some of the Portra stuff and some Ektar 100. I will apologize in advance for the poor scanning quality. I am having some issues with dust as well as my scanner.
The first several shots were shot on Ektar 100 while we were up on MN’s North Shore.
Here are some expired Portra 400 shots pushed to 800. Don’t think I’ll push Portra again. I got shots I like, but they required quite a bit of work to print.
This last one was shot on expired Portra 400 into the sun. I pushed it pretty hard to salvage the following image. I also converted it to B&W in Lightroom.
Really love the new old tool in my photography tool chest called film.
OK…Breaking my self imposed one shot for Friday Ride Stoke rule. Today you get three as they all are an important part of the story.
Ride on brothers and sisters. Ride on.
Sometimes you plan for change. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. Right now in my life I have a little of both. Fall is around the corner and the setting sun is going down earlier each night. I’ve been waiting for this change of seasons as fall is my favorite season. My kids are back in school and that means change for our daily routine. I’ve been planning for both of those in my head. For me, the change I wasn’t ready for is my current loss of words for writing. Right now I am struggling for meaningful words. I’ve got loads of images I want to share, so I just might have some posts in the coming days that don’t have many words. It’s the introverted side of me. I need some time to myself. So much so that I stayed up way too late last night messing around and processing thoughts and images.
I can say that my loss of words typically goes hand in hand with an outburst of creativity, motion and action . In fact, I might know what is really going on. My wife and I have been talking about some things on the horizon and starting our own little business for her to manage. We’ll see. I’m excited.
I chose the images above because it represents both the introverted side of me and setting our sights on the horizon. It has both certainty and uncertainty. Change is upon us. Let’s see where this road goes?!
Before I get started here, you need to know that I work for Salsa Cycles. This frameset is a prototype frameset that was brought in for development purposes. I did not pay for this frameset and one day I will return it to Salsa Cycles. It is very close to final build specifications, but I’m sure someone with keen eyes will find something that is different than what was put up on the Salsa Cycles website. For one, I will call out the decals on this bike. My bike has a peach colored “Salsa” logo and “Warbird” logo. Those are now white for production. Again, I’m sure will find others stuff if you look close enough. So…Consider yourself informed.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of tinkering and shuffling in the workshop. Several old bikes and prototypes are gone to make room for a couple of new bikes. Bikes in progress include a Mukluk for the coming winter season as well as my new Salsa Warbird. I took some time to figure out the specific place and need for this bike in my bike line up. My goal is to prepare a combination of bikes that that can tackle any terrain or experience. I have my uber capable Salsa Fargo Ti that can do just about anything. I am working on my Mukluk Lefty that I can use as a 29er or fatbike, both winter (without Lefty) or summer. I really wanted a performance bike that was lighter and faster than my other two bikes. Not that I do that type of riding all that much, but it sure is nice to have a light performance focused machine when you do. I originally was going to build a new Salsa Colossal road bike but in the end, I fell back to what I love, gravel. The Warbird is perfect for me and optimized for gravel, but with the right tires and wheels, it can be a very capable road bike as well. For me personally, it just fit me and who I am better than the Colossal.
This Warbird build and spec may seem a bit unconventional to some as I built this bike with almost entirely old and time tested components. Some of you who know me well may clearly understand my spec. This bike is a culmination of a lifetime of mistakes and not so great experiences where components fail. My philosophy with this build is to make it work for a long time all the time. The spec below is near final. I’ll call out some specific reasoning as well as parts that may go as I find different parts.
Frame: Salsa Warbird – Size 56
Fork: Enve CX Disc
Headset: Cane Creek 40
Rear Derailleur – Shimano 105 9spd – Black – I chose this because it is durable and has a good old fashioned barrel adjuster threaded into it’s body
Front Derailleur : Shimano CX top pull
Crankset: FSA Gossamer Cross – 172.5mm – These may go back to 175. Gonna give 172.5 a try to see if I can learn to spin a bit more and not just mash everything
Bottom Bracket: FSA
Cassette: Shimano 6600 9spd 12-17
Chain: Shimano 6600 Ultegra
Brakes: Avid BB7 Mtn w/160mm rotors – I will be putting new rotors on with a 160mm front and 140mm rear. I just didn’t have them ready when I built them
Brake Levers: Tektro – Don’t know model, but they are wider and flat on top. I like the surface area and the comfort they provide
Shifters: Shimano 9spd Bar Con – Ultimate bombproof shift levers. No little parts to fall off and hit the ground after a season of muddy, wet and dusty gravel
Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell 3 – 46
Stem: Prototype Salsa ProMoto Ti – 110mm
Tape: Salsa Gel Cork
Saddle: Fizik Aliante Gama XM
Seatpost: Eriksen titanium 27.2mm
Seatclamp: Salsa Lip Lock 32.0mm
Rims: Edge (now Enve) Composits XC carbon rims
Hubs: DT-Swiss 240 hubs
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition
Skewers: New Salsa Flip Offs
Tires: Conti SpeedCross 700×42 – These will change to something Clement when they wear out.
Tubes: Long stem 700×32-38
Rimtape: Rox Ultralight
Revelate Designs Tangle Bag – I may try to move away from this to make the bike feel lighter. I think I can get by with my gas tank bag, Arkel seatbag and my jersey pockets.
All in all I love this build and although admittedly biased, I think it is a fine fine machine. Here are a few more pics.
And here are few from my first ride in the country. I missed the rain on Saturday and got a good 3 hours in this bike. I sort wanted to post some really dirty pics and that is what I had planned for. However, it all worked out and the rain held off until later in the afternoon. Oh well, you’ll see dirty pictures here another time.
Given I work for Salsa, I won’t comment and do any type of ride review. I can just say that it works and fits perfectly into my stable of bikes. It is just what I was seeking and I can see many, many miles of fast gravel aboard this rig in my future.
That is all. Have a great weekend!