#BlackRapidMoto2020

BlackRapid Motorcycle Tour of Utah (part 1)

We recently had the BlackRapid Motorcycle Tour of Utah, and it started here at my home studio. Photographers from around the country came for a week of touring the backroads of Utah via motorcycles.

I do a lot of commercial work for BlackRapid, and have long loved the brand, and the camera straps the company makes. If you’re a photographer, make sure you check them out. They’re by far the most comfortable and versatile strap I’ve used.

Ron Henry, the founder of the company put on the event and I’m happy he did. I had gotten used to the Covid life and could feel the change and a feeling of relaxation when I saw all these cool bikes lined up in my driveway.

We headed out and met in Salt Lake to gather the rest of the group and begin our ride south through the 90-100º heat towards Moab in southern Utah.

Though some photographers cancelled due to Covid and some couldn’t make it across boarders, the photographers that came were a great group of guys. The size was perfect, and we took this group shot before heading out. The photographers are from left to right:

On the long ride to Moab through the heat, I took a few photos with my iPhone during some of the long stretches of highway.

Though we posted iPhone images along the way to social media, my favorite way to create images is with an actual camera. But for things like this, I don’t like taking my high-end professional gear. Though I’d get the best possible photographic images if I did, instead I take a small and compact camera with manual controls. It takes up less space, I’m not worried about it getting broken or lost, and I know the images I’m creating with it are going to work out and give me the highest resolution and bit-depth possible for it’s small size.

If I want to make prints large or small, or even crop, edit, or zoom into an image, I’ve got the quality to do so.

Once in Moab Utah, we got our hotels secured, unpacked our bikes and then headed out to ride through Arches National Park for the latter part of the day.

The sun low in the sky, made for some dramatic light and shadows on these gorgeous red rock formations. We’d ride a ways, stop, chat, and take photos, …then ride some more, just soaking everything in.

A motorcycle is a great way to be in this environment. In a car you can’t look up or around, nor can you feel the air change you pass different vegetation or go from sun to shade. On a motorcycle you’re in it all and you feel it.

As Robert Pirsig says in his great book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:

“In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”

At one point we stopped to watch the sun go down behind a formation, but the setting sun created some beautiful light on us and the formation behind us.

The great thing about traveling with photographers is that we all are on the same artistic journey – we all want to stop and take photograph along the way. When we travel with other groups, we feel pulled to go in different directions or stop and take photos and enjoy some particular scenery, but no one else wants to. It means leaving the group, which is hard to do.

Here, if someone wanted to pull over to photograph something, we’d all pull over and just enjoy the moment and look to see what that particular photographer was seeing.

As the sun set below the horizon, we rode the curvy roads out of the park, through the dark and warm summer air, back to the small town of Moab for dinner. It was a great first day on the moto tour of Utah, and there’s much more I have to share coming up in part 2. The next day we did some awesome day rides and took some great photographs. That will all be coming soon in the next part of this series.

But in the meantime, if you’re on Instagram get a peak of our iPhone images by following the hashtag, #BlackRapidMoto2020.

And until next time, America.