Gaurav Jani Motorcycle Chang Pa

I've recently interviewed Guarav Jani The motorcycle travel filmmaker who made Riding solo to the top of the World and One Crazy Ride. At the time he was up in Leh, in the northernmost regions of India, to renew permits to film in the sensitive India-Chinese border areas.

There is finally a teaser of that latest film he is working on: Motorcycle Chang Pa. It's Guarav's one year journey on foot, on horseback and on Royal Enfield Bullet, to one of the coldest and remotest deserts in the World - The Changthang Plateau on the India- China border. Looks like the quality of  this film has taken another step-up, each film looks better than the last.

Find out more about the film on the Dirt Track Productions site.

I've just received an email from Gaurav, he writes:

"Despite innumerable problems and harsh weather, the journey and the film are shaping up better than we expected. We have cut a small teaser for the film and you can see it at

On the website, you can also read about the nine month journey so far at

But the best viewing experience is to be had on your Full-HD TV, so we've uploaded a high-resolution (1080p) version of the Teaser as well. Do take the trouble to watch it on a big screen.

The Motorcycle Chang pa journey is still far from over. I have about three months of filming left.
I would greatly appreciate your feedback on the Teaser.

Thanks and Regards,

Gaurav Jani"

DIY luggage rack - KLR650 with Ortleib panniers

A reader dropped an email asking about the DIY pannier/soft luggage rack on my KLR650. The Ortlieb thin dry bags that I use are perfect for my needs - lightweight, low-profile and absolutely waterproof - They can be thrown over most motorcycle saddles as-is, but the way the passenger handles stick-out on my KLR keep the panniers too far forward. I found the bags would hit the back of my legs while standing on the pegs. Big problem off-road, especially on steep downhill sections.

Making this rack let me mount them at least 6" further back, with the rear luggage strap looped through the passenger handles. The rack also keeps the luggage away from the exhaust and off of the side panels. Perfect.

I mocked-up each rack in cardboard to get the bends right. I cut the perforated stainless steel bar with a hacksaw, rounded the sharp corners with a file, and bent the steel with vice grips on a table edge.

I bought long metric bolts and washers to attach the bar to the KLR luggage rack, and the standard  passenger peg bolt worked fine for the lower attachment point. Blue Loctite all around. Total cost $10-$15

The bend on one side is slightly different than the other.

Route 381-1594

After: Note the difference, look at where the back of the pannier lines up relative to the North Face duffel bag. Much better. I don't even notice the panniers when riding off-road.

Sure, these racks get a bit bent out of shape in a tip-over, but the beauty is, you just bend them right back!
I've run these from Canada to Panama without a hitch.
@AmericanSahara and I had a laugh on twitter when I wasn't sure what to call this kind of rack: On a KLR it's "the cheapest way possible" on a BMW it would be an "Adventure Brace™"

Coming soon - From Estonia with Love interview

This weekend I've been going back through the amazing From Estonia with Love ride-report on, preparing questions for The next Motojournalism interview. Margus of Estonia shoots some amazing photographs with his medium format film camera and he has been travelling round-the-world with his wife Kariina since 2009.

Sketchy bridge crossing...

Also, just wanted to post this edge-of-your-seat video for you folks who aren't following me on twitter (you're missing all the good stuff!)

The video is from Graham Styles of Brainrotting fame. Here he has to cross a suspension footbridge in Colombia because the main bridge is washed out. Keep in mind he's on a fully-loaded BMW650, panniers, spare tires, the full lot...

Blaming the Equipment - via

Hot on the heels of a "what lens should I buy" post, I listened to this particularly relevant podcast dealing with a subject I believe strongly about.

I've mentioned Brooks Jensen's excellent LensWork podcast in previous posts. It's all about photography and the creative process - a short n' sweet audio accompaniment to the phenomenally well-printed LensWork magazine.

This podcast really hit home when Brooks spoke about how there will never be the perfect equipment, how photo gear will always a compromise and to be careful not to fault your equipment for a lack of creativity.

"It is undoubtedly fun to talk about equipment, study specifications, and fantasize about a new purchase. It's fun and even useful — as long as we don't cross the line and start blaming our current equipment for our lack of creativity."

To me this applies as much to motorcycling as it does photography: If only I had that suspension upgrade... If only I could afford those aluminium panniers...
Don't blame your gear, get out there and use what you have! :)

Have a listen to the four-minute podcast below, then check out the huge archive of free podcasts on the LensWork website or subscribe free via iTunes or RSS

LensWork Podcast #681 - Blaming the Equipment

A few thoughts on SLR lens choice Long or wide?

Brad AKA "Orangecicle" on ADVrider wrote to me a while back:

"Anthony, I've read your "Way out West" ride-report with great interest. I'm a former newspaper photographer from way back -- in the days of Nikon FM2s and manual focus. I later went to law school and left journalism behind. Some years ago I picked up a camera again -- a D100. That recently died, and I bought a Canon 60D with the 18-135 kit lens. 

I want to add to my lenses, but things are so expensive these days. My photojournalism buddy wants me to buy a 70-200mm f2.8, but that's too expensive. I'm considering a straight Canon 200mm f2.8 L, but I'm also interested in the superwides (Tokina 11-16mm, Tokina 12-24mm, Canon 10-22mm).

Any thoughts on what lens you would purchase first? Basically, I enjoy the type of work that you do - I ride my KTM Adventure and photograph my little part of the world. 
Years ago I had a Nikon 20mm F2.8 and really loved that lens, but you get the obvious distortion of subjects on the sides of those superwides. So, I'm really torn on what to do.

By the way, I bought and downloaded your first Motojournalism book. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for any thoughts. Keep up the good work.
- Brad

I understand the dilemma! It's a big investment to build your kit of lenses, and there's no easy answer because there are so many possibilities and so many ways to use a given lens.

I'm sure you know you're going to get a very different style of photography from a long lens than from a wide-angle, so it depends on what type of image you're partial to; the expansive view, deep focus and exaggerated angles of the wide-angle, or the isolation and shallow focus of the long lens. 
Put simply; a telephoto acts like a telescope, a wide-angle acts like the peep-hole in a front door.

Ontario enduro rides
A wide-angle takes everything in, but you need to get CLOSE!

A telephoto lens can pick out a distant object and isolate it against a background.