Today we switch motorcycles – Scott Limke is riding a BMW F800GS motorcycle – a very nice ride. I had one of these for about a year and enjoyed the bike. Again Scott was at Bill Dragoo’s adventure rider training course in Lexington, Oklahoma at Sundog ORV trails. Like yesterday’s image, this one was a bit overexposed yet I still was able to recover a decent image from the frame. It is common to have 12 stops of latitude from Kodak TMAX-100 film.
Once again a photo from Bill Dragoo’s adventure training class in Lexington, Oklahoma last week. This is a portrait of David Judd on his BMW R1200 GS motorcycle. He has added crash bars to the bike, along with a taller than stock windshield, headlight guard and oil cooler guard. I overexposed this photo just a bit. We started shooting right after daybreak and the sun rose fast so I didn’t adjust my exposure settings quick enough to match the rising sun, hence the overexposure. The nice thing about film is the wide latitude – even with the over-exposure I was able to get a decent image from the negative.
Four days in and I already made a change. You see, shooting large format is hard. Really hard. There are SO many steps involved from loading film, prepping camera, checking exposure, on and on. I figured out it is really difficult with a busy work schedule to shoot once piece of 4×5 film every day. Hence the change.
I think I can post one 4×5 PICTURE per day. That should be much more workable. Often when I go out to shoot 4×5 I will shoot 4-5 pics in a single session. I try to do only one sheet per setup unless I have a distinct reason for more exposures. I want to get it right in camera, first time. This requires me to think in my mind how I want the picture to work, then set things up to execute that photo in my mind.
So here is the one 4×5 photo, 365 days per year – Day 4 version.
As you can see from previous days, I have had trouble with some type of exposure problem, and I was trying to figure out what was causing this overexposure and ghosting. Double exposure? Camera light leak? Improper film handling? I didn’t know, so I just used the same Ilford HP5 film shot at ISO-400 and stepped out my back door and grabbed this shot. Nothing special, not even well composed, just something to check my exposure during development. Turned out fine it seems.
Music plays as I lean back against an ancient cottonwood tree. But it’s not the music made by man. This is much sweeter – this is the sound of the Oklahoma Panhandle in the spring.
A gentle breeze whispers through the bodark and cottonwood trees, rustling the grass and nearby wheat fields in waves of shimmering color. Songbirds vie for mates above my head, while a flock of starlings flit by, moving as one through the sparse leaves. Cottonball clouds float gently overhead, painting the sky in a never-ending kaleidoscope of shapes.
My seat is a weathered railroad tie. The rough cottonwood bark on my back feels better than any leather couch. I am setting at an old abandoned farmhouse east of Beaver along an old county dirt road. Lunch consists of fresh vegetable stew Kay made the night before. This place is my lunch stop on my return trip from a photo assignment.
Daybreak saw my riding through Kingfisher along Oklahoma State Highway 3, bound for Beaver in the Oklahoma panhandle, 230 miles northwest. My plan was to complete the assignment to photograph the Beaver County Emergency Planner early in the day, then spend the afternoon and evening riding dirt and black top county roads back towards home. Shade is hard to find in the panhandle, so when I came across this old farmhouse, I pulled in for a quick lunch break.
I love traveling off the beaten path and discovering the hidden treasures of Oklahoma you won’t find along the Interstate or the busily traveled state highways. Like this oasis of sound at an abandoned farm in the Oklahoma panhandle. My little slice of heaven.
When I tell non-motorcycling friends and family that I ride bikes, they all ask me “have you been to Sturgis?” Always.
Well no, in fact, I haven’t. Not yet. I plan to but haven’t made the excursion yet. It always comes in the middle of the summer when it is blistering hot, and since I like to camp, that doesn’t always work together.
But Sturgis is not really my “thing”. I have a lot of biker friends, I enjoy handing out with them and admiring their bikes, but I don’t really live the biker lifestyle myself.
A BMW rally is the antithesis of a Harley Davidson rally. A different type of person attends a BMW rally. Not that they are any better or worse than the people who attend a Harley Davidson rally like Sturgis, just different.
For example, chrome is a four letter word at a BMW rally. As in “bad to have”. Instead, BMW riders are all about functionality. Many ride their bikes across the world and they are way more concerned with how a bike functions than how it looks. Reliability is extremely important to a BMW rider. Hence you see spare tires and tubes and tools hung off their bike instead of leather fringe. Camping in the evening it much more – shall we say – mellow? BMW riders are known to put back a few brewskies, but in a much more laid back, relaxed manner than you might see at a true biker rally. You also won’t see women flip their tops up to show their wares in exchange for some cheap plastic beads. It just doesn’t happen at a BMW rally. Not sure that is good or bad mind you, but you probably won’t see that site at a Beemer function.
What you will see is classes, training, camping, demonstrations of useful riding gear and equipment, and an emphasis on long distance two wheel travel. You will be amazed by the ingenuity of many of these riders. Sure, there are a few “posers” in the crowd, but more often than not you will see true hard core long distance motorcycle travelers in the crowd.
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