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

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

Today’s Archive Image: BC Bike Race Powell River

2012 BCBR Personal-35

Winter is all around us in Vancouver these days. The past week has been foggy and cold and I am growing increasingly jealous of friends spending time in Hawaii, California, Key West and other places where you’re more likely to see an umbrella drink than an umbrella. Despite the weather I’ve started training for a busy summer of bike riding. and though I am still recovering from a car accident last fall, back and neck issues, I got out on the bike twice this past week and starting logging base mileage in preparation for feeling healthier and stronger in the weeks and months ahead.

January has been quiet and I’ve been spending a lot of time combing my Lightroom archive for forgotten gems, and images from travels long ago. Without having to reach too far back I’ve pulled this from last summer, from my week working with BC Bike Race, with whom I’ve enjoyed an event week operations role the past two years, and look forward to returning this July. BC Bike Race is a traveling circus of a bike event, with stage races in seven different BC communities over seven consecutive days involving nearly 700 people including riders, crew, volunteers and rider support. Base Camp is rarely quiet, even after dark with mechanics working around the clock prepping and repairing damaged bikes for the next day’s stage. It takes a pretty tight knit and committed group to make this happen from the management on down. This week has been a difficult one for the BC Bike Race family, we lost one of our medics this week when he was struck by a dump truck while in a crosswalk. Though I didn’t know Rollie all that well, he was a colleague and an integral part of the BC Bike Race Medical Team.

Riding between patches of fog and sunlight, yesterday, we enjoyed a social ride talking about last summer and the summer ahead. Back at the parking lot we shared a few thoughts about our colleague with the prevailing notion that we should never waste an opportunity to get to know someone. Rollie was a name, a face, a colleague to us, and so much more to the people who knew him best. I am sorry that I didn’t get to know you better.

The above is a image from a sunnier day last July at the start line of the Powell River stage of the 2012 BC Bike Race.

I’ve been looking for pictures of Rollie in my BCBR archives and was able to find only this, from Easter weekend in 2011, on the ferry home from a weekend retreat in Cumberland on Vancouver Island sharing a funny story with a couple BCBR friends. Rollie is on the right rocking the toque and sunglasses.

BCBR 2011 Cumberland Visit Rollie-1