Goodbye Cruiserface, Hello Happyface: The (old) Long and (new) Short Of It All

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by popscycle, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Train Fix: Another favorite train pic taken several days ago.

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    I especially like this photo for all the stuff that's in it, including interesting winter clouds. Temps were in the 30s when this was taken.
  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    It Was A Small Consist: Got a decent close-up of those two power units in the previous post. They were pulling only three cars at a good clip.

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  3. black 8

    black 8 Long timer

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    simply fascinating as I sip on my morning cup of java...
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  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Glad you enjoyed it, Rudy, and thank you for letting us know. This helps us better understand what people enjoy seeing
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  5. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Not Your Usual Maudlin Meandering Memories: With the redhead away at the shoe store, I was going thru some older photos taken a year after getting the GS when I came across some from a really interesting ride. That ride was high adventure and some drama for a relatively new GS owner. We were up in Vt at the old, 1851 Bellows Falls train station. We'd ridden behind the station to see what was there and were wandering around in the abandoned rail yard. Rotting away in the weeds were several Budd, self-propelled, diesel railcars.

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    The first was a grafitti-laden Boston and Maine car that was locked and boarded up.

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    The NYC car appeared to be open. Not knowing who or what might be lurking around, we parked the bikes strategically should a quick getaway be warranted.

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    It should be noted there were no "private property", "posted" or "keep out" signs, so Kevin decided to reconnoiter the area. Being old, I opted for lookout duty.

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    When all that happened was said and done, Kevin would later say, "Wow, I didn't see that coming!" My response at that time was, "Not in my wildest imagination."

    More to follow in part 2 as soon as I get remaining pics updated (i.e., resized, copyrighted, run through AI for better picture quality and FTP upload to image server).
  6. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Not Your Usual Maudlin Meandering Memories Part 2 - Cougar Attack?: Continuing the RR remembered in the previous post, we were exploring the rail yard area behind the Bellows Falls station.

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    Having come upon several old Budd railcars in the back part of the yard, Kevin reconnoitered the area by climbing on top of afreight car to look around.

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    My intention was to explore the open Budd railcar. We both gave some thought as to what or who might be in that railcar Standing at the doorway, it didn't smell all that good. I did not want to find an animal, junkie or dead body (i.e., imagination running loose, if not wild)

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    Anyway, I went in and walked to the back of the car to look around. It was about then when Kevin yelled, "We have visitors."

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    Sure enough, in walks a teenage boy followed by a not-unattractive woman who gave all the signs of being his mother. Following perfunctory greetings and discussion, it became clear that the woman was possibly a very aggressive cougar and she was scoping out potential prey du jour.

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    Kevin soon climbed down and came into the car. I believe we asked something like, "What brings you here?" The woman said she saw our bikes, liked to explore and decided to come in and look around. The kid looked and acted like he was bored out of his mind. The woman was quite friendly, rather effusive and was making the kind of small talk you might expect had you met in a bar. I was pretty sure she had eyes for Kevin when she asked, "Would you like to meet my mother?" Huh, what? I can't remember exactly what Kevin did but being the polite old fart I am, I went out to her car, a more expensive newer model, and explained to her mother what we were doing - riding and exploring. The woman's mother was not a happy passenger and seemed pissed with her daughter, us and whatever she imagined was going down. The older woman seemed only slightly less angry when I said, "It was nice meeting you but we have miles to ride." It seemed clear neither grandmother nor son was pleased about this encounter.

    You do have to question why a not-unattractive, younger (than me) women would drive around with her son and mother, happen to see two motorcycles in an old rail yard, stop, seek out the riders, tell them how much she likes to explore, be overly effusive in trying to make small talk and invite said riders to meet her mother - all in the span of a few minutes. Thus, we arrive at the untested hypothesis that the woman was a cougar on the prowl. Anyway, the outcome was that we didn't hang around to find out. We mounted up and she drove off. You have to hope things turned for the better for them all.
  7. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Location Note: The rail yard noted in the above post is located at coordinates 43.136729, -72.443484, which is directly behind the Green Mountain/Greyhound station adjacent to the Bellows Falls railroad station.

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    Of the tracks in the yard, the one directly behind the station was/is active and runs across the CT river to a roundhouse in NH. Sat view has the Budd cars still there.
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  8. GAS GUY

    GAS GUY MILE EATER

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    Intriguing post! I know all about them cougars; perhaps the most powerful chemistry I've ever experienced ... but that's another story.
  9. Offcenter

    Offcenter On The Road Again!

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    Hmm....That has to be very close to the original location of SteamTown when it was in Bellows Falls many years ago.
    I was there once, a while after the owner and founder had died. Everything was looking very run down.
    Not too much later, it was all moved to Scranton Pa.
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  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    You are correct. Before equipment was moved to Scranton, Steamtown was at coordinates 43.162384, -72.453258 in what is now a reload center.
  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    I can't say the same, having previously encountered only two such critters, both of whom were trying to get ahead by coming on to the manager (i.e., yours truly). Being a firm proponent of not shitting where you eat and not dipping your pen into the company ink, neither got very far and there isn't much of a story.

    As for other times and places, cougars of the two legged kind are pretty scarce where we like to hang out (example below). The Budd car incident was an anomaly and is most unlikely to ever happen again to any rider anywhere.

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    The four legged variety are, however, quite plentiful where we like to ride and that's another story.
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  12. drklynoon

    drklynoon Been here awhile

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    Pop how do you get such clarity when you have such different light conditions within the same picture? I have ordered my first camera and it will be here Saturday hopefully. I've been working with a Kodak Maxz990. Although the sensor isn't all that good and the processor is the slowest thing in the world, I have been able to get a few decent pictures with it but man lighting is huge. Regardless of the iso setting it is really touchy. I hope the new one is better. I decided on a Lumix G7 because I like the smaller size and it has pretty good video characteristics in 1080P. It's only a 14MP but it will probably take better pictures than I am capable of. Anyway I loved the above story and the pictures are fantastic as always.
    Nathan
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  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Nathan, I use cameras with faster focusing and processing speed coupled with software filters. Will respond in greater detail tomorrow.
  14. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    That Other Redhead Is In Play: 3 inches last night with more to come, the other redhead has her coming out party.

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    Streets are crap, though.
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  15. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Nathan, I am certainly no expert but can tell you what I do know and practice. Photo clarity is first and foremost a function of you and your camera's focusing capabilities. I can almost guarantee that all of the photos we take are less than perfectly clear and precise. Lack of clarity has numerous causes, starting with focus. You need to understand your camera's focus modes (e.g., single shot auto-focus, continuous auto focus, auto focus with fine adjustment and manual focus). Next, even when you've got the best focus you can with the camera, external things can mess it up some. I am referring to slight hand/camera shake, motion blur, lens blue (i.e., from cheaper lens), less than ideal ISO/speed setting, etc. Hand shake is more problematic when you are zoomed out, suggesting you use a tripod/monopod or scene mode where the camera takes a bunch of pics and merges them into a sharp image. So, IMHO, the first step is to learn, understand, and try out your camera's various focus and shoot modes, paying attention to light direction.

    Another important camera factor is your mode selection (e.g., auto, scenery, aperture priority, shutter priority, etc.) Being in a hurry, I generally shoot in AUTO or SCN mode with focus set to C (continuous adjustment). Again, you need to fiddle with these settings, understand and test them for yourself. After that, you can assume there are imperfections in how the camera translates what is on the image sensor into an image file, RAW or otherwise. This is where post processing comes in. Post process editing and filtering is where you can fine tune your focus, clarity, contrasts, color (e.g., brightness, luminance, etc.), detail, noise and other factors.

    I use Photoshop as the base editing tool, mostly because I've used it forever and not because it's the best choice or does that much of the post processing work. Lightroom or some other editor would probably work just as well. My main, go-to tools are:

    1. DXP Photolab: This is a stand-alone app used this for quickly converting RAW files to JPG and easily adjusting specific areas of the photo (e.g., sky, objects, shaded/bright areas, etc.). I don't use it for much else.
    2. Topaz Sharpen AI: This is a plug-in filter used to sharpen images, but must be used very sparingly or your picture will look unnatural/contrived.
    3. Luminar AI: This is an app that can be run stand-alone or as a plug-in filter to quickly improve y our photos by letting AI make adjustments based on template preferences you select. I use it for quick post processing with the option of getting down and dirty with specific image factors. It packages/encapsulates these factors nicely.
    Below is a photo I took this morning. It was shot in SCN (scenery), continuous focus mode where the camera takes 4 fast pics and merges them into one, more highly focused shot to eliminate camera movement.

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    Below is the same photo run through Luminar AI using the Scenery/Quick Fix template and no edits other than clicking auto-perspective.

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    Notice the increased sharpness and clarity. Also note how the more shaded areas in the garage show up. Finally note the perspective correction - how structural lines are straight up and down rather than slanted/distorted by the lense. Again, an important key to improving photos is to not go overboard on the corrections. To that end, I am using AI more and more.
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  16. drklynoon

    drklynoon Been here awhile

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    Pop, Thank you for the info. I have been trying different setting but not quite knowing what they actually do. I'm planning a deep dive on my new camera when it gets here to better understand the modes and function. The wife had an extra adobe suite download so I now have photoshop and light room. I'm going to try and focus on learning those tools first. I see what you mean about making small yet impactful corrections. The building clarity and the lightening is what I first noticed but the straightening of the lines probably makes the biggest feel impact for the image. I can't wait to get into this hobby more and more. I really appreciate your input. Thank you sir.
    Nathan
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  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    It Was A Pretty Snow: This morning's snowfall was quite nice to look at if not ride in. With the redhead away, there was no temptation to go out. Had she been here, I would have been tempted were it not for having to clean off all the ice, slush and salt.

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    This type of snowfall does make for a beautiful ride if the streets aren't too bad. They were slippery as snot when this pic was taken.
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  18. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Auto Train Fix: I caught the (somewhat regular) CSX auto train rolling through Palmer several days ago.

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    This caught be by surprise and I didn't make it back to the diamond before it roared by. A little farther east is the train's destination - the area's major auto terminal outside of East Brookfield, MA. A satellite view of the terminal is shown below at coordinates 42.225365, -72.026274.

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    When the weather gets nicer, I'll have to explore the area and see if there are some photography vantage points that don't violate any private property or get the terminal's security folks upset.
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  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Saving A Conflicted Photo: I spent a some time today attempting to save what I thought might make an interesting photo.. The result was perhaps a partial success, shown below.

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    The problem with the original was the conflict between the brightly lit, washed out background and very dim foreground, making it difficult to make out either with any clarity. Now I like it.
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  20. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Remembering A Favorite Car: I ran across this picture among the old 35mm slides and restored it to a point. Yesterday, I worked on it to the point of being finished. At the top of my list of "all-time favorite cars I am thankful to have had and regret not keeping" is this 1968 Dodge Charger. I had traded in a 1964 Pontiac plus some cash, drove out of the showroom in Bloomington, IL, and felt like a king of the road. It was somewhat fast (440 magnum) and handled well for that time.

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    That car sure was quite the attention getter back then with star-quality looks. With the hemi, it could smoke just about everything.