Skinning with the Kids!

No, this isn’t a click-bait article and we did in fact go skinning with the kids this past weekend. It was our first time skiing in the backcountry as a family and as the term skinning suggests we skinned up and we skied down.

Before we got ourselves into trouble though we decided to hire a guide because we like our lives. Neither my husband or myself have our avalanche training so we played it safe. Our guide, Jean-Francois of Coast Mountain Guides, was friendly, knowledgeable, great with kids (he’s got two himself) and he speaks both French and English! As well as guiding us he also educated us on safety, snow packs, contour lines, weather and beacon training throughout the day. No wonder my little one didn’t want to go to school Monday morning. He most likely learned more in the 7 hours we were out over a week of school.

Backcountry skiing is something my husband and I had wanted to do for a while but had to wait for our children to be old enough. We like the idea of being able to go where few people do, surrounded by snow capped mountains and skiing in pristine powder. Our youngest is now 8 and our oldest is 10. They both ski very well and have no issues on single blacks at Whistler Blackcomb. Jean-Francois catered the route towards the kids to keep them happy so they would want to go again. Both kids were enthusiastic. Annnnd then we had lunch when our oldest decided to bust out the rescue shovel to create snow-furniture so he could sit properly to eat his lunch and our youngest – well – he just decided to dig a hole in the snow at the edge of the lake and dangle his feet in the slush. Ugh.

After lunch we skied out of the valley and towards our final climb of the day which would lead us to what JF affectionately called ‘Moon Rocks’. This would take us into our final descent out of the backcountry and into Blackcombs’ in-bound ski area. This is where ‘mommy-dearest’ fell one more time proving that I really suck at steep, narrow shoots. Let it be known that on Sunday, February 11, 2018 my kids have officially become better skiers than me. And for the record, I’d like to blame it on my skis that are 10cm longer than what I’m used to.

For equipment, we outfitted ourselves with brand new miss-drilled skis – David’s were 50% off the ticketed price – and backcountry style bindings with pins. All my gear were misfits as well – miss-drilled, miss-used and near misses. But, they were on sale. We found used rental boots, also on sale, and they didn’t stink. In fact, I don’t believe they were used more than 3-4 times as there were very little scuff marks. For our youngest we found a pair of new 2016 boots online. This was the last pair and on discount. We also hit the Whistler Blackcomb Outlet Store in Squamish and found a pair of used Atomic powder skis for the kids – fairly light and fat. For the bindings we bought new from Hagan – a small Austrian based company selling backcountry equipment with a US distributor. The bindings are relatively light, and versatile – fitting smaller boot sizes with a DIN from 2 to 7. We should be able to get 2-4 years before they out grow them.

We had an amazing time. My husband will be taking an avi course and I will follow up with mine soon after. This was an unforgettable experience that the entire family enjoyed. It doesn’t come without dangers though. Safety and experience is essential and not something to skimp on. If you don’t know your way around the back country than hire a guide. That’s what they are there for!

See what I did there? I put in that sentence about dangers so that you don’t attack me in the courts. I told you, and you read my post.

Interested in documenting your adventures or vacations? Or, having that unique family portrait that isn’t staged? I’m good at this. Let’s talk.


Bikes ‘n Brides and Action!

Lately, my photos have taken on a new twist. That is, not a twist of the throttle – something I’m used to but one where I have been shooting more bridal and portraits in settings outside my norm.

For me, photography is an amazing experience as it allows me to grow creatively. Some times though, I wonder if I’m cut out for this and if my work is actually worth looking at. Aside from parenting, photography is hard. It’s hard finding clients and finding people who appreciate what I do and are willing to pay for my services as a professional photographer.

It takes time to create an image and I take each one of my opportunities seriously. I thank you all for your confidence in me. I am proud and beyond stoked at the images I have been able to create with you.


Braving a cold, damp, snowy, and foggy winter day typical of coastal BC we took longer than expected to wrap this shoot because the light and conditions kept changing. Each photo was as beautiful as the last and vastly different. We couldn’t of asked for better weather.

Make Up Artist – Desiree Ellis

Model – Ling Chen

Equipment – Nikon camera and Elinchrom Lights and Modifier

Sking with the Udovic family in Big White, BC. Accommodations for action photos? Heck ya! Sign me up. Perfect March break getaway as we loved our stay and all the kids got along. Perfect scenario for families with young kids as they more or less kept themselves occupied giving the parents some much needed adult time. Well…perfect until we gave them popcorn…but that’s another story.

Equipment – Nikon Camera with 70-200mm lens

Another very wet but beautiful month. I was lucky enough to explore some amazing mountain bike trails and share them with some very special pups as I needed photos for an article that was being published in Mountain Bike For Her Woof!

Equipment – Nikon camera and 70-200mm lens

Our family trip to Garibaldi Park was on a whole other level. It was one where I saw my boys grow stronger mentally and physically. The sheer vastness and grandeur of the park was a reminder how small we are in on earth yet how much of an impact we can have on her. I still can’t believe that we saw a handful of people the entire 4 days. Canada is truly an awesome country.

Equipment – Fuji XT-1 with kit lens

From winter like conditions in BC only a few days before to hot, summer days in Quebec. I had the opportunity to spend two weeks riding off-road motorcycles while photographing for Traction eRag during the inaugural Woods Runners trip.

Equipment – Nikon camera, 24-70mm and 70-200mm lens

Five river crossings, and close to 50km of riding. We took our boys mountain biking to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday in style. There was a bit of heckling at first as not all uphills were liked but in the end the boys had a great time. Thanks to Troy of Tyax Adventure for safely guiding us through grizzly country and navigating some fast, and deep water.

Equipment – Fuji XT-1 with 35mm lens

Just because we couldn’t get enough of our spring trip into Garibaldi we decided to hike our spring route backwards. This time instead of snow covered fields we saw plains of lava as history unfolded with each step we took. The boys liked this trip just as much except for the mosquitos.

Equipment – Fuji XT-1 with 35mm lens

With cold rainy days ahead we moved indoors for a photoshoot. This time with professional model Coco. The studio was booked for three hours and we three different outfits we made excellent use of props and walls going for two different looks – formal and edgy.

Model – Coco

Make-up Artist – Desiree Ellis

I had the opportunity to work with Shelley Brookes – an extremely talented painter.  This is the largest painting I have reproduced to date. As I checked for colour accuracy I was amazed at the different layers and images I could see inside her painting – hidden deep in contours, and colours I saw faces, animals and people.

Artist – Shelley Brookes

I’m hoping 2018 will be just as exciting and creative. If you have a project you’d like photographed please consider me. It’s what I love to do.


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!!



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


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



@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.

Strength in Women – an environmental portrait study

© Cecile Gambin Photography

One of my favourite types of photography is environmental portraits. What attracts me to this genre is capturing my client in their element, surrounded by where they live or what they do for work. I love the freedom, and the creativity of showcasing my subject in an area they feel the most comfortable in and getting away from a typical pose or smile.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people over the last few months and up front I need to thank them for their time and their confidence in me to show them in a not-so-typical photograph.

Many of these photos were recently published in the February 2016 issue of Traction eRag which happened to be the first All-Women’s issue for the magazine itself and, I believe, in the dirt bike world period. The issue is nothing short of awesomeness as it represents women from all ages and skills getting down to the barebones and exposing their fears, success, excitement, bravery, skills, hardwork and dedication that it took to get them where they are today. Click Traction eRag Women’s Issue 2016 for the issue…it’s FREE but I do encourage you to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any future awesomeness. I am extremely pround and humbled to have been able to be a part of this special issue.CGP Website-2

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography

© Cecile Gambin Photography


A Stylist and a Former IFBB Pro

© Cecile Gambin Photography

It’s always a hoot working with Desiree Ellis. She’s stylist, a make-up artist and a former IFBB competitor. So being in front of the camera doesn’t intimidate her and I have so little retouching to do both on and off the set. It’s almost like cheating! Desiree’s a talented artist guaranteed to make you look good. Check out her website for more info.

After years of posing in front of an audience Desiree’s hardest challenge was to let loose and give me a non-posed smile. And we got there!! I love this photo of Desiree above. It shows who she really is – an energetic and caring person who takes her job seriously and is tons of fun to hang around with!

The full length photo below was taken a few months ago after I had rented a couple of strip boxes, and big strobes for the weekend for a job that required it a few days later. Needing to practice with them and wanting to take advantage of my time with them I called up Desiree and placed the lights one on each side of her. I love how the light accentuates her curves in a soft way. I could totally get used to having a set of these light modifiers – they were so much fun to play around with and the creativity with them was sky high.

Thanks Desiree!!

© Cecile Gambin Photography