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Ormond Beach Observer Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 5 years ago

Bike Week, through a camera lens

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Don Howard and Joe Skaggs are among the photographers camped along the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, taking pictures of passing bikers.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

Engine roar is everywhere during Bike Week, often drowning out any other noise. But there’s a stretch of road in Ormond Beach where the click of a camera's shutter-snap is just as prevalent.

Along the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, photographers Don Howard and Joe Skaggs set up every year to capture shots of bikers as they ride by.

Then, they sell those photos online, to either pay the bills, like Howard, who is an independent professional photographer, or just for a little extra money and fun, like Skaggs, who lives in Arkansas.

Howard lives in Ormond Beach, has been taking photos along the Loop for five years. He said he shoots an average of 5,000 photos per day, and closer to 10,000 when the Loops gets busy.

He’ll upload those photos to a website, www.AboutDon.com, grouped by day and hour, where riders can find and buy them.

Skaggs, who vacations here with his wife, is used to taking photos at a biker restaurant in Fayetteville, Ark., and he averages about 2,000 photos per day and sells them through his site, www.RidePics.net.

“Some of the bikes, I mean, they’re just amazing pieces of artwork, really,” Howard said. “And I think that’s what I really try to capture, is a piece of artwork, for their artwork.”

Howard has spent hours camped out on the Loop, just west of the Highbridge Road bridge, and said he has seen a wild boar, snakes, a bobcat and some pretty impressive motorcycles.

A few years ago, he said he saw what looked like a witch riding down the road, heading straight for him. Like he always does, he started taking photos.

As the rider got closer, he said he realized it was a group of bikers dressed up like characters from the Wizard of Oz. Howard said there was a witch, Dorothy, the Scarecrow and even Toto in a sidecar.

Both Howard and Skaggs may enjoy being at the Loop and taking photos, but there’s no denying that it’s work. Each biker and each photo is a potential customer, so they can’t be out there for just an hour or two. Howard said he’s usually at the Loop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When they’re done taking photos for the day, they upload them to their websites, but first weed out the shots that didn’t turn out.

Chances are, the bikers who ride past Howard and Skaggs only have static photos of themselves on their motorcycles. The photographers say the Loop makes for a unique backdrop.

“I’m selling memories, that’s what I’m doing,” Skaggs said. “They’re going to give the photos to their kids and grandkids.”

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