Monday, October 27, 2014

Powder Magazine "Latitudes" Article out now in the November 2014 issue!

November 2014 Powder Mag.
The call came late one night in January.  I was just feeding Tae some Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and he was complaining about it.  I remember giving him the classic, "quit your whining and eat" parent line when the phone rang.

It caught me enough off guard to realize what I was doing.  One handedly slapping down a plate of horrible food, snapping at the kid and grabbing the phone.  Holy dang how did I get there?  I remember my dad doing the same damn thing to me!

The call was from Dave Reddick of Powder Magazine.  

Now I was even more befuddled.  I have wanted for YEARS to get a call from Dave Reddick of Powder Magazine and he finally calls and here I am pulling a Mr. Brady feeding my kid food from a box and bitching.......not feeling super cool at the moment Dave Reddick!
Heading to Copper Harbor 
Long story short was that Dave had a writer doing a story on Midwest skiing and was wondering if I could shoot some images to tie this all together.  While I wish I was number one on the list I have to think I was number 3 or 4.  In fact I am quite sure Dave was desperate to be honest and somehow I landed on his list.....way down the list!

I heard the story concept, I asked some questions and then I asked when it had to happen?

Next week.

Holy shit.  Next week?  At the time I was neck deep in IMBA.  Things could not have been more busy with work, with family and with me in general (common theme).  I told him I was interested then did the rest of of my domestic duties.  Put Tae to bed, read him a book you name it, all the while raking my brain as to how I could make this work.  Panicking might be a better word.

Damn, a chance to try a shoot for Powder!

God bless my wife Margaret.  When I told her I had this chance, she told me immediately I had to do it.  Without that vote I would have most likely bagged it.  With that vote, I threw in my hat and told Dave I would make it happen.

Powder Mag writer Abigail Barronian trying to see Lake Superior
Basically I dropped everything to take this shoot on.  

I had just recently been named boss of two folks for the IMBA region.  I decided this was the time to see what they could do with me on the lamb.  They were more than gracious, so thanks to Lori Hauswirth and to Matt Andrews for covering for me.  

The shoot was a three part deal.  I met Abigail the writer in Copper Harbor and we shot Bohemia.  Then we rolled down to Whitecap Mountain near Hurley and shot there.  From there I was supposed to head with Abigail to Lutsen to finish off the set.  However a huge storm hit and I realized I would not be able to shoot and make it back down to Frostbike an event I had to be at in Bloomington at QBP.  

So I hit Lutsen later that month, unfortunately without the great snow that Abigail had.

I shot a ton, but in the end I have to fully admit that I struggled hard with this assignment.  I learned a lot but it was super hard.  

To shoot as an amateur has its advantages.  There is little stress, no deadlines and no sense of pressure that a team is counting on you to get the images they need.  

However that said, to shoot as an assignment is also the photographers equivalent of lead climbing.  It puts you out there....far out there.  Especially when your working in places you have not experienced and don't have your local posse to mug for you.  

The weather is a big issue too.  Flat light, fog, no powder, on and on and on.  At one point my 5D MK2 locked up due to moisture from the snow.  Totally dead. I had to dry it out over Aaron Rogers wood stove and thank goodness that worked!

In any case I met a super bunch of people, got to interact with Powder and put myself on the line.  

The article is in this Months (November 2014) issue of Powder Magazine, under the Lattitudes section.  

I am ok with it.  It is not what I had hoped for visually, I give myself a C.  I will admit though that I am glad I even came up with a C due to the challenges that I faced in even gaining that. I had to get really creative and really into my own headspace to both follow the theme and gain images that might work within it and all with zero lead time and prep. Is it my best work?  No but I delivered on a deadline and in adverse conditions so I feel good about that. 

In any case here are some of the pics that did not make the Magazine, I will post more if I have time as well.

Gibbs being Gibbs

A-Rog doing the dipsy doodle 
These guys are NOT skiers 

Gibbs again

Skier shall remain un-named.  
Its coming and soon 
Copper Harbor and Bohemia were amazing and thanks to Aaron and Amanda for letting me crash on the floor.  The rub here was that I was there at a time when it had not snowed for a couple weeks and of course leaving as the biggest storm of the year was rolling in.  

Despite that Aaron, Scott Gibbs and I had a gas, as did Abigail.  I really enjoyed the hut scene at the end of the day.  I could have shot Bohemia for a week straight but only had two days.  

Its the hard corp snow lovers scene in the Midwest, no doubt about it.  Small apologies to Sam Luoma who made the mag and is now a buddy I see in town these days.  You are labeled as a skier in the magazine Sam and I am sure that hurts....

Shot ski at the Wine Hut at Whitecap Mountain 

Your friendly Wine Hut bartender

Past and present

Shit, not another one

Dave Lundberg owner and founder of Whitecap Mountain
Whitecap was awesome too.  Not for the killer skiing, but for the crusty Midwest vibe it has.  That place is pure gold.  The Wine Hut is genius and because of that I spent my whole day shooting there. 

The people were chill, the scene so Wisconsin it hurt and it is a place I hope is there forever because more people need to head there, ski a run then chill with a spiced wine in hand by the fire.  
It was also great to meet Dave Lundberg.  A true 1960's visionary with a lot of knowledge to spread to us younger folks, I shot his portrait twice that afternoon and I am stoked one shot made it in.  In his 80's Dave was still rocking a snow machine and a chainsaw.....

Superior, WI

Super One Parking Lot, West Duluth
Our ride from Whitecap to Duluth was truly epic.  For a local as myself it was tedious.  For Abigail, driving a rental car from Chicago, it was pure hell.  Most certainly it was PhD level winter driving.

I don't think she had a full break down but it was close.  Her wipers kept freezing in place and yet we were on a major highway with logging trucks rushing past frequently.  I have heard countless stories of people being killed by plows, other cars, logging rigs you name it, when they have pulled over in zero viz to do anything. Because of that I kept encouraging her to press on until we could get off the road, which was longer than she could endure.

We did make it though and that was where we parted ways.  I thank her for her patience and she did a bomber job in the writing.
Day break at Lutsen
Terrain park rippers at Lutsen 
Rosie cooking one up at Rosie's cafe. When I asked how many egg sandwiches she made, she smiled and said "hundreds of thousands"........
Hmm, which line next time?
Lutsen was super fun of course.

I got to hook up with The Buhrito and the Damage gang.  Always a head thumping!  I was also able to meet and ski with Jim Vick of Lutsen, learned a ton from him.  My favorite story at Lutsen though was Rosie from Rosies Cafe at the base.  She has been working there since the 1960's.  She reminded me so much of my late Grandmother June Johnson.  In fact I had literally just returned the week before from a visit with my grandmother Helen Shaw, who was ailing and near death, when I met Rosie.

It was so great to know that while my own grandmothers were passing away there was somebody so similar in the world that many people get to meet and interact with in a place like Lutsen.  Gratefully she did not whack my fingers when I was in the kitchen (June would have).

In any case I have rambled too much already.  Hope you like the shots and I hope you pick up a Powder this month.

As to my results giving shooting a go for Powder?  Hmm I don't think I made the grade, at least not yet.  Who knows, maybe I am good enough to hop off the C-list for the B-list but believe me I intend to keep on trying until I can make the A-list!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Late fall family time at Fairview, Bigfork, MN

Dead eye
The spoils of the CB4
Kids, fish and boats
Not sure if I could imagine a better morning
My captain, my captain 
The family that plinks together, stays together 

Its fall weekends like this that I live for.  Frost at night, sunny and clear during the day.  Its like the world has more clarity.

I can see from generation to generation.  The photos of my great grandfather hang on the wall, smiles, kids and of course there are a ton of hunting and fishing shots.

Fall is also the time for politics and while I hand my 6 six year old son his first Red Ryder I am forced to think about how ridiculous the idea of guns and rights have become.  What was once a family past time is now riddle with ultra conservative jargon and rhetoric.

I had to wade through a sea of AR15 Air rifles just to find a good old Daisey BB gun.  What a sad joke.

The BB gun is in my opinion as American as baseball and apple pie.  Its that first link to your future, to your father and to countless adventures in the big woods.  Its independence, its freedom and its safe (despite the Christmas Story and "You'll Shoot Your Eye out, which you will).  To see it bastardized and turned into an assault rifle makes me realize why there is such political polarization in our country, we have been forces to extremes on both side of the fence.

I handed over the Red Ryder on Friday evening and I will never know peace again until Tae is of the age that he can shoot it completely by himself, which he can't do now and will have to earn his right to. Its certainly a test, a test of respect, a test of listening a test of judgment and in the realm of a six year old its administered in small doses and with lots of supervision.

This was the year to learn that all that we have needs to NOT be taken for granted.  Life is fragile, its turns on the whim of the wind and all that seems stable, is really just about to fall apart, so get after it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Best weekend riding in Duluth ever......fall 2014

Kissing booth session 
Admiral Rockbar
Kostner hitting "Spread Eagle"
It there was a better weekend to ride in Duluth I don't remember it.  Perfect trails, prefect temps, perfect colors, you name it.

It was truly mind blowing.

I rode myself into oblivion Friday through Sunday.  Some big sessions for me at Brewers and Mission.  I am giddy over the fact that the epic tour from my home in Thomson to Mission is now replete with gnar on the old Mission Road to perfect swooping bermed goodness on Loki and Cathedral.

Not much more I think I could ask for in life really.....

Last Day at Spirit for the 2014 Season: Shredding Candyland and Happy Camper with Tae!


Happy Camper

When Spirit Mountain first opened for the season in 2013 I had a lot of local mountain bikers who questioned the need.  As hard core XC riders they told me point blank that they would NEVER pay to ride the lift up.  Like it was a spot on their honor to do so.

I just smiled and nodded.

Being myopic can happen in all things and MTB is as prone to it as anything I guess.  I will say that having Spirit in my city has been one of, if not the best, thing that has happened to MTB riding for my son.

Sure the DT is amazing and its awesome but from a father's perspective I can't say enough about how great it is to put Tae on lift and give him huge long downhills to sing, laugh and giggle on.

Regardless of easiness, Mission, Lester and Brewer still have significant climbs for a six year old on a single speed coaster brake bike that ways twice as much as he does.  That however is not an issue at Spirit.  Its nothing but pure down, pure fun and pure awesome from a kid perspective.

The fact that there is hot chocolate at the bottom does not hurt either (I am told)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Some MLT Shots on the "Louie" The Radio Tower Bay Clean up

So I am in a new world now.  The world of the Land Trust.  This is an amazing change with a steep learning curve.

The idea of conservation and recreation is nothing new.  However in hiring me The Minnesota Land Trust has most certainly made a step in the direction of the cutting edge in how recreation can direct conservation especially in the urban core.

That said, I am also learning a huge amount about how land trusts function and the world they exist in.  Much, much different than my work with IMBA I can tell you.  A week or so ago I was able to tag along and shoot some images for MLT on the Radio Tower Bay Clean up with Daryl Peterson.

This is an amazing project.  It was cool to learn what the St. Louis River was like before industry and the work that is now being done to clean it up after industry.  Both a sad story and yet a hopeful one.

Again this impacts recreation as we are looking at a Water Trail on this stretch of the River, and of course the fisherman was listening closely as John Lindgren of  DNR fisheries talked about his work on the restorations and of course his fish counts.....!

"Ice Flow 2" in Outside Magazine

Well this photo is alive and well and in the Exposures section of Outside Magazine.  While I am generally fully NOT into self promotion, I felt that this was a watershed moment I do have to acknowledge.

The common misperception is that I am new to photography.  That is just that.  A misperception.  My father was a photo enthusiast in the 1970's and being the tinkerer that he is put up a dark room in our basement.

From a young age we were developing film, rolling our own B&W and shooting a lot.  I fell in and out of love with it then.

Later I went in to film and to film school in Burlington VT.  In film school we concentrated a lot of time on composition and style.  Much of it in 16mm film.  I found myself shooting cinema, but thinking like a still photographer.  All that said I did not seriously return to the photography until 6 years ago when I started with IMBA.

I had a need to tell stories and tell them visually but not with the tech issues of film.  I always hated short clips in power points that tended NOT to work, always sucked in front of a room full of people!

In any case I quickly realized I had been not addressing something I have always loved in my life.  That year, with Margaret's help (thank god for her) I wrote down a lot of goals, one of them was having a photo in a national magazine and I jotted down Outside as that magazine.

The story of how this photo was taken has been told a million times.  But I think the way it is told in Outside represents it well.  The funny thing is that when I received the copy edit from Outside after my interview it was WAY over the top adventure.  I sent back my edit, way toned down, the reality is that this was taken on Park Point, less than 5 blocks from my office and that in itself is the real story...oh yeah and the fact that it was -10 and Casey was trying to ride on a way of frozen ice cubes.....

Slapping Leather on the Gunflint Trail

I can't say a whole bunch about the two days I spent on the Gunflint trail.  I can say though that it involved Salsa, guns, whiskey and Fat Bikes.

Blood was shed.  Cold water was jumped in, tents slept in and exhaustion achieved.  At the same time the trusty 5DMK2 was clicking like a beast.

Heres to getting lost on a bike in the middle of the woods where nobody cares just what you do....

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

COGGS Gitchee Gummee Galivant 2014! Duluth does dirt!



Beer stop #2

Advanced crew, on BOB

The kissing booth!

I have so many blog posts I have to get up but the way my day is going today I figured I would start with a quick one.

This Saturday we had the GGG here in Duluth.  What an awesome ride.  It started with around 70 people and since this ride is in town it grew and shrunk as people rode the sections of DT that they liked the most.

This is my favorite ride of the year.  Awesome people, awesome route and awesome time.  There were for sure a lot of new faces on the ride this season and it was great to see their faces as they rode the new trails!

The weather was perfect, if not too hot, which is a big deal this time of the year up here!  The advanced crew did a mini enduro on the ride and hit the Kissing Booth and BOB as part of the route.  The colors were amazing as I rode roll down after roll down, drop after drop and watched endo after endo on BOB!

Thanks COGGS this is the best ride going in the region right now!