Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Reason I Ride a Motorcycle

This bike is in the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley N.C. It is one of Evel Knievel's actual jump bikes. Growing up and watching Evel made me fall in love with bikes and is probably most responsible for my desire to ride. I know I killed enough tires and wheels on my bicycles trying to be like him ;-) I had to do a LOT of work to this photo because of where the bike is in the museum the lighting really sucks. I used the lasso tool to outline the bike and save that selection for later. Then I lassoed between all the spokes and other small areas to be able to use the gaussian blur tool. Finally I blurred the background as well and did some work with levels and contrast. Lots of work, but ultimately it made it as my computer wallpaper.

Capt. America

This is a great replica of the Capt. America bike from the movie Easy Rider. It's at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum and is upstairs near the edge of the balcony. The picture was a pain to take because the bike is so close to the rail. I had to use the flip out screen on my camera and hold it up and out while looking at the little screen to frame the shot. Also, teh lighting in this area is really hard to work with because of the outside light coming in along with the shadows from teh inside of the museum. Once again Photoshop to the rescue.

Huey at the Museum

I started volunteering at the Southern Museum of Flight right after they finished this restoration. That's kind of a shame since I worked on these and was a Crew Chief for 10 years in the Army on this very aircraft. Oh well, it got my attention and got me started helping out around there. Too bad the new Director made all the volunteer's mad so they quit, but we'll be back there one day. Nothing special about this picture except that I like it ;-) The painting on the nose is 1st Aviation Brigade and unit that did great things during the Vietnam era. The paint really doesn't match the aircraft since it was painted in the early Vietnam war style and this aircraft is a UH-1H and the Army had gone to a more subdued paint scheme by then. This Huey is also equipped with the wire cutting system (The pointy thing on the roof) and has the mounts for the APR-39 receivers (anti tracking radar system) on the nose. Still, it was a good cosmetic restoration and the aircraft sits on a pedestal outside the museum now.

Batcycle on a shady road

I took this picture on the entry road to a cool little cemetery near me. It took a few tries to get what I wanted, but I really like this one and didn't even feel the need to adjust colors or anything. I like the way the light and shadows play across and around the bike.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Interesting angles?

These pics are of course of my former 77 Sportster and my 70 Triumph chopper. Both pics were taken last winter and are good examples of how the right angles can make a picture (especially a bike picture) much more interesting. I like to get down low and shoot the bike kind of at an upward angle. I plan to expand on this with some other techniques if I ever get a decent tripod so that I can play with zooms and stuff. Both of these pics were kind of blah and washed out looking originally because of the blah winter weather when I took them. Lucky for me I have PhotoShop and was able to play with the levels and to adjust the various colors to warm up the photos. You can frame a pic perfectly, but if the lighting or other things are off the picture will not be great, BUT with the right software and techniques you can make them into what you originally had in your head. ;-)

The Chopper Graveyard at teh Wheels Through Time Museum

This pic was taken at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley N.C. Basically it was just a display of a bunch of old chopper parts piled up to look kinda neat. Lots of cool pieces in this pile so I took the pic and then made it into my signature post that I used on Delphi forums. I LOVE this museum and wanted to help promote them. They are on a limited schedule now so good luck getting in to see this stuff, but if you can it is worth it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"69 Sportster "Miss Molly"

Another Blaine creation, this 60 Sportster was built in honor of the evil wench Blaine was married to at the time. He took a stock frame and added a bolt on hardtail as well as some really cool custom pieces. You can't see it in this pic but the tail light was an old 50's style microphone, the starter end cap was a Crager center cap and the little holder on the air cleaner was the tail piece from a bass guitar he had. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but I'll try to remember it by the time I get around to posting the pic of the other side. I really like this pic because it was getting dark and the neon at the Sonic restaurant was glowing pretty good. That's Blaine you can see just over the front fender. R.I.P. my Brother, you are not forgotten!

The Walker Sisters cabin, Smokey Mountains, TN

This is the Walker Sisters cabin near Little Grennbrier TN in the Smokey Mtns. National Park. They were a family of sisters who never married and lived on the family farm when the park was established. They were allowed to live out their life here and were one of the last families to live in the park. One sister did marry and had children, I was lucky enough to meet one of her kids (Effie Phipps) and hear some cool stories. According to my Mother we are related to this family by marriage somehow and my Grandpa Garrett actually spent the night in the cabin when he was young. Today you can get to the cabin by going to the Little Greenbrier School and then walking a ways back along the trail to the cabin. I've been here quite a few times and have enjoyed every visit, whether it was with my Folks and Sister years ago or even a few years ago with my Wife. There is always a "cool vibe" when I visit.

Wild ride from the 70's

This is a 68" Triumph that was found on ebay by my late friend Blaine. It was in pieces and had never really been together and on the road. Apparently someone built it and painted it in the 70's and then put it in storage. Blaine bought it, put his engine in it and finished up some other details and basically just rode the hell out of it until the stress of worrying about screwing up such a classic bike convinced him to sell it to someone who would put it on display. I have oterh pics showing the crazy paint that I'll post later on this week.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My '77 Sportster

One of the many pictures you will see of this bike if you decide to follow this blog. Basically it was taken in my driveway in one of my favorite photo locations. I like the color contrasts of the plants behind the bikes. I also try to play with angles while shooting the bikes. Sometimes it's great and sometimes it sucks ;-) I liked this one so you get to see it too. Unfortunately I sold this bike a month or so ago, but the guy who bought it is giving it the attention it deserves.

Looking through the nose

This is the Bombardier's view from the nose of a WWII B-17 bomber in flight. Last year I had an opportunity to actually go on a flight in this beautiful aircraft (The Liberty Bell) I sat right behind the Pilots in the Flight Engineers position (the same position my Grandpa Starr served in during the war). Once the aircraft was in flight we were able to get up and move around the plane. You can see the other pics from this flight in the B-17 pics album of my facebook page. Planes like this one are the reason we are allowed to speak English in this country today. The B-17 was a plane that could be depended on to bring its crew home even when shot up so badly that it ended up being scrapped. as seen in this picture after a raid on Cologne, Germany. By the way, the damage in this picture is the area where I was standing in the nose to take the first picture.

Here is a picture of the aircraft I was able to fly in, the Liberty Bell
I really like this shot of my "best buddy" Merlin. This was taken a couple of years ago as I was lying on the couch recovering from having a rod put in my leg after getting hit by a truck on the "Batcycle". He hardly ever left the foot of the couch in all the weeks I was laid up except to eat and he even slept on the floor next to the couch at night (I couldn't go up stairs so I stayed on the couch for a few weeks). There is a reason we call them "man's best friend".

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Batcycle calendar pic

This is a picture I took for a calendar my bike was featured in. I thought the red was made a nice background because of the red bats and pinstripes on the bike. I had to do some editing of the picture because the wall was a little too washed out to suit me. I played with the levels and curves to get the colors to pop out the way I wanted them to. I really love to use old buildings in my pictures and getting to use them with one of my bikes is just an added bonus.

Photoshop majick

Here is a picture of my '70 Triumph TR6C Chopper when it still had the springer forks. The bike looked great, but the forks were too short and the bike was a deathtrap to ride like this. I really liked this picture though so I used Photoshop to play around and ended up with it looking like a drawing. I'm sure there are simple plug ins to do this now, but when I did it a few years ago you had to do it the hard way ;-)

B-25 Cockpit

This was taken at the Southern Museum of Flight when they brought in a B-25 in pieces to clean up and display. This aircraft had crashed into a lake in S.C. back in 1942 (I think) on a training flight and was recovered just a few years ago. Chemicals in the lake used to control algae played hell on the aluminum but the aircraft was somewhat preserved by the 3-4 ft of mud that was inside of it. You can even see the still intact thermos on the floor to the left. The best thing about this find was that the plane still had the bottom gun turret. There are only 2 known to still exist int eh world and this is one of them. There were removed and junked because of the way it worked. You looked through a periscope out the bottom of the plane and no one could fire the guns with out getting airsick because of this configuration. The turret survived because of the unique way of stowing it. The turret rode up and down on a giant screw and was stowed flush with the bottom of the airplane.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

One last picture from the wall.

This picture give you an idea of the size of the each wall. He lays the edge of the walls, then adds the filler into it. Each stone is placed, non are dumped. He says this represents each time she placed her foot ont eh ground to take another step. You really need to try and visit some time, Tom is in his 70's so don't wait too long or you will miss a truly moving experience.

More of Te Lah Ney's wall.

Here is another section of the wall. This is close to the end of the wall. I had to take this picture because I didn't realize my friend was entering the shot on my first attempt. I actually like the first shot better even with the arm in the bottom corner of it.

First Post

This is a section of Te Lah Ney's wall it is a memorial in NW Alabama to an Indian woman who was taken to Oklahoma in the follow up from the Trail of Tears and managed to get away and walk back home. It is a very moving site and has been constructed by her great-great-grandson. You can get more info here