The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

I don’t do Photoshop. Maybe I’m a Luddite but for me it’s more about correcting minor things in the image. I’ll play with contrast, sharpness, color correction and white balance. Lastly I’ll adjust my exposure settings. I can go up or down two full stops.

I guess what I’m getting at is I prefer to try to capture the image in the camera , not with a ton of post production stuff. Now it could be that because of the type of photography I do and the fact I’m not doing it for a living, means I don’t feel the draw of those tools. No doubt if you’re more about creating art with photographic elements or creating elaborate shots of super models, then Photoshop is your tool of choice.

I shoot on three platforms. Two are active and one is passive. You’re probably wondering what I mean by a passive camera.

For years I’d get constant complaints about not having enough pictures on my blogs about my trips and to be honest I was disappointed about the lack of pictures I was returning with from my trips of some of the tracks I’d been riding on. Essentially, I’d be having too much fun to stop and take pictures. The solution for this was a Sony Action Cam.

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I have mine mounted on the beak of my helmet and while it can take video, I have mine set up to take stills, one exposure every ten seconds. It’s passive because it’s a fixed focus and the camera sets its own exposure. All I do is push the activation button and try to figure out how much battery life I’ve got left. I still miss shots because I forget to turn it on. Which can be a bit disappointing if you’ve hit a particularly gnarly bit of track.

For the most part the pictures are great. It has issues in low light and of course really direct sunlight but then what camera doesn’t. What I love about the Action Cam is the candid moments it captures over and above the spectacular scenery shots you also get.

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It’s a good idea to turn your helmet away from the back of the bike, when you stop to take a piss. Er, I mean stop to admire the foliage.

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Most Action Cameras have a wider field of view. 130 Deg. in this case. It can create some interesting compositions.

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It also catches those moments of reflection.

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And those, “Oh shit!” moments as well.

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This is also an, “Oh shit,” moment.

The only issue I have with the Action Cam is the battery life, which is about two hours. It would be nice to leave it on for the day. Though poring through 64GB of data and thousands of images is daunting.

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My next Camera is Canon G-16 I carry in a front pocket of my riding jacket or the top pocket of my small camera bag. It has a couple of features that I really like. It has a physical viewfinder, so you don’t need to depend on the camera’s rear screen in bright sunlight. It also can shoot in RAW format, which allows me greater freedom in post. There’s also a feature I sort of wish my DSLR had, an adjustable exposure knob which allows you the ability to dial your exposure up or down two full stops. Its construction is solid and it even has a decent physical zoom too.

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The St. Louis Arch.

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I just rode down that thin brown ribbon…

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A hot and sweaty selfie in the Royal Gorge

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It also allows you to capture some of the more out of the way places you visit. And if you’re curious, I took this because it’s one of the most remote gas stations I’ve ever visited. I had to go ten miles out of my way to visit it.

And of course the final Camera is my Canon 7D. It’s getting on a bit now but it’s still a great platform to shoot from. The only issue I have is that when I travel I don’t tend to bring my Sigma 150 – 500mm. It a big bulky and heavy lens and I don’t think some of the terrain I ride across or the conditions I end up shooting under would be good for its health. My standard two travel lenses are my Sigma 10 – 20mm and my workhorse Sigma 17 – 70mm. Occasionally if I remember I’ll grab my Canon 75 – 200mm but to be honest I’ve never been a fan of its slow focusing issues.

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Sunrise on Pike’s Peak. Even at higher ISO I love the noise suppression in Canon platforms.

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I also love the crispness you can achieve.

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It does shoot a mean vista…

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Or you can slap on a Lensbaby and shoot close.

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Whatever I’ve done…

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Whatever I’ve seen…

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From one side of the continent…

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Almost to the other side…

My 7D has been with me for a lot of miles. It’ll probably be with me for many more. I look forward to the things we’ll see together.

Well it and all my other cameras as well.

You can check out my books at steveabbottauthor.com

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