26 July 2008

J'aime Paris

OK so Paris is meant to be the city of love right? Well I wouldn't got that far but we did have a nice time when Emma and I travelled down in May to catch up with my Mexican friends Agueda and Daniel on their whistle-stop European tour.

Naturally I snapped the Eiffel Tower:

Eiffel view from the park

diagonal Eiffel up

But we soon got bored of that and made some comedy photos instead:

look up

which one is the real one?


And at night time the VR on my lens gave some nice steady shots without my tripod:

Eiffel dusk sharp dark Eiffel

But it's not only the tower there. Here's the Arc de Triomphe:

Orange Arc de Triomphe

I can't decide which of the two photos below I like the most. Shame I can't combine the blurred traffic with us sharp in the 2nd photo to make the best photo.

bright Arc de Triomphe

dark Arc de Triomphe

Looks like I found another Church my mum would love - the Sacre Coeur:

whole Sacre Coeur

There's quite a few step to tackle mind:

steps, emma and Sacre Coeur

Where's Wally (Emma) in the photo below:

where's Emma?

But the views at the top are worth it:

Sacre Coeur panorama

to top of Paris

A few more Paris photos here or in slideshow format here

I've been trying to get all my photos out the way ready for our Whistler trip just in case we actually have time to stop on holiday and take photos - no promises though!

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21 July 2008

10 days to go

10 days and counting till lift off!

(providing I can actually get hold of Smith to tell me where he lives and if he's built my new baby yet!)

15 July 2008

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend

the girls in bloom

Back in April, Emma's friends popped over for their annual Sunshine weekend and they certainly got lucky with the sun. We visited the famous Keukenhof flower park which is apparently the most photographed place in the world. Judging by the number of photos I took, I can see why!

photographer crazy

The problem is that once you've taken one photo of a tulip...

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 05

...then the rest look all the same!

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 03

But I tried some blurred variations like below:

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 15

beyond the tulip

Plus a bit of B/W photoshopping:

lonely red tulip

But I soon was over-flowered and started looking for people inspiration and there's hundreds of them there like below:

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 55

My mum would've loved it just like these below. Scorching hot weather and still in rain coats - just in case!

time for a rest

The girls enjoyed their time:

windy mill

And I even found time to mess about with Emma:

multi tulips

There was some map confusion below:

where shall we go next?

But we eventually found the worlds largest (plastic) tulip:

the worlds largest (plastic) tulip

I've picked a few of my favourite photos below but there's plenty more on my Flickr account here or in slideshow format here

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 07

ice cream tulip

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 23

lonely yellow tulip

Emma posing portrait

Keukenhof Sunshine Weekend - 71

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07 July 2008

Happy gappy chappy

Remember this post from my first visit to the Filthy Trails in Belgium? The one with the photo below:

Well the weekend just gone I returned to the Filthy Trails for the Kona Comp 2008 and I nailed the gap in the above photo. Well I guess a more accurate statement would be that the gap nailed me!

Kona tape 2

I went along with the view to take more photos than actually ride the competition. But the conditions were fast yet grippy due to rain earlier and the week and I was stomping the 4th jump on the big line which previously scared me.

So I thought "Sod it" and went for the 5th jump - the road gap. I've read somewhere that the gap is 8m which I find hard to believe but looking back at the photos and video that I took it does look like it is 4 x bike lengths so maybe 8m is true!

I pedaled what I thought was like the clappers and sailed off the launch ramp. The rest was a bit of a blur but my interpretation of sailed was more like falling. Although I did land on the down ramp, I think I was still going too slow and my lardy arse pounded my rear wheel slightly flat.

the gap bite

But there was no kick from my shock, no pain in the ankles or wrists and gratefully no landing sideways so I was able to ride out to a stop. I knew something had happened to my bike cos it was loud but I was stoked and didn't care. I survived!

God knows how I managed to egg a DT Swiss 6.1 rim (the heaviest duty rim DT Swiss make) but I managed it and I didn't hit any of the bigger stuff again that day in fear of collapse. It also gave me a good excuse not to enter the competition ;-) So I managed to get some excellent photos instead:

The guy below was heel clicking the gap - big balls!

blue Nicolai heel clicker

And no footing the top drop:

no footed blue Nicolai dropper

This custom green Kona was a sweet setup and I caught a sequence of him hitting some shore:

filthy trails shore jump sequence

I landed about 3 feet behind where this guy landed so how come his wheel is still round?!

gap landing dust

There was some nice style over the last jump:

green Kona whip

It wasn't all big boys with big balls though. This kid was loving it and has great helmet taste ;-)

Specialized berm rider

I tracked some of the guys dropping the large drop which blurred the background nicely:

1 handed Specialized dropper

This guy also had some sweet style:

yellow Kona gap jumper

The flash worked really well on the wall ride:

Specialized wall rider

I was loving the use of the flash as the light through the trees was tricky. But if there are any photo geeks out there, then I would appreciated an answer to a flash question. My D40 camera would only take photos at 1/500th sec when using the built in flash. If I bought an external SB-200 would I be able to use a faster shutter setting or do I need a better flash or is it not possible with my camera?

I also created a short video clip of the day that shows the gap jump in all it's glory. I've registered with Pinkbike now for biking videos but you can also rate it on YouTube here.

Finally at the end of the day I spotted someone riding my new bike to be. I got chatting with the guy and found out it was a small which is the size I have ordered. I was previously only able to try a large so I jumped at the chance to ride a small with a 55mm stem (I'm getting a 50mm stem). I took a full run from the top including the drops and although the setup was a little stiff for my preference, the size was spot on. It's going to be a long 23 days until I'm on the plane to Canada!

In the meantime enjoy all my photos here or in slideshow format here.

Oh and I forgot to mention that Emma has bought me an awesome birthday present - a coaching session with Shaums March from MMR for when we are in Whistler - sweet! I wonder if I'll be gapping 8m in my sleep after that :-)

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01 July 2008

Battle of the year Benelux 2008

What seems like ages ago I went along to the Battle of the Year finals for the Benelux region held here in Amsterdam at my favourite music venue - the Paradiso. The Battle of the Year (BOTY) is a breakdancing contest. It started off really poor as each team had to perform a choreogrphed performance first which felt like we were at a cheerleading contest! But after the rubbish people were knocked out the true "Battles" began and that's where it livened up.

I took several photos but did not have the best location as the light was poor but here's a couple for you anyway.

Loving the guy below polishing up his Protec ready for the spins:

polishing the protec

There was some class head action:

winding up

The DJ was scratching out some classics:

scratch 2

Paradiso is definitely my favourite gig venue in Amsterdam:

Paradiso view

Try and figure out this move:

jump them

The one handed jumps and pressups without feet down combo was hard as nails:

handstand combo

I spotted this T'shirt and it reminded me of double time Paul at uni:

Ain't No Half Steppin'

The final battle:


All photos, including a few more, can be found here or in slideshow format here

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