Thursday Night at the Pump Track
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.
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.
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!
Turning the camera is good advice. Advice that was often heard in the halls and classrooms of the Photojournalism program I completed ten years ago. Wow, ten years. There has been a lot of mileage racked up in that time and a lot of turning of cameras. Perhaps there is no coincidence that within a year of graduating I was shooting 360 degree panoramic images for hospitality and tourism clients, and in traveling the globe for a lot of that work, the world continued to turn under me. Somehow I don’t think my instructors meant their advice so literally. It was also a huge turn from working at a newspaper and though I no longer do that kind of work there are days when I miss both experiences; telling stories and capturing moments to be shared on newsprint and looked at by perhaps hundreds of thousands of readers and producing images capturing elements of style, design and far off places of luxury.
If you’ve been looking at my photos, or have looked through a few of my galleries, you may have already guessed that I have a strong interest in cycling, it goes back to childhood. One of the lessons that wasn’t taught when I was at school was that it wasn’t enough to be interested in photography alone. Photographers need to be interested and curious about the world they live in whether surrounded by family, food, design, heartbreak or even cycling. Start by photographing what you love and what you are passionate about and let the rest unfold. If you don’t like what you see try changing your perspective, try turning your camera. I shot this image in Whistler, BC on a sunny Saturday in May, and to capture this frame I had to take that advice from so many years ago. I turned the camera. In this case I turned it straight up.