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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

June Mass

This motley crew is one of the absolute highlights of my month. And summertime Critical Masses are the best.

I didn't make a spoke card this time, opted to cut out of work early and get more bike miles in instead. Got RAGBRAI coming up and all.

The weather was perfect, people are back from school, people have moved back from Seattle and Colorado, gotten leave from the military, and so on.

We started, as usual, with a raid of the Country Club Plaza and then, as is pretty usual these days, Loose Park. As we rolled in to Loose Park, we could see a wedding in the rose garden. I joked that we must be invited, if it's in a park. But nobody tried to crash the wedding party, we went around to another edge of the park and hung out there.

I think the consensus was 150 to 200 bicyclists showing up at your wedding, uninvited and unpredicted, would be funny except for it being your wedding. We might be a bunch of Massholes, but we're not jerks.

Like I say, I passed on making spoke cards again. I made them for the first six or seven Masses of 2016, the year I pulled off the unlikely feat of making all twelve rides. Between my frequency of riding and the spoke cards, I got more and more questions from people who had figured me to be the organizer of the event.

Maybe my constant photography contributed to this idea as well, but talk about a spit-take. Critical Mass is the opposite of an organized event. It has no organizer. There are instances where people exhibit what you'd call leadership, say calling out for people to wait at an intersection for the group to catch up, but shouting 'mass up!' doesn't make you the organizer.

The bigger reason I hadn't made any spoke cards lately was I didn't have any ideas that struck my fancy. Now I have one, I'll be missing the July Mass because I'll be riding my bike across Iowa, but I think for August I have a stroke of inspiration and bad taste that should be worthy.

Remember Black Flag? The band? I'm not much for t-shirts for myself but I really want this Bartle Hall shirt.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hen-House Warming Hootenanny

So my friend Rachel moved in to this place a few months ago and forgot to have a housewarming party. But now she's got chickens, so they had a housewarming.

Our neck of the woods, KCK, is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Kansas City metro area. It makes no sense, it's perfectly livable and the eastern end of it where Westheight and Strawberry Hill are, very centrally located. And dirt cheap. A house you can grab in Brookside or Midtown for a quarter million dollars might fetch $70,000. Cuz no respect, like I say.

Actually I think Strawberry Hill is starting to get some cachet.

The chickens were a hit. One guest even came dressed as one. The chickens, in turn, were so excited they laid extra eggs. Or maybe that was a coincidence, but when someone opened the coop and commented that there were three eggs, Rachel was like, I already got two out of there today.

Corinna's been making preparations for chickens at our little urban farmstead. Of course, being Corinna she doesn't think in terms of a couple of chickens, her default setting is start with six chicks (the max according to local laws), plus a rabbit hutch and bluegill pond. I'm no different, the first year I grew tomatoes I felt constrained to 20 plants, if I'd had the budget for it at the time my enthusiasm would have easily led to 80 or 100.

And obviously I had fun with my camera. I kind of wished I'd brought my guitar though the broken right index finger would make picking tricky. Especially when others did bring their axes and of course Rachel plays banjo and bass.

I didn't get good shots of half my favorite people because the light got so low the camera wouldn't focus.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ally Brand Yoga Shoot

So I met up with Ally to shoot some yoga poses. The light wasn't as good as I expected at the appointed time, this time of year the shift in the length of days can really throw you. But I had my SB-800s and as we worked the sun got lower and helped things along.

There's plenty I wish I'd gotten better. I shot about 250 frames, there were 20 that were good enough to be candidate shots for sharing. I shed a few more. And of what is here some have definite imperfections that are not Ally's fault at all, they're all operator error on my part.

Shadows on eyes, that's on me. I had the tools to correct for that, it just didn't happen. See also depth of field mistakes, shooting fast is all well and good, but for most of these shots I wanted her to be in sharp focus with the bokeh limited to the background.

So like this one where she's laying on the hot, rough pavement with the one leg going straight into the stratosphere, I'm sharing the photo because it has enough going for it (her amazing pose, her face is sharp, I like how the bridge in the background echoes her pose), but her raised leg should be as in focus as her face. F2.5, which isn't as fast as I sometimes go, was too fast for this shot. Probably should have gone more like F5 or F8, the distance between her and the background features would have still isolated her nicely and those lovely limbs would be hella sharper.

She's a very easy model to shoot, gets right to it, takes direction well, has her own good ideas. I hope to do more with her in the future, more yoga shots, and some other stuff too. She's got a ballet background so a dance oriented shoot could be fun, and I've seen shots of her dolled up for car shows and such, she has some range. I was glad she didn't show up with a bunch of heavy makeup for this, heavy makeup on a yoga shoot would make sense like an evening gown for a yoga shoot.

I showed these to a coworker who's been taking yoga and she was astonished by the core strength and balance required to pull these moves off. I was like, yeah, and she'd do it for a long time and do it a bunch of times until I got my shot, or as close as I was going to get to my shot (the depth of field errors and such are tricky to catch just chimping).

I actually had some sore muscles from getting down on the ground to get a good angle on some of these, and while I'm not in the greatest shape I'm not some sofa sloth either.

Heck of a way to spend a Tuesday evening.