Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summer Night Ride

A few weeks ago during the heat of summer a few of us decided to go for an evening ride. We are all members of the Urban Riders, so we are an odd mixture of varying bike types. We decided to meet at the local bike night BBQ


There is something about a smoky BBQ which makes the hamburgers taste better. As we come from different directions we find that the BBQ is more or less in the middle and I do not like to ride with an empty stomach. I line up for my snack which consists of a hamburger, bag of chips and bottled water (all for $5.00 donation). As I am munching on my burger I walk around to look at all the bikes


Vintage machinery always catches my attention. I would love to have an older machine but then there is the problem with securing parts and going to swap meets, scanning eBay for parts. I used to have a classic car so I know the feeling of searching all over the country for that elusive part that you require to keep it running.


Lovely to touch but thankfully it belongs to someone else. I'll stick to something modern with fuel injection (and the requisite tachometer), of which this Indian is missing


It is nearing 8:30p and the sun is setting fast. Soon it will be dark so we suit up and get on our way. We head east to New Westminster so Jeff can get his bike


While we were waiting, Doug wanted to try sitting on the GS. He has had his Burgman for many years and has decided to purchase another bike. He was thinking that perhaps he should try a bike for a change for a different experience.


Tonight there are 4 of us: Mark (Kymco Xciting 500Ri maxi-scoot), Jeff (Suzuki GS500), Doug (Suzuki Burgman 400) and Myself (Suzuki V-strom 650). No one is willing to take the lead so we drew straws and Jeff lost. He decided to take us up to Burnaby Mountain

By the time we get to the top of the mountain the sun has nearly set


So here we are with our bikes parked in the asphalt parking lot looking at the surrounding trees in the dark. The Simon Fraser University has their campus up here and there are lots of security vehicles driving past wondering what we were doing. I say to the group that there are better places to hang around in the dark, such as somewhere by the water on a pier. Luckily there was such a place very close by so we headed down the mountain and east towards Port Moody

and plopped ourselves down on a picnic bench at Rocky Point Park

(Rocky Point Park, looking towards Ioco)

in the dark and talked for an hour or so solving the world's problems. It was a very pleasant warm evening and the water was calm. A perfect time to enjoy, with friends.


Some photographic thoughts:

While I have bulkier cameras capable of setting manually I have been using a small point and shoot which will fit in my pocket. It takes excellent photos but you have to be aware of its limitations. It is not very good at night shots. During the past year, for most of my photos I have been using a Panasonic Lumix ZS3 . It is prone to slight overexposure in bright light and is also limited in some settings such as Auto ISO. You cannot actually set the iso, rather you set the max iso and the camera will decide what it will do without you knowing. Also you cannot set the aperature which is a problem with night photography. The replacement model ZS7 now has a manual mode.

My Canon G10 which hardly gets used has now been dusted off and will shoot images in RAW mode. I actually found the setup disk which came with the camera and I have installed the DPP Raw converter which Canon supplies FREE of charge with every camera they sell which shoots RAW, unlike Nikon who charges for their NEF converter. It just didn`t make sense to have the right tool for the job but leave it at home and use something not suited for the task.

You may wonder why I am spilling my guts out with my photography thoughts, but I had been speaking to a fellow Blogger about photography, camera equipment and RAW mode and I thought that HE may be interested in my reasons for doing what I do, and why I purchase what I buy. I have to have at least one camera with remote capabilities for attaching a radio shutter release.

Last weekend I had a chance to ride around the city looking for places to shoot night shots. I have also had some inspiration from another photographer in Chicago who has been posting some of her photos on flickr.

(Astoria Hotel & V-Strom, Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC)
Canon T2i: 10 sec F:8 ISO: 100 18mm

(Granville Street, Vancouver, BC)
Canon T2i: 5 sec F22 ISO: 100 55mm


  1. They are gorgeous night shots Bob. I see I'm going to have to experiment with my Canon, being the photographic ignoramus that I am.

  2. Your blog is always a great place for a fun read and great photos! Love the Indian. I haven't seen too many vintage motorcycles like that in my neck of the woods.

  3. "Solving the worlds problems" Good. It needs to be done. :)

    Very nice job on the photos. I've stopped carrying my point and shoot because I don't have a pocket, or tank bag, to put it in. But find I don't stop to pull out the big camera. Dilemma.

    Thanks for sharing the night shot inspirations. Looked like some great rides!


  4. Love the night photos. The lake is calm and peaceful, and the city is lively and dynamic. I love the light streaks in the last two.
    I'm always to lazy in the evening. I don't want to go out and take photos. I want to stay cozy in the house.

    I like having raw, though I don't know much about processing it. A remote is a must.

  5. "do not like to ride with an empty stomach" I don't think that anyone frequenting your blog would ever accuse you of that ;-)

    I also really like the night shots. Especially the longer exposures. BTW, Nikon does provide ViewNX for free and it will convert from RAW to JPEG but I'm playing around with Aperture 3 for manipulating the RAW images. ("playing around" being the key phrase)

    Vintage bikes really catch my attention as well especially the ones with sidecars...

    Richard My blog

  6. lovely night ride! that is my favorite time of the day, dusk - dawn, and always fabulous while riding.

  7. Very nice night shots there Bob, it was also good talking to you the other night.

    Thanks for helping me narrow the search for a new camera!

    I loved that Indian's instrument panel on the gas tank....very cool.


    Redleg's Rides

  8. Gorgeous night pics. I would not dare to stop for photos downtown Hastings at night though...

    Unfortunately I take less and less pics on my short daily rides... even forgot my camera a few times. Everything has become so familiar and I have been a bit lazy lately with the stopping and pulling out the camera.

  9. I like the first (smoke) and last (lights at night) shots best of all on you post Bob. You once suggested that I was taking a lot of camera equipment on my tour, and you were right, for I have sent home my flashgun (what was I thinking?) and my long lens. I would say it is even between the use of my big Nikon and my point and shoot camera. The big camera can do so much more, but it cannot beat the P&S when it comes to taking pictures from the bike, or when I need a camera quickly. As Luke Skywalker would have said, I should have listened to your advice, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

  10. Bob, I love these night shots, especially when it has just rained and the surfaces reflect. I have a point and shoot Fujifilm Finepix F30 that runs up to to ISO 3200 but having dropped it one to many times need to replace it soon - but what with?? The battery only needs charging once every three months too.

    Nick aka Mr Nikos