The Power of Relaxation

 

The Shiny Side Up Bicycle Show in July of 2017 was the tenth anniversary for this fantastic event, and my third time attending. Shiny Side Up holds a special place in my heart because it marks my bicycle birthday. In July of 2015, I stumbled upon what would be a life changing moment, as I was surrounded by the coolest bicycles on the planet. This premiere Northern California event is something that is special to many people and there are many reasons that can be listed. But as I was turning three years old in the bike culture, I decided to throw a spotlight on one of my favorite aspects of the scene. The people. I borrowed a canopy from Rich Luna, and then asked a couple of my other buddies, Ryan and Marcus, if they had a couch I could borrow. That was easy enough, so I ran my idea past Dom from the Cruiser Shop and put my project into action. I would be bringing a couch to Shiny Side Up to offer a little oasis for people to relax as we discussed bikes and bicycle related matters.
The couch served two purposes. First, I wanted people to be comfortable. I wanted to give them a place to sit and rest for a moment during the bicycle show. But the other idea behind the couch was to inspire conversation. This was exactly what happened. The couch was an instant success and it seemed to take on its own persona. People came by my area to have a seat and talk about bikes all day long. Everyone that participated offered a unique personal view of their bike life and we all sat around and enjoyed the conversation. What a great way to enjoy Shiny Side Up from a completely different perspective. As everyone sat and talked, I photographed them all. I captured images of Club Presidents, Fabricators, Builders, Friends, Strangers, Fellow Photographers, and more. Some were fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, and some were single. Some of them were confident and outspoken, and others were a little shy. We sat and listened to legends of the scene talk about the details of their latest builds. We heard insider secrets that would normally be kept hidden. The power of the couch was incredible and I just soaked it all in.
I did shoot some video from the event as well, but I have decided to pay respect to the Native Americans by allowing these stories to live on through the tradition of oral story telling. The stories from the couch will live on as we meet for these great events and share them amongst the people of the bicycle culture. The stories will evolve and change each time as they are remembered in new ways. I appreciate everything that was shared on the couch that day in July of 2017, and I look forward to the next time the couch returns. Until then, we will share the stories from the couch with anybody that is willing to listen. The couch will live on through these stories, continuing to inspire new discussions and create new relationships.

Shiny Side Up 2016

Another Shiny Side Up has come and gone, but the resulting memories and friendships will last a lifetime. Northern California’s premier custom bike event is the place to be for the bicycle enthusiast. These folks come from around the world on the last weekend in July to ride through the streets of San Jose and enjoy a true bicycle holiday. The event is a one of a kind, like many of the bicycles that can be seen at the show that takes place in History Park on the last day. But the show is just a nice finish to a weekend full of bike riding with some of the awesome people from the bicycle culture. I am happy to say this was my second time at Shiny Side Up, and I am already excited about next year.

My Shiny Side Up experience started with a birthday ride on Thursday July 21st for my great friend, Ralph. As Ralph celebrated his 41st birthday, I was excited to be celebrating my first year in the bike culture. The night was filled with bike riding, beer drinking, good friendships, and more. I personally had a little too much fun. Ralph, a.k.a. Ref, rides with the Chopaderos and the Chopaderos know how to bring the party. It was a great way to start the weekend with some close friends, but I was too tired to make it to the ride across the Golden Gate Bridge with the Other BC the next day. The Others are so gracious in inviting everyone to join them in a fantastic ride across the Golden Gate. This is something that everyone needs to do at least once in their life. The ride offers the opportunity to ride with cool people and experience fantastic views of the city of San Francisco. I did manage to pull myself together for the Friday night ride through San Jose with some more awesome people. My great friend Jodi helped put together a nice little pre-pre-ride and that ended with a rockin’ party at the Keyes Club in San Jose. I couldn’t find the bottom of my beer because people kept refilling it for me, but this is how the bike culture works. These people have become family to me and the love and respect is huge.

Saturday July 23rd was the official Shiny Side Up Pre Ride. Starting around 2 o’clock, riders gather together to ride and celebrate through the streets of San Jose. The ride begins at San Pedro Square and takes everyone past the Shark Tank on the way to Chacho’s, a local spot for awesome tacos. The next leg travels to Jack’s bar and then finishes up back at San Pedro Market. I was excited to see all of my many friends at the Pre Ride that I had not seen on Thursday or Friday. People from all over the globe like Hawaii, Huntington Beach, and even Japan that help make this event absolutely amazing. Good food, cold drinks, awesome people, and great stories are just some of the things that can be found during the Pre Ride, and no written description is sufficient.

Sunday caps off the weekend with a bicycle show at History Park where the coolest custom bikes on the planet are displayed. The family friendly event gives anybody the chance to talk to some of the people that work hard to make the bike scene the place to be. The bike show is just a fun experience for all, and I would like to thank the many people that work hard to make it happen. A special Thank You to the Cruiser Shop in Campbell and Dominick Guida for your hard work. Dominick is the go to guy for your custom bicycle needs. So next time you are looking for a bike, go see Dom at the Cruiser Shop and tell him the White Ninja sent you.

I hope my images help to show how awesome Shiny Side Up really is. I know for a fact that my good friend Wim built a bike that no one picture could do justice. It is not easy to capture so much awesomeness in one image, but I did try. I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of the other photographers like Kuya Hoc that bust their ass to produce photos during these events. I took over 20,000 pictures during the 4 days of bike riding. That is no mistake… I said 20,000. I take the time to select the good photos, edit them, and publish them for my friends to enjoy because I love to do it. It is that simple, I do this for love. My love of bikes, my love of photography, and my love for the people riding next to me. I feel this is a large part of why these photos are so strong. I love what I am doing and I am photographing people that love what they are doing.

Most of my images are captured using my GoPro on time lapse. I have recently mounted my GoPro Session onto the hub of my front wheel so it spins in a circle as I ride. This may sound weird, and it is, but the images are awesome and I am enjoying the results. I had my other GoPro mounted on my frame and pointed backwards. This was a recent change as well, and I enjoy trying to find new ways of using the GoPro to capture images. Some of the photos from Sunday were taken with my Sony A6000, but I did not use it as much as my other two cameras. I do a small bit of editing with Lightroom, but I do not crop or adjust the horizon line. I like to present my captures as they are to maintain the concept of movement and action in the shots. If anybody would like to learn more about the details of my photos, please feel free to ask. The White Ninja is happy to share some secrets. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process.

Please enjoy these images and share them with your friends. I only ask that you respect the people in my photos, and do not reproduce these without my specific permission. I work hard, so please respect my work.

OBC LAS VEGAS 2016

 

I am so excited to publish these fantastic images from OBC 2016. This event is the greatest place on earth for the custom bicycle crowd. People come from all around the globe to ride bikes, drink beers, and make friends. I was very successful at all three and I have some awesome photos to prove it.

The images were captured using my GoPro 3+, my Sony A6000, and my new GoPro Session. The GoPro allows me to utilize the time-lapse feature and capture images over an extended period of time with less work. I always enjoy the results. The new Session proved to be a great tool, and the small size makes it very useful. If I could do anything differently, I would take a little more time to keep the lens clean because some of the images were shot through a smudge of some kind. This did not cause too much trouble, and I am very happy with the results.

I would like to Thank a few people, like Amy Tuleen, Nick Evans, and Rich Luna. They worked hard while many of us had a good time. Thanks to the rest of the OBC crew for the awesome event. Thanks to the Others BC for always supporting my work. The Others are like family to me and I am so thankful for the opportunity to ride with such a great group of people. I would also like to Thank the City Style Cruiserz for always treating me so well. I have so much respect for these folks from Gilroy, and I am grateful for their friendship also. I would also like to say Thanks to all of the other clubs that came to OBC. I am new to the scene and I am still learning all of the names, but I know one thing for sure. This bike culture is something powerful and the people of this culture are equally amazing. The love and respect runs deep and I look forward to next year already.

Please enjoy these images. Share them and tag your friends. I only ask that you credit my work when possible and do not reproduce them without my permission. I work hard so please respect my images and respect the people I have photographed. Thanks

The Quick Get Away

As I was taking photos at Levi’s Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday I came across a Hot Dog vendor working at the corner of an intersection near the stadium. As I watched him serve some hot dogs to some Bronco’s fans, I thought the scene made for a fantastic image. The hot dogs sizzling on his cart made from an old metal shopping cart with all of the fans in their jerseys looked really great. The smell and all of the excitement in the air would surely be translated into my photo. Right as I began to capture some photos, the vendor began to look off into the distance with concern. All of a sudden he handed out one last dog, tossed the ketchup bottle to his wife, and then he was gone. I mean gone gone. Where did he go ? I have no idea, because he sure wasn’t sticking around to answer any questions. His get away would have been perfect, except for the tiny piece of evidence left behind. The one lone hot dog bun that was thrown off the back as the Hot Dog Vendor made his Quick Get Away. Sometimes you just gotta go.

Check out the look on number 21's face as the guy that just sold him a hot dog leaves in a big hurry.
Check out the look on number 21’s face as the guy that just sold him a hot dog leaves in a big hurry.

The 100th Ride of the San Jose Bike Party

I have been riding with the San Jose Bike Party for about 7 or 8 rides now. They have all been so much fun, and I am so thankful to be a part. I am really happy to have met some great people that I call friends along the way, and I would like to say thanks to them for everything. I have always found great success taking photos at the SJBP because it is such a great source. Everyone is having such a good time, and I enjoy taking photos with all of the fantastic people from the bike culture. This last ride was the 100th ride and once again I had an absolute blast with all of my friends, so I wanted to share these images from another classic San Jose Bike Party.

I used my NEX-5R for these images. I like to bring it on my bike because it is small and convenient, but it is also good in the low light conditions. I enjoy avoiding the flash on most occasions, but for some of these I did utilize the flash. Many times I will use my Go Pro to capture images at the Bike Party, but I did not include any of those here in this post. I am working on a way to display what I have captured over the last year, and I will include the Go Pro images later. Some of those have been published on my Facebook page under the same name, Shadow of the White Ninja. Please enjoy these and like my page on Facebook for more information about future projects. Thanks for the support.

Chacho’s Inaugural Taco Festival in St. James Park

 

Chacho’s is so much more than simply a Mexican restaurant. I have only visited the downtown San Jose location at 87 E. San Fernando St. once, but that was enough to know I needed to go back again. They atmosphere is great, and the staff was very professional. The taco combinations offered on the menu are unique and offer some different views of the taco. My Hawaiian taco with pineapple was excellent, but the best part was learning of the upcoming Taco Festival.

The Taco is one of my favorite food items, and it is obviously deserving of it’s own festival. What a great way to celebrate the Taco with a Taco eating competition. Throw in some live music, some artwork, a few low riders, and a margarita garden, and some hungry people. The highlight of the festival would be the Major League Eating competition and Matt Stonie’s run at his own record of 101 tacos eaten in 8 minutes. Stonie would face big competition from some of the MLE’s biggest competitors including some ladies that were ready to give him a run for his money. The lovely Mary Bowers would arrive in style in a Taco tutu that was just the hit of the party, but she was not there just to look good. Mary was there to kick some Taco ass along with Lesley Ride, Michelle Lesco, and Miki Sudo. 12 competitors together would eat Tacos for 8 minutes but only one would eat 103 to break the record. Matt Stonie was able to beat his previous mark and set a new record and it was impressive to watch him work.

I had a great time at Chacho’s 1st Annual Taco Festival, and I would like to thank some of the people that made it all work. First I would like to thank David Ocampo of Milagro Marketing for access to the event. All of the images from the Taco Festival should not be used or duplicated without permission from Milagro Marketing. I would also like to thank all of the groups that performed at the event including Camino, Cuevo Perez, Highest Intention, and the Trims. Please support these artists and check out their music. I would also like to give a huge Thank You to Gilbert from Street Low Magazine. I will be looking to work with Street Low in the future. They have a big event coming up on September 6th at the San Jose Fairgrounds to honor Sonny Madrid, the founder of Low Rider Magazine. Hanging out with Gilbert and the crew from Street Low at the Taco Festival was really cool. A huge Thank You to the competitors from Major League Eating. Lesley Ryde, Mary Bowers, Matt Stonie, Sam Barclay, Steve Hendry, Miki Sudo, Michelle Lesko, and all the others, Thank you for the awesome photos. I would like to say one last Thanks to anybody else I might have missed.

All of the images shot from Chacho’s Taco Festival were captured with my SLT-A58, and my standard 18-55 mm kit lens. I saw no need to use a zoom lens because I could just move closer, except during the eating competition when it was packed and I could not move. The festival crowd was having fun, and many people enjoyed stopping to take a picture. As a result, taking pictures in this type of setting was really fun. The images were later processed minimally in Lightroom. Please enjoy them, and look for more images from the event on the Chacho’s Taco Festival Facebook page available through Milagro Marketing.

Shiny Side Up Bike Show 2015

I would like to say a big Thank You to the Others Bike Club for the invitation to the Shiny Side Up Bike Show in San Jose, CA. at History Park on Sunday July 26th. I had a great time this whole weekend hanging out with people from all over the world. I really appreciate the entire experience and I hope to do it again next year. The images I captured are really strong, but I was able to make a whole bunch of new friends and I want to say thank you again for the opportunity to all of the guys, and ladies of the Others Bike Club.

The images from Sunday at the bike show were captured with my Sony A58. I was walking and not riding my bike today, so I was able to carry a little more stuff. I was really excited to use my fish eye lens, and I ended up going a little crazy. It was a perfect opportunity to use it with these cool custom bikes. The other images are taken with my 18-55 mm lens. I also used a Polarizer for a couple of the 18-55 shots.