A Vintage Bus Week: Planning & Lightpainting

Hey gang! If you read last week’s blog post, you know that we’re hunkered down near Eugene, Oregon. That’s where my vintage bus is awaiting work on its interior. It’s completely gutted at the moment, and is located in the shop where the interior project will take place. The guys at Paradise Coach just wrapped up their last bus project, one that they’ve been working on for about two years! That bus, a 1947 Silverside coach, just rolled out of the shop on Saturday, which means that my 1963 Flxible bus is next in line!

I’ve spent the past week working on the 3D model of the bus’ interior and will meet with Larry of Paradise Coach this week to start collaborating. I’d like the interior of the bus to feature a streamline design style, which should be a good mix of vintage and modern. That’s one of the things I’d like to convey to the gang at Paradise Coach, and I’ve been pulling out all my favorite books on the subject to use for reference.

Some of the streamline design books I was researching for my vintage bus project.

I’ve been working of the closet portion of the bus’ 3D model.

Aside from planning MY vintage bus, I did some lightpainting of that Silverside vintage bus that just rolled out. On the night before it was to leave the shop, I arranged a photo shoot and did a lightpainting of both the front and back. What’s interesting about this Silverside is that it’s one of the kinds of buses I was interested in buying back when I was in the market. I just like the overall look and style, and I think the lightpaint came out pretty darn good!

Speaking of lightpainting, we added a new workshop to the 2013 roster! This one is called Mastering HDR & Lightpainting and will be March 11-15 in Los Osos, CA. This unique course will be a double-feature week, combining my two photographic specialties. Once you feel comfortable with HDR and Lightpainting, then you’ll be able to expand your shooting range beyond the standard golden hour and capture idealized images regardless of what time of day you encounter an interesting subject. Click here to learn more about this workshop. If you can’t make the class, remember that you can learn lightpainting from my e-book, The Fine Art of Painting with Light (only $9.97).

This coming week, Karen and I will be flying to New Jersey to spend the holidays with her family, and then we’ll be flying to Hawaii to get married! More to come…

One week, 12 states, 3,000 miles

If you know me at all, you know that my life is pretty much one big road trip. Well, that’s been especially the case during the past week or two. I just finished driving my vintage bus from Chattanooga, TN to Coburg, Oregon, where it will be getting its new interior installed. Right now, the engine/transmission is all new but the interior is gutted. By the time it’s done, it will have a modern/streamline design look to it. The bus is now at Paradise Coach, in Coburg, and what’s nice is that this will probably be the bus’ last stop before it’s completely restored. I’ve had the bus since October, 2009 and the restoration project has had a lot of setbacks. You can read the whole story on the Creative Cruiser site, but lets just say that the bus has traveled over 8,100 miles during its restoration alone.

This is a map of travels my vintage bus has taken during its restoration alone! It’s gone over 8,100 miles, and we haven’t even begun living in it!

When I finally arrived at Paradise Coach, I handed over the keys to Larry, who will be in charge of creating the bus’ new interior.

If you read my last post, you saw a lot of iPhone shots from the stops that I made during the trip. I love to shoot vintage gas stations, and there were several of them on my route. You can see a few of those shots below. I only had two breakdowns during the course of the trip and they were both due to the same thing… some loose tubing that will eventually be fixed permanently. No big deal at all. I had anticipated some breakdowns because the bus has just been given a new engine and transmission. I knew there was bound to be a few kinks to work out.

My vintage bus at Twin Arrows, a famous stop along Route 66.

The bus at a vintage Skelly service station.

I was really eager to shoot the bus at this vintage Conoco station, but I was pretty bummed to show up at dawn and find that the neon lights had been turned off!

The timing for my Oregon arrival was pretty good, because Karen had just flown in from New Jersey. While I was driving the vintage bus, she was out visiting her family on the east coast. She drove down from Portland to Coburg to pick me up and get another look at the bus. She hadn’t seen the bus in a year and a half, and she thinks it’s adorable.

Karen and I both returned to the current bus in Portland, and plan to stay in the area for the next few months. We’ll also travel to Coburg/Eugene to keep up on the vintage bus project. More to come…


The Vintage Bus Run: Take Two

Hi gang! It’s time for the good ol’ Monday travel update. This past week has been all about my vintage bus. If you’re familiar with me and this blog, you know that I live full-time in a motorcoach/bus and am also restoring a second, vintage bus (that I will eventually live in).  You can read more about the project at the Creative Cruiser site. You’ll also learn there why this post is titled “Take 2.” This past week, I picked up my vintage bus at the shop where it was stored in Chattanooga, TN and started driving it to  the shop where it will get its new interior put in. The bus has a brand new engine and transmission but the interior is completely gutted. The next shop, Paradise Coach, is located in Coburg, Oregon, so needless to say, I’ve got quite the drive!

Early in the week, I flew out of Portland, Oregon to pick up the bus. When I arrived at the Chattanooga shop, there were a few things that needed to be dealt with (like a new battery) but I was able to get on the road relatively quickly. I decided to take a more southern route to avoid any intense weather during my drive. You can see the route below. The rest of the post is a visual depiction of my journey so far. These are all iPhone shots, but I was photographing the vintage gas stations with my DSLR as well and will be processing those soon.

My general travel route. The white dots are vintage gas stations that I want to photograph.

Here’s the vintage bus during a rest stop in Alabama.

After my first day of traveling, I crossed paths with two RVing friends, Shonda and Michael, who are also full-timers like me. It was great to catch up with them as we hadn’t seen each other since Mardi Gras 2011!

Sunrise from the Alabama RV park.

There were a handful of vintage service stations along my route that I’ve been wanting to photograph, and I love getting my vintage bus in there too!

Here’s another one, in Mena, Arkansas. As you can see, I’ve been using the iPhone’s new panorama feature a lot lately!

This one is in McAlester, OK.

One more, in Skellytown, TX.

I stayed at this funky motel in Tucumcari, NM. They even had retro stuff in the rooms!

As you can see, I covered a lot of ground in the first few days! It wasn’t until I reached Tucumcari, NM that I had any kind of mechanical issue. I’m not sure why, but the bus lost a lot of power and I was only able to go 55 instead of 75. I’m hoping this is a simple fix, like a fuel filter and will look into it first thing in the morning. While I flew out to pick up the vintage bus, Karen flew over to visit her family in NJ. Now, she had to extend her stay because of Hurricane Sandy so I might make it back to Oregon before she does!

Hopefully, I’ll make it to Coburg in the next couple days and will report back with a new update next week! More to come…

Back to Portland

I my last post, we had just wrapped up the California Photo Festival and were heading south to San Diego for a few days. I wanted to visit my friend Mike, who is a SD local. Plus, Karen and I always enjoy spending time there. In fact, it’s one of our favorite places to “winter.” Speaking of winter, this is the first year that we’re not heading south for the cold months so this should be a very interesting change for us. On Wednesday, we flew back to Oregon, which is where the bus was parked and where we will be spending several of the winter months.

The main reason we’ll be hanging out in Oregon for a while is that my vintage bus will be getting its interior “installed” here. If you’re not familiar with my vintage bus project, you can read about it at CreativeCruiser.com. Right now, the bus has received an all new engine/transmission and is waiting for me to pick it up in Chattanooga. That’s how I’ll be spending the coming week: flying to Chattanooga and driving the bus all the way to Coburg, Oregon, which is about an hour south of Portland. You can see the tentative route below.

Once the bus arrives in Coburg, it will be getting its all-new interior at Paradise Coach. I’d like to be around for the start of this huge project, so Karen and I will probably be moving around between Eugene, Coburg and Portland so that we can be in the general area. We both really like Portland and Eugene, so we’re happy to be able to spend more time here. We’re also interested to see how the rainy season affects our opinion of the place. Up until now, we’ve had mostly sunny weather. That won’t last… not in Portland.

Outside of planning for this trip, I’ve spent much of the past week working with a corporate client and getting some personal work done as well. Here’s a fun story though… On Friday, I was out and Karen was at the RV park going for a walk. During her walk, she spotted a Flxible bus (The same brand as my vintage bus) parked in our same RV park. She had never seen one outside of a Flxible rally so she was thrilled and took a picture to text to me. As soon as I saw the photo, I recognized the bus immediately. I had been in it before! I knew that it belonged to my bus-nut friend and radio personality Dr. Dean Edell. What are the chances?! I sent Dean a message and the following morning we went out to breakfast with him and his wife, Sharon. We spent hours geeking out on bus-related stuff and catching up in general. He and Sharon are such great people… the kind that Karen and I could have spent all day with. We spent a lot of time marveling at this excellent coincidence.

Karen and I were so thrilled to be able to spend the morning with Dean and Sharon. That’s his beautiful Flxible behind us.

 Before I wrap up this post, I want to add a few other things:

I’ve got a free “Top 10 Photoshop Tips” PDF up on my facebook fan page. If you’ve already “liked” my page, then click the tips button near the upper right of this page. If you’re not yet a fan, then lick the like button first to gain access to the file.

Lastly, Karen posted loads of photos from last week’s California Photo Fest over on her blog, The Pixel Diaries. If you want a better idea of what that event is like, and what we were shooting, check out her post HERE.

That’s it for this week! Next Monday, expect an update from my cross-country journey with the vintage bus!


Oregon: Portland, friends & Vintage Bus Stuff

In my last post, I mentioned that we were staying at Paradise Coach, in Coberg, Oregon. Paradise Coach does bus restoration projects, and I had them in mind for doing the interior of my vintage bus, a 1963 Flxible Starliner. While we were there, they did some work on my current bus, and not only was I happy with that work, but I was extremely impressed by the work they were doing on other coaches in their shop. To make a long story short, I decided that they would be the right people to work on the interior of my bus. If you’re not familiar with this story (“saga” might be more appropriate), check out my detailed post about this on the Creative Cruiser’s site.

After we left Coburg, we headed north to Portland, Oregon. I have a lot of friends in Portland, and Karen has never been there, so we were both psyched to be able to spend some time there. On our way north, we stopped at a few wineries south of the city (wineries are always fun) and then ended up parking the bus just east of downtown. On Saturday, we explored the “Portland Saturday Market” which was absolutely huge. I then took Karen to Powell’s City of Books, which literally takes up an entire city block! It was just a coincidence that my great friend Diane and her husband, Bron, were visiting the city while we were there, so we got to meet up with them one night at a place called McMenamins Kennedy School. If you’ve never been to  Portland before, you’ve got to check this place out. It’s an old elementary school that has been converted into an awesome establishment featuring a restaurant, a bar, a hotel, a soaking pool, and a movie theater, amongst other things. The overall style of the place is a lot of fun. We went to see the movie Men in Black III (which is great – better that the first two, in my opinion) and then had some dinner.

We eventually moved the bus to Hayden Island, which is north of Portland, just south of the Washington border. I’ll be parked here for the remainder of the week. Karen’s birthday is Tuesday, so we’ll celebrate here in Portland, and then she’s making a last-minute trip to her family’s home in south Jersey. (Things are not good on the home front and she needs to be there.) After leaving Portland, I’m going to head north to Seattle (Karen will fly back and meet me there).

Just as a reminder, I’m going to be teaching two classes at CreativeLIVE this month, and while they’re live, they’re absolutely free! After we’ve finished recording the events, they’ll be available for purchase on the CreativeLIVE site. I hope you’ll be able to join me for one of the classes! The first is Photoshop for Photographers, and it will be live from Aug. 22-24 and the second is a one-day course on Lightpainting and it will be on Sat. Aug. 25. It should be a great program and I hope to see you there!