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Girt by sea.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading about the joys of riding at night on MTBR, I bought myself a TrailTech HID light. It gets pretty hot here in Kalgoorlie during the summer and I wanted a way to beat the heat yet still enjoy my rides. A decent light looked like it could be the answer for me. I emailed some friends and said "Let's go riding next Tuesday night. I want to test out my new toy."

We met at the appointed place at the appointed time: "Are you hunting game?" asked the bloke from Botswana - he had never seen a bike light so bright. The young guy with the home made (and under-powered) halogen just stared in awe: I think he was a rabbit in a former life. (Probably a very short life ….)

As we prepared for launch, some distant flashes of lightning could be seen out to the west. This caused me great concern, not because I'm worried about bad weather but because I own a landscape photography business and photographs of lightning are my "bread & butter". Distant flashes in an evening sky make dollar signs flash before my eyes. My conscience told me I should have been preparing to make some photographs instead of riding.

I chose an easy track for my first night ride. It's a track near home on which I started my mountain biking just under a year ago, so I know it well. It takes me around the edge of town on mining tracks and a few small sections of single track. Great views of the whole town are afforded by several of the hills on the track.

Being new to night riding, I was not ready when I hit my first patch of deep sand. I did not realise that the helmet mounted light effectively hid the sand due to the absence of tell-tale textures. When there are no shadows being cast by ambient lighting, the sand looks exactly like the surrounding rock. I didn't quite come off the bike, but it was a close thing!

Cresting the first hill, I glanced out to the west. BANG! A big flash lit up the sky. Wouldn't you just know it: the first decent storm of the season and I was committed to this ride. Already I could see I was going to enjoy this night riding, but the weather was tugging at my hip pocket. We pushed on.

We set off down the hill and across a couple of roads, heading for the local lookout hill. The dozen or so people up there watching the storm's approach certainly weren't expecting mountain bikes to disturb their contemplation of the weather. The storm was getting closer, and more active.

Down that hill, up the next, scare more sightseers, down again, up again, scare again - so this was what all the fuss was about! All the while, the storm beckoned - however its thunderous, seductive call was of no use: I was becoming addicted to the thrill of riding within the beam of light thrown from my helmet.

By the time we reached the furthest extent of the loop, I was wishing for more. With a tailwind and my tail up, we were flying through the back tracks of Kalgoorlie like madmen on horses of old. Flashes from the sky punctuated the darkness around our journey, briefly outshining the new light I was carrying. It was as if Someone was making His point: "That's not a light …. THIS is a light!"

Finally the dirt track ended and the riders of this storm went their separate ways. I rushed home to grab my camera and my car - maybe it wasn't too late, even though the storm was nearly upon us. I drove to a spot I had previously scouted and set the camera up.

I was still on a high from the ride and the storm was moving fast. There was a danger that I could miss it if I were not calm and efficient about setting up my camera. Experience took over: I was able to quickly compose the shot and insert the film in time to make two exposures, one of which will be a "keeper".


A keeper ....​

When I arrived home after my adventures for the night, my wife commented on the exuberant look upon my face. I had to confess to her that I had been having the time of my life that night. Storms, night riding and photography - all in three short hours of darkness! Passions in collision.

It doesn't get much better than this … does it?

Cheers,
Graeme
 

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Gone riding
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3,350 Posts
That’s awesome stuff Graeme. Just magic!! Thanks for the write up. It's not often you can combine and enjoy two passions at the same time. :D

I'm still tickled when I see you mention that you purchased you lights to escape the heat during summer. Most here on the boards have done so to get out during winter instead!



iliveonnitro - I doubt there's any Photoshop there at all. Just a lot of skill and an eye for a good photo.

Dave.
 

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life is a barrel o'fun
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2,502 Posts
Wow.

Not just the photograph, which is amazing, but this story...... I can't get over how each ride can be seen in a whole new light(ning) :rolleyes: That's what I love about MTBR, the way each individual rider can bring a new perspective to a ride.

Lighting is one of my biggest fears, so extra credit for braving the elements!! :cool:
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
iliveonnitro said:
Nice story.

How long did that pic take in photoshop? What does the original look like?

Edit: How the hell do you shoot lightning anyways?
The original looks very much like what is shown here. I've cropped a small amount off the top and right hand side, adjusted curves and pulled the colours of the buildings back to how the eye perceives them. How long did that take? When you work with original files sizes of 550MB plus, everything takes time.

To shoot lightning you need a camera with a "bulb" shutter speed, a tripod, a cable release and a slow film/sensor. Other than that, it's "f8 and be there." Oh, and it helps to know how the weather behaves.

Low_rider, I look forward to the winter here. Best cycling weather I get - and I don't need to get up at 5.00 to ride!

Cheers,
Graeme
 

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Kalgrm said:
The original looks very much like what is shown here. I've cropped a small amount off the top and right hand side, adjusted curves and pulled the colours of the buildings back to how the eye perceives them. How long did that take? When you work with original files sizes of 550MB plus, everything takes time.

To shoot lightning you need a camera with a "bulb" shutter speed, a tripod, a cable release and a slow film/sensor. Other than that, it's "f8 and be there." Oh, and it helps to know how the weather behaves.

Low_rider, I look forward to the winter here. Best cycling weather I get - and I don't need to get up at 5.00 to ride!

Cheers,
Graeme
Oh oh oh oooohhhh! Lightning pics!!!!! Weak spot! More please!!!!!!!!!!! :D

(sits, waiting patiently)

Oh, glad your first night ride was a good one! ;)
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
AndrewTO said:
Oh oh oh oooohhhh! Lightning pics!!!!! Weak spot! More please!!!!!!!!!!! :D

(sits, waiting patiently)

Oh, glad your first night ride was a good one! ;)
Now you've put me in a quandary - the guidelines for posting state no spam or advertising is allowed.

Lightning photographs are my business, so if I were to direct you to the lightning gallery of my web site, I could get into trouble. In the interest of not causing conflict, I suggest you do not visit my site. ;)

Cheers,
Graeme
 

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Kalgrm said:
Now you've put me in a quandary - the guidelines for posting state no spam or advertising is allowed.

Lightning photographs are my business, so if I were to direct you to the lightning gallery of my web site, I could get into trouble. In the interest of not causing conflict, I suggest you do not visit my site. ;)

Cheers,
Graeme
Oh my! I, ummm, totally missed that part about occupation, and, ummm, am very sorry to have put you in, uhh, such a quandry. :D

Thank you for not directing me anywhere, telling me nothing and showing me even less. So, yeah, thanks for nothing. ;)

p.s. - Strike 2 color isn't working, not that I saw it..... or went there... which was nowhere.

Hey look - a cat! :p
 

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hey, thats an excelent photo!!

Was this taken last saturday night?

Because that night we had some nice lighting here in perth but it was moving really really fast. i assume it was heading east?

great work!

steve
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wish I could Photo-John, but the Internet Nazis here at the day job forbid me visiting that site. I have no idea why they let me visit here and not there! Can you command them to let me come and play in your sand-pit? :)

Cheers,
Graeme
 

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Fartographer
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1,847 Posts
Calgary

Next time I head up to Calgary I'll have to make sure to let you know. I will almost definitely be making a trip next year - after the thaw :D

That's weird that your work blocks PhotographyREVIEW.com and not mtbr. They're on the same IP address. They must be watching for photography-specific sites. Probably making sure you're not looking for porn while you're at work :rolleyes:
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
phatr32 said:
hey, thats an excelent photo!!

Was this taken last saturday night?

Because that night we had some nice lighting here in perth but it was moving really really fast. i assume it was heading east?

great work!

steve
No, it was taken 22/11/05 (Tuesday last week). We had a storm on Saturday night too, but it was pretty weak and not enough electrical activity for me to chase. Scared the sh!t out of us at the restaurant when the first bolt struck nearby!
 

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Old man on a bike
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12,395 Posts
One of my best night rides was one here in San Francisco just messing around Golden Gate Park and Land's End, with one of our best lightning displays on the coast to finish up with (both during the ride, then again from the safety of the Beach Chalet brewery). Welcome to night riding and thanks for the intro to your very cool photo(s)....
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Photo-John said:
Next time I head up to Calgary I'll have to make sure to let you know. I will almost definitely be making a trip next year - after the thaw :D
Sure, I might catch a plane over to meet you. Never been there myself but it looked great on the Olympics a few years ago. :) (Kalgoorlie is in the middle of Western Australia)
That's weird that your work blocks PhotographyREVIEW.com and not mtbr. They're on the same IP address. They must be watching for photography-specific sites. Probably making sure you're not looking for porn while you're at work :rolleyes:
Sure is strange - it says "Reason: The Websense category "Message Boards and Clubs" is filtered". Fair enough too - I shouldn't be doing this stuff during work. But why can I get on here? Go figure ....

Cheers,
Graeme
 

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Fartographer
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Funny

Kalgrm said:
Kalgoorlie is in the middle of Western Australia
That's funny. I just assumed you were playing around with the name, "Calgary." :rolleyes:

And I was trying to think of where I'd seen anything in or around Calgary that looked like the scene in your photo. I was also going to say something about how I didn't think it ever really got that hot in Calgary ...
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Photo-John said:
That's funny. I just assumed you were playing around with the name, "Calgary." :rolleyes:

And I was trying to think of where I'd seen anything in or around Calgary that looked like the scene in your photo. I was also going to say something about how I didn't think it ever really got that hot in Calgary ...
I had all sorts of problems when I visited Ontario in June this year - my Aussie accent and my habit of mumbling through the beard had most officials writing Calgary on their forms when I told them my town of residence.

Note to self: "Must enunciate more clearly when outside Oz." :rolleyes:
 

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Girt by sea.
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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Okay Photo_John, it's posted over on the PhotographyREVIEW.com site too. Here's the link

Your command is my wish .....
:)

Cheers,
Graeme
 
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