2013 Crankworx – Over the Hump

2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-22

There are many quotes about doing what you love, many of them, in the context of career, suggest to pursue your passion and the money will follow. I don’t believe it’s this easy; I like what Henry David Thoreau has to say about passion.

“Do what you love. Know your own bone, gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still.” -Henry David Thoreau

It’s contrite and simplistic to believe that one will follow the other just because. It is more likely that through sweat, effort, failure and exhaustion that success will follow for some, but likely not all. I have been pursuing my passion now for 12 years with some significant ups and downs. I have been in a staff position at three newspapers, I have shot commercial product in more than 20 countries and for every piece of paid work I do now there is another that is done as personal work, as portfolio development, as an exercise in honing my craft.

I didn’t wake up one morning with the thought “Today will be the day I become a photographer.” I have always loved photography and over a number of years in my 20’s it came to have a greater and greater significance in my life. I was a member of the UVic photo club, I took a job at a camera store, I went back to school to study photojournalism and for time when my father and I seemed to argue every choice I made about life, school, etc, photography was the one point we could see and communicate eye to eye about.

My father, at the age of 49, lost his fight with Cancer 15 years ago this morning, and I suspect I will spend the rest of my life struggling with this at some level. A few days later, we held a service attended by more than 300 people, it was standing room only, in the hours that followed the service friends and family gathered to celebrate his life. I was lost, I was no where and this is when two dear friends sat me down with a bottle of Oban and mapped a course forward. It was another year before I finished my BA and two more before two more before I had the clarity and capacity to return to school and the following spring I was working at a daily paper with some of the best mentors in the business.
I am doing what I love, but it is not without sacrifice and to sure, I can’t say that I would be here, doing this, had my father survived. When looking forward it helps to consider how far you’ve come.Now that I have laid my somber self before you, here are a few pictures from yesterday on Whistler Mountain, yesterday was hump day and the best is yet to come.2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-12  2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-24 2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-25 2013 CX Robert Shaer Review-30

Today’s Archive Image – Steve Smith at Crankworx 2012

2012 CX CDN DH Steve Smith WR-1

There are daily reminders that Crankworx is less than two months away. Crankworx turns Whistler into a gong show and it was the most fun I’ve had shooting almost anything in a long, long time. There are more than a few photographers in town over this ten day period and competition for access is intense. I hope to return in 2013, and have submitted an application, while in the mean time reaching out for any assignment that will get me on the mountain.

I am excited that this image in particular, of Canadian Steve Smith coming over Heckler’s Rock during his winning run at the Canadian Open Downhill, has had so much traction, but it has also been a bit of a lesson for me. When you are contributing to a pool of images it is difficult to track where your images end up and whether they have been used with appropriate attribution. These are things that you learn with either a vanity search or with Google’s reverse image search where you can upload an image and Google will locate any number of pages on which your image has appeared.

In the days that followed Smith’s winning run, this image appeared on Facebook, in print and on a dozen different web outlets, some are included below. The exciting thing for me is though my week in Whistler for Crankworx had been a total gamble I saw my photos sent out to the Mountain Bike community world wide, especially cool since is Mountain Biking is among my favourite things to shoot, but also something I consider to be a weak link in my portfolio of experience. Now, almost a year later, this image still has legs and has recently appeared a travel magazine, with permission and attribution, destined for thousands of hotel rooms in Whistler.

Keep your fingers crossed for me!

The Whistler Question:

2012 Crankworx clips 1

MTB Review:

2012 Crankworx clips 5

Pedal Magazine:

2012 Crankworx clips 6

Sick Lines:

Sick Lines CX Steve Smith Screen Shot

Where Whistler:

Where Whistler CX Screen Shot

Ten Years of Crankworx

Events: 2012 Crankworx – Redbull Joyride

A few more from last night’s Redbull Joyride at Crankworx. It feels like it’s been a pretty long week, but we are back at it for one more day. Last night was the crown jewel of Crankworx, it’s the big money event and the winner, Thomas Genon, suggested that he might buy an ‘ippy van’ with with $25,000 prize money when he gets back to Belgium. Clearly I have no fear in dating myself, but I can remember summers in Whistler being pretty quiet, those summers have long since passed; 25,000 people watched yesterday’s event, which has to rival almost any winter event held in Whistler barring the 2010 Games. The scene on the ground in Skier’s Plaza was only eclipsed by the scene in the air above us. With high winds and broken clouds athletes were pushing 60 foot airs and dipping deep into their bag of tricks. It has occurred to me that it isn’t that these athletes pull these stunts, it is the casual way in which they appear to approach them. For Genon and others there must be some pretty serious things going through their heads as they prepare to hit ramps and drops with blind landings, but as a spectator it can be a little bewildering to see riders hit jump after jump after jump holding little back. I’ve always understood that it’s more than just talent or nerve, or um, Prairie Oysters; as young as they are, Genon and his competitors are professional athletes and their evaluation of a stunt goes far beyond how we might consider a line, trail or obstacle. Today is the Canadian Open Down Hill, time to grab a coffee and clean my lenses.

Events: 2012 Crankworx – Giant Dual Slalom

Three hits from last night at the Giant Dual Slalom from Crankworx. Despite the serious glass fest that is Crankworx (lots of photographers) it’s a pretty good crowd, at least among the professionals. Everyone is pretty respectful of each other’s sight lines and is happy to share a few words between the moments of frenzied movement when a rider appears on course or sets up a trick. I’m new to this world, though I have shot road cycling, and some mountain biking, I am the slightly aging, soft around the middle rookie but I am pretty excited to be on the mountain and I’m pretty happy with the work that I’ve been coming home with at the end of each day. It actually feels a lot like the summer I interned; it’s been getting easier each day to get out of bed in the morning in anticipation of the day ahead. Today is Cheese Rolling and Slope Style. I have to draw up a wedding contract, make coffee and get back to the village before all the free spots in lots 4 & 5 are taken. Cheers!

Events: 2012 Crankworx Teva Best Trick II

 

Enjoying the quiet in Whistler this morning with a cup of coffee while I pull a few ad photos for a client. I couldn’t resist post a couple more images from yesterday’s Teva Best Trick contest at Crankworx. Though it remains true what I wrote last night about the work of others, I am pretty happy with some of the shots I made, not bad for a rookie.

Events: 2012 Crankworx Teva Best Trick

It was so tough to pick one image of the 30 or so edits from today’s Teva Best Trick event at Crankworx but I hope you’ll like this one and that it will keep you interested in coming back and ultimately interested in my post event Crankworx gallery. This is one of those events in which the photographers outnumber the competitors, and today it felt like 3-1, the RedBull Joyride event this weekend is sure to be a glass fest. It is interesting to see so many pros in one place, everyone seeking out their unique vantage point, but ultimately turning their lenses to the same subject. One of the most interesting experiences I have had in photography is how different photographers see and approach the same subject. It hits me every time I look at the work of others who have been at the same event as I have. This is one of those things that makes photography so compelling but also humbling. It can be difficult to look at the work of others and see so clearly the elements of my own work that needs something more.