2 years ago
The longest photo shoot I did in Whistler was with Mark Bunyan, a coach at Mad March Racing. During Crankworx, I asked Shaums March if he'd be up to do a shoot. He didn't have time, but he said I should get in contact with Mark. We ended up meeting at the Bike & Bean one morning and took the lift up right after it opened. We shot on the mountain all day and finished when the sun was setting at about 8. I couldn't believe how many good shots we got in one day. I can post the full gallery later when I know what's getting used.
2 years ago
After Crankworx, things slowed down a bit, but I still found myself running around to ride and shoot constantly. I did a bunch of shoots with riders and came home with so many bangers. A few days after Crankworx, my downhill bike started to get pretty clapped out. The pivots had 4mm of play and the seam on my borrowed rear wheel was splitting. My dh bike lasted until the day before I left. I was riding really fast and having so much fun on my first run. On my second run, the rear wheel died at the top of A-Line, making my tube flat and I had a frustrating ride to the bottom... I was meeting people for a photo shoot at noon, so I just got my hardtail (with the 75mm fork and street tires). We did some runs and then shot photos later in the afternoon when there was better light. Needless to say, it was pretty rough on that bike up top.
The day I was leaving, I met up with Ryan De La Rue for a shoot at 10am, right when the lift opened. We didn't have much time because my bus to Vancouver was leaving at 1:30, but we got awesome shots. By the time we finished the shoot and I got back to my place, I had half an hour to finish packing and pack up the hardtail. I got it all packed, brought it all down from the third level and into the suburban taxi to bus stop. I made it there with about three minutes to spare.
Once, I got to the Vancouver Amtrak station, I brought everything inside and got in the customs line.... I waited in line for 15 minutes with my two bike boxes, pelican case and bags up by the front of the line, ready to go. Once I got to the second spot from first in the line, I realized I was missing my bike check ticket. No problem, right? I just had to walk 10 feet and pull it out of my backpack. I got back in line and some old guy accused me of cutting the line. The security guard believed him and told me to have some respect. ...So I had to stand in line a second time. "Thanks asshole!" After the whole ordeal, I made it on the train with everything ...well except my two mangos because they were imported from Mexico (...that's where the US imports them from). Once on the train, I went up to the lounge car to get a few beers to chill out after all that bullshit. The train's liquor license was through Washington, so I couldn't buy beer even though we had at least 2 hours until we'd arrive at the border.
I spent the night in Seattle and would take the 8:45 train back to Santa Barbara. I guess I was tired because after going back to sleep after two separate wake up calls, I woke up at 8:12... I checked out and got a taxi to the train station. I had a few minutes to spare. The one problem was that there wasn't enough time to get my two bike boxes that I had checked at the station overnight onto the train. They'd be put on the same train the next day, which was fine. I made it onto the train with everything else which was good.
Thirty-seven'ish hours later, I arrived in Santa Barbara. My friend Adrian picked me up and we went to get some Chinese food at a really good hole-in-the-wall place. He waited in the truck while I was waiting for the food. Then, he come over to me and said he found my bmx bike that had been stolen right before I left for Whistler. It was across the street, under the stairs at a small apartment/triplex. He said a sketchy gangster kid rode up on it. I didn't want to get my ass kicked by some 15 year old gangsters, so I ended up calling the cops. One car came, then another (3 or 4 cops). They went to the house and found the kid after hearing a description. Then two more police cars and then an undercover car showed up. It was nuts. After like half an hour, they brought me my bike. The paint had been partially sanded and it rusted, the bars Chicago-ed out and it had a foot tall seatpost! They upgraded the valve caps to 8-ball caps... Despite it's condition, I was really happy to get it back. I'll have it re-powder coated and make it nice again!
The next day, I starting packing and unpacking at my new place at the downtown side of Santa Barbara (from Goleta). It took about 4 days to get all my stuff organized at the new place. After dealing with some things and finishing some projects, I've finally gotten back into the flow and to processing the photos from the shoots in Whistler. Updates on each shoot will come soon.
Check out my Crankworx update on Awesomeland.com: http://awesomeland.com/?cat=73
2 years ago
I've been in Whistler for the past week for Crankworx. The trip started last, last Sunday when I got on a train to Seattle right after 'nearly' building up two bikes. Yes, you can actually get to Whistler without a car or flying. About 37 hours later, I arrived in Seattle where a lady asked me if I was "one of those x-games people". From there, I took an Amtrak bus to Vancouver, British Columbia. The Canada/USA border is simple driving through in a car. In a bus, not so much. We had to take our carry-ons and checked bags into a building where we were asked the usual questions: "how long are you staying ?", "have you had any trouble with the law ?", etc. and then some ridiculous questions such as "do you any have money ?" which I replyed with "like five bucks". He then asked what my credit card limit was and then why I had so much stuff. He also asked if I was going to Crankworx. I said yes and he said, "...wasn't that like a week ago?"
After all that, we got back on the bus and soon arrived in Vancouver where I stayed in a hotel for the night. It was 2am, so the only place open for food was Mcdonalds or 7-11... I went to 7-11 thinking i'd come back with some snacks and a few beers. I left the store with beef jerky, an ice cream bar and a banana. Apparently you can only get beer or liquor at liquor stores in Canada.
The next morning, I took a bus from Vancouver to Whistler. Since my reservations were all through amtrak and the first bus was an amtrak bus, I thought the second one would be too. After waiting in front of the station for a while wondering where the bus was, I asked someone where it was. The bus to whistler is actually a greyhound bus, which boarded behind the train station. It was interesting getting my two bike boxes and all my bags through the station and to the bus in less than five minutes. It took several trips 40 feet at a time. Once I got to the bus, I was told it was full. After all that, I thought i'd have to wait for another... Fortunately, they had a second backup bus. A few others and I had the second bus to ourselves.
By Tuesday afternoon, I was in Whistler. Since the downhill bike was missing a few parts, I put the hardtail together and took some runs in the bike park. A-line and Crank It Up were a bit rough on street tires and a 75mm fork, with all the brake bumps Crankworx brings, though fun. Ninja Cougar is the best trail on the mountain for a hardtail. It's a tight, twisty, smooth, almost pump track like trail.
Through out the week, I caught up with lots of friends while shooting the races (& slopestyle competition) and riding the mountain as much as I could. Friday morning, I was off to the dirtbike shop 'in town' to get some fork oil and brake fluid. My left fork seal on the DHR was leaking all over so I had to replace it before it got on my brake pads. Little did I know... it would be quite the journey. I rode north probably 3km, following the map on my phone. I ended up at an animal shelter which looked nothing like a dirtbike shop. After riding in circles around the Sea To Sky highway for an hour, asking several people, someone told me where it was. It was actually in Function Junction, which was 10km away, the opposite direction. I rode along the highway for a while until I got to Function Junction. The shop was really there, so I got what I needed, and picked up some stuff at the hardware store, then got a sandwich. Then the bus came... while I was eating my sandwich. I tried to catch it, but I couldn't... I didn't want to ride back since it was so hot and mostly uphill, so I tried hitchhiking at the intersection. I had no luck. Do I really look that sketchy? 30 minutes later, another bus came and I was finally on my way back to whistler. By the time I got the bike together and got down to the village, the lift closed just as I was going to up for one run. The next day, I got to ride the new bike for the first time. I was surprised how quickly I got used to it and how fast I was going the first day on it.
Whistler has had Souther California conditions the last 2 months. I heard it did rain one day before I came up. It's dry, dusty and loose. Just how I like it! I would love for it to cool down though. This morning, I did three runs and was dripping sweat on my phone... and had to lay down in the shade for a bit. I'm up here for another week, so some cool, foggy weather would make for some nicer riding and photos (since so much of what I usually shoot in California are the sunny and dusty shots).
Riding photos to come soon!
2 years ago
Last weekend was the third race of the Pro GRT series at Northstar in Lake Tahoe. I took the train up to Salinas Thursday afternoon. I called my friends when I got there and heard something about a jump we were going to. A few minutes later, Brian, Kelly, and Travis showed up with the truck loaded with bikes. I put my huge bike box and my bags in and we were off. When we go to the spot, I threw my bike together quickly and then we pedaled up a road. It was a step up at the bottom of a trail. We pushed up non-stop and sessioned it for about an hour. After I figured out the speed I needed to clear it, I was seeing how low I could get scrubbing it. On our way back to the truck, we had to stop at the randomness we saw coming up to the jump. There was a whole archery setup... targets up on hay stacks, with cheap bows and arrows in a box under an ez-up tent. We weren't going to just pass by all this. We each got a bow and some arrows and did probably 5 rounds. I learned that my technique is way off, as is my aim...
The next day, Brian and I were to leave at 5pm. I stayed at their house for the day, while they were at work and tried my best not to "burn the house down." I did 50 pump track laps in the morning, worked on some things on my laptop, groomed the pump track and then got my stuff together to leave for Northstar! After a 'quick' stop at Panda and 'the store', we were off. We got to the cabin a bit before midnight and soon passed out.
Saturday, we woke up early so we'd have time to get breakfast before the 40min drive to Northstar. We got there at about 8, when my practice started. I registered and got my ticket, then went up the gondola. The trail they used for the race was Gypsy. That's a trail I rarely rode at Northstar because I hated the rock piles on it that had drops to flat. I could never remember which ones were rollers and which ones had rock lips to nowhere. I'd heard about all the work the trail crew had done to ready it for the race before coming up there. After taking a cruiser run down the course to check it out, I was surprised. They really improved it. The course had a lot to it. It was rough, dry, loose, had fun jumps, lots of corners and was long. I rode it non-stop until noon, when I went down for lunch. I went back up at about 2pm to shoot and it was still basically noon light... I found some shaded spots to setup flashes. I was lucky there were some clouds in the sky that would shade the sun a few minutes at a time, so the foreground and background wouldn't be blow out. By 4, I had made my way down the course to take the lift back up. ...Of course when I got to the trailhead, it had been closed off. I was told pro practice was cut short an hour for maintenance..... I was looking forward to using the sun with my flashes and getting some better shots of the course, instead only shooting in the few shaded areas. I ended up taking a 'media run' down Livewire (Northstar's downhill jump trail) with my big backpack of camera stuff.
I found Brian and we rode down the car. I was worn out and hot, as were Brian and Juan. We drove back to the cabin, then to the lake to cool off. We went to the beach and jumped off the small pier into freezing lake. Later that night I got to sorting photos. After spending two hours going through them, what I was trying to make work, would not work. I was pissed off at that point and gave up on shooting the next day. Instead, I'd actually ride my bike during practice and just worry about my race run.
We left the cabin early again and stopped for breakfast. Brian got a bagel sandwich and I got espresso and a rueben sandwich. By the time he finished his sandwich, we were still waiting for mine. Half an hour later, mine was ready. I think their panini machine was broken... When we finally got up to the Gondola, we found ourselves in a long line. Though, somehow, we got there before the rest of our group. When we got up to the main area, I did one practice run. I felt really stiff and slow, so I took a few runs on other trails and started to warm up. My race run didn't go quite as well as I would have liked. I didn't completely screw up any sections or crash, but I was on the brakes a lot and was tired my whole run from the day before. I rode most of the day, then caught up with Brian when the race was over and did one last trail, down to the car. As we drove out, we realized it had been in the high 90s to 100s that day... The lake was out of the way, but I convinced Brian to stop by the river that the highway followed. After a quick jump into it, we got back on the road to get burgers at Islands in Roseville with Travis and his friend. We got back to his house before midnight and I went back to Santa Barbara the next day. Thanks to everyone for making the weekend fun!
The first photo is from my 'good camera' out of the gallery and the rest, from my phone. You can check out the gallery here: Northstar Pro Grt photos by PBmedia
The top 5 men in downhill were Greg Minnaar, Bryn Atkinson, Steve Peat, Cedric Gracia and Mitch Ropelato. In the women's class, Jill Kintner took first, followed by Kathy Pruitt, Leigh Donovan, Jackie Harmony and Rachel Bauer. You can see the full results here, which include 4x.
3 years ago
'A Photo' is a new series on PBmedia's News page where I'll be posting a photo and writing about what it took to get the shot, what the picture is of or about, and anything else related.
I took this photo of my downhill bike last year when I lived in Los Olivos, before I had access to a studio. I took it in the street in front of my house, one night, with a stick holding it up (that I removed in Adobe Photoshop). I set up two flashes and then got the camera angle dialed. It looks pretty simple, but the road in front of and behind the bike was being lit up as well, so it was visible above the bottom side of the rims. To get a clean black background behind the whole bike, I had to get the camera as low as possible. I scraped enough dirt and gravel away to get the camera low enough. I took this with my 20D (before I got a 50D), so I couldn't just view the shot on the LCD as I took it. I had to lay down (in a probably pretty funny looking way) to get my head as low as the view finder, so I could see through it with an eye. After several attempts, I got the shot!
What you see in the picture is a Santa Barbara Bullit dh ...not to be confused with a Santa Cruz Bicycle. Though, this bike did start out as 2006 Santa Cruz Bullit that I bought on eBay in 2007. After riding and racing it for two years and trying some different things, I realized I wanted more downhill race bike and less freeride bike. In March of 2009, it became a Santa Barbara Bullit dh. I had the frame and fork lowers powder-coated red and then put on decals that I made in Adobe Illustrator (which were die cut by a friend). This was a crucial step toward making it 'more downhill' because as everyone knows, "a good looking bike is a fast bike!" When I put it together, I bolted the (stock size) shock directly to the mount on the downtube, without the shock shuttle. I had to add a spacer to the shock, under the bottom out bumper to limit the stroke by a third of an inch so the tire wouldn't rub the seat tube. This dropped the bottom bracket height to 13.75 inches and slackened the head angle to 64 degrees, making it easier to ride at faster speeds and more aggressively. The Bullit dh has been amazing, riding and racing it throughout 2009 and halfway through 2010.
A new (okay, used...) downhill frame is on it's way, so the Bullit dh is going into retirement. Just wait until you see the 'A Photo' on the new bike! Here's the gallery with the rest of the shots, I took that night of it: http://gallery.pbmedia.us/p598468162