A Blurry Start to 2018

Over the holidays I was on a roll with getting out, taking images and thinking. I was excited and going into the year with a loose plan and a bit more focus. But then the rat race started and that focus all came to a screeching halt.

I felt like it was a re-entry to reality when I went back to work, adjusted to the kids’ new schedules, etc.  All is good, but wow, it’s busy!  Almost immediately my photography journey I had been on in November and December came to a halt too.  Just no time to be outside and dang it has been cold!

But things are looking up. I finally got over an internal mental barrier about technical quality of an image, gear frustrations and direction. I am having fun shooting again even though hardly any of it is that good. I also find myself experimenting again to build some new skills and explore different ideas.  The next few months of shooting will be fun and I expect you will see some themes that I plan to go a bit deeper into to challenge myselfs.

And with that, I am headed outside for the day with my camera.  Hope you are all well and that 2018 is off to a great start.

October 28th Fargo Reunion Ride Update

OK folks. I’ve been asked about the Fargo Reunion Ride on October 28th that I have posted about here.  Well..It’s on and here are the details and a few updates.

First, the start time – 9:00AM in Nerstrand, MN. We need to start at 9:00AM sharp as the meat market opens at 9:00. We will grab some meat goods from an amazing little butcher and hit the road.

Route – It is of course weather dependent, but we will be doing a variant of the Rawland route. It’s my favorite route in the area. Roughly 50-60 miles. We have a surprise wilderness area to explore as well.

My Schedule – It is my Birthday on the 28th and I have a firm evening commitment of a black tie fundraiser to go to.  I will be leaving no later than 2:00 or so to head home and get ready for that. By all means, that does not mean you all have to stop riding or hanging out or whatever. But…I will be gone and that is just what it is.

Bikes – Any gravel ready bike is great. The wilderness area will test any cross style bike. I rode it on Horizon 650 x 47c’s and struggled. This is a Fargo ride after all and if you have a bike that has 2.1 I’d suggest riding it.

Intent – This is a fun ride. We’ll be riding, hanging out, taking pictures, and enjoying each others company in one of the most beautiful parts of the area. Heart rate meters, Strava, etc, pushing the pace, etc are not part of the intent. Honestly, don’t come if you want to push the pace and make this a competition. Its my birthday ride and the route is in my head. So you will have to stick with me or ride on alone.

Housing – Unfortunately, camping fell through. For those coming from out of town, you will need to either camp/stay at a friends house in the area or get a hotel room or lodging in Northfield, MN.

I think that’s it. I guess I better get my Gen 1 Fargo rebuilt and ready…..

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FARGO ADVENTURE RIDE & REUNION

I’ve been hating Facebook more and more these days, but today it redeemed itself. My friend Guitar Ted posted this image.

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It’s an image I took many years ago on one of my official, unofficial Fargo Adventure Rides. I later printed an extremely small run of mini prints and shared them with just a few folks, the source for this image above.

In the FB comments, instigator MG mentioned we should do this again. I proposed a rough date and idea and off it went. It looks like Friday, October 28th (my Birthday) I will be pulling together another Fargo adventure ride. Here is a end of ride picture from the last one I held.  Look at all those Gen 1 Salsa Fargo bikes! So good!

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So….Save the date. I’ll fill more details in and create an event page here on my blog, but on Friday, October 28th I will be leading a little Fargo Adventure Ride out of Northfield, MN. I don’t have the route planned, but all my previous Adventure rides have been between 60-75 miles. I would suspect this to be the same. While the pace won’t be fast, I think pretty much everyone that’s been on them has found some type of challenge with my route and come home a bit knackered. This will be no death march. It will be fun and focused on a route that is multi surface. I will try to hit pavement, gravel, dirt, grass, mud, river or stream and who knows what else?

While the title of the ride is the Fargo Adventure Ride, any and all bikes are welcome as long as they are multi surface capable. Ask anyone whom has ever been on one of my routes, a road bike will not cut it.  It is an unofficial event. In fact, it isn’t an event. It is a bike ride in the country. No entry fee. Travel at own risk. No drop. Not officially sanctioned by anyone. Zip. Nadda. Nothing. You are doing this on your own will and at your own risk.

For those that wish to camp, I’d suggest Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. I think it is open into October although some of the nicer amenities close mid October. LInk here:

For my friends considering coming, do it. Just know though that I am not able to do a whole weekend event and guided tour of Minneapolis. Please stay, but you will have find another tour guide. We are nice people up here so I don’t think that will be a problem.

Did I mention this ride is going to take place on October 28th, 2016? Save the date!

One last request. Please leave me a comment if you are interested and/or committed to coming. That will help me build a communication strategy and gathering page.

OK….I am going to bed. I have to go start exploring these roads in the AM to put something special together.

Update here: Also no camping. Parks are closed.

Landrun 100 – Beauty in the Chaos

I went down to Landrun 100 last weekend to ride, support my friends and to be inspired. I came home filled with love, joy and inspiration. For the first time in 3+ years, I suited up and showed up at the starting line. Some may wonder why I chose this muddy race to re enter gravel racing but I can tell you it was perfect in every way.

Much of this trip was personal. I needed it. I needed it for me.  My job is good but tough. My life is filled with incredible people, but I have not been healthy nor inspired. I wasn’t physically ready, but my mind was focused and I endured. That is the point, really, of these events, to push yourself and be rewarded. That is how I left.

I could write a lot, but given this was something quite personal, I am going to leave it at that and simply thank all my friends as well as my family for supporting me! Crystal, Bobby and crew at District Cycles.  Wow. What an event. Thank you. I am headed into this week fired up and inspired.

And with that, here are some pics. I went into the weekend focused on riding so these are just a few pics I like from the weekend. All were processed from RAW in camera with zero editing on computer. I apologize in advance for the multiple color profiles. These images were shot with two cameras, either a Fuji X70 while riding or the X Pro 2 for everything else.

Like always, click on any image for the slide show mode. Thanks and enjoy.

Frostbike 2016 with the Olympus Pen F

I am finally home after several straight days of work. We hosted our annual Frostbike event. This year marks my 20th year of attending as an employee of QBP and my 23rd or 24th if you factor in I attended as a customer prior to my employment. Each year I look forward to it.  Each year I come home both exhausted and excited about the industry that I work in, the products we make and the friendships I have developed over all those years.  This year is no exception.

I had originally expected to shoot this event on the new Fuji X Pro 2 but it has been delayed. Given I wanted to do some social channel imagery for the brands I work with, I needed a camera with built in Wi-Fi transfer as well as a couple different lens options. I have sold all my gear to fund the X Pro 2 and my remaining X Pro 1 doesn’t have Wifi so I was out of luck. I decided to rent a new Olympus Pen F from Lensrentals for the weekend from Lensrentals.

I’ve shot Olympus for a number of years. I was excited to shoot the Pen F. I think it is a gorgeous and well designed camera. It is quite stunning really. Sorry in advance,  no pics of the camera itself. Just images below taken with the camera.   I still own the original Pen EP1. This new camera is so far advanced from that original series it bears little resemblance. The newest Pen camera has both a new sensor (20MP), a front control panel for BW/Color simulations and a finally an EVF. Aside from its design, those are the features that are in my opinion as a hobbyist, the most important new features. Top construction. Incredible IBIS. Quick handling. Great IQ.  All that is there as you’d expect from Olympus.

The main reason I wanted to shoot this camera though is to try out the new front control dial with both color and black and white presets. Unlike art filters, these pre settings are completely customizable. It’s quick and easy to make adjustments. All images below were shot Jpegs in BW or Color mode II. On the BW, I set highlights to -3 and shadows to +3 and reduced contrast to -1. I shot the color mode as is. I tried the grain feature but left it off for 99% of my shooting as I felt like it just added too much mush and lack of clarity to the images.  But these mode dials and customization I think are a wave of the future. I also imagine a day where you can use software on your computer or an app on your phone to upload color and black and white presets to the camera, making your JPEGs just right instantly for social and digital transfer and uploading.

All in all, the Pen F is a beautiful camera. It’s built well. Performs flawlessly. I just wish it had a little bit better EVF and weather sealing. Right now I can’t see paying full retail for one when you can buy an Olympus EM5 Mark II for about $750 on the used market and still achieve very similar results. That difference is a lot to pay for style and not much difference in IQ and features.

But…Here are some images. Again, all shot JPEG and I will process RAWs when I update my Lightroom. This event is work for me, so the images are random shots and I don’t shoot everything nor cover the event in a way that is meant to give coverage of all people, brands, products and vendors.

Just having fun was the intention and the hope that I would leave the weekend with at least a couple of really good images that could be used for something more than social channel sharing. I have done that in the past repeatedly so I had no reason not to expect to be able to do it again.  The Pen F really added to that fun. It is a true joy to shoot and use.  BUT, in the end, I left the weekend with images that I don’t think really represent my vision and capability. I own much of that, but part of that fact is that I just didn’t get along that well with this camera.

Until next year……

As always, click on any image below to move to slideshow mode.