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!

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.

 

Preserverence

@Cecile Gambin Photography

A feel-good blog today 🙂

Check out this little guy. He’s nine years old and riding technical trails. He didn’t get there overnight. I know as I’m his mother and I’ve watched him pedal, fall, stumble and try again.

Some days I know I need to sit back from an already hectic life and reflect. And I realise I can learn from that very same lesson that my nine year old has been learning from over the past few weeks.

It might take me a wee bit longer but eventually I realise that life is good, and that through preserverence I can achieve what I want.

Eyes on Mission Raceway

© Cecile Gambin Photography

It spat a tiny bit this past weekend but I was secretly wishing for rains of biblical proportions. You know…the type that drives into the ground hard and fills up pot holes in a jiffy. Of course, this was purely for my own selfish photographical reasons. I just wanted to take a photo of a cool race car with a big roost shooting out the back to add to my portfolio and secret project that I’m working on.

On site at Mission Raceway the folks from the Sports Club Car of British Columbia (SCCBC) recommended I hook up with local photographer Brent Martin. This was my first time at ‘Rivers Edge’ and thought it would be great to walk around with an experienced photographer showing me the ins and outs of this particular track. Brent was amazing – cordial, professional and unselfish. While I have been around car and motorcycle races often it’s always nice to have a personal tour for safety reasons and for hotspots. Check out his pics here.

There were several races – the open wheel, the closed wheel and the time attack class. My personal favourites are the open wheel class. These are the cars that scream speed and you don’t see often in urban setting (well ok…not at all). That, and the two minis that ripped around hugging the pavement like there’s no tomorrow. Mr. Bean would have been proud seeing his green mini taking to the track in fine fashion.

I spent the most part of the day getting artistic photos, working on my pans and looking at a life in the pits. While I may not have gotten that roost I was out after I am stoked at the photos I did get. I pushed my gear to the limit with some pretty hefty crops and marvelled at the speed of my new Nikon.

I would like to thank Laurie Kaerne, Marc Ramsay and the countless volunteers at Mission Raceway for taking the time to welcome me, and making me feel safe. It’s a great track with lots of high speed sections and corners for entertainment. As Jackie Stewart would have said ‘it’s a great, great day for a motor car race’ at Mission Raceway Park. Check out the SCCBC schedule of upcoming events – racing is closer than you think!!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

Hanging with the Chump Cars

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Bracing myself against the passenger door the driver yelled back to me to hang on tight as we dipped into a sharp right hand turn. Feeling the G’s pushing me back against the frame was nothing short of an adrenaline rush. Oh yea baby…I’m hooked! Hanging out the side window of a pace car is super fun!

On Sunday May 22 I drove to The Ridge Motorsports Park in Shelton, WA to take photos of a Chump Cars World Series race. Having spent the last few years directly involved with off-road motorcycles it was fascinating to see the resemblances between the two sports. Whether you have two wheels or four we are the same…with a few exceptions.

I determined that the number one difference was the sheer level of organization simply needed to attend an event just to race. The amount of gear, pit crew and team members needed for a weekend race is mind-blowing. Bike riders bring BBQ’s, tents, motorhomes, tool boxes as well but with cars everything seemed bigger, larger and more plentiful. Think about it…everything needs to be doubled. Double the tires, the rims, the stands, the gas, the jacks, the oils and so on. Bigger trailers and towing vehicles too.

What I liked about Chump Car Racing, a parody of Champ Car Racing, is the accessibility of racing to the average person. Using cheap cars, insurance claims, or beaters a limit of $500 is placed on the car in order to keep a level playing field. Teams will be penalized for any performance mods made to the car that drive that amount up, safety features excluded.

‘If you cheat or screw-up or both… you’ll be docked laps. If you come to Tech Inspection with a car that’s worth $1,500… plan on starting the race about 100 laps down from everyone else. You can still run in the race and you’ll have a great time… but you’ll never win. If that doesn’t bother you, you’re our kind of Chump!

Seems fair to me.

While car racing is decidedly more expensive than off-road racing the camaderie and sense of belonging is equally as strong. Just because a vehicle has two extra wheels doesn’t mean that they aren’t sewn from the same cloth. Respect, competitiveness, rivalry, family and friendliness – this is racing at it’s finest.

I would like to thank Sandi Gellner of Chump Car World Series for accommodating me,  The Ridge Motorsports Track and to all the racers for welcoming me into their world.

For event photos please click HERE. My photos are for sale (digital format or prints). I thank you in advance for your support – it’s greatly appreciated.

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Getting ready to rock n’ roll.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Hanging out the back of a Ford Mustang with Nikon D3S, 24-70mm in hand trying to get an artistic motion-blur shot at 100 kph give or take. Yeehaw!
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Let the games begin.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Pit Stop including mandatory driver change which must be done every two hours or less during a 6 hour race.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Working on the exhaust system that I believe was falling down. The welder is a driver from another team. Love the camaraderie found at this level of racing!
© Cecile Gambin Photography
A gear bag isn’t big enough for a weekend race.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Ridge Motorsports had some cool areas for pans. Find your car in my event photos.

 

Rocking the Scene with a Mom and Daughter Team

© Cecile Gambin PhotographyIt was a mad dash to get from one location to the other before the sun faded but we did it!

After showing my client two very different and distinct backgrounds in West Vancouver we decided to go for it and hold the photo session in two separate locations one right after the other. This mother and daughter team rocked the scene with contagious laughter and smiles.

So why would I attempt to photograph them in two locations? Because I knew that both areas would suit them so why not give them the best of both worlds. Plus, there’s something special about Lighthouse Park and Whytecliff Park and their ability to put us all in a calm, serene, and content state. One is known for its edgy, craggy, sharp rocks and the other for it’s smooth, round ones.

The afternoon started at Lighthouse Park and as usual both offered spectacular backdrops. As the late November afternoon slipped away we made our way to Whytecliff and got really lucky as the sun dropped, first turning yellow, than orange and finally that sought after crimson. The colours were simply insane! It was worth staying late.

Let’s talk. If you like my style and you feel I am the photographer for you…send me an email and let’s plan something cool!!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

 

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

Tammie and Marks’ Anti-Wedding – Part II

Part II – The journey starts at the bike shop the day before the ride only to find out it had snowed at the top of the peak that morning.

And so it begins…early Sunday seven of us left at 8:30 to begin a rather long climb. Our goal was to reach the top of Granite Mountain where the rest of the party would be waiting for the ceremony. Included in that group was Tammie’s oldest sister Sherry and her husband Sheldon, the Wedding Commissioner and the rest of my camera equipment (thanks Sheldon!).

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Mandatory riders meeting for the first wave of riders. Close to 100 riders participated.

We slowly made our way uphill through gorgeous single track moving in and out of the pine scented forests. Fashionably late we arrived at Granite Mountain 45 minutes behind schedule (probably my fault as I wanted a few photos along the way and was a wee bit slow climbing). The ceremony was held on the platform of a small warming hut at the top of Red Mountain Ski Resort where the clouds blew in and out faster than you could say ‘I do’. I suspect it was a balmy 2 or 3 degrees Celsius.

The Wedding Commissioner, Roberta Post, began as Tammie and Mark stood opposite of her. I’m sure she was using the hut to shield her from the wind. Smart. The rest of us gathered around, cold yet warm. Every so often a cloud would lift revealing the layers of mountains below. In a few weeks time this area will become snow-covered leaving behind any trace we may have left. Yet this special day will live forever through stories and photos among friends and family.

The ceremony was without a doubt beautiful as the commissioner read the vows. We looked on as both Tammie and Marks’ smiles warmed our cold hands. And as if on queue the clouds lifted and a ray on sunshine fell on them both just before their kiss. Cheers and clapping erupted as we congratulated them on the beginning of their life journey together.

We took a few photos of the group and left fairly quickly to make the 1:30 pm Poker Ride cut-off time. At this point I believe we had covered the largest portion of climbing and looked forward to shorter, steeper, smaller climbs and fast downhills. The recent rains made for excellent trail conditions offering unrivaled uphill traction and stable corners.

Part of the attraction of a Poker Ride is the camaraderie and Revolution Cycles brought it out in full-force. With check-in points along the 36 km route riders drew cards, threw darts, played Trivial Pursuit, and belted out old TV shows songs for everyone to hear.

I would like to thank Revolution Cycles for a very well organized event. And for the cool t-shirts (in both men and women’s cut non-the-less)!! Maybe one day I’ll have another opportunity to tackle this ride. It was hard but not impossible and I’m super happy to have completed it….albeit in my own fashion.

En route...
En route…

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Those of us who have taken the plunge understand this moment perfectly…

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

© Cecile Gambin Photography
No it wasn’t an o-ring but it was a beautiful blue sapphire encased in platinum….that way Tammie can’t damage it!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

© Cecile Gambin Photography
The Wedding Party – Kelly, Tennille, Sherry, Sheldon, Paul, Lisa, Mark and Tammie.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Most at this point take a limo but not these two…it was a rocky descent to continue our 36 km trek across the Kootenays.
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Some of the checkpoint festivities – throw the dart and hit your favourite politician!
© Cecile Gambin Photography
Spin the Wheel and hope you don’t land on the Vegemite!
Saltine crackers and Vegemite. Mmmmm...
Saltine crackers and Vegemite. Mmmmm…
Showing our age (well maybe mine only) and trying to remember the theme to The Love Boat.
Showing our age (well maybe mine only) and trying to remember the theme to The Love Boat.
Riding a tricked-out Brodie. Feel free to leave messages if you think you know what's up with this bike.
Riding a tricked-out Brodie. Feel free to leave messages if you think you know what’s up with this bike.
The Flying Bride - Tammie ripping up the downhill.
The Flying Bride shreds the downhills.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography
YAY!…we made it!

 

Mark getting that garter belt and throwing it at the post-ride BBQ.
Mark getting that garter belt and throwing it at the post-ride BBQ.

Congratulations to Tammie and Mark for a wildly fun and successful day!! It was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to photograph and share this special day with you.

If I’m going to shoot a wedding let it be this type. Thanks for allowing me creative freedom 🙂

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

Tammie and Marks’ Anti-Wedding – Part I

 

© Cecile Gambin Photography…and by Anti-Wedding I mean that Tammie and Mark did not follow most wedding traditions which is why this wedding was THE most fun to photograph and attend.

A few months ago I found out that Tammie and Mark had plans to marry during the Seven Summits Poker Ride while climbing a ridiculous amount. The event, organized by Revolution Bikes, is an official IMBA ‘epic’ ride and hails out of Rossland, BC. And as the name suggests it covers seven peaks.

I knew Tammie would not have a typical wedding and I jumped at the chance to photograph it. My idea was to capture them before, during and after the wedding. I had already arranged an afternoon photo session Saturday which would ensure me that their white spandex cycling outfits would remain clean. Being unfamiliar with the area and having arrived late Friday night local Rossi residents and friends of the bride and groom, Tennille and Kelly, were instrumental helping me find a suitable location – I needed one that offered a simple, clean background that showcased Rossland. I knew I wanted a photo of the towns iconic main strip and also wanted to incorporate a large white pedestrian crosswalk into my final shot that I had seen earlier in the day (it reminded me of The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ cover album). I must also give a big thank you to Zabrina Nelson, of ‘Revival Boutique’ downtown Rossland for lending us the white umbrella. I saw the umbrella sitting on a shelf and couldn’t help myself with laughter. It was the perfect compliment to the wedding and it’s ‘anti-movement’.

Both are fun people and my goal was to provide a long lasting memory of the best day of their lives. I wanted to keep the photos simple but introduce an element of tradition in their non-traditional wedding, while keeping the overall feeling of the photos fun. Something which I hope they will cherish and not get bored looking at. I’m pretty sure I captured the mood and the personalities of them both and am super stoked at the results!!

I am deeply honoured to have been able to share this important day with Tammie and Mark. I love the idea of having a fun wedding that isn’t about formality, traditions and rigidness. It was clear that both the bride and groom, along with their friends and family enjoyed the day.

As for me … I never dreamed of photographing weddings but if they could all be this cool and I could have creative control than I could really get into it! So if you are planning some wild and extreme wedding…send me an email!

 

Cecile Gambin Photography
Tennille helping Tammie pose like a lady.

 

Tammie … it’s an umbrella not a battle axe! A HUGE shout-out to Zabrina from Revival Boutique in Rossland for lending us her white, frilly umbrella (which totally suited Tammie’s personality – haha).
After a little convincing Tammie finally got loosened up in front of the camera and the photo session took on a whole life of its own.
After a little ‘touch-up’ Tammie loosened up in front of the camera and the photo session took on a life of its own.

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Run Tammie Run.
A HUGE shout-out to Paul Udovic for standing in as my voice activated tripod!! Cheers Paul!
A HUGE shout-out to Paul Udovic for standing in as my voice activated tripod!! Cheers Paul!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Downtown Rossland, BC.
Inspired by The Beatles 'Abbey Road' album cover I knew I had to use this pedestrian crosswalk to help highlight Rossland's main strip as well as it being graphically strong.
Inspired by The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ album cover I knew I had to use this pedestrian crosswalk to help highlight Rossland’s main strip.

Stay tuned for Part II – bikes, snow, wind, cold, fun, laughter, marriage, single track, vistas, uphills and downhills for a not so typical wedding atop Granite Mountain. To be released real soon!!

 

 

 

 

A Bride, A Make-Up Artist and a Photographer

© Cecile Gambin Photography

I haven’t been this giddy about a wedding in a long time. It’s not that I didn’t like my own but this one was different. For starters, there was no groom. There wasn’t even a wedding. There was only one photographer, a make-up artist/hair stylist, a model and a wedding dress.

Desiree Ellis (make-up/hair stylist) and Sambrina Lawrence (model) met me for what turned out to be one of my most memorable photos sessions to date. Dressed in a wedding dress Sambrina bravely carried her train in her arms as she negotiated a steep, narrow rocky dirt path down to the waters edge.

After a small detour (I took a wrong turn) we settled on a nice rock and began shooting. The magic didn’t happen though until the party boats dropped by, and the liquid sunshine poured in.

I had been planning this session for a few months with Desiree and had originally thought about setting camp at Whyte Cliff Park. Checking with the marine forecast I realized my chosen spot was to be underwater for the time frame and date that had been selected. Re-booking the session was not an option so I worked around the tides and found another suitable location. The goal of the photo shoot was to highlight Desiree’s work.

My set-up was simple and appropriate – two lenses, a light, a voice controlled tripod and a reflector. I wanted a clean, energetic and bright shot that could be found in a haute-couture print ad that showcased Desiree’s make-up, and Sambrina’s refined look against deep blue-bird skies.

As we shot, on-lookers peered and party-boats danced and cheered on us from behind us. It was rather amusing and added to the excitement and buzz of a not-so-real wedding bridal shoot.  To say the least it was a festive and productive afternoon that put all 3 of us in a superb mood. Simply said it was fun!!!

I love working with people that allow me creative freedom. I also enjoy the challenges that come with working on a live set unscripted by walls. Thank you Desiree and Sambrina for your professionalism. I am beyond stoked with my photos and had an awesome time!!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Comfortably Numb – Tackling Whistlers Epic XC Trail

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Designated as an epic mountain bike trail by IMBA ‘Comfortably Numb’ leaves you just that the next day. I suppose for some the title may mean differently but for me, and my buddies, it’s fair to say that our legs were comfortably numb for a few hours afterwards.

You can find the trail head slightly north of Whistler Village on Highway 99. A big green sign tells you that this is a black diamond run with an accumulated elevation gain of 809 metres and is 24 km long. The last 13 km of which are downhill with steep, sketchy drops.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Keeping in line with this summer’s unreal temperatures it was a hot, dry day with picturesque blue bird skies. Lucky for us, more than half the trail is under the deep forest canopy keeping the burning sun off our shoulders. The forest was dry from the season’s unusually long draught and mild snow-less winter. Amazingly, much of the moss covered trail held on to its vibrant green. Poplar trees however were prematurely losing their leaves reminding us of a typical early autumn ride back east in Ontario as bits of yellow and brown crunched under the tires.

Those thoughts quickly vanished as we turned a corner and the trail opened to reveal our first look at a snow capped mountain. And the climbing kept coming twisting and snaking its way upwards along a well defined beaten path that has surely seen many riders over the years. Definitely not Ontario.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

Neil MacKinnon riding one of the many bridges found along the uphill portion of the trail. Neil was sweet enough to ride the trail up and down for me and my camera. Thanks Bud!!

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

Clement Hobbs carefully navigating a loose, rocky section.
Clement Hobbs carefully navigating a loose, rocky section.

© Cecile Gambin Photography

 

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Yay! I made it into my blog. Thanks Clement for the photo 🙂

 

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Beautifully carved trails through carpets of moss as far as the eye could see. Awesome Sauce!
© Cecile Gambin Photography
As we closed in to the highest point of the ride we came across a sign allowing us to take a short cut. We decided to forge on and ride the entire trail as we had intended. It was the right decision and although tired we were treated to a beautiful open rock viewpoint surrounded by mountains.
The downhill portion started roughly 2 km after the view point. With no water left, sore legs and diminishing strength I put the camera away and concentrated on the loose, rocky crops and safely picked my way down the 13 km to Lost Lake.
The downhill portion started roughly 2 km after the view point. With no water left, sore legs and diminishing strength I put the camera away and concentrated on the loose, rocky crops and safely picked my way down the 13 km to Lost Lake.

With photo ops, snack and lunch break we successfully completed the ride in just over 7.5 hours. I loved the fact that both Clement and Neil did not object to me wanting to take photos and stop again for yet more photos. It makes for a longer day but at least we will have good memories. Our steeds for the day included two IBIS Mojo’s and one NORCO Range. All bikes ran beautifully and allowed us to ride with pleasure.

Thanks Clement and Neil for an amazing day. Maybe one day I’ll be back to tackle Comfortably Numb again but next time I think I’ll leave my big, heavy DSLR at home.