Project Update: Let’s Cooking Cookbook

“Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.” ~Marcel Boulestin

Lets Cooking Cover

It’s fair to admit that there are times when even I, a great observer of the world, can not see the forest for the trees. I say this with my tongue in my cheek as I’ve come out of my busiest event season, maybe ever, and into the quiet season. This transition can be difficult, it can feel like a sudden and unexpected train stop. This is the time of year when some of us have to dig deep for the discipline to make our soft deadlines, to make the necessary software updates, to review the year past and start planning for the year ahead. It is a time for housekeeping and review, and if you feel stuck at home while others are away on assignment, it can be difficult to swap the camera for the computer.

But it turns out Autumn 2013 has been pretty good, and has offered a lot more than simply hunkering down with new external drives, and software updates. The first great thing to arrive this fall was Burgoo’s Food For Comfort Cookbook, which I had in hand at the end of October after waiting ‘patiently’ for months. It is important to consider how long the process for these type of projects can take, especially if you might be used to seeing your work in print or online, a few days or hours after shooting it.

On the heals of Food for Comfort, Hana Dethlefsen’s Let’s Cooking: Japanese Cooking at Home Vol. 1 was the next great thing to land in my expectant hands. And if the Burgoo project felt protracted, Let’s Cooking took waiting patiently to a whole new level. In fairness Let’s Cooking was a very different type of project. It is a small book filled with big ideas financed by good will pot luck dinners. The principal photography was produced two years ago with the idea that if circumstances worked out, there would be a book somewhere down the road. Circumstances worked out and after a very successful summer crowd funding campaign an initial print run of 500 copies was produced with plans in the works for 500 more in the new year.

Hana describes Japanese food as more than just sushi, or chicken karage, and while these are popular, it is the shared meal that is most significant to Japanese food. It is the mixture of colour, texture and flavour that makes Japanese food delicious, healthy and beautiful. While Let’s Cooking isn’t available in wide release, if you are interested please get in touch with Hana through her website: Let’s Cooking.

I have an extra copy which I hope to be able to giveaway in the new year with a contest similar to this month’s Food For Comfort giveaway.

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Hana Dethlefsen FEEDback Project

Advertisements

Catching Up – 2013 Crankworx Red Bull Joyride

Out for a Joyride!

2013 CX RedBull Joy Ride-1

It’s been a month since I left Whistler after 10 days on the mountain with Crankworx, and what a month. I’ve been back to Whistler for event shoots with 5 Peaks and the Meet Your Maker Ultra Marathon event as well as keeping busy in Vancouver with corporate, commercial and more event work. The busy season still has a lot of fight left in it. It was great to be in Whistler again for Crankworx but it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of some great folks including Patti Houston whose ‘sponsorship’ package made the week possible for me. Thanks to the gang at SUPERDROP for keeping me energized and alert with a week’s worth of buzz from their new energy product and to Ultra Runner, James Marshall, for the case of Cariboo which was a cool welcome home after a day in the dust, or rain, on the mountain.

In some ways Crankworx feels a bit like a working holiday, although I am certain no one on our team would describe the week in Whistler as a vacation. For me it feels a bit like a holiday because I was able to focus on one thing for the week at the expense of the day to day chores of life at home. Despite arriving in Whistler with a ton of work on my desktop, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to shoot every day. I believe and I have mentioned it before, there is no substitute for intensity and immersion when it comes to photography and honing your craft.

This year Crankworx was also a tremendous learning experience in adapting to challenges. Leading up to Whistler I was starting to notice that my camera, a Nikon D300s, was not performing quite as expected and my auto focus was starting to act erratically and unpredictably especially when using the otherwise exceptional Nikkor 14-24 f2.8. While I have since upgraded my camera body, more on this later, on event week my ‘gear frustration’ was at a high point and I ended up shooting on manual focus much of the week when using the wide glass. It is a testament to how talented and hard working sports photographers were prior to auto focus, power drives and long before the digital era.

Below are a few images from the Red Bull Joyride event int he Whistler Mountain bike park. There were plenty of spills, chills and thrills to go around.

2013 CX RedBull Joy Ride-2 2013 CX RedBull Joy Ride-3 2013 CX RedBull Joy Ride-4 2013 CX RedBull Joy Ride-5 2013 CX RedBull Joy Ride-6

2013 Crankworx – Tales from the Whip

2013 CX Whip Off Personal-6

I am catching up with my inbox and a variety of to do lists since getting home from Whistler on Monday afternoon. It was a pretty intense week in Whistler and driving back into Vancouver was a challenge. After a week of walking, bikes and tall trees, the sheer scale of the city filled me with anxiety. The noise, the traffic and the expanses of concrete and asphalt left me looking over my shoulder toward Whistler wishing that it was easier to stay.

Today’s images are from the Whip Off contest on Crabapple Hits just below mid mountain. The Whip Off must be among the most exciting Crankworx events to photograph. The quarters are small, the airs huge and the crowds are very enthusiastic. There were no shortages of close calls for photographers and spectators alike, and I even managed to catch a tumbling bike and rider.

The challenge with events like the Whip Off is that the action directly in front of the camera is generally so exciting that I found it difficult to pull back and consider not just the individual components, but the event as a whole including riders, the terrain, spectators and the scores of photographers on hand. I’ve been looking at the work of other photographers that were on site last Friday with envy and humility. What I see in the photography of others is often what I have missed in my own approach to a scene.

Crankworx produces such great photography every year, in part because it attracts so many of the most recognized names in the industry, but also because of the sheer numbers of photographers who descend on Whistler every year. You can’t swing a GoPro at the end of a pole without poking a guy in his 300 f2.8. Crankworx is a glass fest and the competition is fierce.

This is what the Whip Off looked like to me, but you should also check out the action at Pink Bike:

Pink Bike’s look at the Whip Off Worlds.

2013 CX Whip Off Personal-12013 CX Whip Off Personal-22013 CX Whip Off Personal-32013 CX Whip Off Personal-42013 CX Whip Off Personal-5 2013 CX Whip Off Personal-7

2013 Crankworx – Ultimate Pump Track

Thursday Night at the Pump Track

2013 CX Pump Track-3

Yesterday was a tough day. As I shot, I saw little in the camera that excited me, rather, a lot that filled me with anxiety and doubt. Early on I had a mentor who said “I’d rather be lucky than good.” I never understood that. I always thought that if you were good enough you’d never need luck. I never wanted to rely on luck, to leave certain things to chance; when I got it right, I wanted to get it right not because I was lucky, but because I am good.

When I wrapped last night at the Rockshox Pump Track in Whistler’s Olympic Plaza I was feeling neither good nor lucky. I wasn’t looking forward to the arduous task of choosing my least bad images to share with the Crankworx photo team. It turns out being lucky isn’t so bad. I came away with a few images from last night that I am happy with. Not to say there aren’t a lot of images bound for the bin, because there are, but rather, I am grateful for having something to show that I am reasonably happy with.

But maybe luck is a outcome of experience, maybe it’s true that the harder one works, the luckier one gets.

2013 CX Pump Track-2

2013 CX Pump Track-1

2013 CX Pump Track-5

2013 CX Pump Track-4

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

2013 Crankworx – The Dust and the Glory

“Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.”

-Benjamin Franklin

This morning, between editing photos and sips of coffee, I have been fighting a losing battle. It is dry in Whistler, the fire hazard is listed as extreme, the dust is everywhere and it is saturating. My hair feels like straw and every sip from my water bottle includes what feels like a mouth full of grit. Cleaning myself is one thing, but dust is especially hard on camera equipment. It gets into everything and glass can act like a magnet for dust looking for a surface to land on. Dust requires constant maintenance; gotta keep your gear clear to get the best from it, and I think we can all agree that the challenges that come with trying to capture a mountain biker 20-30 feet in the air or another deep in a berm at 50km/hr are enough without battling the elements as well. But dust is also beautiful, it captures light and creates an aura of place and experience. These are a few shots from Tuesday on Whistler shot in and around the Garbanzo DH course and through the dust.

2013 CX Garbanzo Dust-4

2013 CX Garbanzo Dust-1

2013 CX Garbanzo Dust-2

2013 CX Garbanzo Dust-3

“Whether we fall by ambition, blood or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.”

-John Webster

Recent Work – 2013 Wheel2Heal Fundraiser

 

2013 W2H Personal-2

Summer seemed to arrive on the South West Coast of BC over night. I feel like one day I was trying to figure out what jacket I would need to fend off the weather and the next I was in shorts and short of sunscreen as evidenced by the impressive sun burn received a week ago. With the sun and summer-like weather event season landed with the intensity of a crashing car and I couldn’t be happier. At some level I will be involved with nearly 100 events this year and I am pretty excited because I love working in the event community. A week ago I was back at the start/finish line and event village of the Eagle Ridge Hospital Foundation’s Wheel2Heal cycling fundraiser with close to 500 riders taking on one of three distances and raising an impressive amount of money for the local hospital foundation.

This is a short post to share a few images from last weekend and a good break for me while I work my way through images shot yesterday at BC’s Golden Ears Provincial Park of the first 5 Peaks Trail Running event of the season. I should probably write a little about event photography in general, but for now I will keep it short and sweet.

2013 W2H Personal-3

2013 W2H Personal-4

2013 W2H Personal-1