Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bike Touring Photography Kit, New Gear for The New Year

It always feels good to finish the year in a way that feels good in a sense of moving forward into the new year.  So ending the year by replacing a glitchy old bulky DSLR Canon Rebel with the newest Canon G series camera in the G16 has been such a wonderful treat.  Not simply due to the compact size and weight of the G16 but that it is has proven to be the best camera I could find and afford without sacrificing image quality.

After reviewing many of the four thirds cameras which were actually quite expensive considering I would have needed a couple of lenses and then comparing the low light image quality of some of the better quality bridge cameras or super zoom cameras not only were the lenses considerably huge but to get a good quality image were cost prohibitive.  Also some of both types of cameras mentioned didn't provide an optical view finder which is something I felt would be important to have should the camera screen be difficult to view in bright sunlight.

Having a good enough quality image to make prints from or list for stock photography was another criteria I was looking for and was willing to accept some limitations for blogging and sharing to social networks.  However, that limitation is not the case with the G16.  Although some folks have complained about the wifi feature not working very well with their phones, Canon has since improved this with the Camera Connect App rather than the older Camera Window App.  This makes sharing to Instagram or uploading to your favorite photo storage system much easier when traveling.

Photo shown above was looking quite good and needed a good tripod for slow shutter speed in order to render the image sharp enough for approval with my stock photo agency at dreamstime. For this reason I went about researching some of the most popular travel tripods that offer compact, lightweight designs.  One of the greatest hurdles was cost vs. versatility and function.  Many of the more popular designs either didn't extend tall enough or if they did they were simply too bulky or heavy.  This could be one of the main reasons when I researched the leading bike touring blogs I didn't find the information I was looking for.  I was trying to remember what tripod my old friend Harry Boyd used back in the day and it was a Slik. Then I found the Slik Mini II and what a pleasant surprise to find a such a lightweight compact design that would in no way adversely effect my bike touring kit.
Picture of professional photographer Harry Boyd
Long time Pro Photographer friend Harry Boyd 
At 1.7 pounds and a closed length of just under fourteen inches, a fully extended height of forty three inches while providing more than stable support for the little Canon G16 it has turned out to be a tripod that has met all of my expectations in a nice, quality, durable tripod that I'm certain will last for years to come.  Making low light or night photos much easier and without all the noise of lesser quality cameras.

Picture of bike and park lights at night using tripod
Night photography or low light images are not an issue with the Canon G16 and Slik Mini II tripod.
As I recently had five out of eight images approved with my stock photo agency I wanted to share this information with fellow bike touring folks who might be looking for a versatile, lightweight, compact photography kit that is affordable and of excellent quality.  Visit my blog articles at Bike Tourings by clicking on links provided below.  Happy New Year!!!
Slik Mini II Tripod
Canon G16

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Surfside, Texas Beach Camping, Bird Watching, Bike Tour

Bikes, photography and bird watching, not just a bike geek.
When I got an opportunity to check out some of the awesome birding opportunities available in south Texas I grabbed my pack kit and pedaled Southwest...

Yep, that's right into the wind as currents more than typically blow from the Gulf with such vigor that often times it is nearly impossible to enjoy riding a bike, thank goodness for drop bars.  However my fifty mile route to Surfside fortunately winds its' way through the 44,414 acre Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail which not only offers awesome birding opportunities but provides some much welcomed wind breaks as the road winds through and along the fresh water slough and salt marshes.

Whether it be dumb luck, good timing or the good graces of the bike gods the winds have turned in my favor providing not only a potential tail wind but cooler temperatures as well.  Because my rides are planned around my work schedule and the fact that wind is a factor for bike travel time I have found a nice reference for estimating my travel routes with a wind map providing current wind conditions throughout the United States.

Picture of Touring Bike with racks and panniers
I prefer having my pack kit ready to roll out when opportunity presents itself.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Bike Touring Around Your Hometown

Maybe you don't have the time to get away from it all for a weekend camping trip, let alone a several week long bike tour.  Grab your bike and head out to your local sights and simply play tourist for a day or more.  Making the time to just get out and ride makes room for appreciation of your local surroundings.  If you like photography or some other activity such as fishing or even shopping you can create your own little bicycle tour.

Picture of touring bike and rider with sunset
Dreaming of far away places for the "epic" bike tour isn't necessarily a waste of time.
Picture of touring bike and bridge at dusk
Discover unique perspectives that come from knowing your area.

Picture of touring bike parked outside of local historical landmark
If you're lacking creative inspiration check out some of the local landmarks as a tourist might.

Picture of Bridgestone touring bike and love
Sometimes you might just be pleasantly surprised by what you might find

Have a fun and safe pedal filled summer, wherever your travels might take you.