I had to pull the plug last night, late last night, after two days that felt like four and several hours of editing that included photos for SUPERDROP, Burgoo, Crankworx and the 2013 Squamish Arc’teryx 50 Ultra Marathon. It’s been a busy week, but work is like dinner; better to be looking at it than for it. I arrived in Whistler late Sunday night after a truly epic day on course in Squamish where more than 500 runners challenged one of three events, 23 km, 50 km and 50 Mile courses, all of which pushed runners to their limits and sometimes beyond. I got to see first hand runners pushing through their walls in the last 6 km of course, some in tears and others cursing Race Director Gary Robbins for being, sick, sadistic and evil for his trail choices.
At some point last night, close to 1 am, the world around me went black as the power went out turning my iMac lit room absolute black; it was time to pack it in for the day, I had hit my productivity wall. Working through photos late at night is often necessary to meet deadlines, especially when the calendar is full. The tough thing, however, is that it’s also the time of day when I see more errors than successes, and my frustration starts to grow exponentially. It is a humbling experience to distill, edit and reevaluate images that live up to no reasonable expectation. Saturday started so early that by the time I sat down for dinner at 10 pm that night, Saturday morning felt like the day before. Sunday had a similar quality.
I have been working through these projects but felt like it was time to share a few pictures from my Saturday with the Squamish Arc’teryx 50. Thanks to Race Directors Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford for having me along for their first season of the Coast Mountain Trail Series and the second year of the Arc’teryx 50.
It is impossible to overstate how challenging fog, rain and darkness can be to capturing a solid trail running photo. Cold hands and wet feet conspire with less than watertight outerwear to make waiting for the next runner to appear on trail truly an endeavour. Yesterday morning on Mount Seymour, on Vancouver’s North Shore runners were hammered by aforementioned rain and fog while I stood waiting and wondering if this is the shoot that exceeds the weather proofing of my camera gear.
I did my best, and though the response has been supper positive as photos have hit the social media feeds, I scroll through the images in lightroom and see more examples of where I can improve than not.
Evey shoot is an opportunity to learn something, how to better prepare, to try new techniques to deal with challenging shooting environments and to think of new uses for zip lock freezer bags. Which I was wishing for as my speed light took a drenching even under the thick canopy of trees. I will stash a few in my still damp camera bag when I am hone again in about ten days.
I’m at an airport this morning, thousands of kilometres away from where my day started yesterday on Mt Seymour’s Old Buck trail for the Coast Mountain Trail Series event Buckin’ Hell and I am trying, for the first time, to publish a post from my phone. Fingers Crossed.
A huge thanks to Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford for inviting me along on their inaugural CMTS season as race photographer, to the scores of volunteers who make events like this possible and to our runners who make challenge look easy and inspire the rest of us.
Lots going on over the last month; but work is like dinner, it’s better to be looking at it than for it. It has been an interesting several weeks of photography including a snowshoe race, shooting trail running, road running and some personal work, a Ms Teen pageant and on going work on a cookbook project for a local restaurant client. I’ve also had the chance to hear and hang out with Photographer Ian Ruhter who has been in Vancouver for a number of local speaking engagements and wet plate demos, if you aren’t familiar with Ian’s work, have a look at the first video he and his crew produced about a year ago: Silver & Light.
Two weeks ago I ventured into the trails above North Vancouver with Ultra Trail Runner Gary Robbins to work on some profile pictures which would serve double purpose for both my personal portrait work and Gary’s need for some new Profile content. Gary took us to a great little trail hub that provided an opportunity for a variety of looks and we finished with a couple of head shot style portraits fitting for a trail runner and event manager. In looking back at this work and the photos that will follow of both Gary and Elaine, I see characters in their environments. These are studies of people in the places they are most comfortable.
By now the room that surrounds Elaine at her Piano will be very different. I haven’t seen it yet, but I understand that the shelves are nearly clear of books, packed and bound for new shelves in a new space in a new home. With lees than a month on the clock before Elaine and her husband Ken move into their new home I felt it was important to make a photo of Elaine at her piano in the house she has lived in for close to 30 years. I believe the spaces we inhabit, whether we choose them or they are chosen for us, become a part of who we are. I can’t wait to see Elaine’s new space, but I am glad we were able to get one last look at the old one.
One more look:
My space is subject to a perpetual cycle of cluttering and uncluttering. It is never static and often feels like a bit of a disaster. My workspace is often surrounded by piles of paper, folders, files and business cards and equipment transiting from one bag to another between shoots and assignments. One day I will make a self portrait of this chaos when I am brave enough to share, honestly, the state of my desk.