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

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!!

Mount Robson with an iPhone 7+

I left my cameras at home and relied solely on my iPhone 7+.

I recently took a 3 day camping trip into Mount Robson’s provincial park with my family. As my kids are still young they can only carry so much. We, the parents, have to carry the rest. So, I decided to leave my cameras at home in lieu of food, and clothing for chilly (and rainy,) September days.

Did I make the right decision? My back says yes. Would I have liked my big, heavy, cumbersome Nikon DSLR or even my smaller Fuji XT-2? Of course, but the ease of whipping out my iPhone from my pocket and not having to carry heavy gear in an already heavy backpack full of camping equipment was really, really nice.

I’m amazed at what cell phones can do these days and I really wanted to push myself and the phone to what it could do. I learned how to make the phone work for my style of photography. I like to take energetic photos but cell phones don’t typically do well freezing motion so you have to work around that. Example, I usually have my subject ride, or walk towards (or away) from me. Or, if they ride parallel to me I pan with them before I release the shutter. I also love the pano(rama) mode. But, it’s easy to over do the length of the shot and you have to constrain yourself.

I don’t have the latest phone out there and the photos are standard JPEGS. But, the photos are pretty good, IMO. It’s not until I zoom in close do I really see a difference in quality and detail. In other words, if you plan on keeping the photos for memories and sharing through various social media platforms than by all means – cell phone pics are great. If, however, I wanted to sell a photo, or print larger than a 4×6 than no. It all depends on the photo’s end use.

 

I Suck at Trials (me not them)

Fifty-one thousand, two hundred!!

Whaaat?

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.

 

 

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