Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ride to work

I've been trying to ride my bike to work on Friday's because it is a great way to get a couple workouts in and save a little gas at the same time.  So I get my happy ass up at 3:30 am and try to hit the road by 4:00.  It is a 33 mile ride that usually takes me about 2 hours.  I've really enjoyed the experience and I look forward to getting to do more of them (at least until the weather gets too cold.)

Anyway, it took me a little while to decide to ride the entire distance from home to work (I had previously been driving to a location and then riding the remaining distance) but after I made the big decision I haven't looked back.  On my first full ride I was riding along and got to a particular bridge in Des Moines and happened to notice the Des Moines skyline.  It was beautiful.  I had caught that time of morning where the sky was a stunning, deep blue.  So I pulled my camera out of my backpack and took several shots using the bridge handrail to steady the camera.  I was pretty excited.  When I got to work I downloaded all the pictures and every one of them was blurry.  DAMMIT!!  I decided to try again the next week (weather permitting) but I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice.  I purchased the Pedco Ultrapod II from Amazon and carried it and a remote shutter release with me the next week.  The next week was also a great morning so when I got to the bridge I had my shot all planned out.  I was going to use Auto Exposure Bracketing to attempt an HDR image and I would also attempt to just get it right in-camera.  I was determined to get a good shot.  I also realized that part of the problem the last week was that I had underestimated how much the bridge shakes when cars drive over it.  So I had to time my exposures till there wasn't a car in sight.  I turned on my mirror lock-up and also used my LCD screen to focus (since it can zoom and my viewfinder can't.)  This time when I got the pictures downloaded they were awesome.  After attempting to HDR the images I couldn't get them to align perfectly and the HDR image was simply too soft to consider using.  Then I played around in Paint Shop Pro X4 a little while with a single RAW image and I was ecstatic with the results I got.  I immediately sent it to Costco for large scale printing (12 x 18) and after receiving the print I loved it.  I hope you like it as much as I do.