Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Driving home from work and the sun has sunk. So much for that mtn bike ride.

7:30am to 7:45pm never makes for a fun work day but i think it was worth it for sake of putting this audio slideshow together:

Sitting at lunch, wishing I was out on the trails with Donna.

I can't really complain considering we now have trails so close to home, but I was reading about the folks at Moots Cycles who hit the singletrack over their lunch hour. How sweet would that be!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Soaking up some late-day sun near Sycamore Canyon was an unusual treat for Donna and I.

Since Donna works in the evening she's always sitting at her desk around sunset. Then, on weekends, about the time the sun is setting, we're resting on the sofa following a near-epic mtn bike ride. Since we kept the mileage down on today's ride, we were both feeling energetic enough to get out for a bit, so after a stop at Starbucks, we headed for Sycamore Canyon to watch the setting sun cast long sweeping shadows across the hillsides.

I'm getting much taller and skinnier. Woohoo! This is the 'after' photo.

Awww, isn't that sweet? Walking hand-in-hand into (well, away from) the setting sun. Yes... that's Donna with me.

Singletrack! Where's my bike! Turns out this trail is closed to bicycles anyway.

We took a short 'hike' (it was only .3 miles) and found this great scene as the sun set over Sycamore Canyon. I would not recommend walking dirt trails in Crocs or flip-flops. We were ill prepared to say the least but it was a spur-of-the-moment sorta' thing.

Donna is a bad #@$... don't mess with her! This drop was considerably trickier than it appears.

Every now and then I'll drop down through a technical area then turn around to let Donna know if she can clear it or not - I'm quite in tune with her technical skills. Today I was turning around to give her the go-ahead and I barely had time to get my camera out. She blew right by me.

Another shot from our smokin' ride today - Donna whipping by with little regard for...

the dummy standing in the middle of the trail trying to take her picture. I dove out of the way right after snapping this photo.

Donna lives for close encounters with rattle snakes - making today's ride an A+ in her book.

Nope, I don't have a photo of the fellow... how crazy do you think I am? We crossed paths with a monster rattle snake today. I used my bike to coerce him off the trail though as he parted the scene he shook his rattle to make sure I knew he wasn't happy with me.

China Flats singletrack always makes my day - twisty, smooth and ever so flowing.

After some painful hours of steep climbs and what seemed to be blistering heat (85 deg maybe) we ended up at China Flats, a section of trails that spend more time going left and right than up and down. 25mph... 30mph... 35 mph... makes it all the more interesting when a patch of sand sneaks up on you in the middle of a tight turn.

Shade, even in Simi Valley. Imagine that!

The relief from today's hot sun didn't last for long but we managed to find about 150 yards of shaded trail between Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley today. I suggested we just ride that stretch back and forth until we had our mileage in for the day.

Every now and then you come upon a view that requires a panoramic photo to really capture the landscape.

The fire road along the ridge of today's ride was less than stimulating in terms of technical riding, but the views off to either side were amazing. Plus, given the lack of technical demands, I actually had the time to look left and right while riding.

Are we there yet? Will this climb ever end? My legs hurt! I need something to drink!

Donna puts up with all of my complaints on the trail. She's a sweetie!

I wonder if there are any rock gardens on this trail?

Umm, a 'garden' would imply a short stretch of the trail. The trails in this area really had 'dirt gardens' - small stretches of singletrack blessed with smooth dirt.

I love 'getting away from it all', as long as that doesn't mean being far from on Apple store.

Monday's ride was great but I felt much more comforted at least having an Apple store in my sights.

My mom is better off not knowing about some of the stupid things I do.

We just wrapped up Monday's ride and wow, what a ride. We continue to explore new trails - the best part of mtn biking. I always say my favorite trails are the ones I've never ridden before. We came up a little shy on the mileage today but the sights were great as was the weather - all in all, just a great day to be outdoors.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Go forth and bear fruit. I always wondered what that meant.

Fortunately this monk at Gardens of the World was kind enough to explain a quote I've never really understood.

At least the Calla Lilies, my personal favorite, were looking good.

Of all the flowers in the world, these are always the ones I most enjoy. Orchids are a close second but I'm a sucker for a Calla Lily!

Taking time to smell the... well, flowers. The roses weren't in bloom.

After this morning's ride and lunch at Jersey Mike's we headed over to Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks. Surprisingly, despite all the great weather and substantial rainfall a while back, life at the gardens is just starting to bud. A few if the more fragrant flowering trees and bushes however were working their wonders with our sense of smell.

Donna switchin' back into some sweet singletrack near the end of one of today's descent.

The highlights of Donna's rides are NOT the switchbacks, but she cleared this one just fine... granted, it was nice and rounded but still, clearing it is clearing it. She also cleared a pretty nasty one much closer to the house but I think that was just because she was anxious to get to Jersey Mike's for lunch.

Another Sunday on the trails... short and sweet.

We got out for a great ride today but kept it a little on the short side so we'd have a little time to enjoy life off the trails. The downhill into Westlake pushes my technical skills to the limit - steep drops covered in small, loose rocks which translates to absolutely NO stopping power.

My first audio slideshow using nothing more than an iPhone (shot, edited & composed).

Thursday I figured out that I could shoot, edit and compose an audio slideshow using nothing more than my iPhone and my Friday night ride seemed to be a great opportunity to play around with it. It was a great ride but I'll let the audio do the rest of the talking.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Great view from the trails in Newbury Park tonight.

I'm super stoked to realize I can use ReelDirector to create audio slideshow. Cool beans!

I've been using ReelDirector on the iPhone to edit videos but I just figure out I can use it for audio slideshows also. I knew you could import photos and record audio but I didn't realize it would allow you to layer multiple audio files - a key element to most, well-done audio slideshows. I hope to try it out on tonight's bike ride & we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Photo one using Pro HDR on the iPhone. Nice highlights but the shadows are way too dark.

Step one of the Pro HDR app asks you to expose for the highlights in the first frame. Steps two and three to come....

Photo two using Pro HDR for the iPhone. Shadows look decent but the highlights are blown out.

Step two of the Pro HDR app asks you to duplicate (as close as possible) the first photo in terms of framing, but expose for the shadow areas. The final image, to come...

Final result using Pro HDR for the iPhone. Nice highlights AND shadows.

After taking the first two photos, Pro HDR combines them, rendering exposed shadow areas without blowing out the highlights. Pretty sweet, but some better content would have been more beneficial.

I sometime forget that not EVERYONE uses Twittelator on the iPhone. How could you not?

Twittelator on the iPhone rocks and despite all the bells and whistles, what I like the most is the visible thumbnails of photos attached to tweets. Just one of the many features of this Twitter app that rocks!

That finger is pointing the wrong direction Uncle Sam... PAY UP!

Great news on the tax front. I might just have to order that iPad after all. YeeHaw!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Am I the only one still complaining about gas prices? Dang!

It seems like it's been ages since I've heard anyone complaining about gas prices but dropping $50 into my gas tank is not my favorite way to start an evening. Watch this clip and you might end up wanting the last 18 seconds of your life back.

The Owle Bubo macro lens is proving to be more capable than I expected.

This isn't exactly the best example but I made a quick snapshot of some funk growing on a cement wall with the iPhone and the Owle Bubo macro lens. Not bad for a phone camera.

I'm ashamed to admit a few clouds kept me from riding tonight after work.

I wasn't really planning to ride tonight but I got out of work at a reasonable hour and five minutes into the drive home thought, what the heck. The closer I got to home the thicker the cloud cover got and I started whimping out. Still wanting to absorb a little hillside landscape, I made this short time-lapse video.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Donna rips it up in slo-mo!

I was just playing around with a slow motion movie app and it made this downhill segment of a recent ride look all the more gnarly. Woo! Donna rocks!

Wrapping up another work day, missing my sweetie.

I left work today with every intention of heading to Starbuck's for my usual end-of-the-day unwind, then at that decisive moment decided to turn left instead of right and head to the beach for a SoCal sunset. Thirty seconds later I remembered I needed to head home to help a friend with some bike work. Then I realized I was a good 15 minutes ahead of him so I decided to stop for that coffee. I guess you should always stick with your original plan, right? Fifteen minutes of a comfy chair and a decaf latte goes a long way to helping me unwind.

I really want to adopt this guy!

The pet of the week in this Saturday's Star is this lonely-looking fellow that I'd love to bring home with me.

Loving the Conejo grade

One of the things I love about my new commute to work, since moving to Newbury Park, is the view from the top of the Conejo grade. Traffic can be miserable but the view is quite a sight.