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Old 07-05-2010, 01:58 AM   #16
RandyM
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I have a few thoughts on making reports better.

1. The teaser pics are great because they help the reader decide if it is the kind of ride report they want to spend time reading or not. The opening paragraph and teaser photos should give the reader enough information to figure out what kind of ride it is.

2. The beginning of a trip often involves a long ride out of the city or hundreds of miles of interstate. I find that this is the hardest part to make interesting, because it is usually uninteresting to me. I'm thinking that I need to plan a stop at some place interesting, scenic, or weird on the way out to help get the report going.

3. One thing that can also add to the report is a short discussion of any special gear, or bike modifications, for the trip. Any time you have to improvise is good story and photo material also. On the other hand, I have seen a few with dozens of photos of the rider tearing the bike down and rebuilding it. If there is too much of that, it could change the flavor of the thread from Ride Report to Rebuild report. Exceptions maybe for vintage bikes or for very neglected bikes.

4. Some very good ride reports follow a theme throughout the report. Cannonshot's reports, for example, often take us to historic places and he provides a little background history of the place he visits. Another theme that works well is when the rider is trying to complete a goal that may not be obtainable. 50 passes in 50 hours is a good example.

5. Excessive Bike photos. In some reports, nearly every photo has the bike in it as the central subject. It can make the report look like it is about the bike, and less about the rider and the ride. What I am trying to say is that the bike should not be the central subject of every photo. The bike is a participant in the ride and most photos should reflect that. The bike can be used very effectively in a photo to show scale, i.e. how big the rocks are on the trail, or how deep the mud puddle is.

6. Excessive ADV salute photos. It seems like half of the photos from rallies are of various inmates wallowing around camp, drinking and giving the salute. I think it gives a miss-impression that everyone sits around camp drinking and saluting each other instead of riding. My opinion is that photos of people riding, should outnumber static photos of inmates giving the salute.

7. Video can really add to a ride report if there is good action, rough trails, or great scenery. I have been playing with a contour HD helmet camera and have had some success, but video can take a lot of time to edit and publish.

8. Ending a ride report is the second hardest part of a report for me. Again, it is usually a long uninteresting trip back. Usually I end it quickly, but you can also make a review of your personal thoughts and feelings about the trip, what you learned, and what you might do differently next time.

Those are some of my thoughts about writing a ride report. Hope it helps.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:44 AM   #17
machinebuilder
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I know you've already said "IT"S NOT THE CAMERA....ITS THE PHOTOGRAPHER" or something like that.

In my years of being a semi serious amateur photographer, I have learned several things.

1. on the newer camera's auto works very well 90% of the time.

2. look at the light, shadows are hard to photograph

3. take lots of pictures....and cull heavily
When I took film I thought I had gotten pretty good, I was getting 2-3 GOOD pictures in a roll (36)

4. sometimes you don't need a great picture to tell the story

there are more but that's enough for now

I need to learn how to stop enjoying the ride and take picutres of things on the ride.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:11 AM   #18
Ladybug0048
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Looking foward to the progression of this thread and learning from it. I enjoy doing ride reports after my rides but truthfully they pretty much suck lined up along side reports from the talented writers and photographers here.

A couple of my favorites are Larryboy and The Darth Peach.

Larryboy shows his passion, it's right out there for all to see and when he took his daughter along doing the photography in Death Valley - WOW!.

The Darth Peach, while she is not able to do long rides she has a way of making a ride around the block look fun and her sense of humor gives things a bit of added punch. She'd make those long boring rides out of town to the start and the finish of that last boring bit of ride back home some spice.

I enjoy reports people write while on the road, there is no sneaking a peak to find out the ending. I look forward to the progress and what turn the report takes next.

During the winter I followed a couple reports in South America and now I'm following these:

ShooterDave: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=565350

Job3-14 (Will and Amanda) http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=515712

Both the above reports are fun because they are showing the ups and downs along the way as well as all the new things they are experiencing. The passion is coming out as they are experiencing so many things for the first time.

I always follow any report Radioman does and he is on the road now with http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=594005
When I read what you said about passion I though about Mark and him jumping for a joy a few days ago in his report.


I'm looking forward to all the tips about writing a report after the ride and at the same time I hope someone with experience writing reports while on the road will jump in and add some tips as well.

Thank you for taking the time to do this.
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:38 AM   #19
JDowns
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What a great thread! This concept has captured my imagination, having just written my first ride report this past Spring. It was so amazing riding to Panama and back on a 250 dirt bike that it seemed important to share the story with a wider audience.

Having emailed stories from the road to myself in the past, this trip was no different. The excitement of being on the road headed who knows where always compels me to email tales from the road to myself so I can read about it later. I forward them to friends as well. I have been doing this for years and always enjoy reading about road trips I have taken to Alaska or Baja or Guatemala, Asia, Costa Rica. Even years later, it is so fun to read these tales. They bring back the memories as if were yesterday.

I personally have to get my impressions down before they drift off. The idea of pen and paper journal or email of day to day impressions is important. Even better is posting ride reports from the road. This is what I intend to do next year when I head down to South America to wander around. I am a loner and have plenty of time to write and upload stuff. This wouldn't work so well for a more social person or someone traveling with others.

What I tried to do differently this time was to think about fellow ADVriders who might be heading down these roads in the future. So I brought along a camera. I have never taken along a camera since I am a minimalist to the max. I just stop in at internet cafes and write an email and send it to myself and friends. This trip I took an Ipod Touch with wifi internet access and used that to email myself and check out ADVrider and post some postcards from the edge to the minimalist touring thread on thumpers.

I took pics that I found interesting with a crappy 1 megapixel camera with the idea of writing a ride report to share with fellow ADVriders when I got home and could upload photos. This was GREAT. Why haven't I done this in the past? I am an idiot. I found myself stopping and taking cool pics of things I found interesting.

When reading ride reports, I like to learn from others mistakes and get ideas and useful information. So I like ride reports that are honest and forthcoming about costs, cheap places to stay, nuts and bolts info and current practical travel info to the countries and areas I may ride in. So I tried to include a lot of that.

I also like seeing pics of people you meet along the way. So took pics of riders and people that I met.

As well, I appreciate people who answer questions in their ride reports. Heck, it was drrags excellent ride report where I found out how cheap it was to get your teeth fixed in Guatemala. He was kind enough to answer my followup question with GPS waypoints to his dentist in Xela. That was a good enough excuse for me to hit the road to Guatemala.

I will be following this thread with great interest. What makes a great ride report is different for different people. That's what makes ADVrider so interesting! I appreciate humility, honesty, a positive mental attitude, never-say-die ride report. But let's face it, a ride report by a hot single female who rides like the wind, has excellent writing skills, is articulate and funny, and takes stunning photos of the Himilayas at sunset would get to a million view five star status in pretty short order.

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:42 AM   #20
dave6253 OP
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Originally Posted by tricepilot
Raoul Duke did a nice ride report to Alaska. Stunning photos. I contacted him. What camera did you use? He replied he carried a nice DSLR and a Canon point-and-shoot. The DSLR stayed in the tank bag: too bulky and too difficult to get out for spur of the moment pics. The Canon took virtually all of his stunning photos.

To be honest, I do appreciate fine photography in ride reports. I love a good story and those epic rides. That said, I appreciate the first timer, the guy/gal who is not afraid to post up a ride report along side of Metaljockey. The ride report with someone's first bike and a trip to some state park. It's all part of the Awakening. The discovery of motos and motojournalism.

Probably the best thing you are saying and has been said by Antontrax and others, is just use whatever camera you have and think about how you point it and how you set it. The key thing to keep pushing is to keep encouraging folks just to take the pics and post them up, I wish they knew how much we (or at least I) appreciate their efforts and their get-off-your-ass-and-get-out-there chutzpah.

Another thing: in the end, ride reports aren't really for other people. They all fade away. The cool thing is that you can go back and re-read them, and realize how much you've grown. To do a ride report, you have to travel. And in the end, those are the days you remember.
Excellent Points ALL, TricePilot!

I too really enjoy writing the ride report for the purpose of re-living the ride and being able to continue to do so years later. Also I like riding and spending time alone, but I'm also a family man and love to share the experience with my friends and family. Does that make me weird? My co-workers waste alot of man hours viewing my Ride Reports.

I have always looked at great photographs and wanted to know how to make my photographs better. I have been inspired by the many really great photographers here on advrider. Alcan Rider, I have seen many of your great photographs of Alaska. I know someday I WILL make it up there myself. I figured I'd better get busy improving my photo skills if I wanted to bring back some of that beauty to remember. Hopefully by improving all of my Ride Reporting skills I can convey the wonder I'm sure I will feel.
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:53 AM   #21
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Excellent post RandyM. Video is something I've found I don't have much patience for. I don't normally like ride reports that only contain video, but sometimes video really compliments a report. It can make all the difference when the video is edited properly and isn't just a long boring ride through unchanging terrain. There are some talented videographers here and I'm sure we'll continue to see more reporters using it.
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thetourist
I noticed when Antontrax broke his SLR the quality of his pics didn't decline.
That's very true. In fact I had forgotten his DSLR was broken until he mentioned it later. I think there are several reasons for his photos remaining so good:

1. Antontrax is just really good. He could take great photos with a cell phone camera because he has a great eye for what looks good.

2. He was still using a pretty good camera. I think he was using a Panasonic LX2, which is preferred by many photographers over other point-n-shoots because of the sensor size and manual controls.

3. He follows the professional photographers rule of shooting many, many photos, but ONLY showing the absolute best. If your viewers only see your absolute best work they are tricked into thinking you are better than you are. At least that's the thinking, but I'll bet Antontrax took many really great photos on his trip we'll never see. I'm trying to learn to cull more, but I'm torn on the use of this technique for a ride report. If you are a professional shooter and every photo shown to the public must be worthy of your profile gallery, that's one thing. When trying to document the actual ride I'm not going to discard all of the midday photos taken in poor lighting, or the pics of a rough part of the trail, or my bike stuck in a mud hole, just because it isn't technically a great photograph. machinebuilder also mentioned this point,
Quote:
4. sometimes you don't need a great picture to tell the story
4. Antontrax was still post-processing his photos in Lightroom. Post-processing is something I thought I'd never do, but...
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:15 PM   #23
larryboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleWan
1) keep a old fashioned pen and paper journal. I couldn't have remembered all the details without my trusty journal. Every night, I wrote down where we were, where we had gone, how many miles we rode, and as many details about the day as I could. I also drew something - usually the floorplan of our motel room (drawings of campsites work, too). I find that drawing helps etch things into my brain. It makes me remember not only what I'm drawing, but also the things around me. Tons of memories and details come flooding back when I see an old drawing. Make little notes about your neighbors, the weather, the view... all those things jog your memory as well. And, remember -the crappier the day, the more fun it is to re-live later!

Excellent tip, I do the same thing.




I like a title that has nothing to do with the location, but remember to put enough info in your first line so the lazy(me) will get where you are going with a cursor hover. The title came to me over many days with a basic start to get me to actually write something down.




Sometimes titles come to me long before I leave home and I save those in notepad on my computer to be used later if they somehow fit into what happened.

I met a great song writer once and I asked what a certain lyric was in one of his songs. He answered that it could be whatever I wanted as he mumbles some lyrics on purpose..in other words leave a little mystery. Leave some mystery in your story..be truthful even if you're a scofflaw like me, but leave enough mystery that people ask you questions as forums are for discussion..this isn't a blog.

I'm far from a photographer, but I remember the basics..rule of thirds and shoot from dark to light and I get by. I do very little post editing as I take 3-400 pictures per day and it takes too much time to edit.

That's all I've got.

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Old 07-05-2010, 12:25 PM   #24
dave6253 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDowns
What makes a great ride report is different for different people. That's what makes ADVrider so interesting! I appreciate humility, honesty, a positive mental attitude, never-say-die ride report. But let's face it, a ride report by a hot single female who rides like the wind, has excellent writing skills, is articulate and funny, and takes stunning photos of the Himilayas at sunset would get to a million view five star status in pretty short order.
That's really good stuff John! But honestly, you could have stopped at "a hot single female who rides". So do you have any tips on how I can disguise myself as a hot single female for my next report? OH, and I need a name change!
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Old 07-05-2010, 12:40 PM   #25
JDowns
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave6253
That's really good stuff John! But honestly, you could have stopped at "a hot single female who rides". So do you have any tips on how I can disguise myself as a hot single female for my next report? OH, and I need a name change!

Hey Dave,

At least you've got a couple hot bikes to ride and some photography skills. You are way ahead of me.

I'm not too bright and can't take great photos, so will likely have to change my name and avatar. My next ride report will be titled: Juanita rides the Andes in a bikini. Look for it early next year. I'm hoping it goes viral.

This thread is a hoot! Keep up the good work.

Cheers,
John Downs
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:10 PM   #26
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"Juanita, in the Andes" I can't wait.

I picture a short stout woman with a black bowler hat, in a multicolor wool bikini.




I use a recipe card spiral notebook for notes. The cardstock is less fragile than paper. I also wrap velcro around a pen and just stick it to the outside of my tank bag. Near the top of the map window is a good place. I do lose a few pens, but if it's handy it gets used more often.

I note words that hit me, smells, thoughts, etc. In the morning I usually note the mileage, location, and weather.

Some kind of paper roller would seem to be good also. I think Big Dog uses something based on an enduro roller.
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:34 PM   #27
JDowns
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Originally Posted by thetourist
"Juanita, in the Andes" I can't wait.

I picture a short stout woman with a black bowler hat, in a multicolor wool bikini.
Hey thetourist,
You had me laughing,


Here is my teaser pic for next years ride report:



I will be carrying a cardstock notepad velcroed to my bikini. (great tip!)
ATGATT is for weemps! Knobbies? WTF?

Kindest regards,
Juanita
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Old 07-05-2010, 01:45 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryboy



....
Rob,
What language is this?














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Old 07-05-2010, 02:14 PM   #29
dave6253 OP
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Hey Larryboy! Did you steal your daughter's notebook? I woulda turned that photo black and white.

But seriously, thanks for joining in. Carrying a notebook is a good tip. I heard it before and followed the advice. Unfortunately, I'm terrible about actually using it. I thought I would try to keep a nice journal or diary to remember all the feely stuff, but just like in school, I'm terrible at taking notes. I still use it, but mostly for jotting down names of persons I meet, and to keep a running tally of fuel purchases and such non-emotional stuff. I tend to rely on photos more to recall what happened. I like to snap a shot of the gps statistics screen at the end of the day and usually include this in the report. I think I picked this up from the MOBIUS report.

I wish I had the writing skills, creativity, and courage to expose my emotions as well as Larryboy does.

A typical GPS Screenshot



I also learned how to create and save route maps as a JPEG and will probably write a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this.




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Old 07-05-2010, 03:00 PM   #30
Krashdragon
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Instead of a notebook...How about...

..some kind of digital recorder...

http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com...der?sku=241828

or
http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com...der?sku=241828
(this one is limited to clearance, but it's an idea of what's available)

ok, this may be a music store site, but they know recording!
Notebooks are worthless cause you have to sit and write. With a portable recorder, you can sit and have an adult refreshment and muse over your day's wanderings without so much as lifting a pen! They're also small enuf to carry on a bike. And if there's company around, even ask if anyone remembers what all those little town's names are you rode thru and forgot...
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