Eastside Classic

The Eastside Classic vintage motorcycle show is held every year on Fathers Day in east Austin. This year it was back at Kinda Tropical and I took a ride down there to wander around a bit on a hot June day. It’s hard to be outside for long during the day this time of year and I was really feeling the heat. I didn’t stay long as a result. The ride back home on my own motorcycle with my protective jacket and helmet is less than comfortable in the late afternoon! Still, it was fun to check out some of the bikes there in the early part of the show.

I was mostly seeking out details this time around. As usual, there were plenty of things that caught my eye, both in the official show and in the parking lot. Sometimes the bikes people ride in that aren’t part of the show are just as interesting as the show bikes. There is a thriving community of passionate riders and bike tinkerers in the Austin area. It’s fun and inspiring to see what shows up at these events.

All photos were taken with my Fujifilm X100F. Check out more images from the show on my gallery site.

Gearhead Sunday

Last weekend I stopped by Revival Cycle’s shop for another of their Gearhead Sunday open houses. It’s so generous of these guys to open up their shop for bike enthusiasts like me to wander around and see what they are up to. This time the event was soon after the big Handbuilt Motorcycle show that Revival hosts and it was neat to be able to get even closer to some of their featured builds.

Continuing with my informal little project of documenting these events with my iPhone, I happily weaved my way around the nooks and crannies of the shop looking for interesting details. While I could surely get better details with my “real camera”, I’ve become fond of using my iPhone here. It’s challenging in the darkish environment. Maybe that’s why I like it. The photos, which are largely processed in camera, have a certain grittiness that works well.

More photos from the event can be found on my gallery site.


The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show

By far my favorite motorcycle event of the year, The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show was back in town over the MotoGP weekend in Austin. As usual, I spent hours at the show checking out some amazing bikes. This year was over the top on some of the builds. I took way too many photos!

This year I made a deliberate effort to capture most of the bikes in color, while processing most up close details in black and white. It should be obvious to those who follow my work that I love black and white. However, I feel that color is needed to do justice to a lot of these machines and this approach provided a good balance for me. I just used my Fujifilm X100F, mostly with the wide angle conversion lens.

Here are a few favorites from the show. You can find many more on my gallery site.

Gearhead Sunday

I’m running rather behind on my blog updates these days. Here we are at the end of September and I’m looking through a backlog of images from last month. No complaints, I’m happy to be busy. Sometimes photography fun gets pushed out a bit - such is life. Seeing that there is another Gearhead Sunday at Revival Cycles fast approaching, I was reminded that I neglected to share any images from last month.

This is such a fun event. I had a blast hanging out with my buddy Mark and his kids while we wandered around Revival’s shop. Always such enticing eye candy there. A coffee distributor is sharing some space with them lately and I got to enjoy some of their product. I even scored a breakfast taco from Torchy’s this time by getting my butt out of bed and on the bike early for a change. A most excellent morning!

As has become a trend in my visits to this event, I was only packing my iPhone as an image capturing tool. It does quite well, especially when combined with my favorite camera app, Blackie. If you like the shots below, you’ll find a few more on my gallery site.

Gearhead Sunday

Last month Revival Cycles in Austin hosted another Gearhead Sunday. They generously open up their shop at these regular events and allow fellow motorcycle enthusiasts to freely wander around. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own project bikes or cars to show off. It's a neat gathering that seems to be gaining popularity, as evidenced by a sizable turnout in spite of blistering heat.

I enjoyed poking around looking for interesting details amongst some of the classic machines that Revival had in the shop. Once again, I showed up with only my iPhone as a photographic companion. While it can be a struggle to use in the low light of the shop, it does a decent job at capturing close up details. When sweat is pouring off me this time of year, I'm happy to lug as little gear as possible with me on my Road King. 

All photos were taken with my iPhone 6s Plus using the Blackie app. More images from the event can be found on my gallery site.

Gearhead Sunday at Revival Cycles

A couple weekends ago I got to attend a motorcycle nerd get-together dubbed Gearhead Sunday, hosted by Revival Cycles in Austin. These are the folks who put on my favorite bike show, The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show, each year and this was my first time to visit their shop. I saddled up on my Road King and rode down to the shop in east Austin with a buddy of mine, eager to see the home of an awesome bike builder.

I was only expecting a parking lot gathering where fellow motorcycle aficionados and gear heads could show off what they had built or had in progress. It was a pleasant surprise to find that Revival was kind enough to allow us to wander around their shop. Since I wasn't anticipating this kind of access, I was a bit underprepared in the photography department. I had only my iPhone with me, so I fired up my favorite camera app, Blackie, and made do. The gritty hard contrast look that I get from the Tri-X film simulation in the app works quite well for things like this. It was a challenge to take photos in the low light but I managed to get a few cool snaps I think.

Check out more photos from the event on my gallery site.

ROT Rally 2018

I wasn't planning on attending the ROT Rally in Austin this year. It's crazy hot this time of year, entry to the rally is kind of expensive, and the attractions weren't compelling enough for me this time around. As it turned out, I was offered a free pass by a friend so I ended up stopping by for a little bit. My main interest was in the builder bike show and maybe some flat track racing.

Unfortunately, I ended up being greatly disappointed. The builder bike show used to be held in the main Travis County Expo Center arena in the past years that I've attended. This year it got bumped into  what used to be a small music tent. Micro wrestling and roller derby replaced the bike show. For a rally that is supposed to be centered around motorcycles, this was a complete "What the hell" situation. There were only a small fraction of the usual number of custom bikes under the tent. Not much of a bike show.

While the turnout and show accommodations were lacking, there was still some nice eye candy for a bike enthusiast like me. Here are a few machines and details that caught my eye.

Photos taken with my Fujifilm X100F and conversion lenses. More photos from the event are on my gallery site.

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show 2018

My favorite bike show of the year was held in Austin this past weekend. The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show is an amazing gathering of talented builders. The show is put on by local builders Revival Cycle and they always do a top-notch job. This year a new location was used and the show took over the Austin American-Statesman building in downtown. A larger space meant that the bikes were more spread out, allowing a lot of room for people to check out the machines and, of course, snap some photos.

Due to a lot of stuff going on in my life right now, I was afraid I wasn't going to make the show at all this year. Luckily things quieted down enough for me to sneak down for a couple of hours with my buddy Mark. We had a great time meandering around and we got to talk to a few of the builders. It was a different experience for me this year. I'm usually very absorbed in my photography and I typically snap hundreds of shots. This time around I spent more time simply taking things in and enjoying conversations. I was a little disappointed with myself at first when I returned home and discovered I'd only shot somewhere around 75 images! What really matters is the experience though - something I can forget when I'm in snap-happy photographer mode. This might have been the quickest trip through the show I've made and I didn't come away with a lot of photos. Better though, I had a great experience with a wonderful friend and I got to talk with some friendly and talented people.

Gear-wise, I kept things super simple. I carried my Fujifilm X100F with the wide conversion lens attached and I used the Classic Chrome simulation in camera. A few quick adjustments with a tone curve in Lightroom CC and I was done. Actually, it was kind of nice not having hundreds of photos to cull through, now that I think about it. Here are a few of my favorites. You can see more shots from the show on my gallery site.

There is one bike that deserves special mention. I got to talk to the builder for a bit and it turns out he's a plumber and he built the bike below in his garage. He used what he knows best to create an amazing piece of rideable art that uses a pneumatic final drive. Parts of the bike are ordinary plumbing supplies. He described how he created the curve in the frame that goes over the gas tank by bending the metal around a tree in his yard. Passion and creativity - I am impressed and inspired.

 

 

Harvest Classic 2017

The Harvest Classic vintage motorcycle rally was held in Luckenbach, TX a couple of weeks back. As promised in my teaser  post, I have some snaps from the show to share. The Harvest Classic for me is as much about socializing with fellow enthusiasts and hanging out with friends as it is enjoying the machines and snapping photos. Since I met up with several buddies there I was a bit light on photos. Shooting a single roll of color film was a way to capture some of the bikes while not neglecting good company.

Those who are regular visitors to my blog know that I don't post a lot of color imagery these days. I tend to like working in black and white with my Fujifilm cameras and when I do shoot in color it's often with film. A vintage motorcycle show is a perfect place to do photography the old fashioned way. My Olympus XA2 point and shoot is a fine camera for this as it is small enough to fit in a small hip pouch, leaving me unencumbered with a camera bag for my ride to and from the rally. Its separate viewfinder makes composing a little tricky at the close distances but I do love its ability to get quick snaps without me thinking about exposure. That little black box may not be as sophisticated as my iPhone but I enjoy the shooting experience all the same.

Here are a few of my favorites from the show. Keeping my shots to the 36-ish count on a roll of film makes me be more selective. It's kind of like pre-editing and while I don't have a lot of images to show for my afternoon, that isn't really a bad thing. My film lab does all the developing work and I have a neat collection of photos with minimal effort and I don't have to cull from hundreds of shots on a memory card. 

Check out more images from the show on my gallery site. All images taken with an Olympus XA2 35mm camera with Vista 200 C-41 film.

Tanks

The Harvest Classic vintage motorcycle rally was last Saturday. It was a lovely day for a ride and I took the Road King out to dusty Luckenbach, TX for an afternoon of strolling amongst beautiful bikes and hanging out with old friends. It was a quick trip and I spent more time socializing than snapping shots of the machines. Had to get a few in, of course. I shot one roll of film and a few iPhone snaps. Here are a few instant gratification shots. The film will have to wait until I can make it by a lab.

Images taken with iPhone 6S Plus, Blackie app.

Eastside Classic

The Eastside Classic vintage bike show is held annually on Father's Day and I got to ride down to the event at Lustre Pearl last weekend. It's always a great collection of restorations and one-off builds based on classic motorcycles. This year was no exception. It was a sweltering day to be out on a motorcycle and thankfully there was plenty of shade and air conditioning to retreat into between brief periods of checking out the bikes as they arrived.

The Lustre Pearl is a new location for the Eastside Classic and the layout was such that most of the bikes were packed kind of tightly together. The bikes were setup to line the walkways around the the Lustre Pearl instead of the more open parking lot. That made it difficult to check out the details and get photos. Fortunately, since the bikes arrived over a period of a couple hours I was able to snap a few photos of my favorites easily enough. Below are some of the bikes from the show that caught my eye.

As is usually the case at events like this, some of the bikes that attendees rode in were just as fun to checkout as the show bikes. The parking lot can be a bonus bike show so I always spend some time wandering around there at these events in Austin. Here are some of the great machines I noticed.

Photographically, I approached things a little different than usual. A couple of weeks back I acquired a Fujifilm X100F and I used it exclusively at the show. I haven't talked about this little camera much yet but there will be more coming about that decision soon. The optical viewfinder on the X100F was a good way for me to work in the bright conditions. Light pavement reflected the bright sun and I found the OVF to be easier on my eye than cranking the brightness of the EVF. 

There was a mix of strong sunlight and deep shade so I set the X100F to a dynamic range value of DR200 at ISO 400. I also dialed down the highlights to -1 to create a film-like roll off of the highlights and bumped shadows to +1 for a bit of punch. With my favorite film simulation, Classic Chrome, this was enough to keep the highlights in check while still having a contrasty punch. Since the Fujifilm cameras tend to keep white balance on the cool side I set my white balance to Shade, even when shooting in the open parking lot. There was plenty of shade and shadows in most of my shots and this gave a slight warmth to the images, which was appropriate given how hot it was out there (I believe the heat index was approaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit!)

The result of my "pre-processing" was a set of images that looked fantastic straight out of camera. I adjusted brightness and boosted shadows a tad on some and added a touch of sharpening and clarity - that was it. Getting the highlights, shadows, and white balance where I wanted them in camera made post processing a breeze. I've gotten to where I do very minimal post processing these days, usually just tweaking a tone curve and maybe some localized adjustments. For documenting events like this, getting the look 95% there in camera makes things a lot more fun and easy back home at the computer.

You can find more photos from the show on my gallery site.

ROT Rally Artisan Bike Show

Last weekend was the Republic of Texas (ROT) Biker Rally in Austin. It's a wild party that draws bikers from all over the country and the world. This year I was there for the music and the custom bikes. A feature attraction at the rally was the Artisan Show where builders got to show off their custom creations.

For as big of an event as ROT Rally is, the bike show is relatively small. There aren't as many bikes as other annual shows I attend, such as the Handbuilt Show. Still, there were some fantastic machines and they were openly spaced in the Travis County Expo Center for leisurely viewing and photographing. I spent a good bit of time admiring the bikes and discovering bits of interesting detail.  Besides the motorcycle eye candy, the air conditioned Expo Center provided a comfortable escape from the balmy heat of early summer. Here are some of my favorite bikes and accent details.

Bikes

Details

All images taken with a Fujifilm X100F, Classic Chrome simulation. Check out more of my images from the ROT Rally on my gallery site.

Texas Motorcycle Revival

Last Saturday the annual Texas Motorcycle Revival was going on at Central Texas Powersports in Georgetown, TX. This small gathering drew some neat bikes last year and I was eager to see what people would ride in this time around. There was a great mix of machines and, as usual, I came away inspired. Someday I'm going to have to find an old bike to wrench on and bring back to life.

Lately when I attend events like these I travel minimally, photographically speaking. I opted for film shooting because it's kind of self limiting in the number of shots I can take and it tends to keep me more into the experience of the event instead of having a camera up to my face the whole time I'm there. My pocketable Olympus XA was my camera companion of choice, loaded with a roll of Agfa Vista 200 film.

Here are a few favorite bikes. That Vincent...drool.

And some closer details. The Olympus XA can't focus very closely and I was tempted to use my iPhone at times. I decided to keep it a pure analog experience. It just seemed fitting.

If you'd like to see more of the great classic bikes from the show, check out my gallery site.

Cruising the Parking Lot at the Handbuilt Motorcycle Show

I shared some shots that I took at the Handbuilt Motorcycle show a couple of weeks back. This time I wanted to share a few images from outside the show. The street in front of Fair Market was closed off for motorcycle parking and these are some of the bikes people rode in the show. Sometimes the bikes in the parking lot are even more interesting than the show bikes.

The images below were taken with my trusty Olympus XA2 and a roll of Portra 400 film. If you follow my blog with any regularity you know that I'm often inclined to shoot a roll or two of film at events like this, often with seemingly limiting cameras. Shooting with the simple XA2 lets me stay in the moment and enjoy the show and company of the folks I'm hanging out with. These images are very snapshot-like. Nothing fancy, just quick captures of things that interest me.

The little XA2 can be a challenge to use since I find it difficult to see the framelines through the viewfinder with my glasses on. I shoot looser than I would normally with this camera. The XA2 does a fine job with exposure and the images it produces are just sharp enough. I find them to have a bit of a low-fi look that really suits the subject matter. Below are a few favorites. Check out more sights from the Handbuilt Show on my gallery site.

Swap Meet at Flash Motorbikes

I stopped by Flash Motorbikes, a neat little independent motorcycle shop in Austin, for a swap meet they were having today. This event is something I've been to before and I was looking forward to seeing what folks rode in on and what goodies might be up for sale.

A threat of severe weather in the early morning hours and residual high winds through late morning seemed to keep the majority of motorcyclists away unfortunately. The turnout was disappointing. I did see a few neat bikes though, including a really sweet Vincent. I came away with a nice print by a guy who does some very detailed motorcycle drawings. It was a good time hanging with some friends and talking bikes. Of course, I snapped a few photos of bikes or parts of them that caught my interest. I even snuck in a self portrait of sorts.

Images were captured with an iPhone 6S Plus using the Blackie app.

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show 2017

The Handbuilt Motorcycle Show, one of my favorite events of the year, was in town for Moto GP weekend in Austin this past weekend. I always look forward to this great show. As always, there was an incredible collection of handbuilt one-of-a-kind custom motorcycles and restorations. There was so much to see that I had to visit the show a couple days in a row.

This show has become quite popular amongst motorcycle enthusiasts around here. Every year the number of attendees seems to have grown. That's a good thing and a bad thing. This year was the first time that admission was charged and I wondered (hoped) if it might tame the crowd a bit. Amazingly, it appeared to be more crowded than ever. Friday night there was a continuous long line to get in as only so many people could be inside at once due to fire regulations. The crowded show floor made photography a challenge. I'd brought a small tripod in order to reduce my camera's ISO but that would have been futile. Just too many people milling about and I didn't want to induce a trip hazard.

Friday night was the first time I've gone to the show in the evening. There was definitely a larger crowd at night than in the early afternoon on Saturday. I wanted to try photographing the bikes at night because the lighting is warm inside but a lot of daylight pours in through open dock doors during the day, making for a terrible time of color correction (something that is already challenging enough for this color blind photographer.) I got plenty of shots in the evening and returned to wander around a bit more on Saturday. There was also the opportunity to check out the bikes outside that people rode in on and get some shots in the daylight. I shot a roll of film for that and I'll share those later when my film comes back from the lab.

Here are a few of my favorite sightings at the show.

There are so many interesting and creative details on some of these bikes that I feel like I can't do them justice in a single image. Here are a few bikes I'll highlight with some detail shots.

All images taken with a Fujifilm X-T2 and a XF 18mm F/2 or XF 23mm F/1.4 lens, Classic Chrome film simulation. Need even more motorcycle porn? Check out all my photos from the event on my gallery site.

The 2016 Harvest Classic

I recently attended the Harvest Classic, a classic bike rally held every October out in little ol' Luckenbach, TX. It's Autumn (sort of) which meant it was a chilly ride on my Sportster that morning to spend the afternoon in the heat and dust once the sun was overhead. I met my friend Wes out there and I had a fun time wandering around checking out the bikes. There was a great bike show going on and of course there were a lot of interesting bikes that people just rode in to hang out.

It is easy for me to get carried away photographing the machines at events like this so to keep myself in check and make sure I spent time actually experiencing the event I set a strict limitation on myself. I took only an Olympus XA compact film camera and a couple rolls of cheap Fujicolor 200 film. The little XA fit neatly in a hip pouch so I didn't have to burden myself with a camera bag. The photos have a retro look which complements the subject matter well I think. Yeah, I could have taken hundreds of tack sharp images with a digital camera of every bit of detail on the bikes. I found freedom in the limitation though and I really enjoyed the event all the more so for it.

Here are a few favorites. 

Flat Track Racing in Gruene

Gruene Harley Davidson threw a heck of a 10th Anniversary bash this weekend. The usual Harley party components were well represented - bikes, babes, and booze. All good things to be sure but I made the trip down with a looming threat of torrential rain to check out the flat track races. This type of motorcycle racing really seems to be catching on around here and this is the third event I've been to this year that has featured a flat track race. The heavy earth moving equipment was putting the finishing touches on the impromptu track when I arrived. Soon we were watching bikes whip around the small course, kicking up clouds of dust. 

There were some pro / semi-pro riders competing in a Hooligan race and then there were a bunch of guys racing in a "run what ya brung" series. The latter was pretty entertaining. Anybody willing to pay a small entry fee was able to get their fool self out there on the track with pretty much any sort of bike. Hope some of them had trailers to haul their bikes home after taking a spill in the dirt! Looked like fun, although I'm not quite ready to take my Sporty out on the dirt. I had a blast watching the races and getting some shots. A chain link fence around the track made photography a little tough. I got a few shots I liked regardless, with my trusty Fujifilm X-T1 no less. 

In addition to the flat track races, Unknown Industries was out there doing some freestyle riding demos on how to destroy motorcycle rear tires. There was lots of smoke and some impressive wheelies! Amazing stunt riding by these guys. I'm still coughing up burnt rubber.

I didn't get to stay for the final races as I was keeping an eye on the weather radar and I decided it was best to make the ride back to Austin before any more of the increasing spotty thunderstorms crossed my path home. My rain suit came in handy as I rode through a brief but fairly strong storm around Kyle. The storms quickly dissipated not long after I arrived home. I wished I'd stayed longer. You never know what is going to happen with Texas weather though. It could have just as easily been a total monsoon. A nice rainbow appeared outside my garage as I put the bike away. Maybe we'll have some dry days this week.