Tour de Cure Photos

Just completed posting the photos from NC Tour de Cure charity cycling event which raises funds for the American Diabetes Association. Each year it grows and I am truly amazed by the Red Riders and Team Red as well as the other riders who complete this event each year. This year the current total on the web site is $204,871.88, which is 82% of the quarter million goal. I also have to give some props to Tommy Babb for not only volunteering as a HAM Radio/SAG driver, but assisting me by shooting some great pix while on the road with the riders. This year's schedule had me going straight from the long ride start to the finish where a shorter ride was starting later that morning. I tried to split up the days into reasonable chunks so the images will be easier to find, but it might be a bit of crap shoot on the finish segment. I have shot this event for the last three years and next year the plan is for Debby and I to see you on the road as fellow cyclists instead of photographers. So if you know a volunteer photographer, the gig is open.

2011 Run for Our Heroes and the rest of the day

Got an early start to the day at the Run for Our Heroes – Raleigh Police memorial Foundation's annual 5K run/walk.  The guy who won, Joe Moore, had an insane time of 14:44.  This was the 3rd annual as well as my 3rd time photographing the event with another photographer, Dr. Waters. My photos can be found at the site under 2011 or this link.  After the the event I was able to get some lunch at Napper Tandy's before stopping by Cycle Logic to walk off lunch with NikNik the bike shop dog.  Then home for my own almost 50K on the bike.  The day was finished up with my nephew Quinn's 19th birthday party at the mall where he was able to ride the carousel once again.  The little guy played us though, when it came to give up the ticket to ride operator it was no where to be found.  Then, as he rode the carousel, he held up his hand and inside was the ticket we spent several minutes looking for while holding up the ride.  I guess we really need to stop counting, but a 19th birthday for Quinn represents 13 more than the doctors ever thought he would see.  You go Quinn. 

Tour de Cure

For the last two years I have been the official volunteer photographer for the Triangle American Diabetes Association (ADA) Tour de Cure cycling event and I will be in the same role this year when the ride leaves Cary headed to Southern Pines on June 4-5, 2011. This year I am also registered as a rider, Go Team Red!, so I can cover the costs of expenses that ADA uses for my services like a hotel room and a meal.  I am also supporting the ride by trying to make it out to the training rides as a rider.  So if you would consider supporting me with a donation on this effort, I am sure the millions of people impacted by this disease and my fellow Red Riders (diabetic riders – yes I am a diabetic) would appreciate it.  Here is the link to support me with a donation using the ADA web site (

First Ride of the Year and Lots of Upward Basketball

It has been a busy few weeks on the photography front.  I spent two weekends shooting the kids at the First Baptist Cary Upward basketball program.  The first weekend I did a test of shooting the players as they entered through the tunnel during player introductions.  I ended up going back the second weekend and shooting them again with a background light shining on the wall behind the tunnel to kill the shadow.  I had the best results shooting at about 200th of second f16 trying to freeze the kids and give me some leeway on the focus with better depth of field as they ran through tunnel.  I would have liked to shoot at 250th, but my Hong Kong ebay radio slaves don't sync above 200th of second.  I used a photoshop action to put the Upward logo on the the prints with permission from the Upward folks.  I am happy with the final prints and hope the kids like them as a gift from the church.

On the exercise front, I got in a couple of hikes in the over the past month and a training ride for the upcoming American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure.  Since I am the official volunteer photographer I can't ride the tour, but I registered as a rider to raise money to cover some of the costs the ADA covers for me like my room at the overnight hotel.  I will get my donation page up shortly and hope you will consider making a donation.

just me and my camera

Old Flag

Spent most of the morning and a little bit of the afternoon shooting out at Ebeneezer Point on Jordan Lake and a little pond situated in front of my favorite barn on Old US 1 South near New Hill.  I actually met the owner of the barn and promised him a print.  The old barn is in the post below about some prints I did to raise money for our fund raising campaign at work.  Ebeneezer Point was my first windsurfing hole in the early 80's shortly after the dam was put into operation.  I can remember sitting out thunderstorms in my orange '79 Ford Fiesta parked 10 feet from shore hoping my rig was not going get blown across the lake.  I did some bracketed shots to play around with in Photoshop as HDR images.  I have completed a couple already and I am yet to see the wow factor of HDR unless you go over the top and quit trying to preserve any qualities that are reminiscent of a photograph.  That said, I did shoot this image and other than cropping it, adjusting the levels and raising the saturation the image is pretty much as it came from the camera.  So technically I guess it still qualifies as photograph and makes me rethink my opinion of HDR.   It was an old tattered and torn American flag that was hanging from a line at the pond.  I bottomed out the ISO and F-stop to get some slower shutter speeds and let the wind have its way for the motion.  The stars seem almost whiter than white as most them had started tearing away from the rest of the flag.

The other fun part of the shoot was the ducks.  There were about five or six of these guys that came up to me as soon as I walked toward the shore.  I shot several them before heading back to the car to pick up my tripod.  As I was walking away, I heard a moped and the ducks shot off across the pond and I thought I had scared them.  Turned out, it was the owner who rides the moped over to feed them so the ducks were not startled, just hungry.  More photos to come.

State Employees Combined Campaign

My place of work has enjoyed some great leadership for our annual United Way campaign under our training specialist Linda.  Two years ago I donated an outdoor photo shoot and this year I am donating three 16"x20" prints on mat board.  If you have the opportunity to donate to the Triangle area United Way agencies, please think about giving all or a portion of your gift to support The Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities (Tammy Lynn Center, Inc. # 790).  Our family and especially our nephew Quinn would appreciate it.  Here are the three photos I printed for my workplace auction.  If you would like to get one of these printed on mat board, I will offer them for $50 each with all proceeds after printing costs going to United Way.

Old US 1 Barn

These photos all have some photo editing with the last one representing a combination of two prints in the form of the Vietnam Memorial wall and the three serviceman statue at the wall site.  The barn on old US 1 was a simple crop and color enhancement.  The butterfly has several spots cloned over and one wing defect was cloned over to keep the blue consistent in both wings. The original is here.  I created the last image for a web competition several years ago when the theme was "reflections".  The wall in all its polished granite glory could be the single piece representing reflection, but I thought having the servicemen appearing to reflect from the wall itself would provoke one to not only admire the simple beauty of the wall but also to reflect on the war itself, lives lost and to provoke the thought real persons to names on the wall through the reflected statue.  I guess I did not remember it, but when cleaning the image and enlarging it for the size I needed to get a 16×20 from it, I noticed the American flag in the background.  I will be back in D.C. in a couple of weeks and wish I could take all my gear and shoot the same images again.  The original Vietnam War Memorial shots were taken with an Olympus  C4040 point and shoot in November of 2001.  The other two images are more recent and were shot a Nikon D300.

Is it, Charity Work or Charity Works?

I was able to spend Saturday night shooting my eighth Caring Community Foundation Pay it Forward party fund raising event.  This year marked the 10th year of the event and the money raised reached the $1 million milestone for the life of the foundation. The was the second year of the event being held at the larger venue of the North Hills Renasance Hotel and it's looking like this venue may be too small for next year's event. 

Speaking of volunteering as photographer for charity events, I got some recognition tonight for my volunteer work at the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure charity cycling event.  The slide show at the appreciation event held at Frankie's Fun Park was all my photos and the certificates passed out to significant volunteers and team leaders had the image below as a washed out watermark in the background.  When I recapped the shoot I could not say much about an incident that took place near the end of the second day's 77 miles for one the riders, but tonight special recognition was given to the riders in his pace line that administered CPR to him seven miles from the finish after his heart went into cardiac arrest.  Thankfully the work of these riders and first responders restarted his heart and he was there tonight to thank these riders in person. 

As for the heading of this blog post, I think it is a little of both.

Summer Update

It seems that the dog days of summer are here and with heat indexes around 110º I could stand for some cooling considering one of our AC units is in need of some service.  On the health front, I think I have seen the Doctor more this summer for everything from an upper respiratory infection, severe jaw pain, to back troubles.  All of these ailments have kept me off the bike and out of the gym far more than I wanted.  Hopefully that will change with some cooler weather and some therapy on my back.

On the photography front, June was the busy month with the Tour De Cure charity bike ride and the patient care conference.  This conference is a regular event for me every other year for the past six years.  This year was a little different as I was requested to shoot several eb patients during some of their day to day activities that are normally carried out in privacy.  At some point these images should be compiled into a brochure for eb awareness and fund raising.  For those that are not familiar with eb, CNN has done a recent report on the use of bone marrow transplants to lessen the impact of the disease.

At the slightest friction, Jake's skin would shed, leaving the newborn wailing in pain. When Jake rubbed his eye, a chunk of his eyelid would come off in his fingers. He was born with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a terminal genetic condition in which persistent skin problems lead to crippling deformities and, eventually, skin cancer.  –Source: CNN

On the paddle board front, travels for work and my aching back are keeping me off the water.  I did pick up a paddle that converts from a standup paddle to kayak paddle from that is reasonably light for an aluminum shafted paddle.

On the blogging front, the WordPress theme has been updated to Suffusion and I have my own images rotating through the header.  Given the small sliver of the image that gets displayed, some are pretty abstract.  I am also trying out the Lazyest Gallery for a quick photo gallery.  Currently I have copies of my favorites from (which need updating) on the photography page as a test.

Almost the End of a Very Busy June

The month started off with a nasty upper respiratory viral infection and a trip to D.C. for work.  Then a weekend shoot of a the Tour de Cure as noted below.  My most recent shooting was this past week in Cincinnati for the 2010 Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research Association ( Patient Care Conference.  Some 1,400 photos later, I am back at home trying to catch up at work and help with family matters while my Dad is the hospital with cellulitis.  All of this, while I try to meet some deadlines at work and write two papers I have due for the UNC CPDM course that finishes on the 29th.  But before my papers are due, Debby and I have to run our Ride for the Tammy Lynn Center charity bike ride this Saturday.  No offense June, but I will be glad you are history.

Memorial Day Weekend Update

Being sick over Memorial Day weekend was not exactly in the weekend planner.  It's 4am and I am wide awake from prednisone induced insomnia for some sort of respiratory infection that will not clear up.  Felt bad a week ago today and got progressively worse with chest congestion rivaling the worst I have ever experienced.  While I wish I knew where I picked up this bug, I know part of it was probably due to riding too hard on two consecutive group rides.  When I went to my physician this past week, I took my heart rate stats from my rides and RPM (spinning) classes with me.  On the group rides and solo road trips the doc says I am way over on my max HR and keeping my average too high as well.  So whenever I can get back on the bike, I guess I will set my Max HR alarm for something a little lower and watch the zone display and keep an average on the screen as well.  My Les Mills RPM class HR averages were not too bad.  This brings me to another conclusion, I think the short duration, 44 to 50 minutes, of RPM may be part of my problem on the road.  Looking at my heart rate over the longer rides, I see my HR stay pretty close to RPM levels for the first 45 minutes to an hour before starting to creep up after that until the end of the ride.  I have to think that some of that is from the conditioning I am getting accustomed to with RPM.  While there are some RPM+ (60 minutes) and RPM 75 classes available, they are not at times I can schedule.

I am enjoying my new wheel set from Performance Bicycles.  The wheels are their new Forte Apollo models with 30mm aero rims and straight pull 2x spoke design.  It took a while to figure out the supplier, but someone over in the forums at had a good eye and noticed the Novatech rim tape in the Performance product photo.  Based on the specs of the Novatech Speedy model, the Apollo's match the Speedy version 1 set.  The specs are 20/24 on the spoke count with 2x lacing pattern on the front and rear.  The spokes are round Sapim double butted Lasers with brass nipples.  The hubs have sealed cartridge bearings and the rear has needle bearing as well.  The rims are a 30mm aero shape with a sleeve at the junction.  Previous to this set of wheels, I was running Nugent M28SL's with ceramic bearings.  The weight on the Apollo's is almost the same as the Neuvations at 1650g.  The Neuvations were fine for the first year I had them until I broke a spoke on the rear.  A week later the spoke opposite the first broken one snapped at the nipple as had the first.  About two months ago, I had a pinch flat blow out that threw the rear wheel out true and it seemed like I was having to check the true before each ride so I started looking for something else and the Apollo's seemed to be nice price point ($250) for a wheel that looks like it will last many years.  I put some new Forte Road Pro+ 23mm tires on the rims and the ride is noticeably smoother than the M28SL's.  I am not sure if this is due to the spoke design, rim or tires.  The one concern I have about these wheels are the straight pull spokes.  Sheldon Brown was never a fan of these, but they seem pretty standard on a lot of the Mavic's I see on group rides.  As with any new design, time will tell.

Speaking of Performance, a new store will be opening in Raleigh at Sutton Square Shopping Center (Falls of the Neuse at Spring Forest Road on June 4th according to the Performance web site.  Hopefully they will be doing grand opening specials at the other local stores as well.  I spun the wheel and won a case of ProLink Gold at the last grand opening event.

If anyone is riding the Triangle Tour de Cure next weekend, I will be the official volunteer photographer again for this year's ride.  This year there is a ride on Sunday that stays in the Southern Pines area in addition to the ride back to Cary for the folks who ride down on Saturday.  Once the weekend is done, the photos will be up on