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.
Despite it being a cool, wet North Vancouver spring day the competition was fierce, and the spirits were high among the young athletes participating in the second annual Montessori Track and Field games. On Thursday May 26, students from Lower Mainland Vancouver and Vancouver Island competed in various field and running events held at West Vancouver Secondary School.
Among the Montessori schools participating were Discover from Vancouver Island, North Star from North Vancouver, Pacific Rim from Richmond, and Squamish Montessori from Squamish. Students from both the lower and upper elementary divisions competed in events of their choice. Running events included the 100m sprint, the 400m sprint, and a 4×100 relay. Field events included the javelin, and the running long jump.
Over the past five weeks I had the pleasure of working and getting to know both the LE and UE students at North Star. It came as no surprise to see such a fine group work together and help each other out. But what really impressed me was the comportment of all the Montessori students. In addition to the competition and already established rivalry was a level of respect, camaraderie and courteousness among the schools. Regardless of whether they were competitors, brothers, sisters or friends the support felt and given on the field was clearly evident and noticeable. Impressive to see such young kids act better than most grown-ups at soccer or hockey games. Kudos.
Congratulations to all participants for a job well done and to all the volunteers who helped make this day a success.
Please click HERE to see the photos. They are free to download. All I ask is that you do not alter my images in any way including cropping. And if you ever need an action or a documentary-style family photographer please think of me. To understand my style please visit www.cecilegambin.com. Yes…I know this is a shameless self-plug. Thank you for being understanding 🙂
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!).
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.
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 🙂
…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!
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!!
Partnered with Honda Canada instructor Yoshi Nakatani was Rockin’ the Red for another wildly successful Moto-GymKhana event in beautiful BC. Held on May 11th, 2014 the second annual MGK event saw a host of activities including Honda’s Junior Red Riders program, scooters and ATV demonstrations, and an action packed day.
MGK is an event consisting of speed pattern racing where the rider follows a new course ‘layout’, reacting by driving the bike into turns, braking, and accelerating in a closed loop. The goal is simply to complete the course in the fastest time with the fewest errors.
Cecile Gambin Photography was on hand and capturing all the excitement including one from atop the Honda Trailer. Thanks guys for helping me up!! Check out the course that Yoshi put together from a birds eye view. The circular pattern of cones named ‘The Vortex’ was a highlight for riders. Instructors Yoshi and Reagan are out in the field teaching their students the layout.
Never been to or heard of Moto-Gymkhana? Check out my picture book below to help you understand!
If you are interested in trying an MGK event the next stops are in Boucherville, Quebec (May 24) and in Markham, Ontario (August 10).
For Vedder or for worse I went riding today. Ok…bad pun. This past weekends riding destination was at Vedder Mountain near Chilliwack, BC.
The day started early with a 5:30 am wake up call to pick a long time mountain bike friend, Karley Cunningham. I had not seen her in over 10 years. Thankfully I packed the night before so I was out the door in 20 minutes. From her place we picked up her friend, Cynthia. From there it was a short drive to the local UHaul to pick up a trailer and finally a quick stop at the storage center to get their rigs – a Yamaha 125 and a Honda CRF150. I used my KTM200 this time around and felt like a fish out of water! After two weeks of riding the trials bike and my mountain bike, the KTM felt really heavy and sluggish. No wonder my upper body is lightly sore today.
I found single track reminiscent of Ontario at Vedder Mountain albeit with a few more roots and killer vistas. From what I understand the umbrella group Vedder Mountain Trails Association oversees several mutli-user groups (horse, hikers, mountain bikers, and ATV’s), including the Cascade Offroad Motorcycle Club. All groups work together and have been doing a fantastic job of maintaining over 90 trails covering over 200 km of fire roads, double and single track combined!! It is great to see all sport groups functioning as a whole and creating a safe, and fun environment for all.
Cynthia decided to almost go for a swim on her Honda (it was a good save!) and the only injury was water in her boot. You got lucky girl! Next time, slow down before entering an unknown water hole, scan the area and look for other riders tracks.
As for me…no injuries this time. The only casualty was my KTM kickstand. Broke in the parking lot!! The only positive about this is that my bike is now a few pounds less.
We ran into Randy who was a real sweetheart. Basically showing us the way as none of us had ever ridden there. And, if you know me I’m lousy with directions so it was always nice to know that Randy was somewhere close by ready to redirect us. Have to love dirtbikers – they are such a friendly bunch. There are not too many other sport groups that have this type of camaderie. One of the reasons I love this sport so much – no one will leave you to hang dry!
Thanks for the great day Karley and Cynthia, Cascade Off-Road Motorcycle Club, and to Vedder Mountain Trails Assoc. Next week…I’m off riding with Kellee Irwin. I don’t know where she’s taking me but I know it’ll be some more fun.
A blue sky, warm temps, killer trails and snow capped mountains! Awesome. What through me for a loop though was the steepness of the trails from minute one onwards. Guess I’m used to a smooth, gentle rise in elevation. BC single tracks, in general, are pretty tough and I admit that the narrow paths, steep granite walls, and slick roots made my heart patter more than once. My years as a downhill racer led me to race more than once on BC trails so you would think I would be used to the difficulty. I have come to accept that I am green. My skills on a trials bike is negotiable and my friend Jon has now rated me as a beginner. After todays ride I accept that I am a newbie.
The technical – a 12.4 km ride, with over 800 metres of climbing in 4.5 hours (break time, photo time) and approximately 2 litres of fuel used. The start, as mentioned, clearly took me by surprise as the rapid narrow ascent became gnarlier and greasier as rocks and roots jutted in all directions. While you are visualising this throw in about 10 tight switchbacks into the mix. I surprised myself being able to keep up with Jon and Steve. I dabbed my foot on a slippery rock and that threw me off and I landed hard on my right hip. No problem. Pick up the bike and keep going. If I stop it’ll be that much harder to get going again so … ‘don’t stop’ became my mantra.
Eventually the trail straightened and a sea of lush green moss welcomed us into the higher levels. Only a few deciduous trees remained while big cedars and Douglas Firs (I think…I’m not really a botanist) lined the forest standing tall and majestic. The trail continued upwards but relaxed a bit in the steepness until faced with a few monstrous rock walls slick from moisture and drizzled with moss. I realised then I should pay heed to the kind words given to me by Jon before the start of the ride – he calmly and clearly stated for me not to be afraid to ask for assistance. Looking up at my first obstacle it didn’t take long to first laugh at the thought that I would even consider attempting this and finally, cave in and loudly cry ‘help’!
Now before I paint a picture of myself as some unskilled damsel I would like to say that I have matured and grown during my last two rides in BC on my trials bike. Clearly, it was evident that at times I was not going to clean some sections. And in an attempt to keep both myself, my bike and my friends happy I accepted the help and let the guys ride my bike up on some of the (as I found out) intermediate to advanced climbs. Afterall, we were riding a single black diamond downhill trail backwards so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad asking for help once in a while. Besides…riding is way more fun than falling and fixing myself and my bike.
As I lay in bed that night I had some time to reflect upon my first two rides in BC on a trials bike and realised that there are 10 Cardinal Rules for Riding in BC. Along with my own thoughts, words of wisdom from both Jon and Steve led me to the following:
1. Be prepared – for me that means bring zip ties so when I loop my bike I don’t have to rely on friends to put my fender back on.
2. Tire Pressure – they are pretty much flat right now and grip is much better.
3. Back to the basics – clutch control, balance, body position need to be well rehearsed.
4. Commitment – Give ‘er!! is appropriate at times. Whatever the case…follow through and don’t back off.
5. Whoa! – and sometimes we need to stop and look before we ‘give ‘er’ as steep drops and giant boulders are the norm.
6. Feet on the pegs – self explanatory. If you must dabble at least keep on foot on for traction.
7. Plan a route – that means plan your route of attack before actually trying it.
8. Plan an escape route – just like the above plan an escape route should you not attain your goal and decide when and how to fall should the need arise.
9. Breathe – do not underestimate this Cardinal Rule.
… and the top cardinal rule …
10. Ask for help – there is no shame asking for help over an obstacle.
I cannot thank both Jon and Steve for their assistance. Without them I would have missed out on an incredible ride. I have learned a lot and plan to continue learning. One day I will tackle that monstrous granite wall…but maybe when it’s a bit drier. For now I am a beginner and loving where it takes me.
I think I have a bag fetish. A camera bag fetish to be exact. In preparation for my first big trials off-road ride in BC I marked the event with a few new purchases shopping for both myself and my trials bike for the unknown ride in Crumpit Woods. And by unknown I mean just that. Riding new terrain, in a new province, in an area that my good friend Jon Mutiger had never been to.
To start off my new adventure I decided to purchase a Lowepro Flipside 15L Sport Backpack which came the day before my ride. I needed a camera bag that would allow me to bring one pro camera body with either 1-2 lens and an external flash. I also needed a bag where I could store a few non-camera essentials such as bike tools, spare spark plug, some food, my phone, a point & shoot camera and some water. Water proof capabilities, adjustable straps and easy access were also high on my list. The Lowepro did not disappoint. It rained throughout the entire ride and the inside of the bag remained dry thanks to it’s external rain cover. The beauty of the bag though, and ultimately what sold me on this model, was how easy it is getting my equipment. I was able to stay on the bike, swing the pack around and grab my camera through a unique rear panel. Genious!! My only complaint would be the zipper system, and the waist band. I would prefer seeing a more rugged and waterproof system to keep out dirt, and dust as well as a padded waist belt.
My second purchase was for my bike. No longer wishing to carry extra fuel in my back pack I purchased an Acerbis Auxillary Fuel Tank for my Gas Gas TXT 200 Pro. This also meant that my camera equipment would be that much safer as I never really liked packing pre-mix along side. A relatively inexpensive addition ($99 plus free shipping from MX1) the tank, despite it’s garish looks, functioned flawlessly, providing me with an extra 3L of fuel (bringing the total up to 6L for me to play around with). The idea behind the tank is rather simple as the gas is drawn from the auxillary tank first and once empty it would take from the OEM tank. I should note though that I lost my breather hose in one of my ‘few’ falls. Victim of the trails I suppose.
So, it became quite clear that my first off-road motorcycle ride in BC was going to be a wet one as the weather man correctly forecasted foul weather. No matter…I was pumped and a ‘little’ rain did not damper my spirits as my friend Jon and myself headed towards Crumpit Woods just outside Squamish. The main trail head is in a new subdivision. Various mountain bike groups were assembled and ready to ride when we pulled up with our two Gas Gas’s on the trailer. No questions were asked or eye brows raised.
After checking the map and being gleefully delighted at all the trails available we hopped on and began our trek into what became a maze of never-ending trails. Meandering across the forest, the terrain varied in elevation and continued to twist and turn across rock and root infested trails in one area, and smooth, flowy turns and straights in another area. As we gained elevation the paths led us up steep granite hills. I tempted a few, fell, and than happily watched Jon as he gracefully manoeuvered his bike up and over the slick rock. I won’t bore you with the details of my falls but will tell you that my ego was bruised and I need to replace my front fender, bracket and possibly handle bars after a few newbie moves!
I followed Jon as I clearly had no clue where I was going. We had a blast exploring and thought at one point he was going to run out of gas, or me having to drag my bike out of the woods due to a mangled front end – details not available 🙂 Click on this link to see our route as recorded by Jon’s phone: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8Oj9VklLPwjS0NhMERYem1sdWM/edit?pli=1. I’m not sure how long we rode for nor the distance. I did go through approximately 3.5 litres of gas riding at a slow to medium pace.
Despite the wet rock and terrain I was amazed at how well the trails held up and how little mud there was. Being my first ride in BC I cannot tell you if there is a better trail to ride on a rainy day but I can say with certainty that Crumpit Woodss is a great place to ride in the rain with great traction and no wear and tear on the trails. Our faces weren’t even mud speckled! I will be back to visit Crumpit Woods again.
Thanks to Jon for a spectacular day. It was great to ride with him again!! Next up is a ride on my big bike with Kellee Irwin. I do not know where she will take me but I do know I am in for another great day of riding 🙂
Cecile Gambin Photography is open, taking bookings and is practicing COVID-19 safety measures during this unprecedented time.