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

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

  1. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

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    I've messed with it a little bit and I've found that 5 MPH looks almost the same as 100 MPH. I don't generally do pictures on the move because I'll crash. :deal
  2. YnotJP?

    YnotJP? Long timer

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    Nice Thread.

    I for one, agree with JayElDee, words are tools, and I hate to see someone using the wrong tool.
  3. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    Yeah, I've shared that over the years. I'm sure there are a lot of people that worked that out or did something similar on their own. People are pretty handy and creative. :D
  4. Cannonshot

    Cannonshot Having a Nice Time Super Moderator

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    The history part is appealing to me because too many rides, especially the popular ones, sometimes become a "race" of sorts to cover the route in a certain period of available time.

    Like many others, if I am going somehwere, I like to do more than just enjoy the roads and trails. I can do that without taking a long trip. It is much richer to take in some of the local sights and history. I especially appreciate visiting places knowing something about what happened there in the past. It is nice to be able to share a little of that to entertain the next rider (or save someone the trouble of repeating the research).

    The difficult part is doing decent research ahead of time. As difficult as that is trying to cook down long stories to a couple of sentences that tell enough in a ride report.

    Of course, not everyone is interested in or entertained by a report style that incorporates history and side trips.

    One of the most important points to remember in this thread is that there is no description of an "ideal" or "preferred" report style.

    Reader's interests vary and they read what they are interested in. Pointers about photo size and too much text are very useful just as are some other basic tenets of producing media. Just as there are a wide variety of book and movie subjects and styles (thankfully), so it is for ride reports as well.
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I just found this thread as a result of the link on Dave6253's latest RR. I've been wondering if there was a thread like this. I just read the whole thing. Lots of great info:thumb

    I have a few thoughts from the standpoint of a RR reader. I do read a lot of Ride reports.
    First, I have enjoyed many different and diverse RR's. I like the epic trips by Metaljockey, Colebatch, Rtwdoug, etc and I also like shorter and far from Epic trips. IMO, the biggest thing that good ride reports have in common is that the author put some effort into them.

    As much as I like reading about epic trips to exotic locations, I also enjoy reading about trips that I could possibly do some day. One of the hardest thing to capture in a ride report is showing the pure joy, and/or thrill of riding. When someone can do that He/she has my attention. Idave is a good example of this.

    My favorite RR so far is Kaneman's epic trip back on 2007. There were many thing I found interesting about his trip but the one thing that really stood out was the interaction between Josh and many of the inmates who were reading his RR. His trip would have been completely different if no one got involved with him and his journey.

    I think that interaction between the author and the readers can add a lot to a report. Yes, some reports have so many responses that it overwhelms the report but most reports probably could use more interaction.

    For example Dave6253 acknowledges those who respond in his report. Just as the author's appreciate feedback, so do the readers who take the time to write a meaningful reply. I think that dialogue between author and reader makes it more personal and makes it more likely that the reader will come back for more.

    I do have one pet peeve: Posting multiple pics with no break in between. It pretty much ruins the report IMO.

    Enough rambling for now. Great thread:thumb
  6. Jean-Luc

    Jean-Luc Throttle committed

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    Dave, this is a great thread! I'm going to order the gear keeper ASAP, definitely a camera saver.

    On a side note it's funny that we do have pretty similar equipment: Futura, KTM 9x0 and Lumix ZS...
  7. kaia

    kaia team F5 ⌘R

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    this one is mentioned as a pet peeve over and over by so many people it's amazing that it still happens. avoiding the issue can be done in two ways.

    • hit preview! the reason you get logged out is because your session in the browser expires while you have the editing window open. if you press the Preview Post button every 5 minutes or so (regardless if you're done or not) it should update your session cookie and give you another 5 minutes or so. another tip - simple "copy" of your entire post before you hit preview (or submit) could save hours. i hit preview over 20 times on this post alone.

    • edit offline. if you're new to writing bbcode, then you might need an offline editor to help you if you're used to the wysiwyg buttons above the post. a quick search on google brought up these goodies: BBCeditor and Pawsoft Fass (both for windows) on mac, i use textmate with the bbcode.tmbundle - not free, but one of my favorite editors.

      when writing offline, the best part is that you can write everything (if that's the way you go) and break it up into multiple pieces for digestion when it's time to post. or... if you're writing on the road, you can write when you don't have web access, and be able to just copy-paste when you do happen to get internet access. it also allows you to have a backup copy of the post on your harddrive in case you lose anything, or want to post the same report on another forum (:eek1 eek!)


    i'd second the gearkeeper devices even though i don't have one (yet). i found these online from someone else's report, and tried to find one for a recent trip... to no avail. they don't seem to carry them on their website, and i wasn't able to find them at a local retailer. aparently they came out a few years back (2007) and were pushed to retailers pretty heavily then, but have fallen by the wayside. if anyone knows anywhere online to order them, it'd be most appreciated.


    a tip on shooting while moving that i got from Dr. Rock i think... to use the camera upside down, pressing the shutter with your thumb. i find it's easier to handle the camera that way, and limits the number of shots where your finger or glove is in the frame. this method works real well with some cameras, not so well with others.

    once you get home, software like Lightroom makes flipping multiple shots right side easy up by allowing you to select all the shots that are upside down, and hit the rotate arrow on one of them... it'll take care of the rest that are selected at the same time. (pre-lightroom, i had to rotate each one at a time in photoshop)

    one thing to note is that if you shoot handheld video while moving... use the camera right side up, since it's pretty annoying if not impossible to "flip" a video like you can with a still picture. when doing this for video, i place the camera on the tank bag, hit the shutter or video button to start filming, then raise the camera up to film what you want. reverse the process to turn it off. then, when i download the video off the camera, i trim the first / last few seconds before posting online.

    something else that's not obvious from dave's post above about taking shots while moving is that you can use the rule of thirds, as well as adding some interesting depth of field, as well as a feeling of motion by getting part of your bike into the photo. playing with the angles you can use can be half the fun.

    [​IMG]



    ---


    regarding general tips on the art of the ride report... the other biggest one that i think gets missed is spacing - both spacing around photos, and paragraph spacing.

    if you look at a newspaper or magazine article, a good amount of care is taken with the spacing around pictures. there is always a margin of space between the photo and the paragraph of text that is either before, after, or next to the photo. generally it creates a "border" around the photo allowing your eyes to focus on the text or the photo. without space between a paragraph and the text, it makes the line of text near the photo hard to read, and takes away emphasis on the paragraph.

    the only exception to that "rule" is a photo's caption. in a ride report, captions can be annoying to create, but also very useful; they can convey information that's not readily obvious in the photo that "pertains" to the photo or story that's being told without interrupting said story. if you follow the "convention" of a newspaper or magazine, using a different size font or color to designate that something is a caption can be helpful.

    [​IMG]
    eight shot panoramic of the Cedar Beaks Monument from the first lookout looking west

    the other big thing with spacing is paragraph flow. if you're typing in run-on sentences and never use paragraph breaks, a report can be a bear to read. the same goes for one sentence per paragraph... it feels like notes jotted down on a page. try to find a happy medium that works for you.

    it might be just me, but spacing can sometimes kill a perfectly good report. i find that if i think about it like i'm writing a book or a magazine article, i can space things out better. you want the reader to be drawn from one paragraph to the next, not get caught up in a long winded story that they have to hit the scrollbar to get through. if they have to scroll, most people will lose their place, and have to start again.


    ---


    more tips:
    • don't forget... each post has it's own title. when you post a reply to a thread (yours or someone else's) you can have your own title too... many users use this space to help tell the story.
    • try to use forum appropriate sizes for your photos whenever possible. not everyone has gigantor screens, and if i have to scroll left-right to see a photo either i'll just ignore the part of the photo that gets cut off... or ignore the report entirely. not to mention all the flaming you're bound to get if you post a hugemongous photo in a photo thread. resize to something reasonable and ...
    • if you post bigger versions of your photos somewhere else (ie: smugmug), adding a link to the larger versions of the photo is a nice touch. personally, i like to link the image itself to the smugmug lightbox. the basic code to do this is (note that the "986281083_YkmPB" for smugmug is the unique identifier for the image)
      Code:
      [ url=http://user.smugmug.com...#986281083_YkmPB-X3-LB ]
      [ img ]http://user.smugmug.com.../986281083_YkmPB-M.jpg[ /img ][ /url ]
    • last but very much so not least... engage your readers! taking the time to answer questions, say thank you to people who take the time to post in your report can help your report along. it can keep the pace going, it'll make people happy to be mentioned, as well as keeping your report on the front page. group responses to readers into a single post (if possible) and it'll allow you to engage, but not take away from the flow.



    dave - great thread, by the way. it's discussions like this that keep this site moving along!
  8. timk519

    timk519 Long timer

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    WRT composing your RR in the ADV editor and then losing much work - my advice would be to get a gmail account and do your RR installment using Google Docs. It'll auto-save for you so you won't lose much work if the internet connection goes away, and when you're done all you need to do is cut 'n' paste it into the Adv editor.
  9. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    Kaia,

    Wow! A most excellent post. All are very thoughtful points.


    Jean Luc,

    I remember reading some of your awesome RRs, such as Chasing Summer, back when I was still dreaming of someday owning a big KTM. I didn't know you had a Futura also. That's very cool. I've noticed many Futura owners also own an ADV bike. (It's not like anyone is currently making a better sport-tourer.:lol3IMHO )
  10. Alcan Rider

    Alcan Rider Frozen Fossil

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    Excellent, thoughtful - and thought provoking - post. :thumb

    Regarding using a video camera upside down - I found, quite by accident - that Windows Movie Maker will flip videos. That information came in handy when I was trying to shoot contests over the heads of other spectators at one event, and wanted to be able to use the viewing screen which folded the wrong way (for upright use). By holding the camera upside down it was possible to view the scenes as I took them - although I did finish the day with a stiff neck. :lol3
  11. Gester

    Gester Master of my domain

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    I'll second the kudos to Kaia. Very helpful information - thanks! As for the gear keeper devices:

    I just ordered one from a third party seller through Amazon. Shipping was a bit high but hey, my camera's worth it. :1drink
  12. Gester

    Gester Master of my domain

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    I use Adobe Premier Elements and it will rotate videos 90 or 180 degrees.:clap
  13. rydnseek

    rydnseek banished contributor

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    Wow.. great thread. So many thoughts & ideas.. a place for aspiring artists to hang out, like paris in the 20's..

    A lot of great points. I don't have a lot to add, & realize there are different strokes for different folks.

    I don't care for food shots, & don't put them in my reports.. to each his/her own.

    I started making ride reports a few years ago at my daughter's suggestion.. make a travelogue for the grand kids, so i am sensitive to profanity & salutes.. they're ok for the GQ crowd, but for a wider audience, there are better ways to communicate. I get a lot of feedback from people who show the rides to wives, kids, etc, & are grateful for the omission.. but again, to each his own, & depends on your target.

    I think the main thing is to be true to yourself... don't try to be who you aren't. Be real. I spot it when someone is trying to be too 'artsy', or metaphysical. You are not Hemingway. Be fine with yourself. If you're a prick, write like one, it will be more of a true reflection, instead of a pose.

    It's a picture story. Interesting tidbits are great, but too much leaves me glazing over. Long winded descriptions are fine for War & Peace, but i prefer the KISS method for reports... Keep It Simple, Stupid.

    Photography. That is the other factor in ride reports.. I agree with so many who have made some great points. I think with the newer point & shoot cameras, it is much easier to take good pictures.. maybe not in all lighting conditions, or the more artistic shots, but full sun or cloudy landscapes are pretty easy.

    I don't flame anyone for bad spelling or grammar, but the reports reads easier with less distraction & more credibility if those are attempted. But you can have your own style, too. If you're writing like huck finn & it works, that's great! I sometimes have disjointed sentences.. awkward pauses.. no caps where there should be some... too many periods.. but it's easy for me, & it works for me, so there.

    +1 with the smilies.. keep them to a minimum.

    I just use notepad to write reports. I can cut & paste html pic links right into the reports, as well as you tube links.

    I've been putting too many videos in my reports, lately. They are easier to do when riding, but i think they are not as good in reports.. they don't flow with the report as well as pics. A few to show more interesting detail are ok, but i think they also are better if they don't dominate the report.

    But just like there are different musical tastes, movie tastes, book tastes, & chili cookoff tastes, ride reports will have different appeal for different people. Some of the GQ set love lots of profanity, guy talk, macho action shots, etc. Others like it when there are lots of pretty flowers.

    Do the ride. Write the report. Have fun with both. Others will pick up on that & enjoy them.

    I suppose there are different reasons we write reports. Some do it for fun.. to share the joy. Others might see it as a competition.. to write better reports than anyone else. Most are probably a blend of both.

    I appreciate those who have taken time to put together a good report.. well balanced with good pics, stunning prose, & humorous anecdotes. It takes a lot of time to edit the photos, upload them, write descriptive narratives, & make it interesting. Even if it's not my style, i can appreciate what went into it, & see how it fit together. Sometimes it is a bomb, but other times.. when the stars align.. when the right photo with perfect lighting gets put with the perfect narrative... something stirs. Art happens.
    scotty
  14. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    :thumb < That's me keeping smilies to a minimum.

    Well said, Scott.

    On humor:
    I really appreciate more dry, dead-pan humor that doesn't, at first, jump out as an attempt to be funny. Or a joke rooted in some obscure factoid is always excellent.

    On another note:
    What is the thread concensus on self-pics?

    Self-pics with a little creative thought behind them are, I think, quite cool. Darth Peach is probably the best example. Why? Because they seem less about her and more about how amusing life can be with so little effort.

    [​IMG]

    BUT, pics of I-want-to-show-my-mug-with- (insert any pic of a sign or pic of Bryce Canyon here) behind-me seem pretty lame.
    The Look,-I-really-was-here thing seems egotistical at best.

    For example:

    [​IMG]
  15. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    TwoShots, Ultimately a Ride Report is an auto-biography of a short snippet of your life. Including a few self portaits to introduce yourself to the viewer is no more egotistical than doing the report in the first place. Of course, If every shot is like your second example it would get uninteresting real quick. Some authors completely conceal their personality by never showing themselves in pics. This works for some, but for the most part I want to see the author. Capturing the RIDE and events of the journey is what it's about. I usually ride solo, but I like trying to document myself riding from time to time using the Les Stroud Survivorman method.
    [​IMG]


    Including yourself may be needed to demostrate the scale of the landscape.
    [​IMG]

    I don't think there's anything wrong with self portraits at all, but too many posed self-pics is boring and probably results from a lack of creativity rather than ego. Many write RRs to share with family and friends. The "look I was here photos" were likely intended for them.
  16. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    And that is where we differ/part ways.

    Egocentrist styled reports are really the least interesting ones. I mean if a rider wants to dress their experience with personal opinion, introspective ramblings, etc., - get a blog.

    A (good) RR is not at all an autobiography, IMHO. Rather, it's an opportunity share what an area has to offer in the form of sights, sounds, history, culture, etc - choose your flavors.
  17. dave6253

    dave6253 aka. dave62538675309

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    Wasting time messing with photos in some complex and expensive computer software was something I thought I would never do. However; I recently learned the secret to better photos... The hard and expensive way. What I learned is that post-production is not all that hard and that I really didn't need that new expensive camera to improve my shots.


    My Learning Process

    I have been drooling over the gorgeous photos on advrider for years. I noticed that most of the serious photographers (and many not so good photographers) use expensive DSLRs. I thought I had a clue how to point a camera, and I was getting okay photos from my point-n-shoot. As I learned more about photography I discovered that many of the photographs that caught my attention had been modified and altered extensively in Photoshop. Photoshop seemed overly complicated, intimidating, and expensive.

    Instead of considering post-production techniques to improve my pics I decided I needed a new camera. I finally got my first DSLR last year.

    After a few weeks of learning the new camera I scheduled my first moto trip. I rode four days around Southern Utah intentionally hitting some of the most photogenic spots in the USA. I relied heavily on the new DSLR and neglected the little point-n-shoot. I returned home excited to see the results on the computer. I was extremely disappointed in the results.

    I figured I just needed to learn more about the settings on the camera and more about photography in general. Surely I could get satisfactory pictures straight from the camera, right? I re-read the camera manual, and spent time seeking answers in online photography forums, and books.

    I learned many photographers had started using Adobe Lightroom instead of Photoshop. I downloaded a free trial version of Adobe Lightroom 3 beta and was blown away with how easy it was to use and learn. When the final version of Lightroom 3 was released I couldn't wait to purchase it. While $300 was more money than I can really afford for software, in reality I could have purchased about 8 copies with all of the money I spent on camera gear recently.

    So, for everyone that has asked, and to anyone who will ask in the future, "Maybe I need a new camera?" DON'T waste money on a new camera until you've tried Lightroom, or at least some form of post-production software.

    The Results

    Below are some before and after screenshots taken from within Lightroom 3. These are screenshots of previews only and are not very hi-res but you should be able to see a huge difference.


    [​IMG]



    Most of us ride during the day, so I'm sure we all have plenty of these washed out shots.
    [​IMG]



    I have switched to shooting in the file format RAW with the DSLR and make all of the adjustments in Lightroom versus having the camera's JPEG processor try to do it automatically. This gives me more control of the outcome.
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]




    The Graduated Nuetral Density Tool can really halp bring out the details in the sky.
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]



    Cropping a photo to cut out unwanted areas, to zoom, and to follow the rule of thirds is a powerful tool that until recently I was to lazy to do. Most basic photo editors (probably already on your computer) allow you to crop.
    [​IMG]



    Cropping and rotating for a better composition.
    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]


    You would probably have a hard time telling the difference between the pics from a decent point-n-shoot and a DSLR as long as there is enough light.

    With a little work I've learned how to use the DSLR pretty effectively, but the PnS camera is much easier to get good pics automatically. I am ultimately happy with the purchase of the DSLR, though I wouldn't mind using only the PnS for a moto-trip. I currently carry both on the bike. I use the DSLR mainly for off-the-bike photos and low-light stuff.

    This was not intended to be a tutorial on how to use Lightroom. I am far from qualified. If you do end up using Lightroom I would recommend getting a book to better understand it. I really like the Lightroom 3 Book written by Martin Evening.

    Don't take my work for it. Go find out what the professional photographers have to say about Adobe Lightroom 3 in forums like our sister site dgrin.com.



    As you can see, I like COLOR! However; I do like how easy black and white conversions are in Lightroom.

    [​IMG]




    [​IMG]
  18. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Of course. :D
  19. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    I have a feeling that you hold great interest in photo editing at this time.
  20. lakota

    lakota Geeser

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    I try to do a ride report update daily and am usually too tired to worry about photo editing so you get what I have untouched. sorry if that is insufficient for the forum.