District 37 Dual-Sport has made LA-Barstow-to-Vegas one of the most famous and longest two-day dual-sport rides in the world. 2018 marks the 35th year for the 400 mile+ dual-sport ride. The tour starts the day after Thanksgiving, using creative routes chosen to Barstow and Las Vegas. Gear bags are transported from point-to-point each day. Adventure bikes, vintage bikes, side-hacks and small displacement bikes are all encouraged to join the fun with the regular dual-sport bikes as long as they are street legal.
My good friend was getting married in Ireland and my desire to capture this led me to a camera quandary. I have more cameras than most people but I didn’t want to lug a huge case of gear and feel like I was working, so the C300 mkII was out. I have a 5D but I’d need to bring more gear to make that work and it would still be a big case. I have a tiny GoPro but it’s too wide angle. My iPhone fits right in my pocket… but the sensor is too small.
I did some research and the RX-100 mkV seemed like the best travel camera so I added it to my cart on B&H… but didn’t check out right away. Then the price suddenly dropped by $100 (yay!). A few days later the mark VI was announced but wasn’t shipping yet (boo!). I was stuck between release cycles and the wedding was right around the corner.
As I was foraging for sustenance in my refrigerator one day when I noticed I had several rolls of super 8mm film languishing in the vegetable drawer. Home movies were much cooler shot on film. I found an old Super 8 camera somebody had given me in a box upstairs. Holy crap there is a roll of film in it! How many years has that been in there? Well no matter I’m taking it to Ireland and pointing it at my friends.
In the end I brought two super 8 cameras and seven 50 foot rolls of film. I got it developed and scanned at Pro8mm in Burbank and was pleasantly surprised that most of it turned out. I practically had an in camera edit going as well but they scanned it out of order so I dropped it into FCPX, scaled it to fit 1920×1080, and brought it some good old Irish songs. I’m really happy with it and so were the bride and groom.
LAB2V is an epic enduro motorcycle rally, this was my second year. I did a lot better this year on a KTM690 than last year on the big Honda XR650L. The 2 expert guys I rode with didn’t have to wait for me as much. I still managed to get completely lost for several hours on day 1 with no GPS or cel service, and low fuel. I finally got my bearings and made Barstow at dusk an hour before my friends who had to plug a flat on the trail.
We started day 2 at 5:30am in 30 degree temperatures. My Klim gear helped a lot (last year I rode it in jeans, bad idea) but within 30 minutes of leaving I could not feel any of my fingers. I melted one pair of gloves trying to warm my hands on the exhaust. We skipped some of the more boring gravel roads just outside Barstow and hauled ass down the 15 to Baker, our objective being to do the whole route via the “hard way” and there is never really enough daylight for that.
By noon it was close to 70 degrees and I was soaked in sweat and the trails were getting tough. I dropped it quite a few times but without any major consequences. I broke the tip of my shifter off which was annoying but I just threw a wad of tape on it and kept going. My small tail bag started to disintegrate (never buy Bilt brand) I taped and zip tied it. Also my license plate got caught up in my rear wheel and now looks like a sardine can lid rolled up tight.
Somewhere along the way we lost our GPS rider that had been leading us and two of us finished via roll chart and memory. The most difficult/fun section is Red Rock Canyon right before you get to Vegas, it’s not really that hard but the fatigue of getting there makes it harder and there are usually piles of bikes. Last year I had to bail out because the sun had set so I was happy to make that part. There were a couple more crashes for the video then we hit the pavement into Vegas. I finished about 4 hours earlier than I did last year so I was very proud of myself.
I put together our groups’ GoPro footage and I hope you find this edit entertaining. Likes, comments, and shares are appreciated.
Here is another weekend video project of my bike ride to CicLAvia in downtown LA from Venice. I’m still having fun with my GoPro Hero3 Black even though they have already released a new + version which is of course smaller, faster, and better as the trend seems to be. This time I remembered to turn on ProTune giving it a little flatter image. I shot 1080P at 23.98fps but I sped it up 20x in FCP X and color corrected in After Effects since I haven’t gotten any coolplugins for FCP X yet. The music is from “Song for the Dead” by Queens of the Stone Age.
Here is a fun little video I shot last weekend at my friend’s saltwater pool with my GoPro HERO 3 Black. The first one that I ordered was defective but they sent me a replacement, it just took some time. I wanted to try out some of the slow motion options. The image quality is not great and to get 120fps you have to drop the resolution down to 720p, but it is a $400 waterproof camera that fits in the palm of your hand. I wish I had turned on the “ProTune” option so that I might have gotten a little more dynamic range out of it, I’ll do that for the next weekend project. I conformed the footage to 23.98 CineForm QuickTime files and brought those into FCPX for the edit. Final Cut doesn’t really like that codec so I should have created optimized ProRes files but this was quick and dirty. I exported the edited piece and brought that into After Effects for some color correction and film grain which took a couple of hours to render but gave it a nice look.
I’m pretty into this band The Joy Formidable right now. I guess you could say they have a heavy indie rock sound. They are a 3 piece band from North Wales. Besides having great weather, living in Los Angeles has the added benefit of being a stop for almost every band on tour. Continue reading “The Joy Formidable”
The Salton Sea, I’ve been fascinated with it since I first heard about it. Created in 1905 by a flood of the Colorado River, it is the largest body of water in California and more salty than the Pacific Ocean. With no outflow the salinity rises by one percent each year which results in massive fish die offs. A briefly booming tourist industry lies rotting in the sun like the fish that line the shores. Continue reading “A Study of Light and Death”
An annular solar eclipse took place on May 20, 2012. A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun. It was the first annular eclipse in the continental U.S. since the solar eclipse of May 10, 1994 and there won’t be another one of this magnitude visible in California until Sept. 23, 2071.
When I heard there was going to be an eclipse I was excited to try to capture it in a time-lapse. Having just returned from shooting a Best Buy commercial in Philadelphia all my gear had been shipped to my camera assistant’s house and to complicate things further my truck was in the shop getting the engine rebuilt. I managed to get a lift to pick up my equipment but by the time I retrieved everything I had missed the first part of the eclipse.
This year to ring in 2012 about a dozen friends went in on a large cabin in the mountains at Big Bear Lake. Felice made Beef Wellington for our New Year’s feast which was amazing. I got a small keg of New Castle which we kept in the snow and there was also plenty of good wine and whiskey to imbibe. We did a full day of snowboarding, some hiking around the lake, a little off-roading and a lot of Cabin Chillin’ in the last days of 2011. Continue reading “The Last Day of Twenty Eleven”
SantaCon is an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes parading publicly on streets and in bars in cities around the world. The focus is on spontaneity and creativity, while having a good time and spreading cheer and goodwill. There is also some drinking involved.
This year was my very first LA SantaCon and I was joined by my little helper Dee Dee and by Bad Irish Santa Mick. This video was shot entirely with a telephone and edited with some frustration in FCP X.