May is definitely a sublime month for riding. Here in Georgia the weather begins to have some pretty nice days in February, especially if you’re comfortable riding temps in the 50s. And, the number of nice days just keeps increasing through May when it’s not hard at all to schedule a beautiful day to ride. The best part is that the weather hasn’t yet cranked up to unbearably hot yet. The animals that were hunkered down for the winter have come out to play. The ones that left have come back from where they wintered and they’re starting their families. I’ve even been swooped by a couple of hyper vigilant birds protecting against a perceived threat to their nests.
The weather, blooms and animals make me wish we were in full swing photographically, taking video and calendar stills. However, hindsight being 20/20, I’m thinking it was insane to believe I could be trained, up, and running by last January, or even by now. I don’t really know in all honesty exactly how unrealistic it was. My childcare obligations were full-time spread over 8+ days over two weeks. Trying to make that work without being able to choose which days I had off, and knowing that weather doesn’t deliver rideable days on cue was the part that was predictably going to cause an inordinate level of stress. All the sickness (thankfully not Covid) wasn’t something I should have expected though. As time was passing, I felt stress to get the elements of the Kickstarter together and submitted, but, right now I can honestly say that it was for the best that it didn’t happen. The goal is to get large amounts of video over changing seasons to enrich the lives of low tech users and provide an alternate experience for people who can’t get out in real natural environments, but that’s not all I want. I’m training because I want to do it on low impact pedal power, and I’m researching how to do it best because I want to produce video of a quality that it could be used in subsequent high tech projects, and I want to collect the video in as regular and consistent a way as possible, in case it could be useful for scientific research (such as species counts or trail use studies, trail impact studies or economic impact studies, ecosystem services studies…).
The Weather and the Camera
There’s been an unusual amount of high wind on several of my rides. From my time ballooning, I know some of the signs that indicate wind speed, like a certain amount of movement in tree branches or how stiffly a certain size flag is standing straight out. So, while I was getting pushed around out there, I was looking at different tells and assigning approximate wind speed numbers. The Mountain Laurel had just bloomed. I thought I had more time to get a photo, but the wind was pretty constant and it dried the blooms. Not in a way many people would notice from a distance, but in a way that someone who had hoped to get a peak photograph would lament. As I’ve been stressing over pictures missed, I’ve been running scenarios through my head. If my best photo of a particular flower or other feature that exists on the trail comes from my yard instead of the trail, do I use the best photo or the trail photo? I want that best photo to be on the trail, but I also want to show my best work, and some calendars have subject matter that isn’t even on the trail in the first place. I’m personally fine doing either, and will say whatever it is that I decide in the end, but I want to make the choice that my supporters would choose.
I’ve also given a lot of thought is what to do about not having spring photos I’m happy with yet. I had thought of trying to keep the reward timing on 2022 calendars, but I’m not yet happy with my spring collection of photos. I have to have usable photos for all of the calendars for all of the months in case the calendars associated with different project levels make. The timing for delivery the rewards being significantly before the end of the project is what complicates production, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the rewards and the project will each take large amounts of time with little overlap.
I considered producing the calendars with my best available photos and then making better calendar pages available for the first few months. I think that carries the risk of disappointing. Once a first impression is made, it’s hard to improve. I also want the primary overlap (that time when I’m filming at the beginning and still filming during the same months at the end of the project) to be in better months. The better months (times when weather makes riding most fun and video will be more enjoyable) are April and May if it’s in the spring, or September and October in the fall. If I shift this to a “next year” project, my 60th year project becomes my 61st year project. It doesn’t have the same sound, but my calendars will be better from the start, and I can make sure those best months are well covered with lots of video. I’m near deciding my reward needs to be a 2023 calendar. As much as I hate to do that, I think it’s the solution.
We’ll be visiting family up north over the weekend, riding bikes on the way up, and on the way back. We also have an appointment with a recumbent shop. We’re looking forward to a much more cycling active June than I would normally have when we get back