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.
“Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble.”
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.
“Whether we fall by ambition, blood or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.”
Yesterday morning I polished off the edit from Saturday’s Yeti Snowshoe Series event at Whistler Olympic Park. My clothes are still drying out. It was that wet, and although I will try almost anything, I am a rookie on snowshoes and found myself waist deep in wet snow with my lens bags quickly filling with the white stuff. It was so wet that I feared that I might have to hang dry my jpgs!
Saturday was really the beginning of my photography event season and this year looks very busy. Over the past 5 years I’ve made some truly great friendships in the event world so working waist deep in wet snow doesn’t feel so much like work as it could, and for this I am grateful. There were a lot of familiar faces at the start line on Saturday morning, and by the count of the happy faces that stuck around for prizing, few were held from having a good time by the rain.
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!
Enjoying the quiet in Whistler this morning with a cup of coffee while I pull a few ad photos for a client. I couldn’t resist post a couple more images from yesterday’s Teva Best Trick contest at Crankworx. Though it remains true what I wrote last night about the work of others, I am pretty happy with some of the shots I made, not bad for a rookie.
It was so tough to pick one image of the 30 or so edits from today’s Teva Best Trick event at Crankworx but I hope you’ll like this one and that it will keep you interested in coming back and ultimately interested in my post event Crankworx gallery. This is one of those events in which the photographers outnumber the competitors, and today it felt like 3-1, the RedBull Joyride event this weekend is sure to be a glass fest. It is interesting to see so many pros in one place, everyone seeking out their unique vantage point, but ultimately turning their lenses to the same subject. One of the most interesting experiences I have had in photography is how different photographers see and approach the same subject. It hits me every time I look at the work of others who have been at the same event as I have. This is one of those things that makes photography so compelling but also humbling. It can be difficult to look at the work of others and see so clearly the elements of my own work that needs something more.
The seeds were planted months ago. I wanted to come to Whistler to shoot as much of the 2012 Crankworx as I was able. I missed the first few days, but there are some pretty gnarly events left to come and I am excited to be here. I am a volunteer. If you’ve read previous posts you might know that I do that, I volunteer for events but rarely as photographer. Photography is my profession, or has been, and I am working at bringing photography back to my primary source of income, it’s about half right now, which isn’t bad for a photographer who has retired a couple of times. Along with photography, I have a great love for cycling and if you’ve read my blog before you might also know that. I volunteered for Crankworx because I want to create some portfolio quality mountain biking images and after tonight, at the Deep Summer Photo Challenge, I can tell you that not all portfolios are created equal.
It was humbling, to say the least, to see the quality of images and slide shows shot and edited in three days. There isn’t a month of Sunday’s in which I could do the same. That said mountain bike photography is relatively new to me and I don’t spend the time in the mountains that I did when I was young. I don’t mean to demean the work that I do, only to elevate the work of tonight’s presenting photographers. Simply, tonight’s photographers shot the kind of work that first made me interested in photography. You should have a look.
This is what Bike Magazine had to say about Reuben Krabbe’s winning slide show; actually, they were a bit speechless. Have a look:
Wow, it’s been a long time since I last posted, but in my defense, I’ve been super busy with both business and personal travel; but excitedly I can say that I am now in Whistler to spend several days shooting Crankworx, the largest Mountain Bike event of it’s kind in the world. I arrived late last night and spent too much of the morning just getting myself sorted, there have been some amazing images coming out of the Whip Competition today and I think I am going to find myself challenged to keep up with some of the work being produced.
Early this afternoon I did a course tour with Redbull of the Joy Ride course and I can safely say that to most, it is simply shocking, just wait till you see pics at the end of the week. I did manage to snap a couple frames before the tour and this is my favourite. A sweet little drop over looking the patio at the Garibaldi Lift Co. Can’t wait for more!