Eyes of a Painter

Every picture tells a story, as Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart told us 50 years ago.

I was advised, when I started this blog, that pictures were essential. Words would not be enough. Since it’s about riding a bike, that meant phone pictures for the most part. With a “real” camera, composition includes choosing the right lens, getting the light right, and using aperture and shutter speed to control depth of field and motion. A phone limits those choices and a camera and lenses are too heavy to carry.

What my eye sees and what my phone shows you don’t always match. The weakness is on both sides – me and the phone. Another blogger I follow is a writer (novelist, poet, former English teacher) and a painter. On the ride that spawned the picture below, I though about Martha – writer and painter – and whether the picture in the phone would really show you what I saw.

Ken Burns tries to capture that in his films. It has been named “The Ken Burns Effect”. My eye saw that truck a lot more clearly than you probably see it in the picture. To get closer to the truck with a digital zoom loses the sharpness and the buildings on the horizon. The colors seem less vibrant here than out there. Digital enhancement (at least with the built-in phone software) makes it look fake. While Martha has the eyes of a painter, this is my kind of music, not hers. She’s a punk. I mean that in the nicest way.

Since Martha is a punk, The Stranglers may be more to her liking. I was never a Stranglers fan, but heard them on the way to meeting some folks for a ride. They were being interviewed by Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and played this:

It is from the album “Dark Matters”, their first in nearly 10 years, and contains the last recorded work of their keyboardist, Dave Greenfield, who died of COVID-19 during its recording. Nothing punk about that song (or a lot of their other work), but as we approach 70 (or pass it) my friends and I talk about aging more. Some friends no longer ride with us, having gotten old. Some have slowed down. Some wonder how long we will feel this good. I can ride 100 miles now, but for how much longer? I will enjoy it while it’s here. There are no guarantees.

Last Wednesday Night Ride

It is October. It is supposed to be getting cold and dark after work. 77 degrees and sunny. A quick 17 miles and I’ll be home in time to cook dinner. Soon there will not be enough daylight to ride after work. The fall color ride is just around the corner, and that will mark the end of recreational riding until the New Year Ride (unless it just stays too nice to resist).

Author: halffastcyclingclub

We are a group of friends who ride bikes. Some of us are fast, some of us are slow, all of us are half-fast. In 2018, one of us rode coast to coast across the US. It was so much fun, he's doing it again in 2022! If we meet Sal Paradise, we'll let you know.

8 thoughts on “Eyes of a Painter”

  1. You might like this song. It really speaks to me considering the burden I carried for so long of my extremely talented brother who ultimately dropped himself from the face of the earth.

    I do like the Stranglers song very much. As for riding 100 miles? Having lost so many physical abilities, I echo your resolution. We do what we love to the best of our ability as long as we can do it then we have to love something else. It’s not all bad. It’s a lot bad, but not all bad. I’d give a lot to be able to run for miles on a mountain trail. But not my soul, so there’s a limit. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll admit I mostly find Neil Young annoying. I’d rather scratch a chalkboard. But someone I respect recently featured him on the radio and I listened carefully. He has a lot to say and I managed to listen longer than I can usually stand his voice or his guitar playing. While it may be sacrilege, I think I’d rather hear covers of his songs.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. After hearing the interview I listened to a lot more of The Stranglers and realized I had missed something. I liked a lot of what I heard. As for learning to love something else, I guess that’s the story of life. Riding a bike may be one of the few constants in my adult life; a lot of things I loved have become other things I love. And one day, that may be added to the pile; unless I’m like Robert Marchand (who set a bicycling record in the >105 year old age group a few years ago).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You would be surprised by how seriously some take riding a stationary bike – with bikes that cost $2500, or attachments to their “real” bike that cost over $1000, computer set-ups and monthly software subscription fees, virtual competitions…Don’t try to tell them it’s not a sport.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha ha ha! Well, I do often ride the Tour de France! I guess it’s not that much different from any other solitary sport where a person “competes” against himself, which is, of course, what my sport was. I honestly love my stationary bike. OK it wasn’t $2500 and it’s fifty years old, but it’s amazing and still one of the highest rated exercise bikes of all time. And, it has racing stripes which is the most poetic irony.


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