The Art of the Ride Report - Planning, Tips, Opinions, Discussion

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by dave6253, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Ghostyman

    Ghostyman Been here awhile

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    No switchblades out, I had been thinking about your previous post from a few weeks ago for a while -- it ended up generating quite a lot of reflection, eh? I just threw out a few of the things I'd been thinking of vis a vis.


    My absolute preference is for reports written during the ride. They aren't as polished but they have that air of danger that a post-trip report never can. It's best to follow these reports in real time versus going back to read them later.

    Reports written after the fact often hold up better to repeated viewings. That's the polish that real-time reports lack.

    I plan on posting daily during my ride, pending lack of Internet.
  2. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Posted before I had coffee, following a very late night. Very poorly phrased and equally incomprehensible:puke1

    Generally speaking, when your are more to the right of the spectrum (------x Personal), even if you have very high standards and hold yourself accountable, it is IMHO likely that the output will be of lesser quality than if you tend to lean left of said spectrum. As one, we are of limited in our interpretation of life, as many we are infinite. I think this applies to any speech act, call it a Ride Report, a poem, a movie, etc...This interpretative limitation is artificial, because we have to be within set boundaries, and observe laws in order to be intelligible. I do believe that these borders should be push to the furthest point your audience can tolerate. If you go to far, you risk alienation and are -again- closer to neurosis. This reasoning does not apply to "purer” creative art forms such as painting, sculpting, and any other non-speech production. Here there are no/very few rules, and when not following conventions you risk less (in terms of audience). You have the leisure to be personal, egocentric, and why not narcissistic. The interpretation of the output, regardless of perceive quality, is a lot less guided, and a lot more left for the audience's imagination.

    Maybe richness or depth are more appropriate and less subjective than quality.

    This said I don't know that any speech act can be more or less personal/audience oriented as you describe it in your illustration. Both elements/concepts are fundamental and to an extent foundational to any act of rhetoric (I know I said that before). So in my mind it's not so much that a ride report may be oriented one way or another as much as a ride report may only exist in the world as Rhetor - Audience - Context.

    You may interpret it or intend it to be more personal, your audience might agree or not with you depending on context, all three are indissociable.
  3. John Fabian

    John Fabian Fabe

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    With time on my hands I have been reading through many "Ride Reports." I have also read through this forum and initially thought I had something to contribute about "good" trip (i.e. Travel) writing. But I don't. I find I like all the reports in whatever form, style, or skill level they are writen in.

    This live interactive blogging is a completely new genre. It has not found its footing yet and I'm glad for that. So friends, keep writing and posting & ride safe.
  4. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    ac_elite, I read your report back when it was live, but did you change monikers?

    Nice discussion everyone!
  5. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    I see many pros and cons for reporting live or waiting until later. I have always reported after the trip, but I do enjoy many aspects of reading live reports. I'll try to list some of the pros and cons I see with each method. I encourage you to add your own reasons I surely missed.

    Live Reporting Pros:

    *When you get home, its done.
    *Your writing can be drawn from a fresher memory.
    *Will not be an over-whelming task to finish later.
    *May create a greater expectation of what's to come for the reader.
    *The experience of sharing from the road enriches the journey.
    *Can be a way to keep friends and family updated.
    *You may develop followers along your route that can;
    -Ride along for sections
    -Suggest Routes, Restaurants, Places to Visit
    -Offer assistance when the inevitable problems arise
    -Offer Accommodations

    Live Reporting Cons

    *Can be a time-consuming task limiting time spent actually enjoying the journey.
    *If you miss even one beautiful sunset because you were in a room typing, you lose.
    *Requires Frequent Internet Access
    *Usually requires packing a computer
    *May limit your daily distances and where you choose to stay
    *Limits the time spent perfecting your art/masterpiece
    *You may develop followers along your route that will;
    -Want to ride along for sections
    -Suggest Routes, Restaurants, Places to Visit
    -Insist on meeting


    Post-Ride Reporting Pros

    *The only part of the journey affected by the RR is the collection of photos/videos/notes.
    *Can disappear off the grid for longer periods of time.
    *Excessive/Obsessive amounts of time can be used later for photo and video post-production as well as creative writing. DAMHIK:D
    *A hook can be set in the first post with actual photos and/or videos from the trip encouraging readers to follow.
    *Long gaps with no updates can be avoided.
    *Can pack lighter (no computer/cables/chargers needed)
    *The title of the report can be accurate/No title yet to live up to while riding. (IOW, If the title states you are riding to the
    North Pole in winter and you decide to turn around and head for home because you got chili in Arizona you will not risk embarrassment/banishment.:lol3)

    Post Ride-Reporting Cons

    *Your memory will fade over time and may affect your reporting style
    *The report can be a monumental task that you never start
    *If you enjoy the interaction with other inmates during the journey you may miss this.
    *You may need help along the way and it may be harder to find without readers already invested in your journey.
    *May need lots of memory cards/storage (I used over 135 GB in just 25 days last summer)


    Reporting live is obviously the way to go when doing a RTW trip or anything longer than a few weeks. Even then, many RTW riders find time during layovers/rest periods to update the report. Even though these reports go on for years the reporter is actually doing for of a post-ride report after each section. (Exemplary Example: From Estonia with Love) If you already limit your riding to a few hundred miles and frequently find yourself in a motel room with nothing to do, then obviously you may enjoy live-reporting. If, like me, you plan to go as far each day as possible and ride sunrise to sunset before seeking out a free campsite with no internet and you also want to edit your photos and video first, then you should probably stick to reporting after the fact. If you are motivated to create a masterpiece of Ride Report Art then you'll probably need more than a couple hours of crappy WiFi each night.

    Of course, there is another option. I've seen reports that start with a nice pre-trip introduction, followed by short updates with only a few photos, and finally a detailed post-trip report. This may be the best of both worlds if you don't lose the audience before getting to the good stuff.

    In case you didn't check it out the first time, here is your required reading assignment: From Estonia with Love
  6. V@lentino

    V@lentino Inspektor

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    Talk about setting the bar high with Margus and Kariina.

    Dave, I did not change monikers, the Jackie and Valentino bit only develop during the trip itself, what I use here has never changed.

    I will also commit to doing my RR during the ride, I think that if you have multiple writers it adds depth and richness. Look at the Sibirsky team right now, but that's true if you complement each other as opposed to repeating the same thing with similar pics, which we all have seen. So for us the perspective should be both riders on their bikes and 1 pillion.

    That list is pretty complete, let's add the notion of perspective to the post ride RR, although you memory will not necessarily be as fresh, if you keep good notes that's what I did during our EU trip, hindsight may make your reporting better rounded. I guess it's a toss between perspective and raw emotions, just because of the time available to process your experiences into an output (pics/vid/texts...). There might be an definite delay period though, where your creativity as a writer/producer may still be stimulated by the ride and refreshed by the "recent" memories. Past a certain time you become a dud.

    I experienced quite a bit of reverse culture shock when I came back from Europe, the fact that I did not like where I was living then did not help, but taking the time to generate the RR after the fact was therapeutic.

    When we did our 6 weeks to Baja last Fall, I opted not to build a RR because I wanted to focus on all the logistics of the trip, as we considered it a trial run with the GSA prior to S.A. I was also in need of a lot of rest, and I felt that I would have missed too many sunsets.

    Again great thread Dave.
  7. Chaiku232

    Chaiku232 Viva la Vida!

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    Good ideas but there's lots more to think about than just those
  8. John Fabian

    John Fabian Fabe

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    Live Reporting Pros:

    * There is more emotion in a live report. The rider/writer's feelings are raw, which translates into a visceral reading experience.

    Live Reporting Cons:

    * There is too much emotion in a live report. Details and facts get missed.
  9. Merlin III

    Merlin III Mean SOB

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    Dave, nice clear and concise summary and thanks for the required reading. It is easy to see why you are one of the best writers out there.
  10. orbiker

    orbiker Been here awhile

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    I like to do the RR during the ride. I never had a memory, so the report is for me (and everyone else) to re-live. After about 3 or 4 days; the trip becomes one huge blur of total enjoyment.
    My trips are on the road. I'll stop at motels or rv parks with internet. If I do a free campsite, I'll write as much as I can on the laptop. If I know I'm going to be camping without internet, I'll try to keep in touch with the followers by sending a little message via my smart phone.

    I carry a 11.5 netbook with a memory card slot. I'll file my pics every night. Cull the bad ones. I use the camera as my notebook by taking pics of signs and the gps. It is hanging around my neck on a stretchy lanyard.
    There has been some nice tips and I'll try to improve my photography a bit to help the reports.

    Remember; just write what happens.

    Reading my own report years later is a great way to pass the winter and boost the next adventure (and memories).

    P.S. tip: I select all (by right clicking) and then copy before posting the typed out report. If for some reason the internet got dropped, I've still got all the evenings work stored and could still paste it into a word doc. KEN
  11. Witold

    Witold Been here awhile

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    I tried it both ways and I like the Live Report better.

    First and foremost, I write the report for myself more than anyone else so it is more important to me to jot down my raw experiences as they happen than to reflect on them after the fact. In other words, after the trip I would rather read my own report than to write a ride report.

    I also like the interactivity of it all. In an ideal world, one could get some feedback and actionable suggestions as the ride happens. In an ideal world, I could see myself meeting up with some other advriders along the way, or taking unexpected detours based on suggestions I receive.

    The drawbacks are connectivity and schedule. I dropped some of my ride reports 1/2 way simply because I didn't have the time to write and post any entries. On other reports, I hoped to incorporate some video footage but this proved very painful considering the abysmal upload speeds many places have.
  12. EvilClown

    EvilClown Reality show stunt double Super Moderator

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    Fantastic thread, Dave!:thumb

    Lots of good info from everyone contributing.

    From your latest RR:
    :lol3

    As you may have guessed, I'm particularly interested in the photo portion but it's all great reading.

    Figgered I'd get a glimpse behind the scenes with the man behind the lens. Maybe get some insight as to how you got where you are.

    Thank you for including the info here. Wondering what version of Lightroom you are using? Still 3 or another program altogether?

    In an effort to make some kind of contribution I'll add the following:

    I've done the lanyard thing with my camera for some time now. Will be looking into your method as I like the low down shots you're able to obtain this way. Mine are limited to the short tie-length leash around my neck.

    One thing I noticed on one of my earlier versions was that thin little string looped through the camera's ring was just about worn all the way through.:huh Thankfully, I caught it in time and didn't lose a camera. Low tech but a tiny zip-tie has replaced that and has made a stronger connection. I get rid of the factory lanyard altogether.

    I'm sure there are other solutions but the idea is is keep an eye on that string. Hate to see you or anyone else lose their camera.

    Although I don't always keep the best or most complete notes, I do try to take them as even though at the moment you think you'll never forget it, you will.:lol3

    I've found a field book to be a pretty good place for these notes...

    [​IMG]

    ...as they are water resistant - particularly if you use a pencil. They can also stand a bit of abuse.

    Thanks again for the thread and your RRs.

    :lurk
  13. ItchyFeet

    ItchyFeet Too young to resist

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    Love this thread and many of the suggestions posted but this is the best one here.
  14. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    Thanks EC!

    Although it has been awhile since I wrote about photography and post-processing, I'm still using Lightroom 3.6.
    Lightroom 4 is a smoking deal considering the drastic drop in price between versions 3 and 4. Lightroom 3 is still
    working for me, so I didn't see enough reasons for spend money on the upgrade.

    I've continued to work on learning photography and at trying to improve. I think I have improved some and learned a lot since I started this thread.
    I found I was using my cameras mostly when out on trips. In between adventures the cameras often set dormant. That's no way to learn.
    In an effort to push myself to shoot more frequently and to delve into areas I consider my weakest, I committed to doing a 365 project.
    That means I'll shoot and post one photo every single day for a year. I'm up to day 114 and have not had to cheat yet, though some are not as good as others.
    Most of the photographs in my 365 project gallery are not motorcycle related, but if you are interested check out the gallery on my smugmug page.

    I currently shoot nearly everything in RAW and start and finish each photo in Lightroom 3.6.
    If I want to process any as an HDR image they get sent from Lightroom to Photomatix Pro 4.2.
    (For more info on HDR processing see the Motorcycles in HDR thread.)
    For Panoramas I use the freeware Microsoft ICE. I've found this much better than the expensive (compared to free) Arcsoft Panorama Maker.
    After uploading to smugmug, I occasionally use PicMonkey, which is also free and incredibly powerful and fun.
    (You can easily send any photo to PicMonkey from the tools menu in smugmug.)
    That's it. I don't use any other software, and still have never owned a copy of Photoshop.
    I do process each photo individually and use presets only as starting points.
    My workflow is time-consuming and definitely not for everyone. I could save time by batch processing,
    but I can never leave well enough alone when it comes to post-processing.
  15. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    I still have this Panasonic ZS5 PnS camera and may shoot some more trips with it, but I have a huge problem with regular point-n-shoots.
    Dust! The telescoping lens that pops out creates a vacumn inside that sucks in the dust. I get tired of cloning out stupid dust spots,
    so I learned how to take apart the camera to clean the sensor. I have cleaned the sensor on this camera at least 3 times.
    Each time I return home I have to clone out more stupid dust spots.

    There has to be a better solution.


    [​IMG]



    So I tried the waterproof, dustproof, dropproof, freezeproof TS3.
    The menus were weird, the camera felt cheap, and the images were not as good as the ZS5.
    I never got used to the lens location and often found a finger in the photos.
    The novelty of taking photos in the rain and hot tub wore off quickly.
    I was happy when my wife revealed the TS3 had a weakness.
    (You'll have to read Our Alaska RR to learn how she managed to do that.)


    [​IMG]


    I found a micro four thirds Olympus PEN EPL1 on sale at Amazon. I realized being able to remove the lens to clean the sensor was a huge plus.
    The other Pros-
    *Huge sensor (compared to PnS)
    *Image Quality
    *RAW (I'll process my own, thank you.)
    *Not much Larger than PnS with 17mm pancake lens
    * Shallow Depth of Field if I want it.
    * Extremely Good Battery Life
    *$300 total with a used 17mm lens!
    *Can still be used one-handed while riding (probably easier to operate and hold, but not as fast to get out.)
    *I have used this for 2 moto trips now, with no dust specks! (I haven't had to clean the sensor once.)
    *Multiple lenses available
    *A cheap adapter will allow my DSLR lenses.

    Cons-
    *Not as small
    *No automatic lens cover for shooting while riding (I use a small metal hood and leave the lens cap off in the tankbag.)
    *Takes a little longer to take out of the tankbag.
    *Not pocketable, especially with the lens hood.
    *Not weather-sealed.
    *No Zoom with the pancake lens

    [​IMG]


    The Olympus takes great images. So good in fact, that I find myself using the DSLR less when off the bike.

    [​IMG]

    The 17mm lens is equivalent to about 34mm on a full frame camera. This is not as wide as most Point-n-shoots widest.
    Because the lens isn't as wide I find myself shooting more panoramas (a good thing),
    but getting shots of the front wheel are more difficult and aiming has to be more precise.
    I have had success using this camera and lens for my last 2 RRs.
    I plan to make a padded compartment in the tankbag so I can hopefully be faster on the draw, and maybe not have to use the lens hood.

    My DSLR is a Pentax K-5.
    I still like shooting landscapes, macros, timelapse, and HDR brackets with the DSLR and will continue to carry it on moto trips,
    but the micro four thirds mirrorless camera was a great addition to my gear.
  16. Soty

    Soty Adventurer

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    Dave, may I ask you someting about the Lightroom. I was impreessed by what the program is capable, so I downloaded the free trial version and started working. It seems to very friendly. However I noticed that when I finish my job and do EXPORT, the new file is considerably smaller that the original. In other words ig the original pictire is 3 or 4 mB, the result is about 0.5 mb, which of corse is lowering the quality.

    Is that feature only in the trial version ? I mean, if I pay for the sofware, will I have the same result or the new picture will be the same resolution ?

    Thanks
  17. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    'scuse me- not butting in, hope another voice is welcome here.

    Been making my living as a commercial photo hack for 30-ish years, and I love Lightroom- very powerful. I played with it for several years, but tied myself to a chair one day and watched the Lynda tutorials for hours- highly reccommended.

    I've downsized- no more big studio and big clients- but I still use Lightroom, mostly for RRs.

    I won't own a camera that does not shoot RAW- I'm just not that good a photographer.
  18. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    Scroll down and check the settings in your export box- there is a little box one can check to set the file size and other parameters. Might be yours has defaulted to a smaller size. It's very handy when exporting, BTW- I often set mine to the longest dimension as 1200px to generate web-sized images.
  19. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    Soty,

    What FakeName said. Check the file size settings in your Export Dialog Box. File size may also be a limiting factor to the current trial version, but it wasn't when I used a trial version in 2010. If you are importing a JPEG and exporting the same file, the size should be about the same unless you are changing the photo. If you import a RAW and convert to JPEG then your file size would definitely be much smaller.

    BTW, I usually export the full-sized original to smugmug. I make web-sized photos for other sites.
  20. FakeName

    FakeName Wile E Coyote SuperGenius

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    It may have been covered here already, so forgive me, but-

    You will be well served to export to a lossless file like a tiff dng or psd every time you do post-production. Then, from that file, export a jpg.

    Every time you make a change to a file (even small ones) and save it as a jpeg, the compression degrades the image quality a tiny bit. If you open a jpg, make a change, then save it again, the damage is cumulative. In theory, if you open-change-save enough, it will get REAL bad.

    I save to a lossless file type, then revisit that file when makeing changes and save as a first-generation jpeg each time.