Tuesday, June 10, 2008

New Lens

So I ran out and got what are considered to be some of my friends most favorite lenses.... The Canon 50mm f/1.8. Its my first prime lens, and will take a little getting used to me thinks. I found myself wanting to twist something to zoom in or out on the subject. Also had fun playing with it stopped wide open at f/1.8 and the very narrow Depth of Field it gives you ( as seen in the 1st picture below, notice my boys ear's and neck are out of focus) Overall I think it will be a good addition to my lens collection. Hopefully I'll be able to get some good pics out of it at some point to share.

These (above and below) photos are for everyone that's been bugging me for more shots of my family. The one below was from a recent trip to RMNP, though, its low res. on purpose. My camera managed to auto focus on the background instead of us, so the shot didn't really turn out that well. So making it low res was my way of hiding it... :)

Friday, June 06, 2008

Pedal Power

This past week marks the beginning of me using cycling as more than just recreation. Of the 4 days I was in the office this week, I commuted mostly by bike twice. I say mostly because I am driving 10 miles to a park-n-ride close to my house and a convenient bike path. From there it's an additional 23 miles by bike into the office. Maybe by the end of the summer I'll be in enough shape to go from my house, but right now, I'm only averaging about 16.6 mph, and as such it already takes an hour twenty to pedal in. Leaving by bike from my house I think would make for a really long day. I probably could have bike 3 of the 4 days, but I'm trying to ease myself into this. I don't want risk being completely zonked at work all the time.

The ride overall isn't too bad. There's one good section through a park, where on my second time in, I rode across a bridge and around a corner only to almost crash directly into a large buck Mule Deer. Talk about a wake up call at 6 in the morning. The wildlife is great though, I've seen fox, prarie dogs, flickers, kestrels, and warblers to name a few. There are a number if interesctions to cross, which aren't to bad in the morning, but delay my ride back in the afternoon. Since its the afternoon, I don't mind as much though. The ride towards home also seems a heck of a lot more difficult too. The elevation profile (as seen at motionbased, here.) is pretty much 'V' shaped. just happens that one side of the V is more consistantly sloped than the other. Makes for a long climb back to the car. Oh well. If I were to drive this whole route to work it would be about 34 miles (My normal shorter drive is 26 miles)... so I'm still saving some gas and wear on the vehicle, as well as helping my body out.

Hopefully soon, I can pick up my average pace. My goal by the end of the season is to knock 10 minutes off the ride (inbound at least). The equates to about 30 second faster pace per mile on average, which I think is reasonable.

Also further adventures of the bike commute, on the 2nd trip back to the car, a co-worker advised me of a quicker way that knocks 5 minutes off his trip.... I got completely lost trying it out, and added about 7 miles to my trip. So much for quicker. It made me realize something though. I need to eat some carbs a little while before I head home in the afternoon. I was starving by the time I got to the car... Low blood sugar and biking don't mix to well. Of course, biking past the Krispy Kreme shop and smelling the fresh donuts did not help (doesn't help in the morning either).

June 25th is official "bike to work" day here in Denver. I encourage any of you out there, even not in Denver, to bike in as well, just once. At least try it out. The key to successfull commuting is plan ahead. The day before, take in a change of clothes, some extra food, shower / washup stuff. Extra pair of shoes. Leave non-essential things in the office too. IE, don't bring that laptop home, so you don't have to bike it in the next day. Make sure you get plenty of food in you, and hydrate the day/night before. Perhaps the weekend before, get up a little earlier and go for a "test run." See if your planned route will get you where you need to go, and how long it will take you. These steps should get you well on your way to riding in to work. Also, make sure you have a spare tube, an air pump, and tire levers with you too. Don't want to get stranded on your way in. Make sure you know how to use them, if you don't ask your local bike shop to show you. And on a slight side note, when you go home... leave your work at work. It will be there when you get back tomorrow. Enjoy the ride and realize the benifits you're giving your self. You're better off for it. Or if you love to work, see if your IT dept. will set you up with the means to remote into your work, thats what I do, should the need arrise.