Hitting the Road Literally on a Trek Madone 2.1

County Road 166
County Road 166 With No Traffic Only Dogs

Pride really does come before the fall, even literally. I guess looking back at my first wreck on Wednesday I would say I was probably pretty proud I had never wrecked a bike as an adult, motor or cycle, nor did I ever expect to wreck, and certainly not on a bike less than a week old (see previous post). But, it’s all a matter of perspective because that ominous looking road above on Wednesday got the better of my ride. After finishing my ride for the day I decided to go a little farther down the road from my car to cool down when all of a sudden I found myself being chased by a 90 pound mass of Doberman flesh at 26 mph. Without any warning, in less than a blink of an eye, in full stride, he turned his 90+ pounds like a pro running back directly into my front tire and it was all over.

Being chased by a dog is certainly nothing new out here in the county. There are way WAY too many dog owners out here in Lee County Alabama who just refuse to tie up their dogs, and most of them own Rottweilers, Dobermans, or Pit Bulls. It wasn’t even the first dog who chased me on my ride that day, it was more like the 5th or 6th dog. Faced with slowing down and possibly having the dog take off flesh like a shark out of water, then the ensuing rabies shots that follow, I generally just keep going hoping to outrun the dog (note to self, big giant dogs can actually run over 20mph for not so short distances).

I really gave no thought to my helmet or anything else I put on that day. When I landed, or bounced, on the pavement I was so stunned when the dog speared my wheel, seemingly at the time on purpose to take me out, I hadn’t really understood that all the safety gear I was wearing actually did what it was supposed to do, give me a fighting chance at surviving a body plant on pavement at 26mph. I landed directly on my hip and the back of my head simultaneously. My helmet basically was split in two and apparently a hip socket can take a beating I never knew was possible. I’m not sure how I didn’t black out completely, and my brain somehow didn’t seem to get scrambled inside my skull as I quickly went through the “do I have a concussion” routine.

Some questions came up of course:

How Did it happen? See above.

Are you ok? I think so although I still can’t really walk yet, have some nice road rash on my skin and every muscle I have seems to be yelling at me. Nothing broken (I think, but how I don’t know), and seemingly no concussion (at least not a serious one).

How is the dog? Who cares, but, yes he never even slowed down or looked back. Pepper spray will be flying next time around.

How is the bike? See below, but surprisingly, it fared extremely well. I was wearing a pair of Bontrager RL Road shoes (pictured here in their new splendor), which split at the seam of the buckle. Kind of strange but it just snapped in half. I was hopefully Bontrager would warranty the shoes being only 5 days old. After my LBS checked on it for me they said, no Bontrager said they couldn’t warranty the shoes because they were smashed to oblivion and in an accident. They did however say they would replace them under their “good will” program because they were less than a week old. I figured out this meant they felt really sorry for me. WOW, well I’m now a Bontrager fan now and will certainly recommend Bontrager gear to anyone who asks.

The bike, a Trek Madone 2.1, purchased a week ago from my fantastic LBS in Auburn, had some fabric wear on the seat and bar tape, and the front tire is slightly out of round, but other than that, the frame held up extremely well, hardly even a scratch on it. I didn’t really anticipate writing a review about how well a Trek Madone 2.1 holds up in a wrecked, but crashing at 26mph, the bike looks fantastic.

What were you wearing? An old Trek helmet. My helmet was smashed but my head wasn’t. I was wearing gloves. Something I never thought about much, but they kept my hands from some serious pain. I was wearing thicker riding pants (tights), something that also saved me some pain (hair on legs was not a good idea). I had on a breathable non-cotton shirt, but it was pretty thick, it also ended up being a good choice.

This is all basically to say… if you ride a bike, wear a helmet, period. Make safety a priority. I never ever ever thought I would make use of my helmet, but when I go to pick out my next one it will be with a keen eye on safety. I do wish I had mounted my GoPro Hero 3 on my bike to capture this event, but hope it never happens again.

Broken Trek Cycling Helmet
Broken Trek Cycling Helmet
Bontrager Seat Damage from Wreck
Bontrager Seat Damage from Wreck
Shimano Hood and Tape Damage from Wreck
Shimano Hood and Tape Damage from Wreck

Aviation Photography Spotting at Las Vegas McCarran Airport :: Throwback Thursday

Las Vegas Departure of America West Cactus

Early this morning I was looking through some previous photo shoots from about 10 years ago, which today is my next edition of Throwback Thursday. In one respect, I can’t believe this was 10 years ago, it sounds so long ago when you say it like that, but when I look at the images, I can remember each day, each image, like I just drove over to the KLAS observation area yesterday.

Ten years ago, in my “off” time from work, I was all about aviation photography, and aviation spotting at whatever airport I could get to that week. I shot aviation photography for years until it just became too much of a hassle with local police and the FBI, who harassed me constantly about taking photos of planes in a post-911 world with big glass (most of the time the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom). Most of my aviation images were posted over on airlines.net and more specifically mine are still at planephoto.net. These in particular were shot at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport observation deck. Back then, Deb and I lived in Las Vegas for a while, long enough to know Vegas as well any city I know, so I found every angle possible to shoot at KLAS, including when Air Force One showed up one afternoon.

One of the many things I loved about shooting in Las Vegas was the smog and dust from the desert of Nevada made for some incredible sunset photos, both aviation and the Las Vegas strip buildings. I probably took thousands of sunset and night images in Las Vegas but the one above was always one of my favorite, simplicity in flight.

Southwest Airlines in Las Vegas Departs Over Excalibur

Frontier Airlines Lands in Rain at Las Vegas Airport

Scott Fillmer Shooting in Las Vegas

Singapore Airlines in Las Vegas Strip

Heading to Entebbe International Airport for the Long Ride

This is the last trip post before we get on the plane in a few hours. I will continue to post some photos from the trip over the next several weeks and months as I go through the thousands of images I’ve taken over this trip. I can’t reflect over this trip any more, especially since we really have no distance in time for all our experiences over the last 7-10 days. For now I will leave everyone with the photo above that sums up our awesome driver, who took care of us the entire time. Everyone who has been over knows what this photo means. We love Eddy.

In this post are some shots of us in the crazy fast Eddy van along with one of Olive we all just loved. She was a super nice lady who went with us just about everywhere. It’s hard to sum up this trip. I think I probably will find it hard to sum up the trip for months to come, but overall it was a learning experience, a humbling experience, and hopefully one where we lived out the love of Jesus.

Learning to Processing 16684 Miles and 15418 Photos :: Friday Feet

Apparently I didn’t exactly take 1 photo per mile traveled on this trip to Africa but I came pretty close. I’m still trying to recover from sitting in a metal tube at 35,000 feet for some 20 hours but I’m also trying to figure out how to process what we saw and did on this trip. Last week I was sitting in mud watching some amazing people play soccer. This Friday I am back sitting in my air conditioned office looking out at a green pasture of grass. It’s 100*F outside, (it was much cooler in Africa) so there really is no going outside to “enjoy” the weather, but I am happy to be back home. I keep trying to figure out how to compare life in Buloba to life over here in Auburn but realized, probably yesterday, that there just isn’t any way to compare life in two different cultures that is so drastically different. It is like trying to compare the similar properties of a commercial jet and a bullfrog.

If you have a picture in your head of a stereotype late night commercial where they show photo after photo of people crying and dramatically upset with every unimaginable horror in great detail that just isn’t what I saw in person. Yes, there are humanitarian needs everywhere, but the people I saw and met, and photographed, were people like Joy in the photo above. They were happy, many full of love for their brothers and sisters in Christ, and overjoyed to spend some time with us.

It’s Friday and this week’s feet post comes from Africa of course. This week the feet are mine and Joy. She is an amazing woman from Buloba Community Church who helped with everything from translation to installing rain catches (although I did see her kick a chicken, which, sorry, was hilarious).

Almost Time to Say Goodbye to Uganda at Least for Now

This has been a trip that really is hard to describe in words, really. It took 66 books of scripture to go over God’s plan for His people, so trying to describe how God moved in and around our team over the last week feels almost impossible. I’m glad I had the ability to take photos on this trip since to me words are often not enough, but a photo sometimes says so much more.

We leave to go home tomorrow and I leave you with one of my favorite shots of the trip (from the ones I have been able to look at so far). I took approximately 12,000 images over the last week and if I had to look back at one image that means a lot to me it’s the one above.

On Saturday I was able to meet our sponsor child, Joanita, and she was very shy. She didn’t seem to want to play too much with the kids and didn’t have a whole lot to say to me either, but I really wanted to spend some time with her. So, that particular day the kids held elections for their school offices and every single child had to vote (it took quite a while and if you look at the photo closely you will see the little boy resting on my shoes has a purple thumb, colors from the voting process).

I asked her to sit down with me and pulled out one of my notebooks and the three colored pencils and three colored pens and just handed them to her. She said there for about an hour and colored while I read my bible. We said nothing the whole time, she wasn’t interested in my camera like the other kids were but she sat there as content as one could be with something as simple as a piece of paper and a pencil.

Of course it never takes long to have a large crowd of kids nearby so I was soon gathered by 40 or 50 of her closest friends and we all sat there and watched her draw. I loved the shot I got while they just sat there, resting on my shoes, as calm as could be, perfectly happy to be caught up in the moment. It was a great memory from this week I will cherish.

Can’t wait to get on the plane tomorrow and see Deborah and everyone else on Wednesday but I also will miss those we are leaving behind.

Photographic Week in Review of Outtakes :: Saturday Summary

I started thinking about all the photos I take during the week that never see the light of day. They could be photos on my phone or when I haul around my DSLR (which is most places right now until I find a suitable replacement for everyday stuff like the x100), but most get archived and are never seen from again. This odd collection of photos has nothing in common with the other except they all took place within the last 7 days. I’m calling this gallery a “Saturday Summary” and just including a hodge-podge of 5-10 photos from the previous week. These in this post are from July 2nd to July 9th, which included a weird set of images from stuff like the one rain we actually got in Auburn to the Cow Appreciation Day photos for Chick-fil-a my sister wanted of my nephews (which could be the cutest photo ever even if I do say so).

Call me strange but I love looking at the week in photos. It’s just a narrow frozen piece of time in the normal routine of daily life, something photographers rarely covered years ago, but something we now have the ability to document quickly, easily, and in great high quality. It may be the product of our age or culture, and it also may be just too much in general, but I would love to have seen photos of everyday life from my grandfather’s house, or great-grandfather.

The Fillmer Birthday Party from October 1953 :: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday today is from October 1955 and would be Larry Fillmer’s 7th birthday party. I just love these old black and whites. Apparently back in the mid-50’s you dressed up for a birthday party since one of them is wearing a suit and bow-tie and I love the card table, which was probably literally used as a card table. I’m not too sure about any of the history behind this photo, and the only reason I am saying the date is 1953 is because there are 7 candles on the cake, otherwise, there was no date or anything else on the photo. I’m sure someone in the family will tell me a little more about the image, but I’m almost 100% sure that’s my dad as the birthday boy from the way he is dressed, watch and all… always a snappy dresser. Pretty sure that is his brother Les Fillmer standing to the right of Larry.

So it seems, I’ve now been told, the photo was taken in Birmingham in an area called Oak Hills in Central Park, the puppets were Howdy Doody Puppets, and yes, they apparently played cards on that card table.

Summer Camp Cornerstone 2011 Gets Underway :: Photos

So it’s that time of year again when all the churches in the country move into VBS mode (we actually call it Camp Cornerstone here, doesn’t sound quite as scary to me, but doubt the kids care what the name is, they always have a blast). Anyway, last night was the kick off for this year and as usually it was all hands on deck fantastic. I really doubt the kids have any idea what-so-ever how much work goes into pulling off Camp Cornerstone, but I do, and the time and effort put in by the staff and volunteers was well worth the excitement on 200+ faces last night. There is a lot planned for the rest of the week and I know they will have a blast while learning about Jesus, our faith, and how to live a life devoted to Christ. Above are just a tiny few shots from the opening set last night, others will be posted by the crew of photogs we had on hand last night. The sign of the day though goes to Mike Fisher with “Sock Puppets are Real” on his guitar… nice!

Saturday Morning Macro Flowers Before the Heat Arrives

I think I spent an hour or longer last night looking for a single wildflower to shoot and found nothing. We have had so little rain here this summer that nothing wild is blooming, until I woke up this morning and looked right outside my window. I always forget about these tiny little violet wildflowers. They open every single morning and are gone by about 9am. Of course they get more water than the rest of the scorched earth around here since they are close to the house. Ebby unwillingly sat among the flowers for me, so patiently. She can be like stone when you just place her somewhere, poor thing. If you want to see the EXIF metadata for the macro shots above go here or here. They were taken at “life-size” or a 1:1 macro. I love the reflection in the water droplet (and no I didn’t place that there, God provided a nice bit of dew on the flowers just for me this morning). You can actually see the house and my camera if you look close enough. Hope everyone has an enjoyable Saturday, and has someplace to stay cool.

Last Few Instrumental Photos from the National Polka Festival

Here are two more instrumental shots from last weekend’s 2011 National Polka Festival from Ennis Texas. You can also see the NPF gallery on Flickr. These are two of my favorite shots of the weekend, one being the corner edge of a steel guitar. These were both taken handheld from about 20 feet away from both instruments, while they were being played. If you are interested in the EXIF data on the images just head over to the Flickr gallery.