A Custom Cafe Racer Motorcycle Build Project

I love the creativity being a photographer allows me.  But sometimes, and especially in this digital age creating an image is a very virtual experience.  You can create incredibly creative image, but it’s not something that you can touch, like a painting or a sculpture.  Sometimes my images don’t even ever go to actual print, they are used only online in the virtual world.  In some sense it feels like virtual creativity.  While I don’t lament my career choice or the freedom it gives me to express myself, sometimes my hands are left wanting.  They need something to touch.

Enter the $350 1981 Honda CM400 Classic!

I picked this beauty up for a steal, and I have big plans for her.  In an effort to busy my hands with some real world creativity (and possibly a hint of a mid life crisis) I will turn this unsightly old beast into a sleek and sexy Cafe Racer style custom motorcycle for zipping around town, and the occasional cruise on the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway that links Vancouver to Whistler.

They (motorcycle folk) say that the CM400 is ugly, and that a CM400 would never make a good looking Cafe Racer.  Well, here is my concept roughed out using a base image of the bike as it was when I bought it (did I mention for a measly 350 bucks? ) and a collage of images from online sources mashed up in photo editing software.  It’s not beautiful, but it gives me a pretty good idea of where I’m headed, and I love it.  I will treasure every time I have to scrub grease from under my fingernails!

I’m not completely sold on the colour yet, so that might change.  I am pretty happy with the styling, and keeping most of the stock parts will keep the costs in line.  I will post occasionally with project updates.

Photography and Beer!

It’s been a while since I posted, and I was planning on something today when like magic in my inbox came This article from DesignTaxi about photography and beer!

Advanced Digital Photo Concepts Explained with Beer

Joachim Linkemann is an imaging sensor scientist, and in a presentation on digital sensor technology he uses several pages to describe digital sensor noise using a comparison to refilling and then emptying a glass of beer (one of my favourite things!)  And it’s a great analogy because with beer near and dear to my heart, I was able to grasp the concept rather quickly.  His presentation covers a lot of other interesting and technical information about imaging sensors, It you are a techno photo nerd like me it’s a pretty interesting read.

Also, subscribe to DesignTaxi to get half a dozen interesting techno/art/design inspirations in your inbox every day.

Micro Sculpture – Ted Talk by Amazing Artist Willard Wiggan

Micro Sculptor Willard Wiggan was an undiagnosed dyslexic 5 year old when he started skipping school, and escaping to a miniature fantasy world, where he became an architect for the ants in his garden shed.  His talent has grown into an ability that can only be described as amazing.  Willard creates sculptures on the heads of pins, and in the eyes of needles using his hands, a microscope, and tools he fashions from the likes of the hair of a fly, or an eyelash.  His work, which has been described as “the eighth wonder of the world”, can take up to three month to create, and is sometimes so small it can’t be seen by the human eye!  Listen to his talk at TED, and check out his mindboggling art at his website,

Design It: Shelter Competition Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright

The Guggenheim has a great competition going on. Titled "Design It: Shelter Competition", it’s inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s tendency to make apprentice architects design, build, and live and study in a shelter in the Arizona Desert.  The competition invites anyone to follow in the footsteps of Architectural Students at Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and design a shelter that relates to the outside.  The shelter must have a study space, and a sleeping space, and may not have any utilities (no AC in the Arizona desert will motivate you to design a well shaded shelter with good airflow!).

Tetrahedron Tent in Google Earth, Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937

Google is in on the competition, to enter the contest, you will design your shelter using Google Sketchup, and then pin it to Google Earth, so it can be viewed in the setting you intended, anywhere in the world.  I usually just photograph architecture, but I might try my hand, just for fun! Entries can be made by anyone, and are being accepted until August 23rd.  ENTER HERE,   Good Luck!

Also, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the passing of Frank Lloyd Wright (and since the Guggenheim Opened) you can order a Lego kit of  Falling Water, one of Wright’s most famous designs.

Seriously, I think i’ll order one for my office!

Interior Design – Modern Mountain Kitchen

I recently finshed post production on an Interior Design Photography project for Susan Parker, a Designer from Vancouver.  In an awesome place right on the Nicklaus North Golf Course in Whistler, BC.  Susan designed a Modern Mountain Kitchen in granite, stainless and slate with red accents to make it feel amazingly warm, but clean and modern at the same time.

With the same approach, Susan also designed the living space surrounding the kitchen for an up to date cozy ski town feel.  The interior is accented by a brilliant custom stairway designed by Architect Dennis Maguire.

Modern mountain style interior design is one of my favourite things to shoot, clean but warm and inviting.

Innovative Architecture – Vertical Farming

Photographing Architecture is a big part of what i do, and seeing new and creative architecture regularly gets me excited for the future.  There has been a real move recently towards increased housing density.  Vancouver, BC is one of the most vibrant cities in the world because of its density.  I have been to cities like Dallas, and recently Phoenix that are practically abandoned on a Sunday, because there is very little residential housing in the core of the city.  Vancouver on the other hand, is always alive. Before I lose the point, the trend in residential, since no one is making any more land has been to go up.  This does some great things. Aside from creating metropolitan vibrance, is keeps people living closer to where they work, shop, and play, reducing the need for transportation.  It does mean however that more supplies need to be shipped in from out of town.

Enter Vertical Farming.

photo from SOA Architects

Several innovative architectural designs offer a vertical solution to the urban food supply.  The one above is “The Living Tower” designed by SOA Architects in France.  Essentially it’s a farm in a high rise, using clean energy to grow fresh food for the city centre, reducing transportation costs for produce, eliminating growing seasons, and even cleaning city waste water to provide fresh clean drinking water a s a by-product.  Imagine a farmers market on the ground floor, where you can buy hydroponically grown fresh food that was harvested 15 minutes ago. Not to mention it’s an architectural photographer’s dream!

While the logistics are not simple, and solutions are more complicated than producing a great looking rendering, it’s the innovative thinking that gets me excited.  Solving problems through original architectural design could someday revolutionize the way we live, interact, and even eat.  Personally I’m looking forward to seeing, eating from, and hopefully photographing an amazing vertical farm in the future!

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