Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blog Holiday

I will not be hitting the blog for a while, but I will be hitting both the slopes and the shutter button a lot!
A bunch of dear old buds and I will be skiing the Coastal range for a while.

Look for good pics when I return, until then enjoy what ever piece of winter you have access to at this point!


Frostbike 2012: The rest of the story

I was the big winner at the fake casino

Gotta love One on One, any shop that tells you what they WONT sell you has to be cool!

This would be a great shot of Morgan Meredith of BIKE if it were not for that chain in his nose....

Church of two wheels
Well I have to apologize for the long lapse in posting.  You see Frostbike nearly killed me.  I dont know what bug I ran into there but it was a super strain.  Even now, a week later I am reeling.  Unfortunately for me, my life has a schedule that is planned in minutes and not in days anymore.  I came home from Frostbike, hugged my wife, played with Tae and then hopped back in the car and drove to Madison, WI for the WI State Advocacy Summit.  The flu hit me hard on the way there.  I was veritable fountain of waste for the five hour drive down.  I was then bed ridden once I found a hotel and somehow managed to stagger through my presentation on Tuesday.  Needless to say, my posting has taken a back seat.  So with that said, here are a few other shots from Frostbike.  Not my best photo achievements but I thought I would at least finish the story.  It was a great event.  I got to hang with both new and old friends from BIKE Mag and even saw Al Sparhawk and the Retribution Gospel Choir in St.Paul which is always worth seeing!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Frostbike 2012: Day one Salsa ride!

I had the unique experience of guiding Gnat and Kid around my home area yesterday.  It was great to have the Salsa guys up to experience the amazing riding we have in Thomson.  Along for the ride were also three folks from Japan.  One of which was a pro photographer for several Japanese magazines.  It was really interesting to have not only Gnat and Kid, both photo geeks like myself, but then to put a Japanese pro photo guy into the mix as well!  The shots that they took were amazing.  I did not get much as I was the "guide" but I still managed to pop a few shots of the day.  It started on the Louie, then moved to the shore of Lake Superior.  So they were able to really get a great Duluth experience in a short amount of time!

Cant wait to see the shots guys and thanks for the great tour!

Lake Superior Skies

Gnat heading for home
Toshiaki Yokoi, Shuji Yamamoto and Yozo- Oda
Shuji loving Thomson riding

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rick Allen: Hardest Working Artist in the "Paris of the North"?

Proofing a print

Some great Rick Allen climbing and ski art
The Occasional (Rick is second from left).

When I was at the Universitiy in Madison, WI there was a guy there named Clyde Stubblefield.  He called himself the hardest working drummer in show business.  He most likely was (and still is).  Clyde seemed to be in every band and at every venue on any given night.  He had also played for many famous acts including James Brown.  Clyde was honest in his opinion of himself, he called himself the hardest working drummer in show biz not because he was always working, but also because he felt he had earned his talents and worked extremely hard to become as accomplished as he was.

I think if Rick Allen had to pick a label, it could be something like the hardest working woodblock engraver in the "Paris of the North".  I have known Rick for over a decade and in that ten years I have had the pleasure of drinking much Scotch with him, climbing with him and hearing his philosophy on art and being an artist.  It basically goes something like this.  We are not all born with a god given talent to be artists, but we can learn to become artists and we can work hard at doing so and eventually create art and perhaps even make a living at it.  Rick has done and is doing just that, but it should also be noted the guy has a lot of talent to go along with that hard work!

I wanted to shoot Rick and his studio for several reasons.  First because I am trying to learn how to become an artist myself and his studio was a great and challenging chance to futz with lighting and flash.  It is a really hard place to light and shoot and to be honest I learned a ton, I did not totally succeed but I did come up with some good images for this post.  (and a whole bunch of bad ones too!)

I also wanted to spread the word about Rick and his studio because not only is Rick an awesome artist, but because he is one of the great places where Art and Culture collide with outdoor adventure and sport.

Rick used to put on a great event called the "Occasional"which was a festival of ice climbing and culture.  There was a great party in Ricks studio (that was a huge loft at the time) and at that party, there was a poetry reciting contest, talent show and Scotch tasting in the tradition of Robert Burns day.  The next morning, a core group of folks would then scale Nightfall a large frozen waterfall on the North Shore in period dress.  Rick even had me up there in a kilt and wool jacket (to bad for the belayer!).  I wish I could have seen the persons face at the Kilt rental shop when they unwrapped their kilt smelling of sweat  and blood with crampon marks on it!  It was at this same event where I witnessed a wool clad climber fall directly into a raging bonfire.  A few of us quickly grabbed him and watched amazed as he looked at his smoking garb only to realize that after literally laying the fire, he was unscathed.  Try that in a bunch of poly and nylon!

These experiences are translated in Ricks prints and images.  I think that folks who are into art and are into the outdoors need to investigate and experience Ricks work.  Here in Duluth, MN we have a lot of opportunities to do so.  In fact this spring Rick will have a show at the Sivertson Gallery.  To me folks like Rick tell the story of the outdoor lifestyle and it is up to us as outdoors people to support him and other artists because of that!

Great work Rick!
Portrait of the artist...

Early 1900's technology

Brain Rats!!!

Tools of the trade

More tools of the trade!

The workshop


A color for each pass on the press

Steampunk at its best
Late nights mandatory

Final product

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dayton Ohio! The history of cycling and fun with Gary Fisher.

What most people think of Dayton, OH
I had the pleasure to visit Dayton, Ohio this past week and weekend.  Most people I spoke to before the trip did not have much to say about Dayton.  However I had a lot of ulterior motives on going to Dayton.  First off there is no greater place to see where cycling had its heyday.  The Wright Brothers, were cyclists first and flyers second.  They were there capitalizing sales during the peak of cycling in modern society.  This was the time when bikes outnumbered cars and horses, that twilight where every third person in America had a bike.  So Dayton has that history.

Of course it also has the collapse of that history as well.  That in fact was what I was most interested in.  For years I had been hearing about a visionary named Greg Brumitt,  in the Five Rivers Metro Parks system that was trying to remake this struggling industrial town into a Recreational Adventure town.  Complete with purpose built single track for off road cycling, paved trails, whitewater parks and climbing gyms etc.  To me that was amazing and it also falls squarely into what we are trying to do in places like Crosby, MN and Duluth as well.  I was stoked when I was invited to do a presentation at the Adventure Summit that they put on over the winter.  They also brought in Gary Fisher to be the key note and my boss, Mike Van Abel to be part of a round table speaking about the future of off road cycling and IMBA.  So that said, I was able to add two new outfits to my Gary Fisher photo collection.  I think that I am up to 10 now.

In any case congrats to Dayton and the Five Rivers Metro Parks.  They put on an awesome event and they are making great strides in changing their community.  I was impressed and hope to come back again some day!
Pic at the Wright Brothers National Park

Original Wright Brothers bike

Wright Brothers Bike

Original Wright Brothers Bike shop

Gary oufit number one

Gary Outfit number two!

MOMBA Trails!

Gary and Mike Van Abel telling it like it is

Monday, February 06, 2012

The new faces of Nordic Skiing: City of Lakes Loppet 2012

Saturday I was in the Metro area attending my monthly Torske Klubben meeting.  I had a little time to kill so I decided to head to Theo Wirth and check out the nordic skiing festivities.  I arrived in time to catch one of the kids races.  I set up my camera on a hill and prepared to shoot some good kid skiing action shots.  Usually the kid carnage on hills is well worth watching.  However as the several hundred kids skied past I started to notice a significant theme.

Perhaps it is my lifetime of skiing and the realization that it is a very "nordic" sport  and that when I see a person of color on skis I am interested and happy that they are there.  It could also be that since I am an extremely proud father of an Asian skier I, I tend to take notice when I see other ethnic groups on the ski trails.  But in any case I was deeply moved to not see one or two kids of other races but literally a hundred plus.   I saw Somali skiers, Ethiopian skiers, Hmong skiers, Korean skiers, African American skiers, Latino skiers and on top of that a lot of female skiers.

It was truly moving and inspiring and I think that the City of Lakes Loppet Foundation deserves a ton of accolades for its mission in getting inner city skiers on the trails and opening up a great sport to all kids in the city.  They are not just talking the talk, they are making it happen.  It makes stories like Robel Teklemariam all that more relevent.  I remember what a big deal folks thought it was when Phillip Boit skied the 98 Olympic games.  The comments ranged from true hope to out right ignorance.  However in seeing what the City of Lakes Loppet has spurred I feel nothing but enthusiastic for the idea of getting people of all colors on the ski trail in the future....including my son.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Back to McGillavery Pass 2012

The boys a few minutes after surviving an avalanche in BC

Well, it is sounding like I am back on a hut trip to Whitecap Alpine in BC.  It has been years since I set foot on the skin track for this length of time and while I am super, super stoked I also have my inner demons.  I have done many, many trips like this in my past, and with these same buddies.  In fact the pictures above were taken just minutes after a slide partially buried most of our party and fully buried two of us.  It all worked out all right, but these shots always remind me of the dark side of deep powder skiing as well.  For the camera buffs, these shots were taken with a 1970's vintage Canon Canonette Range finder film camera.  Love clicking that thing.  The party the night after the slide was perhaps one of the most intense and fun events I have witnessed.  Something about near death experiences that really get the party out of you I guess.

The shots below were taken at Whitecap four or five years ago.  I love the fact that I took them way before I was really getting serious on still photography.  I shot them with a $90 dollar point and shoot that most likely created a smaller file than my Iphone does now!  It speaks to the majesty of the place that the images still look compelling.  You can see a few more of these shots here.  I am truly stoked to hang with my buddies for a week and to snap away in the beauty of the Coastal Range.  

Thanks Kim!

Home sweet home

This is a helicopter ride...and what is the duct tape for?

High plains drifters

First lap