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William Pond Park April 29, 2010

Posted by Bill in Photography, Reflection.
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Photography and bicycling.  Applying one’s art to one’s love can be tricky and frustrating, I find, because the expectations rise so very high that one address the other with quality.  While I’m usually pretty satisfied with my adequate photography, I don’t find automatic satisfaction here.  The process has been very satisfying, but my assessment of the product finds it lacking.

William Pond Park is a centrally-located and attractive watering hole/rest stop/gathering place used by most regulars on the bike trail.

This couple obliged with a repeat of a performance they had enacted spontaneously just moments before:

couple at william pond park

This WAW recumbent is a work of art in itself… combat-ready: [do you ride it? drive it? fly it?]

WAW recumbent cycle

The parkway bike trail; a good place for friends…

two women on road bikes

and yourself; you and two wheels…

cyclist on the bike trail

Wildlife on the bike trail April 21, 2010

Posted by Bill in Photography, Reflection.
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Biking on the American River Parkway is about more than escaping text-messaging drivers.  Sacramento living can truly suck if you are limited to the 80/50 corridors, forever at the mercy of white pickup trucks and lowered Honda Civics pretending to be boom boxes on wheels.  There is a thirty mile-long retreat waiting for you…

Two more images for you.  The first of a critter I complained earlier would not hold still:

jack rabbit in the grass

"I am invisible!"

Next is an image that, for the life of me, I just do not understand why I like so much.  Is it the explosion of flowers to the crown?  Is it the dashing red pigment?  Something about it just reeks of vitality, so maybe that’s the GeezerWheel connection.  At any rate, if you hurry down to the Parkway prior to our lovely 110 degree weather, you’ll be treated to sights like this one at the foot of the Howe Avenue bridge.

grass plants

Sunrise on the Parkway April 12, 2010

Posted by Bill in Photography, Reflection.
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These days, to get across the river to ride toward Folsom, one needs to navigate the Worm Hole Time Tunnel that is the Sunrise Bridge pedestrian walkway.  It gets a little creepy when some fool stops mid-span to take pictures.sunrise bridge pedestrial walkway

However, the rewards of making your way to the Lake Natoma side are yours for the peddling. Birds on the lake, it should be said, favor the north side nearest the bike trail and furthest from lake-level development on the south shore. Egrets and great blue heron nest in trees on the north side, and sights like these water-landing Canada geese are common:lake natoma canada geese coming in for a landing

Beyond the iPhone April 10, 2010

Posted by Bill in Photography, Reflection.
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Photography for a cyclist on the American River Parkway bike trail is something of a love/hate experience.  I’ve shot a fair percentage of those places I’ve called home over my life, and a much smaller percentage of those I haven’t.  This blog, however, hasn’t been about photography.  It’s been about riding, speed, conditioning, feelings about getting older, blah-de-blah.  The pics have been there to keep your eyeballs and imaginations entertained.

It seems, though, that images on this blog have attracted the attention of the California State Fair, so I am motivated to shift the focus of this blog, for the coming months at any rate, to the visual end of things.  I’ve been asked to contribute images of the views we cyclists take for granted as we travel the parkway for a cycling exhibition at the fair this July in Sacramento, so this is what you’ll be seeing here for a while.  It’s hard work, I find.  Putting miles under me with an occasional “oh wow!” at the scenery, whipping out the iPhone for a snap underway is not the same as photographing it.  I’ve been retracing those miles, now stopping for a setup and shoot.  Here’s one of my first scores:

couple enjoying the river off the bike trailThis couple was gracious enough to let me record their blissful respite.  They’ve been all over, traveling on two wheels to see those places in the world they need to see.

Encounters with great people like this are just part of what makes the parkway a special place for cyclists.  If you’re too busy getting ready for a race or you’ve got time-cramped weight loss goals to reach to occasionally enjoy the other people on two wheels, don’t worry; there’s time.  Or is there?

Camera work on the parkway is real work.  At least it feels like work because my modus transportatus, my pleasure place, is interrupted by frequent photo setups.  Having the question in my mind “Feel the stroke, pace the breath, hydrate, relax” replaced by “What views would be important to share here?” as I ride is a fantastically different experience.  However, like all good work, the rewards are unexpected and surprisingly real.

The parkway holds wildly diverse rewards, and I use the word “wildly” with purpose.  I discovered that jack rabbits and turkeys are none too fond of cyclists stopping, taking off a backpack, opening that backpack, removing a camera, and setting up for a shot.  Sad, as they are frequent companions, along with the occasional coyote and rattlesnake.  This dude, however, was more than willing to hang out within telephoto range as he went through his mating display:great blue heron mating display

This great blue heron joins the river otters, salmon, egrets, endless birds, deer, and (if I don’t mention them they’ll get me sure) the kamikaze squirrels that frequent the bike trail.

The above-mentioned turkey that wouldn’t hang around for my dismount & setup was, in fact, almost hit by a cyclist who had the good sense to slow to a crawl as the hen watched him approach from her vantage point, just off the pavement.  She, of course, opted to cross directly into a collision course.  His laugh scared her into the grass; a welcome outcome considering the alternative.

If you love the parkway as I do, watch this space.  I’ll be adding shots over the coming weeks, with versions of them hopefully to be selected for display at the fair.

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