Outlaw Run and Reprobates!

At Traction eRag we don’t do things the normal way. We meet strange characters, do strange things, are largely unprincipled and, generally have lots of fun. That’s why we’re called reprobates.

Traction’s latest adventure was The Outlaw Run which took riders from the four corners of the world to Kamloops, BC. I was fortunate enough to ride with the group from the third week. I saw old friends from a previous Traction adventure – Woods Runners – and, made new friends. And, the riding…first class just like the meals. We rode alpine to desert trails. Fast and flowy to tech and sketch with lots of support in between. Can’t wait for next years adventure!

Please visit my gallery for photos. Also, if you are interested in a book let me know. I can customize one for you. Email me for details.

Here are the links to the photos:

Tuesday, September 17: https://order.cecilegambin.com/p460559921

Wednesday, September 18: https://order.cecilegambin.com/p982477647

Thank you!!

Riding up to 8700 feet my weapon of choice was my 2007 Gas Gas TXT Pro for it’s light-weight, nimbleness and ease of riding up and over these boulders with my load.
It was cold. And, at one point we had sideways snow. The weather conditions added to the dramatic, and stark beauty of the alpine.
And, this is why I carry a big, heavy backpack full of camera gear. It’s for photos like this. A perfect day for me is riding, taking photos and being with friends. Bliss. Rider: Kevan Bernards

Family Trips – Camera Phones or DSLRs?

I did it again. I decided to forego my DSLR for my iPhone 7+ during a recent back country trip with my family.

My 55 litre backpack was stuffed with the usual back country necessities – food, fuel, sleeping bag, tent, and extra socks. Quite literally, I didn’t have the room for my Nikon beast. I’d have to buy a bigger backpack. The hike itself is touted as one of Garibaldi’s Provincial Parks toughest climbs – a 7 km hike with over 1200 + meters of climbing over rocks, roots, ridiculously steep climbs and a 500 meter scramble at the end.

I realized that the only people who will see my photos will be my family, and you via my blog. Most likely, these photos won’t be published so I really didn’t need the bulk and the weight of my DSLR. I decided that having a lighter backpack, and spending less time getting the camera out of it and ultimately upsetting (enraging?) my boys outweighed the benefits of a cumbersome camera.

It’s important for me to have memories of our trip and the camera phone is the perfect tool. I can record short videos, take photos as well as panoramic shots and it’s quick and easy to take out and use. I found I took more photos than I would have with the DSLR tucked away in my backpack. Plus, there’s the added bonus of charging one phone versus a phone and a camera, so my portable power pack lasted that much longer.

Most of my photos will be printed in a 4×6, 4×10 and 5×7 format and put into a family album. I may use a few photos for a potential future article. As long as they aren’t printed too large or zoomed in too much the camera phone pics will work perfectly well. If I was on assignment for a client by all means I would have bought a larger backpack and clipped my DSLR onto my packs shoulder strap for easy access. But, it wasn’t a photo session. It was a good old fashion family trip.

Did I miss my DSLR? Yes and no. I did miss it on our last morning before the descent. The light had a surreal quality to it and I would have loved to have my Nikon for fine detail, range dynamics and shutter speed and aperture options. However, when I think of the climb up and the tough downhill that was ahead of us I’m glad I chose my iPhone for weight, speed and ease of use. 

All in all, the camera phone did a great job. It’s all I need for my intended use.  The photos are perfectly fine for my family to view on a computer or in a printed album.

As for the trip…it was one of our most memorable. It was definitely a challenge but the hike up was worth the hard work. The weather cooperated despite the clouds constantly blowing in and out. More importantly, it didn’t rain! The look on my boys faces when they saw and touched the glacier, and realizing its age, was priceless.

Signing of Letter of Understanding

Chief Maureen Champman with the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

Yesterday, I once again had the privilege to not only attend but also to photograph an historic event held close to Hope, BC. that saw the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Tiyt Tribe sign a Letter of Understanding.

I was asked to photograph the event by the Skawahlook community which took place in a Chawathil First Nation community centre not far from Hope, BC. The focus of my photos was to capture the full event.

Honourable Carolyn Bennett with Sq’Ewa:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation members Chief Maureen Chapman and Debra Schneider
Siyá:m Shane James Shxw’ōwhámel First Nation
Gift Exchange

Skawahlook First Nation

I am honoured to have been asked to take photos for the Sq’ewa:lxw (Skawahlook) First Nation conference that was held over the weekend of August 10, 2019.

It was a special weekend for a variety of First Nation members as they convened for a day full of talks, activities, and family fun just outside Agassiz, BC.

The conference was held in a beautiful wooden cedar hall with warm tones. There was a mixture of natural, incandescent, and fluorescent light which made for some challenging lighting. To top it off there was a screen projector – the type with a colour wheel that spins around throwing out some interesting colours on the screen when I took photos. A high shutter speed will stop the motion of the colours being displayed on the screen so I would get a green screen or a red one etc. To counteract this I had to adjust my shutter speed to match the speed of the spin. I took a few custom white balances around the room as well and took photos at various angles to help minimize this rainbow of colours.

I was hesistant to use flash mainly because I did not want to interrupt the speakers and the work flow when the groups were collaborating. This meant I had to bump up my ISO fairly high and choose my lenses accordingly. I did not want to get in the speakers way nor the audiences so I shot with my f 2.8, 70-200mm but this also meant that I had less light coming into the lens. I chose my f 2.8, 24-70mm for when I could get closer and not interrupt. This lens also gave me a lot more light to work with.

While the morning was reserved for work and meetings the afternoon became more lively for families with children. Soaking in the late afternoon sun the kids, and parents alike, jumped, slid and ate ice cream after a traditional dinner of salmon and bannock. 

Thank you to the Sq’ewa:lxw for allowing me to be there. You made me feel very welcome and I very much enjoyed my day working, and getting to know you.

Cats are Not Dogs

Except for Bengals. They are, cat-dogs.

More boisterous than other felines these mini-leopards run, jump, explore, play in water, and then run and jump some more. Which makes photographing them interesting, fun and real test in patience and skills.

Meet Casper. He’s a 5 month old Bengal who is unusually timid. Probably because he was the runt of his litter and confidence is a struggle for him. Photographing him was a bit more difficult over other cats and dogs I’ve worked with but with some patience and a few tricks up my sleeve I was able to get him to relax enough to show his sweet side.

Before I take photos of animals I meet with their owners to get a sense of their pets personality. That’s what I’m interested in. I want to capture what makes them them – their uniqueness, their quirks, their grimaces, their furry smile and their thoughts. The fun, and the pure awesomeness that went with having them by my side day in and day out. That’s how I would want to remember my pet.

I try not to keep the animal longer than needed. I realise they have more important things to do in their lives like eat and play. Sometimes a photo session can last 30 minutes or longer than an hour. Whatever the case, I don’t rush it. I’m flexible and work with you and your pet.

For inquiries or to book a photo session please contact me via email or phone. You can find my coordinates on my contact page. Thanks!

I DID IT!!! I AM an ACCREDITATED PHOTOGRAPHER with the PPOC!!

I DID IT!!!!

I am now an accredited photographer with the Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) in the Canine/Dog Portrait category!!!!!

I’ve been working hard for this over the past few months and am beyond STOKED!!! The criteria – 10 images of 10 different dogs in 10 different situations. Four of the images must have been made indoors, 4 others outdoors and the last 2 were of my choice. I was judged for creativity, composition, lighting, technique, subject matter, presentation, story telling, centre of interest, style and colour balance. That’s a lot but when you’re representing the PPOC and want to be a top notch photographer this is what is expected.

I know I’m all giddy but this is a HUGE deal to me. This is THE highest standard in professional imaging. I now get to proudly display PPOC on my website and represent them. I take this seriously and aim to produce strong, technically correct and emotional photos that have impact and meaning. 

As many of you know a few years ago I used to race downhill mountain bikes. While I rode at breakneck speeds I had no issues doing this in front of everybody. The final time on the scoreboard was absolute. I knew where I stood. Photography, however, has taken me outside my comfort zone. I put my heart into my photos and hope that people like them and not laugh at my work or ideas. Unlike racing, exhibiting my photos is really nerve racking. In essence, I’m putting my inner me out there for all to see. Submitting for accreditation in front of Canada’s best photographers was hard for me.

I cannot thank my husband David and my children enough. They put up with me going out at all hours and working long nights and often days making sure each photo was worthy of being submitted. David – thank you for putting up with me during this time. I also could not have done this without all the special furry friends (and their non-furry owners). Thank you Paul Johnson Desiree Ellis Lalena Desautels Robin Banks Chetti Pece Amy Siddaway and the others who are not on the net. 

Here are the photos that were accepted.

WOOF!!

Rooster the Happy Vizsla

When photographing dogs I love to shoot them in their favourite park. This is an area where they know the trails, and have probably sniffed every fern and tree. It’s where they are comfortable and this is essential in my quest to help capture their personality and energy.

A few days ago my son and myself set up shop in a local park that I like to use because of the available light and the abundance of ferns, moss and tall trees. It’s quite literally a green room. I also know it’s an area frequented by dog walkers and I was on a mission for a light coloured dog (I need 10 photographs of 10 different dogs and 10 different breeds in various locations for an accreditation with The Professional Photographers of Canada). Within a few minutes Rooster came along – a young Hungarian Vizsla with perpetual energy.

His human friend had done an amazing job training him over the past year and a bit and I was fortunate enough to have him handle Rooster while I took photos. Rooster was a big sweetheart and worked hard for his treats as he posed for a few seconds. But, I could clearly see he was itching to spring into action as soon as he could. I mean I get it. I’m the same way. Put me in a meeting and I either snore or get really ancy – either way, it’s not good. And, usually I embarrass myself and those around me. haha!! I understand Vizslas and I know they need to run. My last two dogs were German Short Hair Pointers (GSP) and they are virtually the same dog as the Vizslas – fun, energetic, and youthful.



Working with Rooster reminded a lot of my two GSPs and I enjoyed my time taking photos of him. He’s a beautiful dog with an athletic build and gorgeous eyes. He gave me funny faces, and serious poses. I LOVE his energy!!

If you are looking for photographs of your furry friend please think about me. I’m an experienced photographer and dog owner. I shoot rain or shine and I will get muddy for that perfect shot. Being outside, creating art and memories and, getting a chance to pet dogs is, IMO, way better than sitting through a meeting. I’m booking now for January and February sessions.

Woof!!

Woofers! This dog is expressive.

This is Chester. He’s an 8 year old Australian Sheppard who just couldn’t wait for us to say ‘go play in the water’.

Chester was AH-Mazing to work with. Yes, he did get a lot of treats to model but he busted out some crazy smiles, drools and poses. Did I say model? Haha!! I let dogs be dogs and I go with the flow. If Chester wanted to sit and smile than I took his picture. If he wanted to run and be goofy I let him be because I want photos to be real. And, Chester didn’t disappoint.

I’m an outdoor person and inclement weather doesn’t bother me. Nor does it bother your dog (usually). I’m available to immortalize your furry friend and their big personality in a series of photos that I know you’ll love. Let’s talk. I’d love to hear from you.

Real Life, Real Photos, Real Time.

 

Syéx̱w Chó:leqw Adventure Park

There’s a new Adventure Park in town and I openly admit I cannot remember how to pronounce it.

What I can tell you though is that it lies half way between Agassiz and Hope, BC, and, it’s chock-full of goodness for art lovers, nature lovers and mountain bikers.

I was commissioned by the BC Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program to take photos of the parks opening celebration September 14, 2018. The AYMBP are mountain bikers, coaches and community leaders who support and encourage Aboriginal youth and communities to participate and excel in the sport of mountain biking. They work with First Nations communities to encourage their people to get outside and reconnect with nature and live healthier active lives. The trails were built and designed by the AYMBP and the good people at First Journey Trails. These two groups are pretty cool in my books!!

I was most impressed at how the creators weaved the trails with the arts. From painted bridges to wooden carvings, the park offers a unique outdoor experience with an educational component to entice all levels of art connoisseurs as well as respecting the land, and the culture, on which the trails are built on. The carvings are influenced by the forests, the surrounding wildlife and lifestyle of the Coast Salish.

The park is family friendly. It’s a perfect place to introduce shredders to mountain biking. The relatively smooth terrain will allow them to learn the basics and keep them happy. The trails are challenging enough to build endurance and will also allow for a safe progression into the more technical  skills park area. Along with a 90,000 square foot children’s park, the big kid in you and your children will be happy.

 

Horse Power

This is Laird. He’s a 20 year old stallion and he’s majestic.

Recently, I had the opportunity to take photos of a few horses. I loved every minute of it for several reasons:

  1. Like most girls, I always wanted a horse. But, growing up in an inner-city Toronto neighborhood that wasn’t going to happen. I did ask my grandfather in France to get a horse instead of all the cows he kept on the farm. But, that didn’t work either. Probably because the tractor had already replaced his horse a long time ago and, most likely, because I was only there for 3 weeks.
  2. It was a challenge. Horses, unlike mountain bikes or motorcycles, have a mind of their own and they are 1500+ lbs of pure muscle.

But, I like a challenge. I had already envisioned the type of photo I wanted to create and capture. I purposely chose a black background for Laird because, well, he’s black, and I thought that suited him, but also because he exudes confidence. With minimal detail in the photo I found it was a colour he could pull off largely because of his personality.

I am quite comfortable taking photos of 2-wheeled machines and used that experience to help me take photos of these 4-legged creatures (gasp! How dare I compare a horse to a bike). In all honesty though, in the world of photography, horses and bikes really aren’t that different. Many of the same photographic principles (technique, composition, lens choice) apply. I knew what lens would make him look his best and where to place the strobes to highlight and give depth to his coat. I also understood where I should aim the camera to compliment him.

I will be the first to admit that taking photos of bikes is far easier than taking photos of horses. Horses don’t perk their ears forward on demand, nor do they turn their neck when asked. And, at the slightest hint of fear or the unknown those ears go back fast and their nostrils flare which doesn’t make for flattering photos. While there are tricks (and, we used them all) patience is key for a successful, and safe, portrait.

Luckily, for me…I like horses and I have patience. As did the handler and co-owner of Laird, Candice. A mighty big thank you to her for her assistance handling her horse, and her endless supply of carrots and mints while I worked the camera and the flash.

I would love to have the opportunity to work with your horse. If you would be interested in a photo session please feel free to contact me so we can talk about what you can expect, how long it will take, prices and what type of photo you are after.

Thanks for reading!

Cecile