I am an outdoor adventure, landscape, nature, and product photographer based out of Cumberland in the Comox Valley, on British Columbia's Vancouver Island. This blog is where I post up all my adventures in the world of photography!
Here are some highlight photos from the grand opening celebration of the Jump and Skateboard park. What an amazing day! It was fantastic to see the community getting out to support this facility, and to see all the kids - young and old, big and small - just shredding.
Check out the full set of images here:
LJ_20170920-A9200175 LJ_20170920-B9200803 LJ_20170920-A9200222 LJ_20170920-A9200256 LJ_20170920-A9200276 LJ_20170920-A9200338 LJ_20170920-A9200341 LJ_20170920-A9200344 LJ_20170920-A9200354View from behind of skaters getting read to drop in to a skateboard park. LJ_20170920-A9200383 LJ_20170920-A9200405 LJ_20170920-A9200491 LJ_20170920-A9200535Shadow of a skateboarder dropping in at a skateboard park. LJ_20170920-B9200791 LJ_20170920-B9200871Group of skaters at the grand opening of a skateboard park.
I was fortunate enough to be able to shoot the Cumberland and Powell River stages of the BC Bike Race for the first time this year. To sum up the experience: WOW! Eleven years in, the BC Bike Race is a well-oiled machine. The logistics involved in putting on a show involving over 600 racers and many hundreds of volunteers, not to mention three ferry rides and 300 km of racing, is absolutely outstanding! Of that racing a significant portion is on sweet west coast singletrack...
Moto Patrol ready!The Moto Patrol roams the race course during the event, keeping an eye on racers and volunteers. LJ_20170707-P7070110The Cumberland Town Crier was on hand to inspire the racers at the start of their journey. Katerina NashSome serious star power shows up every year for the BC Bike Race. This year's solo womens' champion was Katerina Nash, a 5-time Olympian. And they're off!Racers surge through downtown Cumberland as the horns blow to signal the beginning of a 7-day adventure. Flowy Cumberland downhill.A racer charges down the Vanilla trail during the BC Bike Race. More sweet Vanilla flowThe Beaufort range in the background overlooks the action. Vanilla clearcutThe BC Bike Race course traverses logged forests around Cumberland. Cumberland is nestled in an active working forest, and the hard work of organizations like the United Riders of Cumberland has established ground-breaking land use agreements with the stakeholders. For more information, see http://unitedridersofcumberland.com/cumberland-trails-agreement-finalized/ Blue Collar flowBlue Collar never fails to put a smile on riders' faces. Sunset serenadeUpon arriving at the Powell River ferry terminal, racers were greeted by the dulcet tones of bagpipes. PacelineAs the race progresses, riders self-sort into groups riding at a similar speed. Over the boardwalkWoodwork is a prominent feature of many BC mountain bike trails. Getting rowdy!There's always some time to have a bit of fun on the trails, even during a race. Bike Patrol on patrol! Treats!Volunteers bearing trays of flat Coke were a welcome sight as racers neared the homestretch of the Powell River course.
The BC Bike Race is definitely a bucket-list type of event for any serious mountain biker.
For more information on the BC Bike race, check out their website:
Well, judging by all the smiling faces, the second Cowichan Valley Wine Run was a success! Two hundred runners and walkers set out to visit four Cowichan Valley wineries on a scorchingly hot day in early September.
The start of the 13.5km route was Cherry Point Estate Wines; much wine was sampled as participants waited for the first wave of runners to head out.
The first running segment was the longest and took runners past farm fields and rolling hills.
A long day of running and sampling wines was capped off at Blue Grouse Vineyards, where a feast and live music was to be had on the patio overlooking the fields.
Thank you to the organizers, the hosts, the volunteers, and all the participants for a great day in Vancouver Island wine country!
The full set of photos is here on my website:
I've had the pleasure of taking pictures at many of the Island Cup races this season. Along with getting shots of some kick-ass action, it's been a great way to learn about nearby riding areas that I'd never been to, despite their proximity to my Comox Valley home base. Taking these pictures has also been a learning experience: the Cumberland Downhill race, for example, was an exercise in practicing how to get great shots of fast-moving riders under a dark canopy. Usually conditions like those in the Cumberland Forest lend themselves to blurry images due to having to leave the shutter open for a relatively long time, or noisy ones due to bumping ISO into the stratosphere. Luckily, though, I had recently acquired a set of Cactus RF60 speedlights and matching V6 Transceiver, and the Dodge City Downhill race was a great opportunity to put them to the test. (I had been using a set of Olympus FL-600R lights for over a year, but they were a bit under-powered for the conditions, and the trigger is optical and thus requires line-of-sight - not ideal when your light is over the rise or behind a tree.) Once I get more time with these lights I'll do a review.
In each and every race I tried something different in an attempt to push my photographic boundaries a little bit. Sometimes those experiments worked (hooray for lights and radio triggers in the dark forest!), and sometimes not so much (I never managed to get an overhead shot at a Cumberland bridge that I was truly happy with) - but at least I'll have expanded my repertoire either way.
LJ_20150419-_4191331Of course, there was pretty spectacular action in good light too. Here I'm using some out-of-focus foreground elements to frame the rider and give the image some depth. This is something I've only recently started doing intentionally.
LJ_20150419-_4191235And even in a rad downhill race, you can still find those "awww" moments. I had never taken pictures at a downhill race before, but I definitely want to do it again! The nature of the event - many racers passing by the same spot during their practice runs - makes it fairly easy to find a suitable location and work the angles until you get the ideal shot.
Of course, there was more than just the downhill race. I also managed to get myself to the Cumberland XC and the Nanaimo XC races. I was also physically at the Hammerfest Enduro, but just barely, due to injuries that left me hardly able to lift a camera.
LJ_20150412-_4129822Trying to get a bit of a change of perspective here: including the bridge details and the stream underneath to tell a bit more of the story. LJ_20150412-_4129544Red against green often works, and not just at Christmas. Also, offsetting the rider to give some visual tension, as well as leaving clear space for text. LJ_20150503-P5030447Crazy difficult shot with a unique foreground element. The rider is strongly backlit by the sun, so I used a speedlight at a very high power to illuminate his face, which would otherwise have been in complete darkness. LJ_20150503-P5030591Wendy Simms having a great time at the 2015 Island Cup Nanaimo XC race. Sometimes there's nothing for you to do except to be there and have a photogenic subject in front of your lens! 2015 Island Cup Hammerfest EnduroAgain, something different here. Used lights as before to fill in the shadows on the otherwise backlit rider, but this time my processing is a bit different than what I normally do. I usually keep my post-processing very neutral, but this series was done to give it a more cinematic feel. What do you think?
So what's next? Well, the XC finals at Campbell River is just around the corner, and you bet I'll be there!
I recently had the great pleasure to be able to accompany my friends Will and Michelle on a journey that was literally life-changing.
Will approached me a few weeks back with a plan: He and Michelle had been planning to go mountain biking on Hornby Island for a while. (Hornby Island, if you're not aware, is covered in some of the flowingest mountain biking singletrack you'll ever see.) With their imminent return to the East Coast for Michelle's new job, time was running out for their adventure, and Will wanted to make it extra special.
To make a long story short, two weeks prior to go-time, a small team of advance scouts went to Hornby to scope out locations - and of course, sample some sweet, sweet singletrack. We found a great spot, and fast-forward two weeks, we were back with Michelle.
Everything went exactly according to plan, and even the stormy weather of that weekend abated while we were on the Island.
We followed up the next day with more formal portrait photos in Campbell River - or anyways, as formal as you can get when absolutely ridiculous hats are involved.
Congratulations, Will and Michelle, and thank you for the privilege of being a part of this special occasion!