Monday, January 7, 2008

Bikes Are Like Cameras

In that so long as you have one, it seems that the total rises no higher.

However, get another bike (maybe you keep a commuter, and a "good" bike, or a road bike and a mountain bike or hybrid for canal towpaths and trails) and the sort of acquisition that affects camera purchasing comes in to play. I was reminded of this looking at these quite wonderful machines from British manufacturer Pashley. Given that i have a road bike (for full lycra speed merchant biking), a hybrid bike (for casual, shorts wearing mud plugging) surely it is only natural to have a bike on which I can bowl along wearing a tweed three piece suit (perhaps with a terrier riding in a basket on the front).

Of course, I'd have to buy the tweeds first, but it would be worth it, I reckon...

For doubters, I present for your consideration;

The Phantom

The Guv'nor

Incidentally, may I also refer you to Katie Doncaster's flickr page?

She toured Europe on a Pashley Princess, and the (rather good) photographs she took are posted on her flickr page.

Friday, January 4, 2008


Blakemere Moss
Blakemere Moss, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

So, back to posting again.

We start with two braces of shots, separated by a few months in time, several hundreds of miles of space, and a good few degrees on the thermometer. The first two here were taken on a very pleasant trip to Delamere forest, in Cheshire (somewhat more local to me now since the house move). It was bitterly cold, and the lake here (Blakemere Moss) had frozen over.

I'm not entirely sure I did the scene justice, but it was good to be out and about with the camera again after a long while where packing boxes, and recovering hard drives was rather more important.

Delamere Path
Delamere Path, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

The shot here shows one of the paths through the woods - you can probably tell that the light was "challenging" here, hence the decision to lose the shadows and keep the lighter tones in the sky.

Villeray #1
Villeray #1, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

Lastly we have two shots both taken at the Chateau de Villeray in Condeau, in the stable yard of the Ecuries De Villeray, a fantastic equestrian centre that uses the chateau grounds for accompanied pony rides.

Villeray #2
Villeray #2, originally uploaded by John the Monkey.

The area around Condeau, and nearby Nogent-Le-Rotrou is quite wonderful, and was near enough to the gite at Forest View to make it a good stop on the little circuits I did on the bike.

All four shots were converted using Bibble, a RAW converter I decided to try after my hard disk crashed wiped out my photos and photo software. It's very good, and I'm seriously considering a switch to it from Capture NX. If any of you are considering trying some alternatives, have a look at RAW Therapee too - a very interesting project, and a free piece of software (I strongly suggest making a donation to support the work being done on it though).