by Ben Willmore | Apr 8, 2013
Hey gang! Things have been crazy busy lately, between training events, my vintage bus project, and prep for future events. We DID manage to get a day’s worth of exploring in, and I have pictures of that at the bottom of this post. Here’s whats up:
On Monday and Tuesday of this past week, I taught my Photoshop Fundamentals course at creativeLIVE. As with all creativeLIVE online courses, while it was live, it was free to watch. During those two days, I covered the following:
• Simplifying the Interface
• Browsing your images with Bridge
• Understanding Resolution
• Which File Formats to use
• Essential Tonal Adjustments
• Essential Color Adjustments
• Isolating areas with selections
• The fundamentals of layers
• Troubleshooting Techniques
• Workflow Overview
If you missed the live broadcast, and still want the course, you can purchase it HERE. This two-day event is part of a series called Photoshop Mastery. I’ll be returning to creativeLIVE for the next few months to teach additional titles in the series. The next one will be Photoshop Mastery: Color & Tone, on May 6-7. To learn more about that one, and to enroll for the free live broadcast, click HERE.
I really can’t say enough good things about creativeLIVE. From an educator standpoint, they are wonderful to work with, and from a student/viewer perspective, they are an excellent resource, broadcasting high quality classes every single day. I very frequently tune in as a student. Also, to purchase the courses, they’re usually only $80-$100… for 2-3 days worth of content and course materials.
Here I am on my creativeLIVE set during my Photoshop Fundamentals course.
Here I am with my lovely creativeLIVE hosts, Susan and Kenna.
When I returned back to the bus after teaching at creativeLIVE, my new laptop was waiting for me! I ordered a new MacBook Pro, with retina display, and was looking forward to getting that baby set up! My current laptop isn’t actually that old, but it’s been behaving very strangely lately, and I didn’t want to risk having it bomb while I was using it to teach a seminar. Karen and I are both working on plans to optimize our work setups for the vintage bus. We’ll probably both end up with desktop Macs on the bus, as well as laptops for travel.
My new MacBook Pro arrived!
Vintage Bus Progress
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m restoring my next “home-on-wheels,” a 1963 Flxible Starliner bus. The shop that’s creating the interior has been making lots of progress lately, mocking up the layout and giving us lots of decisions to make. This past week, we’ve been choosing wood veneers and stain colors for many of the walls and cabinets. When the interior mockup is complete, and we like the way everything is set up, they will remove everything and start building it from scratch with all the real materials. (Right now, the mockup is made of mostly plywood and is just there so we can tweak the layout to exactly what we want.) If you want more vintage bus info, you can follow the Creative Cruiser facebook page . I post lots of progress pictures there.
We had lots of veneer samples to choose from for the interior of the vintage bus. They stained several of them so we could tell how they would actually look.
Every year in Oregon, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm holds a festival while the flowers are in bloom. There are acres and acres of tulips that turn the landscape into a rainbow of color. It’s pretty amazing to see. Karen had gone a day earlier, and wanted to go back so I could check it out. It was definitely worth it. Because the weather has been pretty nasty (as it often is in the Pacific Northwest) we didn’t get a lot of time out there before the skies turned gray and it started pouring. It would be ideal to visit this event on a weekday (we were there on Saturday) because the crowds wouldn’t be as bad. Karen was there on Friday and said it wasn’t nearly as crowded. But if you have to go on a weekend, it’s still quite easy to focus on close-up, detail shots of the flowers. At the festival, they had vendors, music and food, so when it started to rain, we just headed for a tent and had lunch.
This is my iPhone pano of the tulip field.
One of Karen’s shots from the festival.
The Antique Powerland Museum
I had been wanting to visit this museum for a while because, on the museum grounds, there is a vintage Texaco service station I wanted to photograph. We finally found the place on Saturday and paid a visit. They have two big warehouse-sized buildings full of old trucks, especially a lot of old semis. Since we were the only people there, we got a personalized tour of the whole facility that included a lot of fun, historical tidbits. There were a couple trucks in there I would LOVE to return and lightpaint! After the tour, I spent a while photographing the old service station. The weather was pretty cruddy, so I wouldn’t mind returning on a better day, but I still got some decent shots.
The old Texaco Service Station at the Antique Powerland Museum. This is an iPhone shot.
At the end of the week, we made our way back to Portland. I have a good amount of work here, including my Photoshop Artistry full-day seminar on Friday, April 12. If you are going to be in the Portland area and would like to soak in some Photoshop knowledge, you can read more about the event and sign up HERE.
More to come!
by Ben Willmore | Dec 10, 2012
Hi everyone! It’s time for another Monday travel update. Karen and I finally moved on from Portland and relocated to the Eugene, Oregon area. Eugene is just two hours south of Portland and it’s where my vintage bus will be getting its new interior installed. In case you’re not familiar with the project, I currently live in a modern motorhome/bus conversion but am currently restoring a vintage bus that we will eventually live in. The exterior will look vintage and the interior will feature a modern, streamline design style. To learn more about the project, check out the Creative Cruiser site.
This past week, we’ve actually had both buses parked together in paradise… well, Paradise Coach, that is. That’s the shop that will be doing the interior of the vintage bus. What’s funny is that we’re parked next to a beautiful Silverside coach, which is the other brand of vintage bus I was considering before I purchased my 1963 Flxible Starliner. The Silverside is in the final stages of restoration and when it’s complete, the gang here will be able to focus their attention on my bus.
I’ve spent a lot of time this past week planning out the interior of the bus. Having the vintage bus within 20 feet of my current bus makes it really convenient to do measurements and such. I would go back and forth between the bus and my computer so that I could create the 3D model of the bus’ interior. Then I would spend time researching the right appliances that would fit into the space. One of the tricky things about the vintage bus is that the roof is very curvy so any cabinets or appliances that have to be fitted on the ceiling take some extra consideration.
Above you can see part of my 3D model showing the kitchen area of the vintage bus.
Here I am getting measurements inside the vintage bus.
Aside from working on the vintage bus, Karen and I actually went to a few movies this week. The first was actually Pulp Fiction. (yes, you heard that right) There was a one-day re-release of the film that included interviews and special trailers hand-picked by Tarantino. We both really like Tarantino flicks, and Pulp Fiction is pretty much a classic, so we had a blast. The second movie we saw was “Lincoln,” and it was equally enjoyable. The actors were all extremely impressive, especially Daniel Day Lewis, and the lighting was very well done. Karen and I would both recommend seeing it.
Finally, we met some fellow full-timers this week (meaning folks that also live on the road like we do). Steve and Kristen own a GM bus that had its interior done here at Paradise Coach. They’re back here for some maintenance things and we got some time to hang out and get to know each other. It’s always fun to see how other RVers do what they do. Steve and Kristen have their priorities set on hiking, climbing, biking and other outdoor-related activities, so they made that a priority when designing their lifestyle and their bus. The four of us went to dinner at Ubon Thai in Eugene and we just loved it. It’s run by a husband and wife team. The wife is the cook, and she’s straight from Thailand. Yum!
From left, me, Karen, Kristen and Steve.
We’re most likely going to be spending the next week in the same area and I’ll be working more on the vintage bus and other projects. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Nov 12, 2012
Hi from Portland… again! Karen and I usually relocate every couple days, but we’ve been hanging in Portland for a while now. We’ve got no complaints though. Portland is a good town for us. It’s got a funky vibe, and the local flavor suits us. This has been a pretty mellow week, but I do have a few fun things to report.
First of all, I ordered some new gear! I had been waiting to order Canon’s new 24-70 f2.8 II lens, but being such a new product, stores were having a hard time keeping it in stock. I finally was able to order it from B&H. I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot much with it yet, but as soon as I do I’ll be posting images here. I also ordered some new Canon speedlites (the 600EX-RT) and radio transmitters (ST-E3-RT) with plans to use them for some more elaborate lightpaintings and some daylight lightpaintings.
My new Canon 24-70 f2.8 II lens arrived this week, and I cant wait to start shooting with it!
I also ordered three Canon 600EX-RT Speedlights with ST-E3-RT Radio Transmitters.
In my last post, I mentioned that my vintage bus is now located in Eugene, Oregon at Paradise Coach, where it will be getting its all new interior. It’s going to be a long project, but progress started this week. Larry, the head of Paradise Coach, started pulling out the old floorboards and inspecting what’s underneath. The floorboards will be replaced and then the interior built up upon that.
This is the interior of my [gutted] vintage bus. You can see that the floorboards are in the process of being pulled out and the stainless steel holding and water tanks below the floor.
While I spent a lot of time working this week, I was able to process a few of the images I shot while driving the vintage bus from Tennessee to Oregon. You can see two of the panoramas below. We also replaced a lot of the lighting in the current bus. The lights that go around the windows and ceiling have been dubbed the “disco lights” and are now LEDs. We’ve been wanting to do this for a while. Not only were the old lights energy suckers, but many of them had burnt out.
Since I’m on the topic of buses, I wanted to post a video that was just posted from the Travel Channel’s Extreme RVs show. This segment features Flxible buses, the same brand as my vintage bus. This past July marked the 100th anniversary of the brand, and the video was shot at the bus rally commemorating that milestone. I have met the bus owner featured in the video, Bernard, who also happens to be Jay Leno’s mechanic (and if you’ve ever seen Leno’s garage, you know that’s a big job!)
This week, Karen and I will be flying to NJ to spend Thanksgiving with her family. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Oct 1, 2012
Hey gang! This past week has been jam-packed with photography, and as a result, this post is going to be very photo-rich. In fact, I’m going to make this more of a “photologue” type of update. Here goes:
In the beginning of the week, we moved on from Seattle and headed toward North Cascades National Park. Now that I’ve knocked off all the 50 states, I’m trying to visit all the national parks as well. North Cascades is just south of the Canadian border and is full of snow-capped mountains. There is one main road that goes right through the park so we took that and made various stops. I’ve got to say, even though the drive was gorgeous, the area didn’t “sing to me” photographically. Now, that’s just me. It could be completely different for you.
I took the above pano from the Washington Pass overlook on the east side of the park. I still have to fine-tune it. We parked the bus a few miles outside the park entrance in a tiny town called Marblemount. From there, we would go exploring. We also attempted to enter the park on a more primitive road, but the washboard bumps ended up being too much for the Mini. It wasn’t a failed journey, though, because we found this nice waterfall on the way (shown below) and we ended up spending a while shooting it.
In the shot below, Karen demonstrates how to shoot a roadside waterfall when it’s cold out. She parked the car next to the falls and is sitting on the heated seats! Her tripod is set up on the ground next to the car.
The next stop in our travels was Ellensburg, WA. I wanted to photograph a vintage gas station there, and we ended up over-nighting in that area as well. The town is really nice. There are lots of old buildings with character that are also well-maintained. The station I photographed was part of the Red Horse Diner and you can see me shooting there in the photo below.
The Teapot Dome Service Station is another building that’s been on my shooting list for a while, and it’s located in the town of Zillah, WA, which is about an hour south of Ellensburg. When we arrived in Zillah, we literally had to track the building down. When we arrived at the first address, we saw this:
It was as if the darn thing got up and walked away! We later learned that it didn’t actually walk away… it was rolled away, and moved to a new location closer to downtown. We finally found it and spent about an hour shooting this little gem. Karen shot the image below, and she captioned it “Where is Ben?” Can you find me in the shot?
I shot the image below with my new fisheye zoom lens.
We continued south to the border between Washington and Oregon and then spent a few days exploring the Columbia Gorge area. There is lots to shoot in this area and it’s one of those places we’ll probably revisit again and again. During this visit, we focused on waterfalls. Both of the falls we shot were located inside John B. Yeon State Park, which is on the Oregon side of the gorge.
The first of the waterfalls was Wahclella Falls, and it was about a mile hike to get there. The whole area is beautiful, with vibrant foliage and moss-covered trees. Karen shot the pano below of me shooting the falls. Because of her angle, it’s hard to tell how big the waterfall actually is.
In the shot below, I have Karen in the frame to show the scale of the waterfall. In this one, you CAN tell how big it is!
The second waterfall we photographed was Elowah Falls, and it was a .8 mile hike to get there. This one was much taller and narrower, with nice moss-covered rocks to use as a foreground. The fisheye shot below is of Elowah Falls. (As is the header of this blog post)
Finally, we spent a bit of time exploring the towns along the gorge. There are lots of nice little restaurants, wineries and breweries. It was great to wrap up a day of hiking and shooting with a wine tasting or a local beer! Our next stop will be the Portland area, but we’ll most likely be making day trips back to the gorge area to hit some waterfalls we missed, including the spectacular Multnomah Falls. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Jun 11, 2012
This past week has been a blast! In my last post, we were just leaving the Starlite Classic Campground, en route to Golden, CO. We spent two wonderful nights at the Starlite, where we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Larry and Sylvia, the campground owners. As I mentioned in my last post, I also got the opportunity to lightpaint some of their incredible vintage trailers. While we left the campground on Sunday, I spent the rest of the week processing the images and was really pleased with how they turned out. Check them out below.
As I mentioned above, our next stop was Golden, CO. We stayed here for about three weeks last year and just loved it. The campground is in a beautiful park, along a river, and is within walking distance to downtown. We’ve been spending our time here working, walking, and processing images. We’ve also explored some of the fun places Golden has to offer. The Foothills Art Center was hosting a Chihuly exhibit, and I was excited to check that out. Chihuly is a very famous glass artist, most known for his colorful chandeliers made of twisty blown glass. Another fun place we visited was Woody’s, which is pretty much a really good pizza place/pub. We went for a late dinner on Monday and then returned Tuesday for their movie night, where they serve up free popcorn and play a movie on all of the screens in the bar area. Karen is a film nut, so when she heard about movie night, I knew we would be going.
The best part of this past week was most definitely the weekend. We returned to Starlite for the Colorado Classic Campout, which is an event where vintage trailer owners gather, have fun and show off their trailers to the whole group. One of the fun things about the weekend was that Karen and I did NOT stay in the bus while we were there. Instead, we left the bus in Golden, drove the Mini to the Starlite and stayed in the TikiBago, one of the rigs they rent out to guests. Just as you might suspect, the TikiBago is a Winnebago completely decked out in a Polynesian theme, complete with a tiki bar!
Karen and I enjoying the luau.
On the first night of the event, we had a meet-and-greet, followed by a movie under the stars. Of course, the featured movie was “The Long, Long Trailer,” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. On the second day, there was an “open house” where everyone got their trailers all spiffy so that guests could check them out. Karen and I loved seeing the insides of all these amazing, vintage rigs. In the evening, there was a luau, complete with tacky Hawaiian shirts and a limbo contest! When things got dark enough, I lightpainted Birdie, a beautiful pink trailer decked out will all kinds of authentic vintage fixin’s.
Here, I’m trying to act all suave, as if I’d actually make it under this limbo pole. (I DID made it under the pole but Karen says I cheated.) Behind me is the TikiBago, our lodging for the weekend.
Sylvia and Larry announce the door prizes for the Colorado Classic Campout.
Sunday morning started with a spam burrito breakfast, and then everyone said their goodbyes. As I said in the beginning of this post, the week has been great for me. I’m excited about this series of lightpaintings I’ve started, and I look forward to continuing it. I’m thinking about creating a calendar out of the images. Many thanks to Larry and Sylvia at the Starlite Campground. They do such a great job, and we had a blast at their event.
More to come…
Here is “Birdie,” a beautiful Cardinal trailer completely decked out with vintage accents. Many thanks to owners Jim and Diana for giving me the opportunity to make this image!