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!



Moto Gymkhana on a Honda CBF1000

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see and understand what Moto Gymkhana is all about. I had been viewing YouTube videos of competitions and reading up on this exciting and skill based sport that’s huge in Japan and gaining popularity in North America.

Gymkhana is not about speed. In fact, most competitors rarely leave second gear. It’s all about technique and maneuvering your motorcycle through and around pylons. Think riding in a crowded city and having to dodge cars, pedestrians, dogs – quick, tight turns and the ultimate control is needed to not drop your bike or hit someone. Gymkhana is described by Wikipedia as an event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses. In this case…motorcycles.

In a competition, this is done in a closed circuit. The object is to complete the loop in the shortest time without touching cones and dabbing of the feet (unless specified). Very similiar to that of a motorcycle trials competition except that the event is usually held on pavement, with a road bike, and on flat land. In essence it is a ‘Time Trial’ event.

Usually a course will consist of tight turns and a few straight-aways thus making the proper choice of bike necessary. A smaller, light weight bike will have the advantage over a bigger, and heavier one especially if there are many tight turns. When you think of the weight of a road motorycle (minimum 400+ lbs) making tight turns is no easy feat. Speeds can reach up to 80kph. The most difficult part of a competition is when you have to give full throttle on first (or second) gear immediately followed by full braking to make either a 360 or 180 degree turn. Finally, what may look like a maze of cones you must remember the route and follow it accordingly.

Thanks to ‘Master Yoshi’ for showing his skill on the CBF. Which by the way is a killer looking bike. I love the pearl white paint job. That and his black and white outfit made for some really snazzy pictures. Master Yoshi made Gymkhana look super simple, easily turning his CBF1000 and flicking it from side to side. And you know if something looks easy than it’s because the person is smooth and skilled.

The photo shoot with Yoshi was a great opportunity. I am certain we will be seeing more of Moto Gymkhana. Yoshi is recognised by JAGE (Japan Moto-Gymkhana Association) and has the distinct honour to introduce this sport to Canada and the USA. I am certain Moto Gymkhana will gain momentum throughout North America.

As for me, I must admit…I am intrigued and would love to try this but would prefer borrowing a bike as I would really not prefer dropping my Suzuki GS500. So all my friends with road bikes any takers? If not I can always take my husbands Berg – it won’t mind being dropped on pavement 🙂