Tag Archive: friends


Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?

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Last night, a few members of the TCRPMG went to Washington Park to apply what they had learned in the Camera Basics 101 course led by John Iannelli.  I think it was a huge success.  While we were there, I couldn’t help but grab this shot of the statue in the fountain and the amazing sky he was facing.

From where I was standing, it looked like he was yelling to the heavens, perhaps asking for rain.  The texture of the sky made it even more appealing.  I was really happy that I had been there at that exact time.

At the meetup, we discussed how light affects how your image comes out.  We also discussed shutter speed and aperture.  The main components when used together can make some really amazing shots.

We found a nice flower and took pictures of it, with the goal of having a sharply focused main subject with a blurred background (bokeh effect).  It was a great exercise and I think the members really enjoyed learning how this effect was accomplished.

When I started blogging back in January, I had two ideas in mind.  First, I wanted a blog that was about photography.  I wanted to share my love for photography with my readers, and offer help should they want it.  Second, I wanted to start doing product reviews.

From time to time, companies will send products to bloggers to let them test it out and write about them.  The logic behind this being that the blogger can get the word out about their product to many, many people with a real world opinion about the product.  It helps the company gain potential customers and gets the bloggers more traffic.

A few months ago, I started a second blog solely dedicated to product reviews.  I also post the reviews on this blog when I do them, but that blog will only have product reviews on it.  When I review a product, it goes on both sites.

I have only found a few companies so far to review products for, and would really like to find a few more.  So far, LowePro has been great about sending me camera bags to test and review.  I am trying to keep the focus of the blog to photography products, but will add motorcycle products as well.  Both genres play a huge part in my life, and I think I can bring a great deal of info to both markets.

Not only do I have my reader base, but I have Twitter and Facebook.  Along with them, I have 2,700 people that are members of The Product Review Place to share the information with.  So, the products would get a ton of exposure.  My reviews are posted on that site as well.

So, if you are a company that has a product that you need reviewed, please leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you about what we may be able to do for each other.  See ya soon!

*Image courtesy of Consolidated Freight Co.

Well, obviously you can read, or you wouldn’t be here reading this.  I guess what I am really asking is Can you make time to read? A book that is.

You see, I haven’t sat down and read a book in a few years.  Yes, it’s true.  Flame away.   I guess I just get too wrapped up in the internet to take the time and get into a book.  I have the best of intentions to read, but I can’t seem to put the computer down long enough to get into the book.

A week or so ago, I was at the library with Rose and I saw a book that sparked my interest.  It was in large print, so I figured I would give it a shot and see if the larger print would help me get into it a little more.  (Insert old fart joke here!)  My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, so I figured it couldn’t hurt.

What types of books do I like to read you ask?  Glad you asked!  I really enjoy the military/political thriller fiction type books.  One of my favorite authors is Dale Brown.  He has a great series about super high tech future stealth planes called Dreamland.  He was helped out by Jim DeFelice for quite a few of those books, and when I read some of them a few years ago, I couldn’t put them down.  I am currently reading Dale Brown’s “Strike Force”.

Along the same lines as Dale Brown, W. E. B. Griffin and Tom Clancy write great books that are very interesting to me.  I guess it’s just the military angle that really grabs me.  I have always been fascinated with jets and submarines, so it’s no surprise that these books appeal to me.

I also really enjoyed Hunter S. Thompson’sHell’s Angels“.  From a motorcycle junkie’s point of view, it was a great first-hand look inside the life of an outlaw biker gang.  William Queen’s “Under and Alone“.  Queen wrote about his time as an undercover agent infiltrating the Hell’s Angels.  Both books were great reads.  I really enjoyed them.

What type of books do you like to read?  Favorite author? Fiction?  Non-Fiction?

On this holiday weekend, let’s remember that it is about more than just another reason to get drunk.  It is the 234th anniversary of this great country of ours.  Have a great fourth of July and thank a veteran!  See ya soon!

Yesterday, I wrote a short blog on a Patriot Guard mission that I was about to participate in.  I kept it short as it was pretty late and I needed to get some sleep for the ride.  I wanted to write more about it and try to convey the emotion and patriotism that happened during this ceremony.

I left home on the bike around 8:30am to meet a friend in Clifton Park, and then head up to meet a few others at another destination.  We got to the other destination and met with about 6 more bikers.  Most of these bikers were Vietnam veterans, and they proudly displayed it on their vests.  We left that spot and headed up the Northway to meet with a larger group of riders just before the exit for the funeral home.

At about 10:45, we all fired up the bikes and headed for the funeral home.  At this point, we had about 25-30 bikes.  We got off the Northway and made our way towards the funeral home.  About a half mile from the funeral home, you could see numerous emergency vehicles parked along the road with their lights going.  On either side of the driveway, there was a huge ladder truck with the ladders fully extended.  Hanging between the two buckets was an enormous American flag.  I got a little choked up at this point.

As we came in under the flag, there were already 60-70 bikes in the parking lot.  There were also about 10 local and State Police motorcycles lined up to lead the ride.  About 15 minutes after we got there, we got the call to mount up and everyone got on their bikes.  I was in the back at this point, so I couldn’t see the casket come out to the hearse.  As they brought it out, a bagpiper began to play.  Just as he began to play, it started raining.  It was a little eerie.

The police bikes left, followed by a few fire trucks and then the Patriot Guard riders.  It was raining pretty good at this point, but it didn’t matter.  It also didn’t matter to the hundreds of people lining the side of the road with flags in their hands.  Many of them held their hands over their hearts.  The amount of people standing there in honor of this fallen soldier blew me away.

The ride went through many small towns, and in each town, there were hundreds of people standing alongside the road.  I honestly thought it would be just in town near the funeral home, but it lasted the whole ride.  The ride to the cemetery was about 45 minutes to an hour.

At one point, in the town of Kingsbury, we came to a bend in the road and they had two ladder trucks set up and another huge flag hanging over the road that we all rode under.  It was another point that got me a little choked up.

When we got to the Saratoga National Cemetery, the Patriot Guard quickly dismounted our bikes and took our flags to stand a flag line for the service.  The turnout for this fallen soldier was incredible.  It was nice to see the huge turnout.  I am sure it meant a lot to his family.  Rest in Peace Spc. Osborn.

Here is a little more information about Spc. Osborn from News 10 and the Associated Press;

By NEWS10 Staff, the Associated Press

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. — A local soldier serving in Afghanistan died in combat Wednesday, adding to one of the deadliest months for U.S. forces during the Afghan war.

According to family members, U.S. Army specialist Benjamin Osborn was in the midst of a conflict with the Taliban when he was killed. Osborn, who was 27, had volunteered to be the gunner and was the only one killed in the conflict.

Osborn’s parents were informed of his death Wednesday morning.

Osborn was a 2002 graduate of Lake George High School. Recently, he had been living in Clarksville, Tennessee where he was stationed at Fort Campbell.

He was just deployed to Afghanistan two months ago, in April of this year. He had previously served 15 months in Iraq.

Osborn was also just recently married back in February.

The flag is now at half-staff at Fort William Henry in Lake George.

His family says he died a true hero.

June is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in the nearly 9-year-old Afghan war, as insurgents have stepped up attacks in response to a NATO push into Taliban strongholds in the south.

The deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan was October 2009, when 59 Americans died, including seven soldiers killed in a single clash near Kandahar and seven who died in a helicopter crash in the northwest not caused by hostile fire.

In the east, meanwhile, three Afghans working for a private security company were killed when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Muqar district of Ghazni province, according to the deputy provincial police chief, Nawroz Ali Nawroz.

Nine Pakistani militiamen were apprehended before dawn Wednesday inside Afghan territory in Kunar province, provincial Police Chief Khalilullah Ziaye said.

The Pakistanis said they fled into Afghanistan to escape attacks by the Pakistani Taliban against four of their checkpoints, Ziaye said. The nine remained in custody Wednesday pending an investigation, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

As some of you may already know, I currently have some of my photos hanging in a gallery in Kingston, NY.  I received word yesterday that next Saturday will be the gallery reception.

I would like to invite you all to come to Barista’s Espresso Cafe in the Hudson Valley mall on June 26th to view the work Angela and I have on display.  Angela is the co-organizer of my photo group, and a good friend.

For those of you in Albany, I know it is quite a hike to Kingston (about 45 minutes), but I would love to see you there if you can make it.  It would mean a lot to me.  The event is open to the public and children are welcome.

Place: Barista’s Espresso Cafe1300 Ulster Avenue Kingston, NY

Date: June 26

Time: 4-7pm

If you need directions, please do not hesitate to leave a message here or shoot me an email if you have my email address.  I hope to see you there!  See ya soon!

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

Every year, Rose and I head to Americade in Lake George to see the massive influx of motorcycles.  The bikers come from all over the the US and Canada to participate in this rally.  It is estimated that 50-60,ooo bikes will ride into Lake George for the week of Americade.  I didn’t take the time to count them all, but there were a load of bikes there, despite the gloomy weather we had last week.

On Thursday morning, we put on our rain gear and headed up the Northway knowing we might hit some rain.  It’s annoying, but not a big deal if you are prepared for it.  We have friends that live close to us that head up every year and stay in the same hotel.  So, we went up to meet them for a ride to Old Forge.  There was a threat of a pretty strong thunderstorm, so we decided to stay local and head downtown to the expo and the forum to see what the vendors had to offer.  The picture below is of the parking lot outside the expo.  Despite the threat of rain, the bikers turned out in droves to peruse the forum.

Inside the expo we found hundreds of vendors.  Some of the bigger names were companies like Kuryakyn, Givi, Nolan, Mustang seats and so many more.  If it is motorcycle related and you are looking for it, there’s a good chance you can find it in the expo.  You could get new tires, pinstriping, seats and many more accessories added to your bike while you wait.  It is truly a one-stop shop for bikers. As we walked around, I saw something that made me smile.  Indian motorcycles seems to be back in business.  They have gone out of business and been brought back a few times, and it seems like they’re back again.  Indian motorcycles are the epitome of a classic motorcycle.  Even the new ones look like the classics of the past.  Here’s the truck and some of their motorcycles.

After a few hours in the expo, the sky started to look a little dark.  As we were walking out, we heard thunder off in the distance.  Time to hustle up and get on the bikes.  We got back on the bikes and headed back to the hotel.  On the way, we saw a few bolts of lightning and it rained pretty hard.  Luckily, I hadn’t taken my rain gear off, so I stayed nice and dry on the ride back to the hotel. This is what we saw when we left the expo…

We hung out at the hotel and had some great times with our old neighbors from Delmar.  It’s a really great time, as a lot of the same people come back there every year.  So, it’s like a family reunion each time.  People are incredibly friendly, and more than willing to come hang out, sharing great stories and good company with you.

Around 10pm, Rose and I hopped on the bike and headed back to Albany.  We were tired, but needed to get home to take care of the dog.  Be sure to stop back by tomorrow to hear more about our trip back up on Friday.  See ya soon!

The other day, as I was wandering around the yard getting pictures for my garden blog, I saw the rose bush had a bunch of blooms.  As I was looking over the rose bush, I saw this group of five roses.  When I looked at it a little closer, the five flowers seemed to shape a heart.

I have looked at this bush quite a few times, and the image never stood out to me.  I spent some time shooting it and then I cut the group and put it in a vase for Rose.  I was even more shocked that they were all growing on the same stem.  One cut got all five of them.

You can see from the picture that the few extra roses on the bottom and a little farther back seem to extend the bottom of the heart.  That was just a little bonus.  I didn’t plan that.  So, you never know what you’ll see, even when walking around in a place that you think you know well.  Keep your eyes open!

Take a look at the picture.  Can you see the heart?