Wednesday, July 29, 2009

On the Road!

Dear Readers,
I'm taking my eco-friendly bicycling photography on the road! My girlfriend Laura and I are doing what we've always wanted to do - an open-ended bicycle tour. I'm bringing a small (real small!) portable light kit to do work on the road. One of our goals is to find people that are living a life less ordinary. I'll be doing portraits and interviews to post on our site.

So, please point your browsers to:
Twitter: @pathlesspedaled
Facebook Fan Page: The Path Less Pedaled

Thanks for reading. This blog o' mine probably won't be updated as often anymore. I'm still available for assignments while we're traveling - so if you want me to do a shoot zip me an email!


Friday, July 24, 2009

Goodbye Bilenky

For those that don't know....I'm hitting the road. I've been selling most of my worldly belongings and am going on an extended bicycle tour with my gf. The goal is to cross the US, twice and head down to South America. Yesterday, I had to put my Bilenky cargo bike into storage. A bit sad since it has been so part of my business and my daily life.

Visit to learn more about the trip I'm going on.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miller Children's Hospital

Just a slideshow of images from a recent shoot at MCH. It was a heartbreaking assignment because of some of the sad stories of the kids. Emotionally difficult, but I think I got some great shots.

First Photo Book!

Ok, it's not Phaidon (yet) but it's still a nice looking book! A photo essay from my bike tour through the Carrizo Plain. Order yours today!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Photographic History

Ladies and gentlemen, the darkroom has left the building. Today, I say goodbye to a formative part of my photographic development. Gone is my 4x5 enlarger, negative drying cabinet, 20x24 easel, an entire box of obscure negative carriers, grain enlargers, etc.,

All of it. It sold to a friend of a friend. A budding photographer who took a few classes and wants to get serious. It's a great tool. I hope she uses it well.

I also gave away this poster that probably has no value except for the sentimental sort. It's a poster of Photographic Truths. It use to hang in Terry's Camera - my favorite camera store of all time - until it closed and the city unceremoniously demolished the building. I spent many a weekend there shooting the breeze with Leigh and Maurice. I would always look up the poster and laugh.

A few days before it was to close, I asked them for the poster. Sure. It wasn't worth anything and they were probably tired of it themselves. For me, however, it reminded me of those Saturday mornings drinking coffee and eating doughnuts and talking lenses and cameras. I passed it on today too - an end of an era.

For your benefit, I will transcribe some of the photographic truths:

-The Post Office folds all parcels containing photographs.
-Camera straps never fail above soft surfaces.
-Spotone bottles are designed to tip over when the cap is removed.
-You will never, EVER, receive an N.E.A. grant.
-No two lightmeters agree.
-A good photograph cannot be made in Fresno.
-A new Hasselblad would take better pictures than your present camera.
-Color slide viewing cures insomnia.
-When Man creates a sharper lens, Nature will create a fuzzier subject.
-Falling lenses are attracted to rocks.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Sign of the Times

Apologies for my crude Illustrator skills. But this or something like this is what I think the city should put up on either side of 2nd Street and in pamphlets at all the businesses. It gives instructions! There seems to be a general air of confusion down there. Some people think the stripe is a bike lane, some think it's a bike path (a recreation path like the on the sand), some think cars aren't allowed there.

I've discovered that the green sharrow really is a Rorschach test.

For bike commuters and vehicular cyclists that understand the rules of the road it validates what they already know. Bikes can be on the road! Legally! No one ever need to fear being given a ticket for supposedly riding too far in the center ever again! Yay.

For roadies and club riders who aren't vehicular cyclists, it prods them into a better lane position. When I participated in the bike count on 2nd Street, I was shocked at how many club riders rode in the door zone! Worse yet, they would duck in and out of empty parking spaces rather than riding in a straight, visible and predictable pattern. Observing the sharrows the last few weeks, I've noticed the biggest improvement from this class of riders

With timid sidewalk riders and door zone riders who absolutely fear being in the middle of the lane and would rather choose to duke it out with opening car doors and close passes the results have been mixed. I've spotted a few that probably would have hugged the curb but are now hugging the right edge of the green paint. An improvement of sorts. However, there are still quite a few that for some reason won't ride in the middle of the lane - EVER. No amount of paint is going to help them see the light.

Some motorist feel that it is a bike only lane and move immediately to the left lane. Some motorist understand the concept and will ride patiently behind a cyclists when one is present. Some motorist think their god given right to the road has been pulled from beneath them and are internally seething.

Some business owners are supportive. Some think that bicycles will somehow slow the 5mph weekend traffic to 2mph. Some families think it's great, they can now safely ride bikes with their 6 yearolds on the street. Some residents think it is a bloodbath waiting to happen.

Rorschach test, know what I mean?

What do I think? I think its better that it's there than if it wasn't. For one, it does provide a higher level of visibility and safety for cyclists riding on 2nd Street. Secondly, it shows in an amazingly graphic way how every cyclist can ride on EVERY STREET in Long Beach. If you had some cool cycling glasses that incorporated the latest augmented reality technology that showed you where you could legally ride - every street would have that big ass green stripe.

If I were going to be in the LBC for much longer I'd take photo of the big ass green stripe and carry it around with me everywhere I go for my next conversation with a police officer, especially if it's officer Wharton. I'd also take along the City of Long Beach's Sharrow FAQ with me too.

I'm planning to make one last sharrow video....a How To of sorts for motorists and cyclist. If the city won't do it, WE have to.


Grab a DW...Nice cover : )

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Day in the Life of BeachGreens

I had a fun opportunity to go to the Santa Monica Farmers Market with Aliye from She runs a company in Long Beach where subscribers receive at their doorstep a box of organic fruits and vegetables that she picks out.

Wednesday, 9:00am, their delivery van is empty and we hit the road to Los Angeles.

At the first stop, Aliye picks up boxes of grapes and watermelons.

The next stop is the Santa Monica Farmers Market that is buzzing with activity. There she picks out the produce and talks to the different farmers she works with.

The once empty van fills up with a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables that are all organic and locally grown.

Check out to learn more!

Stuff I'm Selling

Dear Long Beach,
I'm leaving you in 3 weeks! I will miss you dearly. In the interim, I'm trying to get rid of all my stuff. Some of it is quite nice. Contact me if you want any.

Simplex 750 Matt Cutter + Accessories - $200
For the price of getting one picture professionally framed, you can have all the tools to matt your own!

Matching Pair of Cool Retro Orange Chairs - $80

Surly Steamroller Townie - 52cm - $300
Surly Steamroller in townie config. MKS touring pedals. 3 Speed rear wheel. Campy + Velocity front wheel. Sugino cranks. Velo-Orange seatpost. Practically new Brooks B68 (no longer made in this color)!

Polaroid 195 Land camera and 7 packages of 665 - $500

Alfine 8 Speed rear hub + shifter - NEW - $180
No photo.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Miller Children's Hospital slideshow...

MCH has been a great client of mine over the last few years (that photo of the runner in Rangefinder was shot for MCH). I'm wrapping up one of my final projects with them - a multimedia piece talking about their new expansion. I had to combine some stills I shot with renderings and other photographs as well as sound. I spent a day conducting interviews and recording some audio to mix in to the presentation.

The hardest part was cutting down about 1.5 hours of audio to less than three minutes, then splicing everything into a cohesive narrative. I'm pretty happy with the product. It feels a little more thoughtful and engaging than just regular video.

Rangefinder Magazine

July is looking to be a great month! Not only do Laura and I leave on our epic journey (, but I also got featured in Rangefinder Magazine! Out of many photo magazines, Rangefinder has to be my favorite so it's a great honor to be in there. If you're near a bookstore, grab a copy!

For me, being in Rangefinder is particularly satisfying because they actually show and talk about my photos! I've been in a lot of press, but it's a mixed blessing. The bicycling gets a lot of attention and that's OK, but it's nice to be acknowledged for being able to take a good photo or two as well ; )

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A blistering 5mph...

One of the biggest objections to the sharrows on 2nd is that bikes will slow traffic during rush hour or during the weekends. Somehow, the perception is that bikes won't be able to keep up or that the traffic speeds are too great. I decided to film our ride to Trader Joes on a Saturday afternoon.

For the .6 miles through Belmont Shore, we average a brisk 5mph pace. A speed that I'm sure many cyclists can keep up. I think it's plenty obvious that its cars that are slowing cars down and not the bikes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Official Launch of Sharrows!

The sharrow/stripes have been down for a few days, but the official launch was this morning. Attendance was pretty good and there was lots of excitement in the air. There was some formal speaking from various city folk. Of particular note was Ryan Snyder who is in charge of administering the PLACE grant which funds many of our city's bike projects.

What was striking, for me, about his speech was that he really emphasized that "every street in a sense is a bike lane." This is very important. Not every road will get this sharrow treatment or a bike lane, so it is paramount that the idea that cyclists can use all roads is understood.

I do like the sharrow/stripe treatment very much, but it must be emphasized that they do nothing to change the laws that govern the road. They merely show where it is safe to ride. In essence, EVERY road in the city of Long Beach should be ridden as if you had a sharrow/green stripe.

Another notable moment in the speaking was when Police Chief Anthony Batts acknowledged my ticket as an "evolutionary tool" to help educate police officers. My ticket, if nothing else, has become a teachable moment for the police and cyclists. Of course, I STILL have my ticket and court date to contend with, of which I wish they would just expunge. Simply put, the place where I was riding is now occupied by a big green stripe. It should make any claims that I was somehow breaking the law seem absolutely ridiculous at this point (like 6-foot-wide-green-stripe ridiculous). While, I appreciate the public acknowledgment, I'd really like my ticket nixed. Hint, hint.

Friday, June 26, 2009

More from the Sharrow Cam

After being rudely interrupted at my last attempt at making a Sharrow video, I thought I'd give it another try. I strapped my GoPro Hero Wide cam on the bike and rode up and down several times to get a sense of how they feel. If you haven't tried it, they're wonderful!

I also got some rider reactions about the new sharrows. So watch and enjoy the Sharrow Cam!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Not everyone is Sharrowing the Love

I have to say this morning when Laura and I saw the Sharrows, I felt a strange warm burning sensation in my chest. At first I thought it was cardiac problems, but I just had my physical and checked out OK. It dawned on me that the strange sensation was civic pride. The city did good this morning...but they've just begun.

I happened to have my Flip camera with me and decided to do a little M.O.S. interview with Charlie as they were painting the sharrows. About 30 seconds in, an upset and confused Belmont Shore resident interrupted and vented his frustration at the bold green stripe. The paint isn't even dry yet, mind you.

Not everyone is sharrow-ing the love, but that's to be expected. I wrote a letter to the city on May 15th expressing concern about some backlash from the misinterpretation of the sharrows. Hopefully, the city will make these messages clear to help calm people down.

(Excerpt from letter....)
I've been communicating with DeLong's office re: the Sharrows on 2nd. I really urge that when you guys roll them out and do the press releases you make the following points very clear:

-those lanes were "sharable" by bikes before the sharrows were being put in
-the new sharrows do not take away any rights from motorists NOR do they give bicyclists any special rights, they are just very bold and large visual indicators that bikes can already be legally on the road and they invite cyclists that may not know that right to be on the road.
-the placement of the sharrows (presumably in the middle of the lane) is where the cyclist SHOULD ride, out of the door zone. (Will we have an opportunity to preview their placement to ensure they are indeed out of the door zone?)

Gary has said he has already gotten some blow back from some constituents, most likely because they feel like cyclists are being given special rights or an unfair allocation of road resources. I think to mitigate this response the existing road rights of cyclists should be discussed. This also will start to spread the idea that bikes are allowed on ALL streets in Long Beach (which is important because it will prevent others from getting unfair tickets).

I'm going to defer to Dan and Chris if they have anything to add, but I think we're all in agreement that it's important to note these things, so motorists understand that 1) we're not taking anything away from them 2)bikes are allowed to ride on roads where there isn't the benefit of sharrows as well.


LBC Gets Sharrows and a Big Ass Green Stripe

Today felt like Bizarro World today as Laura and I were riding through Belmont Shore. We were greeted with a big ass green stripe with Sharrows! They were still in the process of painting the sharrow symbols so I didn't get to try it out. I did run into Mr. Gandy, our new mobility coordinator, and talked a little about them.

So far, I have to say that I'm impressed. They were put in the middle of the lane so they are visible. The big ass green stripe helps too :) Now, it's time to watch the chaos unfold as Belmont shore residents, business owners and cyclists try to figure out what the heck is going on.

And just to be a nag, I'd like to say that I was given my ticket EXACTLY where the big ass green stripe is. There you go Officer Wharton, that's what I meant by sharrow and it's there because it's the SAFEST place to be on the road. And like I mentioned during our roadside discussion, cyclists can occupy the center of the lane when they feel it is dangerous (like in Belmont Shore with substandard lanes and the threat of opening car doors).

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Summer Solstice @ Long Beach Organics

I brought the LX3 out to a small Summer Solstice fair at a community garden around Loma and 10th. Laura had a booth and was selling jewelry, bringing everything by bike and trailer. There was music, food and a cake walk! The space was pretty amazing with lots of greenery and sunflowers. It didn't feel like we were in the middle of Long Beach at all.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lumix LX3 in Pano and BW

I sold my G10 this weekend to a blog reader and budding bike tourist. To replace the PnS gap, I ordered a Lumix LX3 a few days ago and it came in on Friday. I had the opportunity to test a review sample a few weeks ago and was pretty impressed with it. It doesn't do everything I'd like it to do, but it does several things well. Namely, give a nice wide angle and a 2.0 lens. I did a little walkabout with Laura this evening and took some snaps playing with the 16:9 aspect ratio and shooting it in BW mode. Nothing too spectacular but a good test of the low light capabilities. It does a pretty nice job.

These shots were done in ISO 400, Manual mode with the settings around f2 at 1/4th leaning against a tree or a railing. Grainy/noisy but acceptable. I've shot these exact shots with a Leica M2, Tri-X and Rodinal and printed on Ilford fiber paper. Hard to tell how well the digital matches up until I see a print, but off the screen it looks rather promising!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Architects of Long Beach

Shot some portraits of some local architects in LB today. It was a pretty neat assignment meeting the people behind some of the buildings and public spaces in the city. It also made for an interesting visual puzzle to include them in the spaces they designed.