Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What A Difference Quality Photo Gear Makes!

You all know by now that I am always trying to improve my craft. Whether it's chopper building or taking pictures of choppers I want to get better at it. One thing you have to do to get better is to constantly upgrade your gear. Recently I got a beta copy of Lightroom4 and it kicks ass. It's got a lot of the same features as Photoshop, but some of them just seem easier to use in this format. Sunday I had to put new brake pads on Bettie, then I washed her poor dirty ass (riding in the pouring rain gets em dirty ya know). I figured while we were outside I'd take some pics and experiment a little. Out came the tripod and camera with my new flash. About 30 pics later I went inside to play and this is the result.

The original photo, kinda blah, shadowed and not too interesting.

After making adjustments in Lightroom the picture is suddenly much more interesting. The colors pop, the details are visible and not lost in shadows. I kind of blew out the background to make the silhouette show up better. Overall a much better photo.

That's all for today, this weekend was a little different and we did have a great lunch ride, but I didn't get anything done on the bike. At least now you've seen a decent pictures of my everyday ride. She gets ridden to work everyday rain or shine, even on those 23° mornings. Get out and ride when you can, life is too short to pass up a chance for fun!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Few Pics From A Sunny Saturday Afternoon!

Last Saturday started off wet as hell, but turned into a nice day. We are having a mild winter even for Alabama this year. Hell, yesterday it was 74 damn degrees!Anyway, these are just some pics I took during the day that really didn't go with the other posts. Hope ya like em.

Spenser hasn't ridden much lately with the new 9-5 grown up job he's got along with moving into a new apartment so he took his baby out for a little ride.

Whitey says that this is Larry being cheap and trying to breed new frames.

Larry trying to burn his nads off doing some grinding!

Artsy pic of Spenser welding on some cool new pipes for Ian. I told Ian I wouldn't post any pics of the pipes until they were done and he had shown em off first so you'll have to wait to see the gorgeous masterpiece!

Ian and Spenser talking over the design for his pipes. Stewie cleans up nice doesn't he?

Looking through the bike while Spenser welds.

A customer's wheel waiting to be picked up. Hopefully it'll get worn out and not sit until it dry rots like too many fat tires do.

Stay tuned for more fun stuff!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little More Work On The Sporty

At this pace I'll be done in about 15 years, but I am SLOWLY getting there. I believe I have the oil tank mounted the way I want it. Hopefully next weekend I can get started on welding it back together to call it done. Then it'll be on to another part of the bike.

I ordered some threaded bungs from Low Brow to move the tank a little lower so I can get the oil cap off. Once I got them I decided they were about a 1/4" longer than I wanted them to be. Into the lathe they go to be shortened a bit.

Spenser welding on the lower tank support.

The colors in this picture work for me.

And there you see it. The lower support. The hole was already in the piece of steel and will probably get welded up before the paint/powder is applied. What I did was add this tab, then I'll put a piece of rubber on it and let the tank rest there to take some weight off the mounting tabs. It'll work like a bolted on mount, but will be easier to deal with when installing or removing the tank.

you can see the bungs doing their job lowering the tank. I still need to shorted the studs in the rubber isolators and shorten the bolts I'll use for final mounting.

So there you have it, another step in the creation of my master piece.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Another Day In The Life.

Saturday started of with such great weather (see first pic). It did clear up some later, but I still had a wet ride to Garco. That's alright, it's all part of the "two-wheeled life". Got some things done, but I'll tell ya about them later first off I'll tell ya about the morning.

Looking out my front door at the new river flowing in front of the house. It made for a fun ride for sure.

Bill brought his award winning XS650 in to work on changing his clutch cable. Even the best bikes wear out parts sooner or later.

I know this bike is not what we consider cool, but I have to give the guy credit, he rode through a hurricane to get the bike to the shop for some work. I waited till the worst blew over, he on the other hand rode 30 miles through POURING rain. An hour after I got to the shop it was still dripping wet.

The whole bike. Like I said, it's not my style, but if the guy is willing to ride it no matter what, I'll cut him some slack.

What kind of guy reads the drivel I type on here......
These guys of course. That's Bill on the left, he's a regular participant in the craziness I call my life and the guy on the right is Matt Harris. He contacted Bill after the XS was in the Horse and wanted to meet up to get some info for the XS Matt and his Dad are building. Matt says he's a regular reader of this blog and likes what he sees. It's always cool to run into people who appreciate the work I put into this place. He and his Dad are also the luckiest guys I've met in a while after the deal they got on a nice FL shovelhead. Let's just say it's hard to even find a ratty Sportster for that price. Good Luck Matt and keep me posted on the XS.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Shirt Design Coming Soon!

I know you just can't wait but you'll have to. I've made a new shirt design for the blog, but I'm having some ink issues with my test prints. I'll get it figured out soon and then you can fulfill your life's dream of having a What I see shirt. Here's a small preview of the design to keep ya interested.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Me & The Triumph, Learning More About Photography.

Lately I've been working on learning more about photography and trying to take better pictures. To do this I've been collecting the best gear I can get either for Christmas or by saving up for it. The weather Saturday was perfect for me to get the stuff out and get some better pictures of my Triumph and even get a few of me on the bike using the tripod and timer. I'm working on the next design for a blog shirt and needed pictures to use anyway so lets combine all of this and have some fun.

Using the tripod and natural light I got a few shots to show off the shiny bits of the bike.

Almost the same, but I moved the camera to the left.

Got one of me to show off my new Lowbrow beanie and Garco shirt.

Made this using "fine threshold". I like to do this to photos. It makes them really minimalist and lets the details stand on their own with out bright colors to distract you.

Spenser hates it when I park a bike with the forks turned to the left so I did it his way and turned them to the right for this shot. I went with the plain white door as a background here so that I can edit out the background to make the t-shirt art.

Added me to the pic. My Wife likes this one, she says I take pictures of everyone else, but we never get any pictures of me.

This was made using layers, I did the "fine threshold" to one copy on its layer, then lowered the opacity to let the color version on its layer show through. Then I flattened the image and called it done.

This one is just "fine threshold" but I used photoshop to change my shirt from a Garco shirt to a "What I See" shirt. I was thinking of using this one for the blog shirt, but I doubt y'all want a picture of my ugly mug on your shirt. Since I need to actually sell some of these I'm going a different way.

And finally another plain bike shot to be used with out a background later on.

Hopefully you liked these pics, at least the Triumph pics. Now that you know what I look like be sure to come up and say "Hello" when you see me at the Dixie Roundup or BMR or where ever we run into each other. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another Saturday, Another Ride To Lunch.

I know a lot of you don't have riding weather where you are, so us Southerners are willing to keep riding and taking pics to make sure you don't forget just how much fun it is to ride all year. Saturday was a beautiful day around 60° or so and we took advantage of it.

Ian kickstarting his ironhead that he just put back together while Larry photobombs him back there.

This one is for J-Rod in the BDAC. I TOLD you I love the new helmet you painted for me.

Matt is getting some good miles in on his CB750. He's young, but learning pretty quick.

"Uh Oh! He's gonna post this damn pic and Stewie will know I "borrowed" his bike!" 
Actually Larry is more brazen than that, he posted a pic of Spenser's bike in the parking lot of Nino's on "Instagram" to rub it in that Stewie was moving while we were playing.

Ian FINALLY slowed down at a stoplight so that I could catch up and get a pic. That damn ironhead runs a LOT better now than it did on the way to and from last years BMR.

We've arrived!

I told his young ass to slow down on the way back so I could get a pic. I got this one, but the rest of them are from behind because he just couldn't resist.

Lot's of fun Saturday as usual. If you're in the area you really should stop in. There's always something fun happening.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I've Been Framed!

Well, not really but Larry WAS working on a frame for a customer and I got to bug him while he worked on it. Doing a little raking and some drop seating action, basically making sparks fly and metal melt. That's always a good time ;-)

Raking the neck while Ian tries to make sure he can still see when he gets old.

I love taking pics of people welding.

Making things look smooth.

Finishing up the welds ...

Making it look good.

Larry was getting into it, I think he is starting to get into it again.

It was a crazy Saturday, I even worked on the Triumph some more until all the smoke escaped from the wiring harness, but I'll tell that story later this week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Satursday's Lunch Ride Or As We Call It....Larry & I Rode, The Rest Caged It!

Gotta love living in Alabama where even in January you can ride to lunch with just a light jacket. This Saturday a bunch of us went to lunch, but only Larry and I actually rode. Don't worry I ragged on the others enough for all of us. Anyway, enjoy the pics of Larry riding a CB750  cafe-ish bike they built for a customer in Tuscaloosa.

Getting ready to go.

"Are you taking damn pictures AGAIN???"


I love this shot!

Yep, the rear brakes work! Even got a little smoky on this one!

Come hang out with us, we're always having some kind of fun. And if we're not, we're about to be!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dont Have A Heart Attack, But I Did Some Work On The Flyrite!

For the last few weekends I have been tied up with family/holiday stuff. This weekend I was finally able to get away and do my own thing. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time and love my family, but I needed some CHOPPER TIME BABY! So Saturday morning I show up at Garco and first things first I helped Larry with a few Photoshop pointers so he could work on the Dixie Round Up flyer (see how I worked that plug in there?). After that I got to work putting the battery for the Triumph on the charger so I can get that beast finished up. Turns out the new battery had a dead cell and of course I've let it sit until the warranty is expired. Oh well, I'll splurge and get an AGM battery this time. So now I've worked on one of my bikes, on to number two - the Sporty in a Flyrite Scorcher frame. Just a few fab projects to go and I can start to finish this one. Today's project was to get the oil tank mounted, or at least well on its way. The oil tank is from Spitfire and is a beautiful piece, but in this frame I need it to fit around the seat post. That means I get to cut into this work of art to make it my own. A while back I had cut some metal away to make room. Saturday I had to cut a little more to get the mounts where I needed them.

Finally got it where I hope it needs to be.

Now to make the mounting tabs. First cut the piece of steel I found in the shop to the right lengths for the two tabs. I LOVE to make sparks fly, the only thing I like more is taking pictures of sparks flying. As you can see I'm having a good day so far.

Trying to drill the holes for the mounts. Damn vise did not want to cooperate. Finally I got it to see things my way and got the holes done.

Got everything in place with some help from Spencer. Of course he did the welding since I'm not that good with a tig. So far so good, I have to order the isolation mounts from lowbrow then we'll see if I got it right. On to something else.....

Tried to work on the sissy bar, but ended up running into issues leading to me having to rethink some stuff. No problem, that's what next weekend is for. Spenser snapped this pic of me working. It's rare I get to see pics of myself. That glare in the photo is from the sun reflecting off my bald spot.

Here's how it looks so far. I'm thinking of getting a points cover to resemble the side of the oil tank or bribing Ross to make a small version of whatever the points cover ends up being to fit the small circle on the side of the oil tank. That's down the road though.

While I was doing this stuff Ian from Americana Speed Shop and the other guys were working on getting the cam cover of Ian's XL back on. Not sure what the issue was, but the bike is getting there and will be back on the road soon.

Oh yeah, I also ended up working on my Bad Boy because water got between the lid and rubber gasket of the rear master cyl. reservoir making the rear brake drag big time on the lunch ride (dumb idea to put it between the frame tubes so the front wheel can force feed the water into it).  My rear rotor is purple now, but it was an easy fix. So this means I ended up working on ALL of my bikes this Saturday. I guess that just means I'm lucky to have more than one. Now if I could just get more than one on the road at a time I'd be happy.

Keeping on checking in, I'll post updates as I get stuff done!