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.

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.

East Side Classic 2015

Last weekend I stopped by the annual East Side Classic Vintage Motorcycle Show with my friend and fellow bike enthusiast, Wes. It was another one of those weird weather days in Austin. We drove down there in Wes' truck since we weren't participating in the show (and because we're total wusses and didn't want to ride in the rain.) On the way down there we got caught in a crazy torrential downpour. It was coming down so hard the windshield wipers couldn't keep up. We were wondering if anybody would even ride out to the show at that point. Thankfully, the storm passed quickly and the overcast skies just produced some off and on drizzle while we were at the show. Bikes slowly streamed in through a small moat and folks were so eager to show off their restorations and custom rides that they didn't mind parking in the pond of a parking lot at the Yellow Jacket Social Club.

I love shows like this one. It is so interesting to see how people have made faithful restorations or creative one-of-a-kind builds from vintage motorcycles. Many of these are what you might call rat bikes - rusty bikes rescued from old barns or salvage yards, pieced together with whatever parts that can be found or fabricated - function over form. These are bikes with character, built by passionate and creative people. These aren't flashy chromed everything sort of motorcycles and that's what I like about them. Here are a few that caught my eye.

There are some really interesting details on the bikes and I enjoy getting in for a closer look. The builders of these bikes are always more than happy to talk about their creations. There are all sorts of unique personal touches from the creative to the just plain odd.

One of these days I may have to pick up an old neglected bike and try my hand at putting something together. I don't consider myself very mechanically inclined but I did manage to get my lawn tractor with a faulty carburetor working a couple of weeks ago. It's a start, right? Maybe Wes will sell me one - he has a few in his garage in various states of (dis?)repair. Speaking of Wes, be sure to check out his insightful and aptly named blog, The Inebriated Engineer. He always has some sort of really interesting project going on over there. Most of it is over my head but I admire his passion and sense of adventure as he pushes the boundaries learning new things and making some cool stuff.

There are a bunch more photos in my full gallery from the event here.  For the benefit of my fellow Fuji enthusiasts I used my li'l XF1 at this event, mainly so I could easily pocket it in a zip lock bag in case the skies opened up again. I kind of regretted that because the bright sunlight peeking through the thick cloud cover made it really difficult to see the LCD screen. I usually just use the XF1 at night when I'm out with friends or in town to catch a movie with my wife or something like that where photography isn't the main purpose. I was reminded how much I hate cameras with no viewfinder in daylight!  I really should just spring for one of the weather resistant lenses for my XT-1. 

Until next time...keep the rubber side down and the oil on the inside.

East Side Classic 2014

I love stopping by custom bike and car shows, especially when there are lots of home builds.  The less refined the builds are, the more I tend to like them.  The Eastside Classic was held at Haymakers in east Austin last month.  The small group of bikes there did not disappoint.  It was a neat little show and I had a great time checking out the custom bikes.  It was a warm day with harsh light in the late afternoon.  Initially I processed my shots in black and white.  At the urging of a buddy of mine, I redid them in color.  I came up with a warm, contrasty look that I think works well for these bikes under the blazing Texas sun.