A little preview of an Alaska pre-ride report going on the FJR Forum.

Posted in Motorcycles on March 27, 2014 by eblinkphoto

March 3, 2014

Here it is a little over three months before the trip and about the only thing I’m still struggling with is how to report the ride. ADV Rider would make the most sense with it’s huge viewing numbers but this forum seems to be where I’ve made the most heartfelt connections so here it shall go. Not saying it won’t get cut/pasted and cross posted with other forums like DRRiders but here is where real time updates will go. If you can’t wait for the pictures to make it here with the accompanying thoughts them you can always just go to http://www.eblinkphoto.com/MotorcyclesAndOtherSports/The-Alaska-Solo-Slo-Mo-Photo

to get the raw footage. A select few phone and quality photos will be posted during the trip since only my Nexus 7 tablet is coming along for photo transfer. The little tablet positively sucks at transferring a quantity of photos from the camera to the Smugmug online photo storage but it can be done. What the tablet does excel at is providing a tough little internet connection for updates and communications with the folks back home without the bulk of a laptop. Tracking via the Spot messenger 3 can be found here.



As some of you know I’m not much for wordy ride reports and tend to let the pictures speak for themselves. This report will not be an exception other than this introduction and maybe some follow up commentary after the ride. My photographic weapon of choice for this trip is a Panasonic G5 micro four thirds camera with 14-140 zoom lens, Mefoto compact tripod and Lumix LX5 point and shoot camera.


Getting ready for this long ride has been a fun exercise in micro planning and macro spending. I now have as much in the 2002 Suzuki DR 650 and gear for the ride as I spent on the bike itself. At the inception of this ride it was just going to be me, solo all the way and damn the torpedos. More of an affirmation of independence than actually wanting to be alone. Practically speaking, so few candidates would normally be able to get that much time off according to my schedule I never even asked. If I did ask it was the usual “like to but can’t” I had become used to until I came to Don Wilke my auto mechanic friend. Leaning over a fender pestering him about something or other I mentioned this ride and in a moment of weakness threw out the offer to come along. I write weakness only because Don and I hadn’t really known each other that well or even ridden together much. I knew him by reputation and one FODS trip to Death Valley. I knew he was a real deal motorcyclist with more miles and years that I but most importantly a light hearted happy-go-lucky attitude towards traveling. Riding for ridings sake and not wanting to influence the course of the ride as much as be sucked up in wake of the DR and have a great time exploring. So the I became a we, the solo journey became a duo and after a few more talks, trips and strategy meetings (beers) the team was set.


Mar 11, 2014

Took a little day ride with Don and some other guys to the snow line last weekend. The thought for that day, don’t break anything important. The thought for today, get oil change parts together to ship to Rick in Alaska. Rick and Karen are Yamaha FJR 1300 riding buddies who moved up to Alaska a few years back and now live in Anchorage. We plan to shack up at their house one night mid-trip and knock out an oil change.


Mar 12, 2014

Don bought an Original Bug Shirt for the mosquitoes on this trip and I only have a head net? Will I live to regret not getting one? These are the little things that occupy your thoughts when you have all the big stuff taken care of.


Mar 26, 2014

Now that I’m in double digits the time is flying by. Feels like when you just crest over the first large drop on a rollercoaster and the speed comes at you in an unexpected rush.


Mar 27, 2014

How can this be? Eighty-something days to go and I’m obsessing about what pocket knife I’ll need to take with! Does a normal person sweat shit like this? Yeah, I’ll admit it, I’ve been on kind of a knife kick lately but this is getting ridiculous! I have my new and never used EAK Nordic W11 fixed blade that I bought for Elk hunting in Colorado a few years back as my primary knife. That was easy but only after deciding the CRKT Hissatsu folder I purchased for this trip and used on the Crater Lake test run was just a little too hard to keep clean for food prep and steak knife action. So the fixed blade will fill that role perfectly but leaves the carry knife position wide open. The Hissatsu is a fantastic heavy aggressive folding knife, too much for the slot. A Case 110 RogDeb gave me for my 50th (thanks again guys) is a little large and heavy as well. The few other knives I own all suffer from the Goldilocks syndrome, a little too big, too little, too hard or too soft. I think have it narrowed down to the Spyderco Delica 4 in orange . Light, great slicer, cheap, good color to find on the ground and great compact size. Yeah, that’s the ticket …just right. Nothing at all like the old orange Spyderco Rescue fully serrated I tote in my pack regularly right? So now you see how this goes.


Just testing the app.

Posted in Motorcycles, Photography, Technology on July 5, 2013 by eblinkphoto

May use this app on a trip to Alaska next year on the DR 650 if it’s simple to use with the Nexus 7.


Seems simple enough.

Friday With Ashley

Posted in Family with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2013 by eblinkphoto

An eldest daughter, a couple of micro four thirds cameras and a beautiful day in a magnificent place.
One camera didn’t service the trip.

Had to turn someone away because I was scared.

Posted in Photography on January 10, 2013 by eblinkphoto

Afraid of how the micro 4/3 camera system would perform or not perform under the expectations of a casual wedding. Sure, I’m no wedding photographer and the expectations would be extremely low but, without the safety net of a DSLR I just had to back away. The first concern that came to mind was the struggles I have had getting shoe mounted flash to properly expose under varied light conditions. More practice would obviously help but sometimes a bounced flash with the Panasonic G5 and compatible TTL Vivitar flash produces wildly varying results. The second concern was low light. Focus lock not ISO quality being the concern here. So the short moral to this story is that I have had my first lesson on the limitation of micro four thirds. Not trusting myself with the equipment to tackle this type of job being the lesson. It might be a while before I gain the confidence to think of the M4/3 system as more than an extremely versatile high end point and shoot. But then again, the DSLR was seldom used to produce any income so the trade off seems practical so far.

Everything was great…until it wasn’t.

Posted in Photography, Technology on November 1, 2012 by eblinkphoto

A recent round with the Panasonic repair process prompted me to write this opinion.

The micro four thirds consumer community desperately wants to move forward and be taken seriously. Claims that the DSLR is dead are grossly premature but I do see an end to the mirror in the not so distant future and growth in the ‘light is right’ camera market. A growing market means more choice and more choice is always a good thing. The high-end 4/3 cameras are becoming less of the point and shoot boxes of old and more focused ergonomic photo machines with exterior controls of heavily featured menus. The improved performance and control of these cameras make them more attractive to serious enthusiasts and professional level users. Professional level cameras are starting to appear on the market from Olympus and Panasonic with professional level pricing that comes with it. Now, professionals may start using these cameras for work but unless the support is there from the factory, the pro use will quickly cease. Canon and Nikon have had years of support experience from the top (professional level) down but Panasonic is working it’s way up from the bottom (consumer level) of support up towards the professional. Therein lies the rub. Pro’s need gear that works and generally are not pixel peepers. They need gear they know and can trust to work, that makes pros happy. If a piece of gear goes down they need it repaired and back to making money as fast as possible for a reasonable amount of money. Local factory authorized repair is one answer while a ‘professional only’ level of expedited repair is another.
This all bring me to the quality of service I received while trying to get a simple broken battery door on my new to me Panasonic DMC-GX1 repaired or replaced. Coming from Nikon I know most of their battery doors can be replaced by the owner and purchased online from a variety of sources. A search for the GX1 battery door proved unsuccessful but I did stumble on Panasonic’s online repair procedure where you fill out a form and send it to the recommended repair facility. Using this self-help feature proved painless until the call came asking $287.50 for this out of warranty repair. To say I was shocked at the amount to repair what I later found out was a $13.71 part is an understatement. Not really sure what I expected, and probably would have paid up to $100.00 just to be done with it but nearly the price of a used replacement camera just did not make since! I asked they send the broken camera back unrepaired and I would pay the shipping which they offered to pay making me feel a tad better. A letter came days later asking for the $287.50 otherwise the unit would be returned unrepaired if they had not heard from me in 15 days. Hmmmm, I thought we had this conversation already? So I call the repair facility to be told their systems are down, they cannot tell me about my camera and to please call back in a couple of days. Days? I chew on this overnight and decide Panasonic’s repair system is broken. I even Google Map the facility just to be sure I’m not dealing with a fly-by-night strip mall vendor. Nope, looking down on a huge Panasonic facility on a road large enough to have street view. Now I’m thinking Panasonic is broken and too big to notice so I call customer service to make them all better. Only I get an “executive” customer service representative who cannot explain the repair pricing, does not understand that a battery door repair should not be one half the cost of a new camera and cannot put me in contact with the repair facility that has my camera. He can try to call the manager and find out about my camera and takes my telephone number. I did put into motion acquiring a replacement battery door through Panasonic. They have repair parts listed by name and part number online but no diagrams and it just so happens my GX1 is a 4 door. Makes sense this battery door would be the biggest and most expensive but I wanted to verify during the order process. The nice lady who is taking my order would have to send this to the “research department” to verify the battery door comes with the hinge pin and spring. Strange but OK, let’s do that so we know for sure. The order is not taken until we hear from research. I get an email from research that the part number I’m inquiring about is for a GX1 and will not fit my GF1 but here are the parts numbers for the black and red battery doors. So at least now I know that if I had GF1 in red or black I have the right numbers. Too bad I have a black GX1 and still not sure what door to order or what it comes with. A call back to parts to order the door confirms the part is a battery door so I order it, with or without the pin is yet to be determined. I emailed customer service thinking I would make the swell suggestion they provide a diagram or schematic for the parts they make available online to identify while ordering. The response was that those repair manuals are available for purchase but would require an additional 2-3 weeks for printing since it was done at another facility.

I think I will try to cancel my AOL or XM subscription service now just to sooth my nerves.

Camera straps are the devils work!

Posted in Motorcycles, Photography on October 16, 2012 by eblinkphoto

I knew better, put a small strap on the new Panasonic GX1 for a motorcycle ride and didn’t take it off when done.  Boom, caught on my bag getting it out for a job yesterday and now it’s off for repairs for a new battery door and hinge pin. I bet camera straps are responsible for more camera damage than saves but doubt there are stats out there to prove it. Just a word of warning, use those straps but take those huge loops off when not around your neck, shoulder or wrist.

Just above the Marine Base on Hwy 108 in California.

Time for a major update on the photo front.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20, 2012 by eblinkphoto

Decided after several years of shooting DSLR’s to convert (for the most part) to the micro four thirds camera system. Being a moto rider, the DSLR was just too much weight and bulk to tote around and the great camera systems were left behind during some otherwise great photo opportunities. After a massive blowout sale on the web of the Nikon DSLR camera and lenses I have been acquiring a used Panasonic system based off the DMC-GX1 camera body. The Mu-43 Forum proved a great source for the camera body, 14-140mm, 7-14mm and 100-300mm lenses. These lenses fill the range my previous 10-20mm, 17-55mm and 70-200mm lens filled and then some. Granted, the 2.8’s will be missed but overall this system is quite affordable! I know going in I will miss the near instant focus and shutter speed of the DSLR but that speed doesn’t do me any good if it’s sitting a a camera bag at home. I’ll update the blog with the results and impressions from this new to me system.

A few grabs with the new camera