Off-road Women Riders are Sassy

I could bore you with the details of my recent photoshoot but I will let pictures speak for themselves this time around.

I will simply say that this past weekend I had an absolute hoot photographing my team mates and friends Melanie and Jaime. Our photos will be used to help promote our team for this years Paris to Dacre (P2D) Dual Sport Challenge by Rally Connex. To date we still do not have a team name but what we do have is spirit.

A while ago I found an abandoned warehouse and knew this would be the perfect place for the shoot. I wanted the graffii to be a focal point yet it had to be a part of us as well. Lively, fun, loud and colourful – a perfect fit to showcase our team. Melanie is feisty and sassy while Jaime is reserved but spunky.

I decided to use one flash set up on a softbox. I wanted an ‘edgy’ look. The single light casted a long, dramatic shadow which worked well as I felt it made us look stronger. The shadow also mimicked that of the written words. Too cool! Theme found and kept throughout the entire shoot.

Both Jaime and Melanie were keen on the location even when I told them we may need to hop a fence. Lucky for us, we found a hole and we walked right in motocross boots and all. It was cold, dark, damp, smelly and was littered with garbage. But what a fun place to shoot. I can not really say where it was because I am pretty sure we were trespassing. Thanks to Jaime and Melanie for being cool with this.

Our ride in P2D will hopefully be historical as we will most likely be the first all women team. Our goal is to finish and to finish strong. I believe our biggest asset is our friendship. Between the three of us we have tons of riding experience. P2D though is all about team effort and I know our friendship will go a long way to helping us achieve our goal.

Cecile – both a sinus infection and an eye infection made for a very red nose that day!

 

 

Transforming Gary and his Hercules into a Digital Painting

This is my friend Gary. He’s the coolest guy I know – he rides all sorts of bikes from pushies to motorised. He also plays in a rock band, runs, skiis, snowboards and travels just to name a few. So I thought a digital painting of him and his very cool Hercules would be a good way of showing him off.

I took this picture of him last fall while he was showing Melanie and myself his backyard trails just outside Barrie, Ontario. I decided on this picture for some digital painting as I liked the colours, the leaves and the ‘low rider’ action. For a larger view of the painting…simply click on it.

Digital Painting is just what it sounds like. I move pixels around on the computer instead of using actual paints, brushes and various cleaners. I love how I can make a ‘virtual mess’ of a painting than hit the ‘back’ button or delete the painting entirely and start all over. Plus, there’s no mess – no sticky fingers, no turpentine, no oils, and no spills. However, my eyes eventually become strained from starting at the monitor for too long.

The process of taking a picture and transforming it into a painting is not that difficult. The trick is to start off with a good picture. And that itself can be challenging. What makes a good photograph does not necessarily translate into a good painting. I have also found that certain colours and backgrounds lend themselves better to being ‘digitised’. Once I have found a suitable photograph I play around with it in either Lightroom or Photoshop using levels, saturation, brightness, dodging and burning. Those are usually my main edits. Than I open up the picture in Corel Painter, choose my brushes, senstivity and a host of other things before I begin ‘painting’.

The next part is the hardest for me. I really should leave the painting alone for a few days…not to dry but to see whether or not I am pleased with the results. However, I am such an impatient person that sometimes I skip this last step. My impatience has sometimes gotten me in trouble. This is also another reason why I do not play golf. In fact I have only played twice in my life (not counting driving ranges and mini-golf). The last time I played I ran in between holes as I was getting ‘ancy’ and just had to ‘de-energise’ a bit. Ok…I am so off topic right now.

I hope you like the painting. Please feel free to send me your thoughts!

Cecile

 

WEC Parry Sound

I am procrastinating. I was reviewing potential Georgian Bay photos in Lightroom for two upcoming art shows I have when I got side tracked by the WEC Parry Sound race pictures that took place a few years ago. David and I had primo spots along the shoreline. It helped that we were volunteers and were miracurously placed there to help the poor souls that fell in the drink. Luckily there weren’t too many and I was able to take a few pictures.

At the time I had my Nikon D70 with a wide angle lens. Knee deep in the water, unable to see the rocky bottom due to wavy conditions that day I was already taking a chance myself not falling into Georgian Bay. I have to chuckle at how long it has taken me to upgrade to a pro level camera that is more water resistant than the D70/80/90 all of which I have owned and all of which have been put through some pretty risky situations. That is, two were ok with water and the other certainly was not.

I marveled at the skill and expertise the riders had working their bike along the slippery and rocky shoreline. It was hard enough walking along it. The number one rider at the time, David Knight, mayed it look easy and schooled everybody in that section. It was also mind boggling at how small his bike looked underneath him and how much clearance between his crotch and the seat he had to work with. Made me jealous. Than again…there’s the saying ‘the taller you are the harder you fall’. Except David Knight does not fall (very much).

Our Canadian boys did us proud that day and I believe the Canadian hero was  Cory Gruffunder (sp?). David and I worked both days over the weekend proudly volunteering our services. We even got a cool Nexco jacket out of it. It was fun, met a lot of people. I wished I could have tried riding the shoreline (the endless rocks and slippery sections reminded me of a few of my downhill races I had in Quebec – most notably ‘The Flintstones’ in Bromont). I am pretty sure I could have mayed it half way before I would have fallen in.

Thanks to Parry Sound for having hosted the event. It was so well organised and the people of Parry Sound were amazingly cooperative lending their services with grace and enthusiasm. While a few of us take our Canadian Shield and fresh water for granted many realise it’s beauty and importance (we truly live in a beautiful country). I can only imagine how the Europeans felt upon seeing our rugged beauty. I believe a few went for a boat tour on the Seguin. I think they left with smiles on their faces.

My only beef that weekend was the lack of money spent in Parry Sound by our very own spectators. Perhaps it is a bit harsh and unfair of me to suggest this but if a town/city is willing to host an event they are outdoubtly also hoping that records crowds will filter through and provide business for their commerces i.e. restaurants, hotels, bars etc. Our job as spectators is to spend a bit and help out the town’s economy. Not much needs to be spent…just as long as everybody can chip in.

Well, I really should get back to painting a few pictures. My first show in this spring and I only have 2 out of the 6 ready.