About Me

Me, January 1, 2010
I'm not good at tooting horns, particularly my own, but I think it's useful for visitors of the site to understand where I come from, photographically speaking.

I started taking pictures in my teens in the 80s with family point-and-shoots. My mom even had one of those cool Kodak Disc cameras that looked very sleek and cool but took horrid shots.

My roommate in college was a photo major. He shot a Nikon FE if I remember, along with brick after brick of Tri-X. Once in a while he'd come back from class with a neat TLR or something. That may be when I got the "photography as a means of acquiring neat gadgets" bug. He let me shoot with the Nikon some, and it was really cool to be feel the whole mechanicalness of it.

After college I hauled a cheerful Olympus XA2 through Europe, in a fanny pack along with a couple rolls of Kodak Gold and a little tabletop tripod. It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when fanny packs were socially acceptable. Just.

I think I took 14 rolls of film on that 2 month journey. It felt like a total extravagance, and it took me months to get them developed. In the meantime, the same fellow that gifted me the XA2 sold me his old Pentax MX and a 50 F1.7 and 28 F3.5 for a song (thanks John) and that started my serious addiction. I rounded out the kit with an ME with an autowinder grip, a 150 F3.5, and a small, square, grey camera bag. Crazy to think that I still have it all...

And then I made a mistake.

I'm a digital guy by nature. I bought into handheld computing early (Palm Pilots), MP3 players early (Diamond Rio), DV videocams (Canon), and digital cameras early. So while the early 1990s are remembered via old 3x5s and 4x6s taken with MX, ME, and Olympus Stylus, the latter 1990s and early 2000s are remembered via a directory of nasty JPEGs. I got the first Sony Mavica. Remember - using floppy disks to store rancid 640 x 480 images? Followed by the Kodak DC260 - it says "Megapixel" on the front. That means one megapixel. Followed by the Canon G2.

Finally, in 2004, I came to my senses. Nikon and Canon were finally entering the market with dSLRs that consumers could afford, and I snapped up a D70 before a big motorcycle trip to follow the Tour de France. And that was the beginning of a new beginning.

That camera opened up a whole new world. I took it everywhere I went. Through trial and error I started getting better at taking pictures, and on a parallel track I had started improving as a writer. Trial and error is a wonderful teacher. So in 2004 I made it a New Year's resolution to combine the passions of my life - motorcycling and photography - and get a motorcycle story published.

I managed that trick - a small story in a regional motorcycle publication - Backroads. And then in 2005 I took the next step and worked my way into RoadRUNNER Magazine, the country's largest motorcycle touring magazine. I landed a feature story about riding dirtbikes and cruisers in and around Las Vegas (photos here). I've been fortunate enough to still be working with the magazine. It's a great gig - they pay me to ride someone else's motorcycle, take photos, and then tell a story. What more can you ask for?

I'm currently shooting with a Pentax K20d and a bag of lenses. I was tempted to step up from the D70 to a D300 or D700, but size is a major concern when traveling by motorcycle. So the Pentaxes, with their smaller bodies, and DA Limited Primes hold great appeal. I recently added a Panasonic GH2 to the kit, chosen on the strength of its video capabilities.

I don't print much - except when published. And the experience of having 6Mp photos from the D70 as well as 10Mp photos from a Ricoh GX100 point-and-shoot printed full-page and larger in a magazine has led me to the conclusion that most dSLRs and many advanced point-and-shoots have the quality necessary for this application. So for me, camera usage and purchase decisions go beyond image quality, and into usability and oddball features (i.e., intervalometer) that I use from time to time. And while high ISO is the current flavor of the month, I imagine that it will be all but conquered in a couple of years and that most people will be able to purchase a camera that can take good photos in a candlelit room.

So taking motorcycle travel photos is my primary subject, but I also just love walking around places and snapping interesting things. I've done some political stuff too, which was cool. That and charity/NGO may be my next direction. The one subject that has remained constant is family. When I look at all the photos of family that I've taken over the years, it makes all the time and money invested worth it.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Thanks for getting to the bottom of the page.

john flores
January 7, 2011

December 2012

I've published a couple of ebooks this year based on what I have learned as a photographer:

Cover of Ten Tips: Motorcycle Travel Photos

Ten Tips: Motorcycle Travel Photos

After traveling tens of thousands of miles taking photos and writing stories, I've compiled ten simple tips to help photography enthusiasts take better photos of their own adventures. These tips are more about technique than gear and include illustrated examples of the concepts involved.

For the Kindle device, app (Android and IOS), and desktop app (Mac and Windows)

Ten Tips: Cat Photos

Every new piece of camera gear that arrives in the mail - a camera body, lens, flash, etc.. - gets tested on the most readily available subjects - our cats. From these experiences, we've developed this easy-to-read book. These tips focus on technique but also talk about gear, and is aimed at the cat owner wishing to post better photos of their cats online.

Available for the iPad

Privacy Policy

This is the privacy policy. It's not in legalese because I'm writing myself.

This blog is build upon Google's Blogger platform and thus follows the policies of that platform. As you may notice, the ads are targeted to you because cookies are used by this and other sites to track what you do online. I know that it's kind of weird but that's what happens on the internet these days. Try this: go to Amazon and search for a toaster. Then come back here and there's a good chance that you'll see a toaster ad from Amazon. Cool. I hope you don't mind.

I'm also using Google Analytics and Quantcast to get a better sense of the kinds of people visiting this site. Don't worry, I don't know who you are - your name, your email, etc... - I just know that someone from this country visited this site at this time and viewed these pages. That kind of stuff. Quantcast also tries to tell me things like what percentage of my users are in this age group, what percentage are male, etc. Standard marketing fare. I don't know you though, and I have no intent of selling "you" to anyone else beyond what the Google Blogger platform does.

I hope you are ok with that. Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try to answer them.