Monday, May 12, 2008

The Experiment

“You’ll need to learn how to take pictures from the bike.” That’s what our fearless leader is saying about our upcoming trip to the West. I blink a couple of times after reading this sentence in the e-mail to all. There is a whole lot of information in that one sentence. The first information being that we will be covering a lot of miles in one day. Not enough time to stop leisurely at every scenic vista we come upon. The second item is that there is plenty of stuff I will want to photograph. I look at my new camera and sigh.

I do have a new camera because my other came to a sad end while in California last November. I didn’t expect the expense just before Christmas, but I had wanted something more compact for just this reason; taking pictures while riding. I hadn’t exactly figured out how I was going to go about doing that just yet. I’ve seen the guys with the Goldwings and all their fancy equipment. Some even have cameras mounted on the bike. I look at Jade. There is no more space on the bars for any bracket. Right now, I have the GPS and the change holder for tolls. Then I remember how my previous GPS leaped to its demise from a weakened holder. I use a small bungee cord to hold this one in place. Did I really want to toss away another $400.00 worth of equipment to be run over on some highway? Not really.

I take another look at the camera. There is spot where the hand strap weaves through that I could possible use for a lanyard around the neck. This seems possible, until I try to get the lanyard though the eye. It won’t fit. So I hook the lanyard onto the strap itself, put it around my neck and test for length and weight. It’s light enough, and not too long that it bangs on the tank. I intend to test it out on a day trip Andy and I have planned.

As soon as we are on the open road, I realize the first problem. I can’t be looking down at the camera to turn it on. I need to keep my eyes on the road. After a few attempts I realize I can feel for the camera and find the “on” switch. Then I can feel for the lens as it slides out of the main camera housing. There is a lot of fumbling and not much picture taking.

At the next stop I look at what I’ve taken. The shots are blurry. I forgot to put the setting on “sport” which allows for fast action. I reset the camera. My next shots are better. Even with gloved hands, I can slide the switch to “on”, realize when the lens has extended, lift the camera up and snap the shutter. The photos are looking better when I check at the next stop. Toward the end of the day, we hit the super slabs.

Hurtling down the highway at breakneck speeds the camera is flapping in the wind under my arm. I begin to worry that the hand strap may be weaker than I imagine it to be, and that the velocity of the wind will snap it from the eye. We all make it home intact, but it’s clear, I need a better solution than this if I want peace of mind. Enjoy the slide show below of my experiment, and a few I took while actually stopped for sight seeing.

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