Tag Archive: meetup


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.

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!

With the first day of summer just about two weeks away, I start to think of why it is my favorite time of year.  I think the warm weather is a bit of a given, but I have a few other reasons why I love it.

The Pool – I’ve been a water rat since I was a toddler.  I also lived close to the ocean in Virginia growing up.  So, I have spent many hours of my life in the water.  I’ve also been pulled out of the pool (over the side) because I couldn’t breathe more times than I care to remember.  That has not stopped me from going back in.  To this day, I still will spent a good portion of the day in the pool.  I love it!

The Grill – I love cooking on the grill.  I do it all year long, but it’s much more pleasant when it isn’t below freezing outside.  This morning I made bacon in a frying pan on the side burner of the grill.  I like to make it outside so it doesn’t smell up the house.  It doesn’t matter if it’s hot dogs or steak, I love cooking out there.  Plus the grill overlooks the pool.  Bonus!

Motorcycles – Riding is a huge passion of mine.  I still do it in some of the colder months, but like other things, it’s much more enjoyable when it’s warm outside.  Being on a motorcycle is such an amazing feeling.  It’s so relaxing.  It also will make you forget all your problems for a while.  Great for clearing your head.

Friends – This one sort of ties into all of the others.  Summer to me is about hanging out with your friends, having a cookout, swimming in the pool and riding.  There’s something about the camaraderie of bikers that makes you proud to be a part of that family.  I’ve met some of the best people while riding or talking about motorcycles.

Photography – This is also a given.  I do have a photography blog and a Photo Group.  The sun, the flowers, nature, cars and waterfalls all make me very happy when I get out with the camera in my hands.  There are a lot of places that I want to shoot this year.  Hopefully this nice weather (well, before this weekend) will continue and I can check more places off my list.

What about summertime makes you happy?

Image courtesy of Rose

Yesterday, the temperature hit 94 degrees here in Albany.  According to Channel 10 New’s Steve Caporizzo, we tied 1994 for the record temp on this day in history.  It was pretty warm for upstate New York in spring.

Every Wednesday, we ride with a meetup group called No Destinations.  Yesterday was no different, but it was a little bizarre.  We put on the gear (yes the jackets, boots, full face helmet and gloves) and set off on this adventure.  It was to be different that most days.  We usually leave here around 4:30 so we don’t get stuck in rush hour traffic on the Northway.  Sure, we get to the ride about an hour and a half early, but it beats sitting in traffic for an hour or two.

We left a little later than usual, probably around 4:45 or so.  The Northway was already moving pretty slow, so we jumped off exit 6 and picked up Route 9.  That wasn’t much better.  We hit every light on 9, and it seemed those lights took forever to change.  We were roasting.  I needed gas in the bike, so I pulled into the Hess in Halfmoon.  I got off the bike and Rose noticed a sign on the door that the air conditioning died, so they closed early.  The sign also said that the pumps were still on for credit card users.

Great!  I spin around to the pump and look at where the numbers should be, and there are none.  What the ?  I guess we wont be getting gas there.  As we rode up the street, we noticed a bunch of stoplights were out.  Not flashing, but out.  If you live in the area and know Clifton Park drivers, you will understand why that scared the hell outta me!

We headed up to Malta and grabbed some gas, then headed back to the Mill to wait for others to show up.  As we were heading up for gas, I saw the tire marks where my friend was riding and a van did a u-turn in front of him.  It was pretty eerie.  Word on the street is that he is coming home from the hospital tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Back at the Mill, about 25 riders braved the heat for the ride.  We did a nice ride up to Saratoga.  We stopped at the Horseshoe Inn Grill & Bar.  It was a really nice place, just across from the Saratoga racetrack.  While we were there, I got a text from the Weather Service telling me a thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area.  I pulled up the Weather Channel on my phone and the radar showed the storm North and West of us.  Nothing to worry about right now.

When we got back to the Mill, the club had some meatloaf and mashed potatoes waiting for us.  We ate dinner and had birthday cake for our good friend Murph.  There was a sign up sheet for us to volunteer to help our friend that was in the accident, as he wont be able to do these chores for a while.  People signed up to mow the lawn, help with the pool and cook food.  That is why I love this group so much.  The list filled up quickly and people were more than willing to jump right in and help out a member who fell on hard times.  It’s like a great big family.  I am honored to be a part of it.

It was getting kind of late and it had been thundering and lightning to the north of us, so we decided to head home.  As I turned the key on to start the bike, I noticed this fine mist in front of the head light.  I took my glove off and felt for rain.  It wasn’t rain.  We got on the road and it was coming down almost like fine snow.  I joked to Rose through our communications device about volcanic ash.  It was really weird.  I chalked it up to being pollen blowing out of the trees because it was very windy.

Heading down the Northway, the lightning show was amazing!  I could tell that we were heading for some rain though.  Around Exit 8, it started to downpour.  At 70 miles per hour, the rain felt like needles on my skin.  It was crazy, but I loved every minute of it.  It was a great day.

See ya soon!

Image courtesy of Hub Pages

Please read this one.  And then share it with everyone you know.

It had been a busy few days, and I woke up tired yesterday morning.  Yes, I woke up tired.  So, when a friend sent me a text asking if we wanted to go out on the motorcycle for the day, I turned him down.  I wasn’t feeling alert, and being alert is a huge must when riding.  We went about our day and did some things around the house.  Later on, we went out to get some stuff for the garden.  We were walking around the nursery I hear a text alert from Rose‘s phone.  Rose then said to me “Oh my God, (friend’s name) has been in a motorcycle accident.

We hopped in the car and headed for the hospital to see him and comfort his girlfriend.  We got there and were allowed to go in and see him.  He was in a lot of pain but his injuries were not life threatening.  Here’s what he told me:

He was riding by the lake just past The Mill and a lady in a minivan was sitting on the side of the road by the lake.  She apparently decided to do a u-turn across the road without looking in her mirrors.  He locked up the brakes and laid the bike down and hoped for the best.    He said he hit the bumper of the car.  He was pretty heavily medicated by this point, so I don’t know if it was the front or the rear bumper.

The accident left a him with a huge gash across his knee, a compound fracture and a chunk of bone out of his foot.  He went into surgery and we waited around for him to be out, so we could make sure he was in the clear.  He was, but they had to amputate all of his toes (on the right foot) and part of his foot (right).  I am both saddened and angered as I type this.  Someone couldn’t be bothered to look in their mirrors, and now he has to live with this for the rest of his life. The road by the lake is a major highway with four lanes and a turn lane in the middle.  Why would you do a u-turn across that road?

And then there are the what-ifs…

  • What if we had gone with him?  Would we have been in the same accident?
  • If I was on the Harley, would they have heard us?
  • What if he just stopped for five minutes, even to get gas?
  • What if his girlfriend had been on the bike with him?
  • What if he was going just a little bit faster?  Would he have made it past her?

But, all the what-ifs in the world wont change what has happened.  The only good thing I can say is that he is still alive.  And for that, we are very grateful.  Please, please, please – Look twice and save a life.  Motorcycles are everywhere.  This didn’t have to happen.

See ya soon.

Strike a pose

Yesterday, a few of the members of the Capital Region Photography Group got together to learn how to shoot models.  One of our members set up the shoot with the model, and had us meet him so we could learn how to shoot with just the camera, a light stand and an external flash on the light stand.  That’s it!  It was awesome!

The point of the lesson was that you don’t need to lug all these lights, reflectors and fancy equipment to the location when shooting.  A properly placed flash off the camera will do just fine.  I really enjoyed this lesson, and can’t wait to try it again.  John really put a lot of work into this Meetup and I really appreciate it.  Our model was fantastic to work with, especially with ten photographers all fighting for her attention at the same time.

It’s almost 1am, so I am going to make this one a short one. We have to run our pictures by the model and get her OK to use them on the web, so I will publish a few when she says it is OK.  See ya soon!

For a few weeks now, I have been promising tulip pics from Washington Park.  I’ve put up some pics I have taken in years past, all in an attempt to make you want to see fresh ones from this year.  Well, today is that day.  This morning, I got up extra early (for me anyway) and went down to Washington Park with a few members from my photo group and I got some fresh pictures to share with you.

When I got to the park around 7am, there were a few other photographers milling around and a bunch of State workers putting the final touches on the grounds for this weekend’s Tulip Fest.  They were taking down the temporary fence around the fountain and scrubbing the fountain down, preparing to fill it up.  A few other workers were mowing the lawn around the fountain.  After about 3 hours, the park became pretty crowded with people walking and taking pictures.  I left around 10am as the sun was getting pretty harsh and the dew drops were starting to dry up.

I took about 400 pictures in my time there this morning.  I’ll probably only post about 20 or so of them on the internet, as I am highly critical of my work.  Probably much more than anyone else.  I really hope you enjoy them.  I can only hope that some of the photos I take make someone smile.  That would make it all worth it.  Ok, enough babbling from me.  Here’s what you really came to see…

If you’d like to see more, please check out my Flickr.  See ya soon!

I went to a local nature conservatory today (Five Rivers) to check it out for a possible meeting spot for my photo group. The place was really nice and I am excited to set up the outing. I knew the weather was supposed to get crappy later in the afternoon, but I went anyway to use up whatever time I could before the rain got here. It was nice, but a pain in the ass, because the sun kept popping in an out and I had to keep changing settings. I didn’t get too many great shots because of it, but I will next time i go.

I kept getting text messages from the the Weather Channel telling me a Severe Thunderstorm watch and eventually a warning was in effect. A little bit later, I noticed the clouds were getting very dark off in the distance, so I started walking back towards the car. At one point, I felt a raindrop, so I got ready to put the camera back in my bag and then I saw it…

There was a bridge on the main road and on the other side of the bridge was a small lake with some incredibly gloomy clouds lingering over it. I quickly swapped the 70-300 for the 18-70 and started firing away. The wind started to pick up a little, so I headed for the car. As I was getting to the car, the wind gusts began. It was crazy. I was driving back out to the main roads and with the way the wind was blowing, I honestly expected to see a tornado forming.

There was debris all over the roads. Sticks, tree branches, even a tree across the road at one point. It was pretty wild, but I had the camera just in case anything crazy happened. Don’t know what i would have done had I seen a tornado, but I would like to hope I was at a safe distance to get some pictures of it. Call me crazy…

Anyway, I wanted some opinions. I greatly over processed the picture I mentioned above using Photoshop CS5’s Merge to HDR Pro and Topaz. I know they are a lot over done, but which one do you like best?

After the storm, the sun came out and it was calm and a little cooler.  I went out back to cook some burgers on the grill and the sun was setting with some amazing colors.  Between flips, I grabbed the camera and snapped off a few pictures of it.  Here’s what I saw…

It was a great day!  See ya soon!