I Suck at Trials (me not them) and I Love my Nikon

Fifty-one thousand, two hundred!!


No, no…not him. It’s me just nerding out on some photo talk. Anytime I can mix in 2 wheels with photography I’m in heaven. I loved getting back behind the lens and in front of the action. Even in the rain, as it did this past weekend during a very important event that saw the best North American riders travel compete for an FIM Trials competition, and the CMA National Championships in Ioco, BC. Having the opportunity to watch the number 1 plate, Pat Smage from the USA, and our very own homegrown riders was indeed a treat and a very real reminder that I suck on the trials bike.

I made a conscious decision to not take photos close to the start line so I could be away from the masses. Instead I hiked deep into the woods to find the magic, the eye-candy – the lush, green, mossy rocks and massive tree-trunks – that BC rain forests are known for. I was rewarded with sublime colours, unequivocal quietness and unreal action as riders either scampered easily over boulders or, sampled dirt. The light was even but very sombre. I didn’t want to use flash so I could move easily in and out of sections and, relied instead on my D5. It’s a powerful camera and much like a rider with his motorcycle you have to know your equipment and, what it can and can’t do. Today I pushed it shooting in constant hard rain, and with high ISO’s.

The riders completed three loops and as fatigue set in the course became slicker as rain fell harder. Real giant bunny rabbits. That’s what trials riders remind me of hopping from one area to another. And, then there are splatters. Rabbits don’t do these (well, not on purpose) and it baffles my mind how suspension and gonads can work together to climb a vertical wall. Way cool.

Thanks to Christie Williams Richards, Steve Farcy and a host of other fine people from the CPTA for making this event happen. It takes a lot of planning, and time to put together a successful two day event. Getting off a mostly dry season I believe many riders were humbled at the sight of greasy rocks and roots. Made for an excellent challenge and show.

The photo of Wojo falling was taken at 51, 200 ISO. I know my equipment and I didn’t hesitate shooting at an ISO this high.



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.


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!!



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.


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

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


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