It’s been quite a while since I last posted on the blog, so I felt I should explain what I’ve been up to.

Well firstly, work has been particularly busy, I won’t go into details here as this is a place I don’t discuss work stuff, but for a number of months I was working on a pretty important project that required long days that ate into the weekend. The good news is that’s all over.

The real “distraction”, that’s kept me away from photography and posting pictures, has been my Harley Davidson.

I owned a Harley around 14 years ago and had a couple of accidents. In both cases the fault was my own and Lisa and I had a conversation about how if I continued I’d probably kill myself. So, after a couple of years I sold the bike.

Being totally honest, I did ride the bike way too fast at the time, so it probably saved my life.

Anyway, time went by, and I got older. Last year I was driving my sports car around town and realized I was doing 5 miles below the speed limit. Clearly, something had changed.

So, I decided to try again (turning 50 could ironically have saved my life!)

As I have a thing for Harley’s, I convinced Lisa to let me buy a new one for my 53rd birthday. I went to the dealership and picked the bike I wanted. Everything was looking great. That is until one month later when Harley Davidson announced and released their new engine.

By this time, I had ridden over 2500 miles on my new bike – that was just by hitting the road at weekends and evenings.

But I really liked the idea of that new engine and after a long discussion with Lisa, I traded in my 2 month old motorcycle for another one.

This new bike was a Superior Blue, 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special with the new Milwaukee Eight Engine.

Now, what you need to know about Harley’s is:

a) They are stupidly expensive
b) You can “accessorize” the bikes
c) Harley Davidson sells the accessories for a ridiculous price

I think you get the idea.

It’s usual for Harley owners to customize their bikes to make them unique, and of course, as a keen Harley owner, that’s what I wanted to do too.

So, what did I want to do?

Well, my Harley came pretty chromed up! Yet the craze at the moment is to black bikes out (or “murder” them out). I’d seen a few bikes that looked like this and they looked super cool. So, I liked the idea of that.

I also wanted to add more power (yes, my 1750cc engine just wasn’t big enough). Oh, and I wanted a better seat, new handlebars and better speakers (my bike has a radio, GPS and connects to my iPhone).

Now I won’t lie, this shopping list was going to cost , but I figured I’d take my time and do it slowly, so it didn’t hurt so much.

Well “the best laid plans of mice and men” are rubbish as we all know, and here I am one year later and everything is done!

I literally have every part I could buy on the bike – much to Lisa’s delight.

The good news is, the bike is done and here’s a pic so you can check it out.

I should point out that I’ve also purchased stretched saddle bags too. They were delivered but damaged , so I sent them back and am getting some new ones painted. They should be here by the end of the year,

I should also explain that while Harley do provide a ton of accessories, they don’t do “EVERYTHING” in black, so I took parts off and got them powder coated black to finish the job.

To keep costs down, I did most of the work myself. I got a load of tools and saved myself thousands in dealership costs. The good news is a I learnt a ton and now know my bike REALLY well.

Just so you know, the last year hasn’t been about customizing a bike. It’s actually been about riding a bike. I’ve travelled over 7,000 miles so far (9,500 if you include my other bike), all on weekend trips getting out and exploring the Pacific North West.

So, it’s done right? Well, kind’a. You see I can’t completely customize my bike and leave it the same color now can I? So, I’m going to get it custom painted. Don’t know when, or what color, but once complete I’ll share the results.

You are probably asking yourself as you read this, ok Tony, you have a nice bike, but WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

That’s harder to explain so I’ll post another blog posting soon to try.

Just for info’s sake, here are pics of my other two Harleys, the first is the pic of my original bike 14 years ago (that was a Road King Custom), and the second was the bike I bought last year that I kept for two months (sorry Lisa), that was a Fat Bob!

I know I’ve been to the Museum of Flight a few times, and yes I know that I keep taking the same pictures.  But here’s the thing, I don’t care, I love the place :-)

Last weekend we went back again as we had family in town and as usually it was fantastic.  Of course many of the plains remain the same and some don’t change position but it’s always to try and get a different perspective or a new shot.

As usual I turned up with a tripod (much to the frustration of other photographers who didn’t bother) and got some great shots.  In total I took 400 pictures (or just over) and out of those ended up with 50 I really like.  I won’t bore you with all 50 here :-), so I just picked 10 to share.

We also went to a new “Space” exhibit and went inside a space shuttle – which is huge!  Unfortunately they don’t let you go in the cabin (which would have been fun) but it’s still pretty impressive just how massive the thing is.  We also went into Air Force One, or at least the version of Air Force One that Kennedy used.  I always think it’s fun to check out where Jacky O took a crap :-)

The cockpit image image is actually Air Force One and this came out well when you consider I shot this through a perspex screen.

They also have a great bridge that spans the major road by the Museum, that links some of the buildings together, and while on the bridge Abi did one of her cheer moves (called a Scorpion I think) so I shot that and like the image with the bridge disappearing behind her – so at least that’s a new pic.

There was also one pic where I lied on the floor looking straight up – people were walking past looking at me like I’m an idiot (which of course I am), but the image came out great – love that one too.

Another one I liked was a closeup of an Engine.  It’s a pretty old engine full of brass pipes and tubes but again came our really well.

Anyway a really nice few hours out, if you haven’t been I really recommend it.

Friday turned out to be a really beautiful day and as we had family (Regan) in town I decided to take a day off work and go out and enjoy the weather.  We all voted and picked Seattle as the location thinking the view from the Space Needle would fantastic.

So first we hit Pike Place Market.  The temperature was over 80 degrees and the tourists were out in force but we had a great time walking through the Market grabbing pics along the way.  I love the flowers, fruit and veg stalls and took a load of pics at each.  We found an interesting pasta stall and I got some great close up shots of pasta, I can see some of these making great wallpapers.

We walked past the gum wall which was recently cleaned and found that people had once again started to “decorate” the alley (much I’m sure to everyones delight – I don’t think anyone wanted Seattle to remove all the gum).

Then it was onto the Space Needle.  Now I’ve taken so many pictures of the Needle it’s difficult to come up with something new or interesting.  I got one shot I quite liked standing below the needle looking up and a couple of others getting the needles reflection in the “Experience Music Project” (EMP) building.

As expected the views from the top of the needle were amazing.  You could see for miles and even Mount Rainer was super clear.

To end the day, we finished up in Kirkland grabbing some Seattle Hot Dogs (you definitely need to try a Seattle dog if you never have) and then spent some time sitting by Lake Washington.

I took (as usual) a TON of pics, I’m just posting a few here today.

Really pleased I took the day off as I’m typing this on Saturday morning and it’s raining outside – you gotta love Seattle weather!

 

A couple of weeks ago I got a new camera and have been desperate to go out and take some pictures.  I actually had a day out planned today with some friends at work but they unfortunately bailed on me.  Not to be undone I decided to go out anyway on my own – but where to go?

Last night Lisa casually mentioned that there were a load of blossom trees in bloom on the University of Washington campus.  So I did some internet research and decided to visit the university today.

I got up at 7:30 and hit the road immediately.  Looking on line I found out that the trees are only really in bloom for 2 weeks and it’s a popular location for wedding, engagement or family portraits.  So I figured if I got there early I’m miss the crowds.  Haha, how wrong can you be?

I got there at 8am, paid my $5 parking fee and found the square that had the trees.  Guess what?  It was packed!  Loads of people, loads of photographers taking pictures of people and yes, lots of brides getting their picture taken too.  It was a zoo.

It was a real pity too as it’s stunningly beautiful, my shots really don’t do it justice at all.

But I was there to test out the new camera, so that’s what I did.  I took a load of pictures and selected the ones that had the least number of individuals in them, and then when I got home I hit Photoshop and removed the people.  Quite a few hours later I had the images below.

The purpose of the day was really for me to test the camera, and that was a great success.  The camera (a Fujifilm X-Pro2) is amazing, I LOVE it.  I don’t think I’m getting the best out of it yet as I’m still getting familiar with it but it feels great, handles well and produces some beautiful images.

After about 90 minutes it started to rain so I decided to head home.  As I write this now I’m wondering if I should have stuck around a little longer as everyone else may have left, but as they say hindsight is a wonderful thing.

On the way back to the car I found this small garden full of wild blue flowers.  I have no idea what type of flower these were but it was very pretty so I jumped over a hedge and grabbed some shots.

Here’s the irony, while I went there to shoot the blossom trees (and I got some OK shots), I liked one of the blue flower pictures most when I got home (it’s now my wallpaper), funny how that happens sometimes.

Anyway here are the images.  If you get the chance to see these blossom trees, I really recommend you go they are really beautiful.

This weekend my new Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera body arrived and I have to say I’m delighted with it, I LOVE this camera and think it’s probably the best one I’ve ever owned (and I’ve had quite a few).

It’s beautifully made, feels great in the hands, super fun to use and full of features. The rangefinder look and feel is great fun (just like my X100T) only now with 24 mega pixels and the new Arcos film simulation. I now also get my ±2 stops for exposure bracketing (about time fuji) so I can’t wait to get out and shoot some landscapes.

So what do I shoot for the first time? Well those of you who know me know I’m not a huge fan of pet portraits. Actually strike that, I don’t like shooting any animal period! I just don’t have the patience (or probably the talent) to get a good picture.

But this weekend Roxie was just sitting in the kitchen looking at me with a brilliant “I’m guilty” look on her face. I have no idea what she did (must have been something) but I thought I’d try and get a shot anyway. What was amazing was that she just sat there and didn’t move. And I got (I think) a great shot.

So here’s my first posting with the new fuji (I love this camera – have I said that yet?), hope you love the Guilty Doggy image :-)