“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”
― Dean Karnazes
It’s been a busy few months, with September just as busy as August and finally now, mid October, life is starting ease up a little at a time. Between the start of August and the first week of October I was on hand for running events in Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, West Vancouver, Buntzen Lake and Surrey, BC. With the exception of the Surrey marathon I shot all of these events including two first time events, the Eastside 10km and the Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon.
Between shooting races I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few new clients, and take care of some longer standing collaborations and there a couple exciting things left in store for this fall. At the end of August a project on which I was a collaborator was offered to the world in the form of a crowd funding campaign to self publish a cook book. Authored by my friend Hana Dethlefsen and featuring her recipes of Japanese home cooking the Let’s Cooking Indiegogo campaign doubled her funding goals. Let’s Cooking is on it’s way to a publication run and I can’t wait to have a finished copy to share. In a couple more weeks I will be excited to share another project announcement more than a year in the making.
From 5 Peaks Trail Series on Blackcomb
From the inaugural Eastside 10km
From the Inaugural Spirit of the Shore Half Marathon
I’d like to think that I am at the mid point between two event weekends, but I’m not. My head is spinning because it’s already Thursday and last weekend feels like it was a month ago, which is about how old my last post is. In my defense, May and June have been busy months and though I have had to withdraw myself from some events I was keen to participate in due to injury we now we are into the dark heart of summer event season. It’s on.
I’ve taken on a greater role with 5 Peaks Trail Series and I am super excited to see where it takes me and while I continue to shoot the 5 Peaks BC events I now get to help guide the look and feel of the photography from our other events across Canada. This really kicked off last weekend and while I was shooting the 5 Peaks BC event at Alice Lake Provincial Park in Squamish, BC other photographers were shooting in Alberta and Ontario.
It’s also been a busy period in the Photography community. Recently The Chicago Tribune let go of it’s whole photo staff electing to outfit reporters with iPhones and employing freelancers as necessary. I want to address this issue, but I am still processing what this means, and how I feel about it. This is an issue for another post, or a year’s worth of posts, but for now, I have to let it go. After ‘retiring’ myself from photography late in 2008, I have obviously come back to it but I have come back to an industry deep in transition and very much reflective of Chris Anderson’s Long Tail model. Social media has created a voracious market place for content and the event community is being forced to reevaluate how to use photography and how to pay for it. Photography is no longer a value add, it can no longer be simply a revenue stream, it has to be more. Event photography has to interesting, creative and engaging because, in the era of Social Media, every photo has become a tool of outreach and branding. At it’s best photography should be sharing an experience that others want want in on.
Saturday in Squamish was a little wetter and a little colder than I had anticipated or prepared for. I definitely failed my Boy Scout training as I left the house in Vancouver unprepared for the conditions in Squamish but somehow I managed through. I even left my shoes on the roof of the car, finding them still there at a stop en route. Squamish is an ideal venue for trail running and Squamish trails are heavily used but also built and maintained by their users. In humping my gear down part of the course known as Credit Line, I came across a trail builder working on a couple of ladders to clean up a section of climbing. I was just as surprised to find out he had no idea that there was an event that morning as he was to look up and see almost 400 runners descend on him and his section of trail repair. Squamish offers an awesome variety of technical trails for runners and mountain bikers, lots of ups and downs under 300 foot trees, this is West Coast trail running at it’s finest, all that’s missing is a salmon bbq and a keg of west coast pale ale!
Yesterday morning I polished off the edit from Saturday’s Yeti Snowshoe Series event at Whistler Olympic Park. My clothes are still drying out. It was that wet, and although I will try almost anything, I am a rookie on snowshoes and found myself waist deep in wet snow with my lens bags quickly filling with the white stuff. It was so wet that I feared that I might have to hang dry my jpgs!
Saturday was really the beginning of my photography event season and this year looks very busy. Over the past 5 years I’ve made some truly great friendships in the event world so working waist deep in wet snow doesn’t feel so much like work as it could, and for this I am grateful. There were a lot of familiar faces at the start line on Saturday morning, and by the count of the happy faces that stuck around for prizing, few were held from having a good time by the rain.
Winter is here. While the snow is blowing and falling in delicious inches in Whistler, Vancouver is wrapped in a shroud of grey. It’s wet, cold and unappealing to be outside, which is difficult for a city like Vancouver which relishes the outside spaces that surround it. It’s the second week of January and I am already thinking and planning for the spring/summer and fall event seasons. I photograph events, although if you pin me down I will tell you that I don’t really see myself as an event photographer, rather a sports photographer who happens to shoot events and I am lucky to have a few clients who invite me to shoot their events the way I see them.
While summer hung around the south coast long into October, it’s cold comfort now. Every few weeks I sneak away into the archive to look at photos from last summer, to imagine the summer sun and being outside in shorts and tshirts. I started September in Whistler with the inaugural Meet Your Maker 50, a 50 Mile Trail Ultra & Relay. I’m looking forward to being back in Whistler soon which may involve snowshoeing and getting out into the cold, but in the back of my head I will be thinking about summer, just as in summer there is always a part of me that waits anxiously for the first snow in the mountains. Here are a few pictures from Labour Day weekend on Blackcomb Mountain and the Meet Your Maker 50.
Time flies. If it weren’t for the reminders I would say that it was impossible that my last post was in August. As the winter rain settles into the Vancouver skyline I was drawn back to my photos from Crankworx this past summer. What an amazing week and a tremendous opportunity for very intensive shooting. During a conversation a couple of weeks ago with my photography colleagues from CreativeMornings/Vancouver we talked as photographers do and in the process I was asked about a previous position that I held for almost five years. While that job feels like it is from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I remember it being a tremendous learning experience, just as my first internship was. What set these experiences apart from others was how intensive they were, how high the bar was set for production, delivery and quality. It was hard work but it was possible to see improvements almost daily and certainly weekly. If you are at school or starting out the best advice I can give is to shoot daily. There are far more elements to being a photographer than most of us will let on to, client care, business development, insurance, incorporation et cetera, et cetera. But to see your craft develop is to shoot as much and as often as you can. Be deliberate in choosing your subjects and photograph your passions. Be passionate about your content.
The time between Crankworx and now has gone by in a blur, some disappointments and some successes and some great clips found in the Whistler Question, Pique News Magazine, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight and the cover of Get Out There Magazine’s Western Canada Winter 2012/2013 issue (above). You wouldn’t know it by the frequency of my posts but there have been some interesting and touching shoots for the UBC Department of Midwifery and portrait clients and I am happy to say that I also have a new position. The photo above was shot last February at Whistler’s Olympic Park during the Yeti Snowshoe Race Series. Since then I have signed on as Photographer and Photography Manager for 5 Peaks Adventures who manages the Yeti Snowshoe Series, 5 Peaks Trail Running Series, Meet Your Maker Ultra Marathon and others. We are three events into our year and I can’t wait to get on snowshoes early in 2013 for the Yeti.