This image was taken on my dinning room table using my wife’s Sigma 105mm macro lens. We have an East facing window that illuminates available light all morning, on top of that we have white thin curtains that diffuses the light...
Photography, to me, is the merging of art and technologyto create both a visual image and an emotional response.
Its real now, my legs are already burning and I’m only twenty minutes into this megaday. I put my mind elsewhere and quickly shoo away the negative thoughts, you know the ones, “Maybe this isn’t a good idea” “What if I can’t make it?” “The snow might be rotten” Screw that, it’s on! I smile because I had actually said that out loud. They say it’s not an issue if you hear voices, just when you answer them…
Its 7am and -12 out, cold but manageable, the sun hasn’t come up yet, just dawn really.
What’s the plan? Well, I’m attempting to ride my fatbike into the Tonquin Valley to Amethyst Lake, a very popular ski touring destination. This ride is total experiment, my hope is that the trail is firm enough to allow me to ride all the way in, and that the temps don’t turn the snow too soft to ride back out.
I just wanted to share one of the nicest comments I’ve ever received on my site. It was in response to one of the photos I used on my last post.
“I love black and white photos. I also love how subtle the bike is in this photo. As if it were naturally occurring in a winter forest setting. No to be too artsy, but I really think this emphasizes the essence of fat biking! It takes you into this magical winter wonderland, where you can appreciate nature, and then leave it relatively untouched. As any true nature lover should… Love it! ”
You took the thoughts right out of my head, all I can say is thank you for sharing this with me.
Yup, “FatBike Mike,” that seems to be my most current nickname, trust me I’m not complaining, I have worse ones floating around out there (Alyssa!). I guess I’ve earned it, my friends and family are sick of hearing about fatbikes and fat-biking I’m sure. When I’m not riding mine, I’m talking about riding, researching them, and/or planning trips etc. Pretty classic obsessive me really… My biggest supporter, my wife, she said yesterday that she’s never seen me so happy, now that mountain biking is a year round hobby! My second biggest supporter, our two dogs who get to come along for the ride.
Last week’s blog was also on fat bikes, the difference this week is we actually have snow now. I was taunting mother nature about our spring-like weather and then kaboom! Jasper received 15 cm s and then Hinton got 10 cm s 2 days following. It was beautiful! Everyone loves snow when there is loads of it, when the trees are stuffed full and the mountains look like they are 10,000 feet taller, it’s simply stunning. What was also great was I really got to prove what this bike could do, I spend 4 straight days getting fresh tracks, it was fantastic!
From a photography perspective my newest obsession has presented some challenges, I can’t always have my nice DSLR camera and tripod available. The gear is large, heavy, and expensive to replace, not practical at all. This month I’ve spent learning to take better images using my i-phone, my wife’s point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpics, and my trusty GoPro helmet camera. I’ve had some success and a lot of epic fails, but it’s been fun and very freeing to just whip out my phone and take a shot, then get back to riding.
Winter this year seems almost non-existant, not that I’m trying to poke a sleeping bear here but we’ve had above zero daytime temperatures for over a month! All through January and February, it’s unheard of! What this has done however, is given me an extra mountain biking season, I can’t say I’m too disappointed either. The problem with this as a blog writer is I have been taking a heck of a lot less photos, in fact my camera must be feeling a tad bit of resentment lately. What I have been doing is using my I-Phone and my borrowed (thanks honey!) Nikon Coolpics point-and-shoot quite a bit. I finally decided to publish a couple of my favourite photos from the last 4 weeks of Fat-Biking.
As promised I was able to dig up a little information that I’m happy to post on the wolves that I photographed last week (plus, an update post is a cheap way to sneak in a couple more images). As it turns out I didn’t have to look too hard, I received roughly 250 views over the first 48 hours of the post (my second highest yet!), one of which was from a gentleman by the name of Mark, who just happens to work for Parks Canada. Here’s his e-mail:
I'm JNP's wildlife biologist. Thanks for posting the wolf photos. Could you send us some jpegs for our records? Also, do you have pictures of the 2 wolves missing from the posted photos? We call these guys the Pyramid Pack, there are 2 collars, and they range from the river where you saw them over to about the BC border, and up to about the Snaring Campground,
Every year Jasper Alberta hosts a winter festival simply called Jasper in January, created as a tourist attraction and a morale booster here during one of the coldest months of the year. Many local businesses have sales, hotels drop their prices, the skill hill discounts their lift tickets, and the town puts on many events like dog sledding, fireworks, and live music to name a few. All in all its pretty fun, and does attract a lot of people.
As you may already know I love photographing fireworks, and have blogged about it a couple times in the past ( time 1 and time 2 ). I had great success with my photos from last years fireworks, this year however, I wanted to try something a little different. I was hoping to get up high and photograph a landscape of the town during the fireworks. I figured out what I thought would be the perfect spot and convinced my good friend Alyssa to join me (well actually I bribed her with a chocolate bar). What I didn’t account for was the weather, five minutes before we left town the wind started gusting and snow began to fall. After a short conversation, we decided to stick with the plan, “It isn’t that bad right?”….Learn More
Whenever I’m looking at a photo that I like, (especially wildlife) I often wonder about how the photographer captured the shot. Did he or she get up in the middle of the night, hike way out into the middle of nowhere, endure a lengthy, freezing cold stakeout to get the shot? Were they privy to some secret knowledge? How about sitting at the zoo! I often think that they are staged this way, perhaps that’s jealousy talking? Or maybe it’s just a case of being in the right place at the right time?
My blog today was just a pure fluke, I happened to overhear a radio report from a truck driver whom had witnessed a large pack of wolves taking down an elk right outside of town! My good friend Ron was also within earshot and both of us dropped what we were doing and headed straight for our camera bags. I’m never far away from my camera, its like what Wayne Gretzky once said,”You miss 100% of the shots you never take”.
With this hot intel I immediately texted my photo buddies Braam and Hannelie and gave them a heads up. Five minutes later the group of us were on the scene with cameras in hand. My buddy Mark was my personal chase driver and got me in a great spot for some shots. Parks Canada were there monitoring them as well, something I actually really appreciate, it keeps people from interfering with the animals, better for everyones safety.
This was an incredible sight, it is so rare to see, in fact this is only the third time I’ve seen wolves on a kill. There we 7 in total, although I only managed to capture 5 in a single photo.
Happy New Year,
Due to all the travelling we did during the holidays this year I didn’t get to pull out my camera as much as I would like. I did however mange to capture this image during our stunning drive back home.
I wish you all good health and a prosperous 2013.
As I look outside at my thermometer it reads-18, summer is now a distant memory. I decided to try and live vicariously through some of my photos from earlier this year, not to mention I don’t have any new photographs to blog about.
I’ve often thought while riding (my mountain bike) that it would be so awesome to take all the best parts of all my favourite trails, and Frankenstein them into one area for the perfect ride. Well, Silverstar Bike Park went and saved me the trouble, below is the map of the most amazing trails on this earth (in my opinion).
24 hours ago, my wife and I were enjoying a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. We were bagged after a full day that involved mostly kitchen renovations, but also sneaking out for some cross country skiing. The dogs were also enjoying the warm fire, Bailey especially, he didn’t move an inch all night. Once midnight hit I packed it in and headed to bed, Corinna had been out for an hour already, the weather, not a flake of snow was falling even though the weather channel had put out a heavy snowfall advisory.
My alarm rang at 8am, Corinna was up and called up to me “You should look outside.” As I did my jaw dropped, we literally had 2 feet of fresh snow! Not to mention it was still coming down hard and fast. I had a coffee and then spent the next 90 minutes shovelling the driveway…twice. It finally let up around 1:00 which was fine by me, I had to drive into work tonight (60 minute highway commute) and I wanted the roads clear.
This short story leads me into today’s photo, one of my favourite photographers, Moose Peterson, always says: “The worst weather can make the best photographs”. In my experience, this has been true, and true again. I work in Jasper National Park and I’ll admit there are worse commutes out there, one thing I’ve learned is that I ALWAYS travel with my camera beside me.
Today as I drove through the leftovers of the massive snowstorm that rocked through, a small window of sunlight broke through the clouds and I was able to capture this image. Five minutes later, it was clouded over again, the right place at the right time.
For those interested in the tech bits, this was taken handheld, ISO 400 1/800 sec @ f/11 -2/3EV. In post, I edited in Lightroom 4 with a quick little spice up in Photomatix Pro.
I hope you enjoyed the image today.