Almost on my way …

August 27, 2009

I had hoped to show more details on the five bikes, and to explain what makes each one special.  Well, that’ll have to wait as I’ve run out of time — but anyway, the one I’m using on my tour is the one with the “H” headbadge, a Hillborne made by Rivendell.  Riv is a small company based in Walnut Creek CA, and the Hillborne is set up for a trip like this with wider-than-normal tires, fenders for the rain, racks for bags, and super-low gearing for those mountains.  With that low gear I can ride almost slower than a slow walk, and in the mountains that may be just what’s needed!

As a get-ready for my big trip out west, Elena and I spent a few days in Newport, RI, and we both did a lot of riding.  Here’s a night shot of the Newport-Jamestown bridge which I took while waiting for our ferry boat:

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This will be my last post from Boston.  I leave for Oregon this Saturday, and if I can get internet access I hope to add photos during my trip.  So long for now!

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My Five Bikes

August 14, 2009

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Here is my current fleet of bikes.  I’ll write more on the particulars later, but first, if some of you are wondering what’s the point of having 5 bikes, believe me I know people who have twice as many!  Each of these is unique in its own way, but the one thing they have in common is that they’re all steel.  Not having aluminum, titanium, or carbon frames makes me kind of old-school, but so be it.

Ok, let’s move on from Julia.  Some of you know I like to cycle.  Later this month I’m riding along the Pacific coast for two weeks, and here’s my route:

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Each point is where I’ll spend one night camping. In the next few posts I’ll show you the various bikes in my stable, and talk about the coming trip.  Remember, every bike you see on the road means ONE LESS CAR!  More soon.

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OK, here it is bigger.  It means “Alcoholism makes man a brute, the child a victim, and the wife a martyr.”

Here are a couple of images that I believe have never been published before.  I especially love the one of her rolling dough in her pantry.

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Can anyone out there read and translate the motto on the wall to her right?

The movie Julie and Julia certainly has gotten a lot of press, hasn’t it? Friends and relatives keep sending me news clips and web links to stories about Julia, as if somehow I might be missing all the hoopla. You see, I worked with Julia Child for a number of years and shot cookbooks and magazine articles with her, first at our PBS station in Boston, and later at her home in Cambridge MA. In fact, she’s the reason I got into food photography in the first place. So everyone is interested and asks me what it was like to have known her.

I’m a little uncomfortable with all the Julia fans who are amazed to be talking to someone who knew her. There was never anything “superstar” about Julia, and I’m sure she would agree that my knowing her was nothing remarkable. In fact, that’s just what made Julia special – she was straightforward, never put on airs, and called it like it was. She answered her own house phone, in that voice of hers.

We worked hard together, doing photos for Julia Child & Company, its sequel Julia Child & More Company, her magazine series for Parade Magazine, and her book The Way to Cook. She thought of herself as a teacher – never a “chef” – and often I’d find myself shooting from over her shoulder to illustrate cooking steps. Julia was generous to me in many ways, and during our lunch breaks she always thought to ask me about my family, my kids, and my other photographic projects. I felt she treated me a little like a son.

There were a few years when we’d photograph in her house on Irving Street in Cambridge. We’d turn her dining room into a studio, and bring food back and forth through the butler’s pantry to the adjacent kitchen. Her husband Paul, by then retired, was also an artist and a photographer. Most people regarded him as a bit of a recluse – but I always admired him and we got along perfectly. Maybe we’re kindred spirits! Anyway, the house had a beautiful hand-carved mahogany chest in the front hall which was made by Paul. There were also oil paintings on the wall which Paul had done, the most striking one a village street scene in China.

Julia gave me a few things after Paul died: his tripod, a few art supplies of his, and a handful of his photographs. Later, when the Smithsonian was planning to make her kitchen an exhibit, Julia was preparing to move to Santa Barbara for the last time and I went to see her. I took a small gift as a token, a print. Neither of us said it, but I knew it would be the last time I’d see her. We hugged and said good-bye. Thank you, Julia, for everything.