“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
“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
The Meet Your Maker 50 is now a few weeks in the rear view mirror but I keep coming back to the same few images shot in the hour before gun time. I keep coming back to these images because they are unlike any images that I have shot before. It wasn’t my first shoot with my new Nikon D800, it was my second, but it was the first in the challenging conditions offered by a shoot that started at 4am and took me from the valley floor to the alpine high above Whistler Village and back again. I shot into the darkness and into the sun and with the review of each frame I felt stronger and more confident as a photographer.
My feelings about equipment are well known in my circle. The gear debate is for gear fetishists and those more concerned about cameras and technology than photography and content. Whenever I over hear another photographer going on about the latest tech and how they can’t live without it, I respond with a reflexive roll of the eyes. Some of the most iconic images in the history of photography were made long before built in light meters, autofocus and certainly before pixels forever changed the medium. I believe my camera bag is a toolbox and my cameras are tools, the right lens and the right camera can help you get the shot, but no amount of tech will compensate for a photographers sole reliance on it. The difference for me, that Sunday in Whistler, was that the D800 did a better job at capturing what I felt and saw better than any camera I’ve used before.
Since Labour day weekend in Whistler with MYM I’ve completed several shoots and projects including commercial products, packaged goods, running and corporate head shots. It’s been a very busy six weeks and despite my above comments, the D800 feels like a game changer. I feel like it’s made me a better photographer, and although that may say more about my strengths as a photographer than it does about the quality of the Nikon, I am excited that it’s so good at helping me capture subjects the way I see them.
MYM was my second Ultra Marathon shoot in as many months, as you may recall from an earlier post the Squamish 50. Shooting an Ultra maybe one of the hardest things I’ve had to shoot. Without commenting on what I haven’t shot, I will say that Ultras take planning and prep from what you have in your bag, to where on course you’ll shoot, to what you power yourself with. I have a tendency to favour gear and bag prep over making sure I have what I need to survive these long, long days. Do: Take more water than you think you’ll need. Don’t: forget extra batteries, memory cards and sunscreen.
Out for a Joyride!
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.
I’ll be posting a few pics through my week at Crankworx starting with this past Sunday. Yesterday, Monday, was a down day and I took the opportunity to get caught up with some of the work I shot last week. I arrived in Whistler with a mountain of editing and post production to work through and I was grateful for the time to make some headway on it.
On Sunday my day started at the top of A Line with the Giant Bicycles Liv/Giant event which closed A Line for the morning to provide coaching and training for women downhillers. Watching the best in the world huck these jumps belies how difficult some of this terrain can be for some one starting out.
Women’s Only Liv/Giant A Line event:
I closed out the day in Skiers Plaza at the bottom of the Whistler Bike Park shooting the finish line of the Canadian Open Enduro. It was great to connect with so many familiar faces, many off course, and a few as they crossed the line. It was exciting to watch riders charge the finish line after an exhausting day, some throwing arms in the air in celebration and others at near collapse.
Stage 5 Finish – Canadian Open Enduro:
BC Bike Race’s own Andreas Hestler:
‘Welcome to 2013’ the sun seemed to suggest early yesterday morning in Whistler. Welcome indeed.
Happy New Year to you, now let’s get to work!