Trail Tours Photoshoot #2

 I spent the day yesterday back at Trail Tours for part 2 of my photoshoot. I can’t thank Steve Weycamp and his staff enough for making my day succesful. Not only did I have TONS of fun shooting but I also got to hack around on my Gas Gas trials bike and on one of Steve’s Honda CRF 230. I know this is a photog blog but that little 230 rocks in the single track!! It’s very light, and nimble. It lacks in the HP and the suspension is definetly not for an advanced rider but the bike makes up for it in the single track with the trail gets tight!!

But besides me being able to have fun in the saddle I was most excited by the KILLER light that I found while on our way to ‘Lookout Point’. I hastily pulled over and lucky for me the rider behind me wasn’t too close, and gave quick instructions to my ‘models’ to stop, and start riding back and forth before the light disappeared. I couldn’t contain myself with excitement. A combo between the dust and the sun rays made for a strong, moody image. Sweet! Not sure if Steve will be able to use this on his website but for my own portfolio I was beyond myself. As for my Nikon D-90 and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens … will lets just say that I will have to head into Nikon HQ for a good cleaning. The barrel of my lens is rather sticky right now. And if anybody from Nikon is reading this blog I’d really appreciate a fast turn around, and oh what the heck might as well ask…a deal on cleaning 🙂

 On Friday I dropped by Headshots to pick up an SB-900 and a DX 10.5 Fisheye. I’ve always wanted to try one and after seeing a few pics of my friends, and pro-sports photographer Marc Landry (his pictures are full of awesomeness) I decided to rent one.

For this picture I wanted to show motion as I had previously (photoshoot #1) taken pictures of bikes in motion freezing freshly roosted dirt, or sand. I stood on top of a trials structure and panned the camera using a slow shutter speed to blur the wheels. Mission accomplished after about 50 failed attempts. I also used a flash to fill in shadows as I was shooting into the sun. Thanks so much for this newbie rider. He just learned how to ride a bike earlier in the morning and look how fast and good he looks already!! Well not really…but there were some guys and gals that were starting to look the part!

 Warning Poison Ivy. If you’re just as sensitive to this as I am you’re probably already itching right now!! This picture is actually from the first photoshoot a few weeks ago. And, although I didn’t ride through this patch I’m quite sure it got all over my equipment, boots, bike and what not. I’ve been so busy dealing with this rash for the past two weeks that I haven’t had much time for processing!! Let’s just hope that I don’t get a new batch this time around. Ugh!

I wanted to showcase the beauty of the Ganaraska Forest and feature the various terrain that the Ganny has to offer. Sweet flowing single track, pine trees, double track, mixed tree forest, uphills, downhills and the list goes on. I used my Sigma 10-20mm for this picture. I wanted to show how big the Ganny is. And, believe me it’s huge at 10,000 acres! Craig and Dylan were my riders for part of the day and we hit that golden hour (well, a few hours before) when the light begins to shift from a harsh bright light to a softer glow casting longer shadows. This image is so typical of the Ganaraska. An endless canopy of green with trails roaming through left, right, and back around.

The BEST part of my day though was meeting Jacob and his mother Dee who is currently producing a documentary on Parenting. Jacob was a sweetheart and he was a perfect representation of what little boys like to do…play in the dirt! Jacob was here to learn how to ride a bike. Ty, only a few years older, was his instructor. In a matter of an hour and a bit Jacob had mastered 2nd gear and was confident in his newly found skills. I had the honour to take Jacob and Ty out of the Trail Tours compound after lunch and out into the Ganaraska where the real trails are. Jacob was wonderful! He listened to instructions and was so focussed that he didn’t even want to take a water break. He just wanted to keep going.

As many of you know I am a certified Ontario teacher and it was exciting to see two young people listen so well, and ride with maturity. Off-roading, like many sports, has its dangers and being able to follow instructions and NOT ‘goof’ around is paramount for success and, most of all, for safety. I am pretty sure Jacob enjoyed his day and I hope to see him back out on the trails in the near future. Riding bikes (whether pedal or gas powered) is a great way to channel energy and, my family and my husband know that is very true with me!

This was a great Saturday!! I still have tons of photos to process and am working on two articles for my new column ‘Wide Open’. Click on the link and subscribe to ‘Traction‘ – it’s FREE and it’s got some wicked off-road articles and pictures. Thanks to the Trail Tours staff: Steve, Alex, Ty, Paul, Mike, Jess, Allan, Jonathan, the engineer student, Dusan, Denis, Yoshi, Craig, Dylan and Rick for ALL your hard work and patience!! Your help was greatly appreciated and allowed me to nail some shots! BUT, the BIGGEST thank you goes to my husband for giving me the entire day off (from my motherly duties)!! He even made dinner for me but I was late getting home (21h00) because I was out taking pics. What a sweetheart!!


Photoshoot at Trail Tours

I love the Ganaraska Forest, or as it’s affectionately called the Ganny. It has the best sweet, fast-flowing singletrack and tons of it to boot!! The only drawback from the Ganny is all the poison ivy. And, everytime I go there to ride I take some home with me. This time though not only was I riding I was also taking pictures. So you can imagine the poison ivy patch that I have growing on the back side of my legs. Serves me right for getting off the beaten path to get that perfect picture. I’m sure I was standing right in it. There are so many 3-leaved plants out there I still can’t identify poison ivy. Ahhh…the perils of a photographer!

This past weekend I drove to the Ganny, under assignment, to visit my friend Steve from Trail Tours. My goal was to take some killer shots showcasing his business, and to get some images so he can use on his websites: and and other promotional material. I was also there because I will be writing a future article on Trail Tours for so wanted to get some decent pictures.

It was a beautiful clear sunny day. PERFECT for riding, and perfect for showcasing blue skies. Difficult, however, in the forest for photographers! The shadows mid-morning were so harsh. It didn’t make it any easier that the trail that the instructors were using was a pine tree forest which let in lots of light and also blocked out lots of light. So the result was a very patchy lightshow. At least the clouds weren’t rolling in and out creating a whole different lightscene every few seconds. So I decided to skip taking trail pictures for a while and would go back later on in the afternoon when the sun lengthened its shadows and the light wasn’t as harsh.

I walked over to the open field where several groups all working hard were scattered about the 3 loops. I was having fun taking pictures making sure the peaks of their helmets didn’t create too much shade and create a faceless head and enjoyed wathcing them master their newly found skills. I used a variety of lenses – wide angle, telephoto to my beautiful Nikon 105mm prime lens. I also, finally, had a chance to use my Pocket Wizards (PW) and SU-800 units which I got for my birthday this year (thanks David!!). The PW worked flawlessly with the SU-800. Set up was so fast and easy. I can’t believe I was working without these two gems before. I was definetly not limited to what I could do – shooting from far, around trees, in direct sunlight. It handled them all!!

After a while of taking beginner pictures I called in the heavy machinery and Craig, Dylan, Jonathan and Yoshi (Trail Tour instructors) came out to play and give me some good poses. Now I was having fun!!! These guys railed the bermless berm, rode the same line over and over till I said ‘ok…let’s move on’, and jumped, wheelied, kicked up some dust (but there wasn’t much as it had rained a few days earlier) and just had fun! Their fun was infectious.

By the time mid-afternoon rolled around, I grabbed my KTM, while the guys were on Hondas. Loaded with a heavy back pack full of camera gear and tripods we rode some sweet single track until I found a suitable place for action pictures. I set up shop in a decidous area of the forest where the ambient light was perfect! Some sun filtered through and shadows were long but not harsh. The greens of the foliage were colourful and the trail was pristine as the path snaked it’s way through the forest.

Craig and Dylan eagerly rode the chosen line over and over again as I adjusted my flashes, changed my lens etc. I must comment at how super smooth they are in corners. Not only was I taking pictures of them I was also secretly looking at their body language so I could learn to keep up the speed like they did.

We moved to a few different locations after that and shot till late afternoon. By the time I packed up I had lost all ambient light and I was going to be really late for dinner with my family back home. I told my husband I was going to be back before dinner! I had lots of fun riding and taking pictures but must admit that it would have been more fun riding if it wasn’t for a heavy bag throwing me off balance and having my tripods whack me in the back of the helmet everytime I jumped some whoops! My Lowepro backpack did wonders staying on my back and I really appreciated the waterproofness of the bag. I didn’t have water to deal with but I did have lots of sand and dust!! All my gear was nice and clean at the end of the day 🙂

Overall a great day except for the poison ivy!!