Bikes, Bikes and More Bikes

I have been meaning to write and share this post for a while but it never came to fruition. I guess being home and sick for the past three days is making me dream about feeling good, adventure, riding bicycles and thinking about bikes.

As of yesterday, it was exactly 6 months since I left QBP, my former place of employment for the past 25+ years. One of the reasons I left was to prioritize myself and my well being and to hopefully regain my fitness. I’m happy to say that all of those things are in process and I have one added benefit that wasn’t on my original list; I have re fallen in love with the bicycle and all things bikes.

My purpose in leaving Q was not specifically to find my passion for bikes again. It was really more focused on health and well being. However, I quickly became consumed in building bicycles, riding them and photographing them. I sold a bunch of my old stuff and purchased some new stuff. I often rode alone as I worked through changes and focused on building up some fitness and mental toughness. I also had a blast riding with friends. In the past 6 months I have spent a fair amount of time on the following bikes.

  • All-City cross & gravel road bike
  • Salsa Cutthroat drop bar mountain bike
  • Salsa Horsethief mountain bike
  • Knolly Cache gravel bike
  • Ibis Ripley Carbon mountain bike
  • Surly Wednesday fat bike

I also found that selling my old Q branded bikes helped me with closure so I sold both my Salsa Cutthroat as well as my Salsa Horsethief, two bikes I really loved. I also have two new bikes ordered to come in and build sometime in 2022. I’ll reveal those as they get built.

While my fitness is taking longer than I hoped to regain, I am once again in love with the bicycle. Honestly, for me, nothing even comes close in freeing my mind and helping my body feel freedom like a bicycle does. True freedom. Nothing helps me work through challenges and problems like a bicycle does. Nothing helps me focus my energy and thought like riding a bicycle does. Nothing helps me feel better about life and myself like a bicycle does. Hard to believe, but after 40+ years or riding bicycles, I still feel like a kid pedaling my 1st, 20″ wheeled, red Schwinn around the family farm.

And with that, here are a quite a few pics from last 6 months of riding my bike. No particular order to this gallery. Just pics as they appeared in my digital catalog. Click on any of them to go to slideshow mode! Enjoy!

What is a Cycling Photographer?

The other day someone asked me What is a cycling photographer? Does that mean you just shoot cycling?”

Well…No. I had to think about that a bit. Just what is a cycling photographer? I like cycling. I shoot cycling. I shoot while cycling. I cycle to inspire me to shoot photographs. I photograph cycling experiences and events. I photograph bike races. I photograph bike rides. I photograph cyclists. I capture cycling moments, both in victory and in defeat. I photograph cycling in hopes of inspiring others to get out there and experience the world by bicycle. I’d like to think the definition of a cycling photographer is all of those things.

The road to Wonder Lake, Alaska – That’s Denali in the background – 1995 or 1996

That image above was taken by someone at a campground on the road to Wonder Lake, in Denali National Park on my bike tour from Alaska to Utah. My friend and tour mate John made it the Eugene, OR while I travelled all the way to Moab, UT to meet some friends and do a Canyon Lands bike and 4×4 tour. It was on this trip that I married carrying a camera with me while cycling.

To help define and answer the original question, I want to share a number of images that I have shared on Facebook over the years. I have thousands of images from around the globe like these in my catalog. These are low res, un edited from how I shared them originally so I apologize that they are not a uniform set. I think they will help add some definition and support what I am trying to say. For me, seeing this stuff together cemented the definition of a cycling photographer. I love cycling. I love photography. I love anything that puts those two things together. There are 50 or so of them so I hope you enjoy the slide show and then head outside to ride your bike or book a trip to plan your next tour or ride.

Click on any image below to go toea Lightbox Slide Show Mode!

Finding Words and Inspiration in this Strange Time

I have been silent here on the blog.  My last post was from January, what now seems like years ago.   Travel?   Hanging out with friends?  Walking a new city?  Eating out?  This past 5 or so weeks at home makes that trip feel like a distant memory.

Times sure are different now.  This “Shut In” is something few ever would have imagined! It’s drawn out highs and lows.  It’s exposed some terrible underpinnings of our society.   It’s exposed the delicate balance of our economy and our world.  It’s defined how small the world is and that despite any differences that cultures and races might have, we are one in the eyes of this virus & global pandemic.

I’ve tried to come up with words.  But frankly I don’t have them.  I am finding things out about myself and my family that I did not know or have taken for granted.  I am finding how much my kids, my wife and my friends mean to me.  I will only speak for myself, but it has had made me realize what is important.   I, for one, have taken family, kids, friends, employment, health care and travel for granted.  My thinking on these things has shifted from privilege to gift.   We each have our own view and coping mechanism, truth be told I am still trying to figure mine out at this crazy time. Thankfully I have a hobby and passion that documents my life.

Photography continues both inspire and calm me.  It is a joy in my life and at times like these, I sure love to look back at these incredible memories.   Here are just a few memories since my Seattle trip.   Hope you are safe.  I hope you and your loved ones are healthy.   We’ll get through this and I can’t wait to savor the things I have taken for granted for too long.   Love you all.  Hope you enjoy the pics.  Click on any of the images to go to slideshow mode. 

 

 

 

 

 

And with that, here is my final shot.  It is quite possibly one of my favorite shots ever.   It was earlier this year when my wife and I went to see our kids play music at the University of MN.   We had a free, Saturday afternoon and we were in Minneapolis.  We hit up the Walker Art Museum Free First Saturday and had a cocktail at Esker Grove.   While this photo might looked staged, it was not.  We had just walked out of the exhibit past these numbers and I saw this young man walk by me. I told my wife I had to follow him.  I was imagining the shot of him walking by these numbers but instead he sat down for about 15-20 seconds.  I snapped two photos and walked on.   It just makes me smile.  Hope it makes you smile too.  I think the world needs this right now.

Processed with stamp

 

Reflections on Seattle

I was fortunate to get to celebrate my friend, and friendships, in Seattle last weekend. It was a short trip arranged by my close friend’s wife.  When asked to go I jumped at the opportunity.  Any time I can garner time and experiences with these two fine fellas is worth any amount of $$ or energy.  Every single time I get together with these folks I laugh. I cry. I learn. I eat fine foods. I drink a lot of coffee in the morning and cocktails in the evening. I leave inspired.  Again, my friends, delivered.  Thank you boys and happy birthday Brady!

JasonBoucher_Seattle_Jan20-9

The friendship and our recipe of traveling to a city to explore and photograph is pretty much a proven and known formula at this point. I think we could find interest anywhere.  As I reflect on Seattle and our time spent there, I again came home inspired.  I again fell in love with the location and what it has to offer. I also came home with some images that I like.  While not technically perfect in anyway, I like them for various reasons, one of which was I pushed myself on this trip to see differently.

I also went into it with a bit of prior knowledge as I had been there a few years ago with my wife. I had some places in mind. I went in with a plan to push myself and not just take the shots that one might expect from me if you have followed along at all over the years. I went in with a plan to show some of the many postcard shots in Seattle in a different way.  I went in with a plan of printing a couple of specific things and I wanted color and contrast in those images.

While I certainly did take a few of my expected shots, I pushed myself a bit as I was in a beautiful city and what did I have to lose?  Nothing.  But I had everything to gain.  And with that, here are few collections reflecting my personal challenge.  These are edited to taste and not reflective of out of camera.

Series 1:  Reflections I have always been inspired by street photographers that layer reflections and shadows on the subject.   Consider this an exploration.   Some of these are not what you think you are seeing.

Series 2Light and shadows at the Chihuly

Series 3The postcard shots….But in my interpretation.

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The famous Seattle Skyline

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The famous Gum Wall

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The Space Needle – Look closely at the layers too! 

And lastly, because even though I challenged myself to not just take the postcard shots, I share one that doesn’t fit the series that I absolutely love.   One might call it a post card shot from Pike Street Market.  It’s not the famous sign but if you’ve been there you’ve certainly seen the beautiful flowers throughout the market.

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And with that, I am signing off.  Thanks again boys. What a blast.  Here’s to planning the next meet up!

Parting Shot: Cocktails before dinner…..And gear talk.

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A Gnat Family Holiday Break – Costa Rica!

It’s 2020!  I made it another year here at the ImagineGnat blog. Committing for another year.  Before I get to both a look back as well a look forward, I wanted to share some pics from our recent trip to Costa Rica with my friends and family.  So….Get ready.  Heavy dosages of pictures of family and fun.

But first a few words.  For the first time in 20 years of marriage we broke family rules and traditions and escaped the cold.  We went to Costa Rica as a family.  My wife and I essentially captured our kids attention by removing them to another country.  As they have aged and they continue to become more independent, we have missed them.  So, taking them away seemed to be our only option.  To add to the fun, we also didn’t tell them where we were going until we got to the airport.

In all honesty, it was the best thing we have done and I think we all came home happier and closer.  I know my wife and I needed that connection time  with the kids. We also had a total blast.  Activities included hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, zip lining, surfing, slothing (guided tour looking for sloths), horseback riding, sleeping, family games, celebrating and on and on.    It was simply incredible.

And with that, I will just share the pics. Hope you enjoy them. Leave a comment if you have a question.  Click on any to go to slideshow mode.  Thanks and enjoy!