Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bike and 4x5 Photos Day 1

Finally got a good day out on the bike with my 4x5 camera. My goal is to focus on the suburbs. Landscape, Architecture, Portraits. 

I spent half an hour trying to get my bike on to two different double decker commuter buses, but both drivers were not having a bike on board plenty of room or not. Crunched on time and out of options or the energy to keep fiddling around, I just rode downhill and across a small bridge over to the western part of the city and took the oceanside road out towards the airport and the suburbs.

It was somewhere around 20 or 30k, so it didn't take forever and I was able to finally get started on my project. 

The ride home was a bit darker and slower, but I made it home exhausted and happy to have some pictures under my belt.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Sunset Spot on the Bosphorus

After a day of walking or riding around I've found the best spot to sit, watch the light drop over the city and the water, plus watch some Turkish dudes fish, and have a beer next to a bunch of other Turkish guys doing exactly the same thing. 
Its not a secret spot by any means, but its an exceptional place to unwind after a long day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Göreme, Cappadocia, Turkey - Desert Ewok Village

Ever since the last time I visited Turkey in 2008, I have wanted to visit the region of Cappadocia. Mostly because the landscape looks like you're on another planet.

I always made the illustration that it looks like the Moon multiplied by Mars. After finally visiting the area, I would have to say that my favorite part is the villages sprinkled throughout the area. They look like little Ewok desert villages that have grown out of the terrain.

I overheard a tour guide mention that this area was used to film parts of Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine.
#1 - I really hope that's true.
#2 - That's why this place looks so familiar.

I was only in Cappadocia for a day and a night, so I spent the last 4 hours of daylight motoring around the dirt backroads and highways of the area on a rented scooter to really soak up the epic views. I carried my 4x5 film camera and my tripod in my backpack for the quick tour, so I don't have any digital proof of the aforementioned vistas, but I did make a nice analogue portrait of two older gentlemen who I met at a small village-old-man-tea-hangout-spot. We haltingly conversed in a mix of Turkish and French for about half an hour and two rounds of tea.

The 12 hour busride plus two camera bags prevented me from bringing my bike along this quick touristic jaunt, but I must say Cappadocia is definitely the place to tour a bit, long or short. Its hilly, but that makes the views better.

The attached pictures are what i could grab with 30 minutes to run out of the hotel and back before my bus left. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

A few minutes ago, I showed these pictures to a friend who remarked that the city looks like The Flintstones multiplied by the 70's.
Spot on.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Istanbul - Early Photo Roundup

I've been doing more exploring and hanging out than photographing while settling in this first week. Sorry to leave you in the dark. It happens. Here are a few consolation prizes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Istanbul - First Outing on the Bike

So, as you might have already imagined, riding a bike in Istanbul is crazy. When I was here last time in 2008 and since, I have visualized many times what it would be like to get around on my bike, and what the ideal bike would be.
In 2008 I'm pretty sure i just had a track bike, so I was probably like "oh I just need to get some hella fat tires, brakes, and a nice low gear ratio! problem solved." 
I'm glad I've had plenty of time to think and change in the interim. While there is a small fixed gear population in Istanbul (I've heard talk), the guys I met and hung out with a bit all rode mountain bikes and did urban freestyle trick riding in city parks.
Still life with Maramara Sea and Pellet Gun Range

Luckily, now I have big tires, serious brakes, and 8 speeds geared very low; turns out to be just right for getting up winding cobblestone hilly streets. As for the 5 minutes of slow descending around blind corners I have to do to get out of Cihangir, my neighborhood, onto a main thoroughfare, I have to say that I really glad I brought extra brake pads with me.

The one thing I didn't accurately previsualize about riding in Istanbul, was the drivers.
 I mean, even if you are just walking, the drivers already have the mentality of "either this pedestrian is going to get out of my way at the last minute, or I am going to hit them. And really, I'm okay with either outcome."
 So thus far I'm riding really defensively, but i can't yet stick to small streets because those are often  steep and indirect enough to get me lost. I am however glad i have been trained on the adrenaline level of racing through New York because this definitely takes it to the next level. 
 On top of all that, many streets are hardly wide enough to allow a car to pass with able space, but they're okay with that. They just pass anyway.
 If you worry about close-talkers in other cultures, I now worry about close-drivers.

Well stocked pellet gun range. I swear the sights on that gun on the right
are way off. The guy running it was impressed when I told him I'm from
Texas, less impressed when I failed at shooting a cigarette in half, more
impressed when I wielded the BB Pistol for a while. A good day.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Istanbul Day 4 - Bike is Built!

And the camera bag fits like a glove. Gonna go test it out on the hills and cobblestones and traffic (sans camera for good measure).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Nitto M-12 rack for my camera bag

Henry helped me out with a few last minute purchases for my trip, including this sweet rack. I didn't order the special Paul rack adapter bolts in time, but after a complicated trip to Lowe's with my brother, we worked it out!

Let's see how the cobblestones in Istanbul treat it.

-from my phone-

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Definitely Back in Texas

even if just for one day

1 Bike, 2 Cameras, 1 Bag o Clothes

Step 1 : Houston.
Step 2: Istanbul.