I am a 36 year old woman who may not live in "The Big City" but I like the little city I live in and there is a lot that goes on around here too! This is a place where anything can happen..or be written about!!!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lets Go Ride A Bike!

The picture to the left is of my sister and I circa sometime in the early 80's riding my grandmother's bike in Florida. It was one of our favorite things to do when we went to visit my grandparents. I felt that all of sudden I was given a key to pure  freedom... well the freedom to go as far as my bike and my legs could take me :) This fabulous bike also came with a "passenger seat" which I could tote my little sister along for the ride. It was a mini adventure for us every time we took it out for a spin.

To get to this point on this picture it took an act of bravery on my part, patience on my Dad's part, as well as many bumps, bruises and bleeding elbows along the way.) I was a pro at riding my big wheels and then my bike with training wheels, but once the training wheels were taken off I didn't seem to excel like I did in the past. I was scared of the brakes..the sudden stop...the end of the ride ;) Instead of using brakes I used sidewalk edges. I would bike into the sidewalk edge, and then put my leg down and hope for the best. Once in awhile the trick led to a nasty spill, but still for some reason I was scared of those brakes. It took my father many hours of extreme patience, and I think a bribe to go see the movie "The Fox and The Hound" to actually get me to use the brakes which in turn led me to love riding bikes.

If you want to buy a bike look no further than Salem Cycle. That is where I actually purchased my first bike on my own. The owner for over the past ten years is Dan Shuman a business owner, a bicyclist, and a overall great guy. Dan and I went to school together, so I have known him for a loooooong time ;). He is trust worthy, good natured, and always helpful, and he knows a lot about bikes!

So here is my interview with  my friend and the owner of Salem Cycles Dan Shuman, so hop on and come along for this ride ........

S: What is your first memory of riding a bike?
D: Well the first memory of me pedaling was in my parents driveway, I was trying to ride my sisters old Schwinn, and it was probably not the right size, because the handlebars turned in, and I scraped my chest on the bars and crashed. I remember before that riding on the back of my dad's bike and he got a blow out, because he over inflated the tires at the Mobil Gas Station that use to be on Humphrey St.

S:Where is the coolest place you have biked?
D: The coolest place I have biked is probably Crater Lake in Oregon. I have biked up and down it twice on different trips. It is an old volcano that the top has blown off and it now has a lake inside it. I believe it is inactive.

S:What are your top three tips to share with buyers when looking to purchase a bike?
1) Get sized for the bike and listen to what the sales person tells you about fit.
2) Test ride a few bikes. We allow you 30-days to take the bike home and try it out in the comfort of your neighborhood
3) Ask questions and do your research, but don't think that the better known brand is always better. For example, many people have not heard of KHS, so they are hesitant to buy them, but almost my entire staff rides them, including myself.

S:What is the newest/latest thing in bikes? Future of bikes/biking?

D: Well the bike has changed a lot over my 23 years in the business, but for the most part a bicycle is 2 wheels with a triangular frame and you pedal. Disc brakes, suspension, carbon fiber, and now pedal-assist motors are all gaining momentum. We try to keep up with the latest and greatest. We have been selling electric bikes for about 5 years and we have several carbon bikes, and most of the mountain bikes have suspension and disc brakes. We also have folding bikes and bikes with belt drive instead of a chain. I even own a kit so you can ride your bicycle over the water!

S:How is it being a business owner in Salem? What makes it special to own a business in this city?
D:Being a business owner is Salem has a lot of pros and cons, but I love this city and have made it my home. Before I bought Salem Cycle in January 2000, I toured the country looking at locations. Salem is growing more and more every year. I am on the Bike Path Committee and we are creating new bike lanes and installing bike racks all over the city. More and more people are riding their bikes to work, school, and around town. I like to think Salem Cycle played a big part in that. On the downside there are a lot of rules and regulations, taxes, and fees for everything. The city and I have worked well together, and I only see that getting better.

S:What makes your bike shop stand out from other bike shops?
D:I would say we have excellent customer service, a great selection, and the staff to back it up. We have won the Readers Choice Award from North Shore magazine for 2009 and 2010 for Best Bike Shop on the North Shore. We also offer free Body Scanning Custom Fit, Road Side Assistance, 30-Day Risk Free Purchase on all new bikes, Financing, and we service all makes of bikes. As I said before we also have experience with electric bikes, folding, bikes, suspension, hydraulic brakes, and internal hubs.

S: Do you have a dream bike? If so, what is it?
D:I don't have a dream bike, but I do dream of biking through Belgium, Germany, and Prague sampling their great beers and taking in the sites.

S:Where are the best places to go for a bike ride in the North Shore?

D:Best places to go for a ride on the North Shore - Mountain Biking: I would say Lynn Woods, Greenwood, and Dogtown are some of the nicer places I have been. Road Biking: I would recommend Routes 127, 133, 22, and 1A.

S: I am such an accessory woman..I love accessories!! What cool bike accessories do you sell?

D:We sell just about every accessory. Bells, horns, computers, bags, baskets, pet baskets, hydration packs, shopping baskets, picnic baskets, lights, fenders, locks, child seats and trailers, IPOD holders, GPS, mirrors, and so much more.

S:What good biking tips can you share?
D:Tips to Share:
1.Always wear a helmet
2.Check your tire pressure before each ride
3.Clean and lube your chain at least once a month
4. Tune your bike once a year or more
5.If you are not comfortable on your bike get fitted
6.Use lights at night so you are seen
7. HAVE FUN!!!!

Salem Cycle
72 Washington Street
Salem, MA 01970

Dan Shuman  sales@salemcycle.com
2009 Salem Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year
Salem Cycle - 2009 and 2010 Readers ChoiceAward Best of North Shore
12 Months Deferred Interest Financing
Hours M-W 10-6, Th-Fr 8-8, Sat 9-5, Sun 12-4
(The Biking Coop, NBDA, IMBA, NEMBA, LAB, Specialized, KHS, Rocky Mountain, Dahon, WeThePeople, Free Agent, Redline, and Torker)

You can also find Salem Cycles on Facebook!
(photos provided by Dan Shuman)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.....

 I love pictures!!! I love taking pictures, I love looking at pictures, and you can ask any of my friends and they will tell you how much I love sharing my pictures (do they love looking at them...well that is a matter of opinion ;) ) My dream job has always been to be a professional photographer. When I was a child it was to be a photographer for "National Geographic". I would look at those magazines for hours in awe of the photography. I would say currently my favorite subject matter to photograph would be people.

Awhile back I met this cheerful, sweet, and kind woman at my workplace. I got to know her more throughout the years and come to find out that she is a professional photographer!!  I never wanted to bother her with my million of photography questions, but I am a "fan" of her on Facebook and I always love looking at her pictures she has taken.  Jennifer has a beautiful eye for the perfect light and a impressive and stunning way of capturing a true moment in one perfect shot. Recently I asked her if I could interview her for this blog and she said YES!!!! Now I get to ask her all the questions I didn't want to bother her with before ;)...and I get to share them with you!

Jennifer Shore is not only an amazing photographer, she has a master degree in clinical social work, she is a mother, and a all around kind soul. She has a warm and gentle personality which I noticed from the first time I met her, which I am sure is what helps her makes her subjects very comfortable while photographing them.

So I finally get to have my "shot" to interview Jennifer and pick her mind on all things photographic, as well as give you a "snapshot" of what it's like to be a professional photographer. So Lights, Camera, Action: My interview with Jennifer Shore......................................................

S: What made you decide to pursue photography?
J: I don't think that I am unique in my love for photography and always wanting to be a photographer. Even when I was little I loved to look at old photographs and think about what was happening at the time they were taken. I also loved the idea of capturing a moment and freezing it in time forever.

I took a class in High School and was fascinated by the darkroom. Seeing an image appear on a piece of paper seemed like magic and from that point forward I was hooked!It was always in my mind that I wanted to do something with photography, but I ended up becoming a child and family therapist instead.

While I was working at a school for kids with severe emotional and behavioral problems,I decided to go back and take another photography class. I brought my camera into school with me and loved seeing how the kids enjoyed being in front of the lens. A softer, more truthful side came out of them. I felt like I was seeing them more for who they were and found that they felt freer to be themselves with the camera. With the
encouragement of my photography teacher, fine art photographer Andrew Xenios (who is now my "husband"!), I ended up having an exhibition with the focus of the photographs being the kids I worked with. It really changed everything for me and from there I started taking clients on the side. I actually started with film (does this make me old?) and Andy put a darkroom together for me in my shed. A few years later I finally made the decision to become a full time photographer. I do think that the years working as a therapist has helped me to have a sensitivity when viewing my subjects....I always can find beauty in
every single person I photograph.

S: What do you love about being a photographer?
J: I love everything about it! That may sound cliche but it's true. I spend every spare moment doing something photography related. I remember when I was working as a therapist (which was a job I loved too but differently) I was telling my dad how tired I was and how my work was making me exhausted. My dad, who is a doctor and is still working full time at age 72 (with no ideas of retiring), responded that your work should make you feel energized. In my mind that made no sense. Working and becoming energized through your work just didn't register. When I would get home from my job as a therapist I just wanted to zone out in front of the TV because our days were so difficult. BUT! Now I see exactly what he meant. Every morning I cannot wait to get to work and I am constantly trying to improve my ability to photograph what I see in my mind's eye. The learning curve is endless and I am never, ever bored.

The other part I love about being a photographer is meeting and getting to work with my clients. I have met some of the nicest people and I get to give them this gift of captured time. Sometimes a client will apologize for crying a little when looking at images of her family, but if I was able to give them a moment that they can look back on and remember that feeling, well, that is what I love about being a photographer!

S: What are your top three tips to share on how to take a good picture?
J: A. LIGHT: Good lighting is everything. That doesn't mean middle of the day, open sunshine as that is too harsh for photographing people. Open shade is usually a good place to start. Open shade is where light is pouring in, but it is not directly overhead. A way of picturing this is thinking about the light in a garage. If you place your subject a few feet inside the garage with the door open and face them toward the door, you will see they are lit up from the light outside. They are also in the shade so they won't have unflattering shadows making raccoon eyes!

B. COMPOSITION: Try to make sure that you are looking at the whole picture when you photograph. Look around and see what story you are trying to tell. Many times all you have to do is adjust the subject and/or yourself a few steps to fill the frame with a desirable photo.

C. LOVE YOUR SUBJECT: Really! I mean it! You will see that love in your images. If you are photographing something that bores you, you will see that too! I love working with children, families and people in general. Hopefully that shows in my photographs!

S:What is your favorite thing to photograph?
J: Well, I think I sort of answered that above but I wanted to add that placing people in beautiful environments makes it even more fun. Add in some soft, buttery late afternoon sun and I'm in heaven. Or in someone's home where they are most comfortable is always nice too.

S:What would be some advice you would give someone who would like to go into photography to make a living?
J: I would like to tell them to please, please, please learn how to use your camera inside and out before anything else. You can do this by photographing your family and friends. Practice and then practice some more. I often see people start a photography business and keep their camera on automatic because they don't know how to use it. It shows when you look at their images....once in a while you may see a nice image but mostly they will be inconsistent because they have never learned how light and shutter speed affect an image and how to manipulate that in the way you want. It may get frustrating and take time, but you will improve through thoughtful practice (looking at your images and seeing what went well and what you can do better). Learning how to use your camera is essential and should be a requirement.

Also learn from my mistakes....I knew very little about the business side of photography when I started and boy did that make my life hard. Owning your own business is a lot tougher than some may realize. I work from morning to when I go to bed (love every second of it!) and am trying to balance work with family. Taking a small business class and/or talking with people that own small businesses would be a great place to start.

I don't want to discourage anyone from becoming a photographer for a living but I think in this digital age where almost everyone can claim that they are a "photographer", what will separate you is having the knowledge you need to succeed. Set yourself apart by being the best you can be in the area that you love.

S: Do you have a favorite photo? If so can you tell me about it?
That is such a tough question! I have many favorite photos. Usually it is the one I am working on right now. My favorite photos are the ones that make me really feel something, whether it's the sincere joy in a child's face or the connections between people, those are my favorites.

S:What do you look for in a "perfect shot"?
J: A combination of things....beautiful light and true emotion. I am a mushy person by nature and if I see in one of my images something real about my subject, it makes me teary. I know that may sound ridiculous but when I capture an image of a mother looking at her new baby like it is the miracle that it actually is, or a father hugging his son close with his eyes closed because he is feeling how much he loves his child in that moment,
those are the "perfect shots" that get me every time.

S: What advice can you give to someone who is being photographed to look their
best in a photo?

J: Relax! Easier said than done with a camera pointing at you, I know. But truly it works. If you can forget about the camera for a little while and just be yourself it will show. Try to remember that you are beautiful for many reasons. I try to be funny (well, like I said, I "try") to help my subjects feel a little better and am always just myself which hopefully helps the person I am photographing feel like they are with a friend. I love when families just act how they do normally....tickling, funny faces, running around and having fun.Those make the best images and most people love how they look because you can see the happiness.

S: This may be a question more for me, but I know a lot of people who enjoy photography so it could be helpful to others. I am looking to purchase a good SLR digital camera in a mid-price range....any suggestions?

J: There are many good SLR cameras out there now that are also affordable. I would suggest to stick with Nikon or Canon (I shoot with Canon). Both have consumer models that are excellent. Canon Eos Rebel is a good place to start with Canon. That was actually my first digital SLR and that was several years ago so I know that technology has improved quite a bit since then. I think the Nikon D90 or D5000 may be good
enthusiast cameras as well.

Just want to add....even if you don't feel like you can get the "perfect shot" and are using your camera on automatic, PLEASE keep taking photos. I feel like it is so important to record the passage of time, especially when everything changes so quickly. The perfect shot to you may be technically incorrect, but it doesn't matter as long as YOU love it.

(Self portrait of me taken by me, photography of Jennifer Shore and her son taken by Kristina Young of Kristina Young Photography and all other photographs in this post were taken by Jennifer Shore Photography)

To Contact Jennifer:

phone: 781-519-2285
web site: www.jennifershore.com
blog: www.jennifershore.com/blog

Facebook fan page:  fan me!