Documenting the back country with 4 young kids

 

I woke up to temperatures cold enough to freeze the melting ‘snow rivers’ underneath our tent pad. With the kids locked in a deep sleep I enjoyed a moment of silence and soaked in the cool, fresh mountain air. Bliss. How lucky we are to be here.

Just a few weeks prior my friends Nicolas and Natalie had a crazy idea and proposed a 28 km backcountry camping trip into Garibaldi Provincial Park, BC spread over three nights and four days, and one mountain pass with four boys aged 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Wooohooo! I’m in.

No need to ask the kids…they’ll love this!! Backcountry camping, big heavy backpacks, long arduous hikes, steep uphills, and sore feet…what’s not to like?

Six hours before we left my biggest concern was how to get all this gear into my 60 litre bag, and into my boys two 30 litre backpacks. Wool socks, Moon Cheese, camp fuel, bear spray, tent, sleeping bags, Thermarests, clothing, and lots of food among other gear.

This trip quickly established itself as both a mental and a physical test of strength and will for each child as they struggled on the first ascent with loaded backpacks, and a steep, rooty up hill path.  While I carried the heaviest gear theirs were busting at the seams and weighed in between 10-15 lbs. I am sure this added to the many stops and drops along the forest floor as little bodies screamed in distaste at the sheer steepness of the trail.

But with lots of coaxing, breaks, a few needed temper-tantrums, and snacks we prevailed and reached Helms Creek campground 9 hours later. Annnnd luckily my husband had already found and dug out the tent pad from under 2 feet of snow. Thanks David…love ya!!

The next day we saw Black Tusk standing stoically in front of us. We looked up with jaws open mesmerised by the sheer beauty and vastness of the landscape. No one complained. No one talked. The fatigue melted with the snow.

With blue bird skies and a hot mid-day sun we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Stopping occasionally for water breaks, and lunch we trekked on for 9 km ocassionally breaking through the snow. Progress was slow but only because of the soft snow. No more complaints. In fact, I truly believe that this day was a game changer for the boys as they realised the benefits of hard work.

Our final campsite was Garibaldi. Our feet were cold and wet, and our stomachs empty. But our spirits remained as high as the mountains surrounding us. Once more we had to pitch our tent in close to 3 feet of snow but the experience was worth it as I saw all the boys grow and accomplish tasks they never thought they could. Whereas, I always knew they could they now believed it!

 

Dog Gone It. That was a Fun Ride!

 

Dog Gone It! That was a FUN Ride with the pups!

Over the past few weeks I have been meeting and documenting some pretty hardcore 4-legged friends that can seriously shred the gnar. I’ve watched them hop, run, walk, play, eat, and even steal doggie treats out of my camera bag.

In preparation for an upcoming article with Mountain Bike For Her I turned to social media to find my eager models (2 and 4 legged ones). Riding again with a furry friend made me think a lot of our family dog when we used to take her riding. How she loved it. And how I loved watching her gracefully clear fallen trees yet aggressively tackling a tight turn. I marvel at a dogs athleticism…and their ability to find the route of least resistance. I’ve always said that if you want to win a DH race follow your dog. It might not always make sense but it’s fast.

These action shots weren’t easy to get and I cannot wait to show you the rest once the summer issue of MTB4Her comes out. In other words, can’t release the ‘hounds’ just yet. Get it? Anyways, I’ve got some real beauties and am totally stoked at the results.

Thanks to my new furry and non-furry friends for making this real. Your exuberance is infectious. Let’s go ride again!!

Woof!

 

Following the Udovics at Big White

I recently had the opportunity to photograph the Udovic family at Big White ski resort in BC, Canada. Following this family required me to be my best in moguls, narrow runs and all types of weather conditions as we endured fog, rain, icy conditions, wind and finally sun.

My focus was to get a few group photos of the family with the intention that they could print one to hang on a wall in their home. As well, as getting a few shots of the family in action.

Aside from a (few) bathroom breaks this family can SHRED!!! It was awesome to see both the almost 5 and 7 year olds rip down the hill with steeze and control. So good to see!!

Thanks to the Udovics for a great time on the slopes!! If you and your family would like photos of your family in action – ski, mountain bike, hike, snowshoe etc. – drop me a line. I would love to document your family’s adventure, vacation or day.

Cecile

The Winter Blues Got You Down? Trying Riding. It’s a Bonafide Cure!

Winter. It’s cold and it’s beautiful. And just because there’s snow it shouldn’t mean you should stop riding.

The Bike:

For snow…fatter is better.

Honestly, I had no idea that fat-bikes were a game changer until I tried my friends’ Rick on a wet-snow kinda day. I was squirrely riding down on my regular mountain bike and barely making the uphills. The fatter tires in comparison gave me stability, control, traction and renewed confidence.

As much as I’d love to own my own fat-bike my bank account says otherwise. And I hate cheap, heavy equipment. Call me a snob but over the years I have gotten used to quality. So I rent. I found Flying Spirit Rentals based in Squamish, BC. They have high-end rentals. I can also rent bikes at the Whistler Olympic Park. They have both electric assist and non-assist bikes. And don’t think that having an e-bike is cheating. Riding in snow is just as hard regardless of your choice of weapon.

The Clothing:

I layer. And I usually have a big honking backpack with me to carry both my camera gear, food and extra clothes. I like to wear my ski helmet and goggles on colder days. I also find the goggles provide better protection on sunny days with a high UV factor and brightness from the snow.

For my feet I have a pair of 45NRTH Wölvhammer winter boots. They are equipped with Shimano SPD’s. And they rock. Warm, waterproof, rugged and built for cold, winter days. If I’m on flats I use a pair of warm, waterproof winter boots. While climbing clipless pedals make the job easier I also like the freedom of flats. On warmer days snow can also ice up rendering cleats useless.

On my face I always wear a balaclava. This is mostly because I’m a wimp to the cold and hate having chapped lips. But the main reason is to keep my cheeks warm so that the air entering my lungs has been warmed up slightly. For asthmatics this is important. Wheezing is not fun.

Finally, on my hands I alternate between a pair of Pearl Izumi Lobster Claws and a pair of Black Diamond gloves which are water resistant and windproof. In my bag I always carry an extra set of gloves as well as an extra pair of socks. Just in case.

The Fun-Factor:

The fun-factor is high. Very high. As is the sense of adventure and exploration. Skiing is fun too but the bicycle can take you places and it’s always an adventure. There are days when you can slice through powder and other days when the you get all squirrely. There are also crashes. But they usually don’t hurt.

So you see riding in winter doesn’t have to be scary. You just need to be prepared and have a positive attitude. Besides with a fat-bike you can ride anywhere you want, any time you want!

Letting Kids be Kids

© Cecile Gambin PhotographyI love how innocent kids are and I love watching them being kids and playing as they should.

My children and myself found a rather large patch of tall, dry grass and an abundance of rocks while on a modified hike atop Grouse Mountain. I say modified because we never made it to where we had intended to go but, instead, found laughter and fun as they began to play hide-and-seek, and tag. Seriously, why drag them into a hike when clearly they were having more fun here? And, without them knowing it, getting more exercise as they ran up and down the mountain side.

Within time, a young girl and her family came along and asked if she could play with my two boys. While her mother and I talked the kids played, laughed, shared, ran and jumped.

I grew up in an apartment in a rough Toronto neighborhood and to this day the most fun I had were those years where I did just what my children were doing – being kids. I ran up six flight of stairs and raced down them as fast as I could (elevators were boring); I climbed trees, we played British Bull-Dog, Cowboys and Indians, climbed trees, jumped our bikes over our friends and, generally, ran lots. I wasn’t involved in team sports, nor had a plethora of afterschool activities but I did climb school roof tops to retrieve tennis balls and I also clearly remember crumpling up pieces newspaper and lighting them on fire in our building’s underground garage (right behind parked cars no less). While perhaps that wasn’t the swiftest thing I ever did (and really hope my own children don’t do that) I also remember setting off the buildings outdoor sprinkler system to jump over the stream of water as it rotated. Hours of fun.

My point is, today children are taxied left, right and center. Whether it’s a music lesson, a soccer or hockey practice, gymnastics, swimming, or art clubs it seems to me that kids are no longer kids. A chance to laugh, play, be with friends, share, talk, run, fall, and cry. The chance to socialise and to make friends on their own terms seems to be lost. The opportunity to make up games, play make-believe and run for fun is disappearing and replaced by a generation with their heads stuck in their mobile devices.

Find a playground. Let your kids play good old-fashion games and join in on the fun. Cuts, bruises, tears and messes. It’s all good. And if you can find an old sprinkler system put a popsicle stick in them to set them off…and run away quickly. Tons of fun and great exercise too.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

A 1962 Chevy Impala, a Cop and Two Busted Bikers

© Cecile Gambin Photography

I cannot begin to tell you how sweet this car is. Not only was it beautiful to look at and to photograph it was also a real treat sitting in the passenger seat and feeling the rumble of the motor as the ‘pedal went to the metal’. Of course, it would have been even sweeter to drive the car but just sitting in it was a pretty cool experience that I will not soon forget.

My idea was to capture a few static photos of the car and some action shots. My husband ‘graciously’ offered (actually, he didn’t really have a choice) to drive our Subaru Outback along a deserted road as I lay sprawled out in the trunk with the hatch up taking photos.

Merrily clicking away I had just taken about ten shots when I saw flashing lights and that heard that familiar ‘whirp whirp’ sound.

Crap! Police.

I quickly jumped out of the car and explained to the nice police man that this was totally my idea and not that of my husband. As I explained what I was doing I noticed two young guys sitting in the back giggling away and realized that they were the riders whose bikes we saw being hauled out by a flat bed tow truck thirty minutes prior. I guess they picked the wrong night for drag racing as I had picked the wrong night for taking photos hanging out the back of a car.

Luckily I got away with only a stern look, and a verbal warning. To this I must heartily thank those two crotchet-rocket riders for taking up most of this very nice police man’s evening.

The shoot continued but this time I sat in the back seat and hung out the window with my seat belt draped around me. Nothing illegal there. Overall I’m pretty stoked at the shots and create some magic worthy of this awesome car.

In case you haven’t noticed…I LOVE taking photos of bikes and cars. Classic lines, colours, personality – they are shine at me. Interested? Shoot me an email and let’s talk!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Beta Day Revelstoke

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Beta Motorcycles Canada has been calling BC and Alberta home for the past few weeks as Canadian distributor Stephen Howland took the 2017 line-up for demo days across select riding areas. First stop was in beautiful Revelstoke, BC. Travelling across the country the bikes needed to be prepped and ready to hit singletrack that you and I would ride in a heartbeat.

Speaking to media and other VIP Stephen Howland gives the low-down on the 2017 line-up.
Speaking to media and other VIP Stephen Howland gives the low-down on the 2017 line-up.
Early morning and working hard prepping bikes for some serious use.
Early morning and working hard prepping bikes for some serious use.
Beta Canada travelling in style across the country.
Beta Canada travelling in style across the country.
The Canadian Beta Factory Team - Foord, Marin, Howland, King
The Canadian Beta Factory Team – Foord, Marin, Howland, King
Revelstoke knows how to eat. The BEST mobile burritos ever. Yum.
This food truck may not look pretty but The Taco Club, hands-down, have the BEST mobile burritos ever. Yum.
The RR390 a favourite among the riders - fast, sleek, responsive.
The RR390 a favourite among the riders – fast, sleek, responsive.
Beta controls are intuitive and easy to use and read.
Beta controls are intuitive and easy to use and read.
My steed for the weekend helping me get around the trails with a 40lb backpack of camera gear. With a light front end it, and smooth power delivery it was easy to put the front wheel where I wanted it...and that was usually up and over the mega roots and rocks.
My steed for the weekend helping me get around the trails with a 40lb backpack full of camera gear. With a light front end and smooth power delivery it was easy to put the front wheel where I wanted it…and that was usually up and over the mega roots and rocks.
Bob Clarke of Mountain Motorcycles having fun riding high and styling it with his open face trials helmet.
Bob Clarke of Mountain Motorcycles having fun riding high and styling it with his open face trials helmet.
Steve Foord finishing off a stellar 2016 race year abroad a Beta.
Steve Foord finishing off a stellar 2016 race year abroad a Beta.
The Revy Riders Dirt Bike Club created trails abundant in views, rock, trees, and roots. Awesome-sauce.
Negotiating a steep, punchy loosey-goosey downhill with ease. The Revy Riders Dirt Bike Club created trails abundant in views, rock, trees, and roots. Awesome-sauce.

A huge shout-out to Stephen Howland for the day, the bikes, and the food. There’s a reason Beta bikes are sitting on the top step of the podium around the world. If you get a chance test ride one and you won’t be disappointed. Check with Beta Canada for the nearest demo day near you.

 

WTC Canadian Trials Championship 2016

© Cecile Gambin Photography

In a roundabout way CGP was on-hand catching the action at this years championship round held in beautiful Revelstoke, BC.

In between scouting areas and taking photos of Beta’s new line-up I was able to catch a bit of the action zooming around on a sweet 250 EVO for the weekend courtesy of Stephen Howland of Beta Canada. And, holy crow, what a sweet bike it is! A heck of a lot more ‘oumpf’, and smooth power delivery over my Gas Gas 200 TXT. Took me a while to get used to the extra power and the ergonomics it but by the end of the weekend I was becoming more comfortable on it. Maybe if I stopped buying camera gear I could afford a few new bikes!!

Kudos to all the competitors for a great sportsmanship as well as to all the volunteers it takes to run a two-day event. David Rhodes of Outlaw Beta and the folks with the Revy Riders Dirt Bike Club – a stellar job as always. Enjoy the photos and as always please feel free to leave a comment.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Riding for Beta Tino Marin of Spain negotiating a loosey-goosey steep uphill with ease. Congrats to Tino for taking home the pro win.
Sam King of Australia, Beta Canada, in a very difficult rocky section of the course.
Sam King of Australia, Beta Canada, in a very difficult rocky section of the course.
Steve Day, riding for Gas Gas, picking his line.
Steve Day, riding for Gas Gas, picking his line.
Stephen Foord talking with his minder Dean Thompson of Black Foot Direct.
Tino Marin talking with minder Taff Parfitt of Sherwood, Alberta.
With his line dialed in it was Steve Days turn.
With his line dialed in it was Steve Days turn.
Junior Riders competing both Saturday and Sunday for a shot at the title.
Junior Riders competing both Saturday and Sunday for a shot at the title.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Starting them young. This little guy could probably clean quite a few sections.
Starting them young. This little guy could probably clean quite a few sections.
It was a hot, dry, dusty Sunday making the climbs that much more difficult as shale and other loose debris moved underneath the tires.
It was a hot, dry, dusty Sunday making the climbs that much more difficult as shale and other loose debris moved underneath the tires.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
My steed for the weekend courtesy of Beta Canada – an EVO250. It’s an all-in-one smooth and and badass bike.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Brandon Schmidt riding for Electric Motion concentrating before his leap. Congrats to Brandon for taking home the win in the advanced division.
Stephen Foord on his way to winning the Advanced category.
Stephen Foord on his way to winning the Advanced category.

 

 

The Women of Crankworx 2016

© Cecile Gambin Photography

My focus at Crankworx Whistler was to bring light to all the girls and women out there ‘sending it’.

For some the term ‘sending it’ referred to hitting the big 70ft Crabapple jump and whipping it good. For others, it mean giving it their all for that one race.

But, in the big scheme of things ‘sending it’ is a shout-out to all the girls and women riders who were there to visit, to ride, to compete, to throw it down, to laugh and to have fun.

Keep an eye open for the Autumn issue of ‘Mountain Bike For Her’ with special articles and photos of Crankworx Whistler.

Cheers to the Women of Crankworx 2016!

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Ahead of the crowd during the children’s Criterium by the Olympic Village.
CGP 2016-32
Kathi Kuypers, of Trek Gravity Girls, was the only women rider competing in the Dual Slope Speed and Style.
CGP 2016-11
Tara Llanes ripping it up on A-Line about to grab some air during the Air Fox DH.
CGP 2016-16
Haley Smith of Norco Factory Racing bringing in the gold during the XC race held at Blackcomb.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Lalena Desautels transitioning from the medium jump line to the large jump line.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Jonna Johnsen riding for Corsair Bikes in the right lane of the Dual Slalom.
Jill Kintner, Queen of the Mountain, racking up another win.
Jill Kintner, Queen of the Mountain, racking up another win.

Family Documentary Photography and Why You Should Invest in a Session

 

‘It goes by fast’…are often the words young parents hear in reference to young children.

While it may feel like the diaper stage and the sleepless nights will never end it, invariably, does. And by the time you know it your kids will be asking for the car keys. Seriously.

I began to document my own children as they finished one stage and entered another. Like most families my two boys are active. Very active. And, asking them to sit down and smile for the camera wasn’t a photo that suited them nor was it one that was easily achieved.

I realised that the best photos of my children were the ones that had meaning. The ones where they were busy doing something, engaged in an activity of their choice. That brought out the best smiles, and looks from them. In exchange I was left with a photo full of emotion and meaning. I call this type of photography documentary because I record what unfolds in front of me. There are no fancy backgrounds, and I use natural lighting. This allows me to move freely and quietly. Simple, quick, easy and no more husbands grumbling for a sit down pose. Everybody’s happy because there is no change in routine.

I can now fondly look back through the years at what we’ve done as a family, the hardships that we forgot, (although at the time i didnt think I could ever forget), the good and the fun times. I take these special photos and put them in a video slideshow and print them on a luxurious flat book so that can be shared with friends and family either digitally or through traditional methods.

If you would like to document your family please consider me as your photographer. I am currently booking for mid-September and am offering half-day or a full-day sessions. Be assured, I love this type of family photography and strive to create photos that I would be proud to have myself.

‘It really does go by fast’…

©Cecile Gambin Photography