M5 Photography

Steve’s Shop…

It’s always easier to shoot photos of something I am passionate about. The whole process feels familiar and it gives me a comfort level that puts me at ease when shooting. I think the next best thing is taking photographs of people when they are doing something they love. The photos below are of Steve….I got to spend some time with him touring his shop and listening to him explain just some of the process he goes through when creating. Steve’s passion immediately showed through and it didn’t take long for me to get lost in his wonderful world of machines and tools….and get really lost at the first discussion of all the math involved in his process.

Thanks for the tour Steve!

Click any image for a larger view.

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Published on:
December 7, 2017 8:04 pm
Categories:
General

Sorry Stan…

Stans no tubes is awesome Stans no tubes is awesome

This has little to with photography, but since mountain biking is another passion of mine and I have this great area to write…I’ll use it for my apology to Stan.
Mountain biking seems to always be in a state of change. Sometimes those changes are necessary and what I’d label amazing. And often they are a flash in the pan gimmick that comes and goes never to be mentioned beyond times of talking about the “old days” of mountain biking. When I first heard of Stans and tubeless tires I was quick to laugh/dismiss/mock and toss the idea to the side of the trail. My only experience early on was watching my friends who were tubeless, changing a flat tire in a sea of white goo…It was almost comedy watching them covered in white mess and going back to putting a tube back in the tire they had just flatted. I didn’t get it…I thought I was going to my grave clutching my trusty tubes and dealing with the so called extra rolling resistance they caused. Sure I’d get flats, but it never seemed like a big deal to stop everyone on our rides, remove a wheel, pull the tube and put a new one in. Everyone needed a 10 minute break anyway..Right?
Well I dunno what happened exactly or why I succomed to the tubeless pressure, but I did. I went to the local shop and got my container of white mess and went through the process of going tubeless…still clutching to my doubt, still dreading my first flat change on the trail while Stans sealant covered all my stuff.
It never happened. My fears never materialized you see…I haven’t gotten a flat in 18 months. I’m someone who rides a few times a week and its over some rough flat causing terrain.
So here I am apologizing for my jokes and doubt. Now sealed in sealant, I’m converted and carrying the tubeless flag.

I’m sorry and Nice job Stan!

Oh and that tube in the photo is the “just in case” I’ve been lugging around for 18 months…guessing I’ll end up lending to someone who is still using tubes 😉

@NoTubes

 

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Are you pro?

We met on a hillside, I’m sure with similar goals that day. We probably have more in common than you realized. I know we both love photography and action sports…what a great start to a conversation I thought. Heck we even shoot with the same brand of camera (although not the same model..read on).  My intentions weren’t to invade your space and I made sure that I wasn’t in your way. I thought I’d be the first to say hello and I did so…That’s when I learned so much about who you are.

When I said hello I made sure to attempt eye contact and that’s when I noticed you weren’t looking at my eyes…no…your eyes were fixed on my camera. You took a solid look and finally…all be it slowly…looked up at me. Your face reminded me of when I was young and asked the older kids if I could skateboard with them. They never had to answer, their faces answered via expression…that expression of disgust.

“Are you a pro?” You asked. Which caught me off guard because my mind was expecting a returned hello. Before I responded, I paused. Not because I needed to evaulate if I was “pro” or not..but because I found myself looking down at my camera and wondered what it was that made you ask. I instantly felt like someone had swooped in and replaced my camera with a disposable model from the grocery store. Perhaps in your mind my camera and a disposable are one in the same? I did finally respond with an answer of “well..I’m not a full timer.”

As if the event we were shooting wasn’t prestigious enough, you let me know that you usually shoot full time on the world cup circuit. Without time for me to respond you glanced over at my camera bag and said “if you want a really good bag you need to go with the bag I use. Don’t get me wrong your bag is cool, but my brand is where it’s at. I’m currently doing testing for them.”

Ummm…o.k. I see where I stand/rank here I thought to myself.  The action started back up and I took my non pro camera, sub par camera bag and was on my way to a new spot. I didn’t walk away with aspirations of becoming more like you or wishing I had your camera or next level bag.

Thanks for the reminder that’s not about the gear. I’m off to skateboard with some fellow part timers….

Are you Pro?

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Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria…amazing people in a difficult situation.

My knowledge of Puerto Rico before I visited was shaped by what I had viewed on the news after hurricane Maria. I know the photographer in me had hoped to be able to see the devastation that had occurred from the hurricane and bring those images home.  My visit was only a few days, and after being there for a couple hours my goal of showing what the hurricane had done switched to sharing my experience with some amazing people in an amazing place.
The people I spent time with were warm, friendly and never complained of the situation there were in…being seven weeks after the hurricane and most of them still without power and many without running water. They were grateful for what they did have and were doing their best in being part of rebuilding and returning to normal life.

I did share some damage photos below and also hope some of the photos show the beauty of Puerto Rico, a place that is on the rebound and place I hope to visit again.

Click any image for a larger view.

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Surf Photography-County Line California

It’s been a while since I ventured out to spend a morning shooting surfing. So when my friend Darren said it was going to be a good day to surf…I took his word and went to County Line for a few snaps.

Tech info: Canon 7D w/Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens

Click any images for the larger view.

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The Eastern Sierras

I’ve been driving North on Highway 395 and visiting the Eastern Sierras for most of my adult life. Always wanting to stop during the five hour drive to check out all of the little side roads figuring out what they have to offer, I never had in the past. This trip was like the rest, I didn’t stop at all the little roads, but I did stop and try a few new places. I stopped and spent a couple hours at the Manzanar Relocation Center  for the first time…amazing!! Could have spent a whole day there. Also discovered a hard to describe off road trip through Red Rocks and visited the petroglyphs. Went on hikes in Lee Vining and Bishop which I’d never done before…fantastic places too. Oh and got up and close to the Tufa of Mono lake..wow.
Cant wait for next year.

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Sometimes I write…..

Until recently, our relationship over the last forty years has been very one sided. I’ve probably been more a part of your life than much of your family. I remember when you were just a young boy and you would visit my friends in the desert, riding motorcycles and exploring the endless landscapes. Laughing at your brother when a failed hill climb attempt would put him in a precarious position. Then cheering him after his success at the same climb. Nights in the desert were spent star gazing near the fire after a long day of riding. I listened as your friends explained that those fast moving stars were in fact satellites. Your young mind was blown. I’m guessing some of your best childhood memories were the days and nights spent exploring the desert. I loved that I was able to be a part of it.
I was also with you when your dad took you camping in the mountains. Again I watched your excitement as new paths opened new worlds. Returning to camp after exploring the trees, streams and reporting back any new animals that were spotted that day. You discovered that breakfast cooked on a camping trip is one of the best meals ever. These early trips established much of who you are today. It brought me great joy being a part of it.
As you grew into a teenager, your visits to the desert and mountains became less frequent. There wasn’t less enjoyment in your trips, just the dynamics of your life had changed. You were now driving yourself to these places and I got to spend time with the new friends you would bring along. Soon there would be a wife in your life who you’d share your childhood memories with by taking her to these exciting locations. It’s safe to say there was a bit of jealousy on my part by this time. Adult life it seems would limit our time together.
I had assumed that once you grew into your adult years I wouldn’t see much of you. I’m thankful that I was wrong. A sport that was new to both of us, mountain biking, would bring us closer than ever. The joy you showed on your first mountain bike ride reminded me of your first days on that tiny motorcycle when you were just a boy. Mountain biking would open more new worlds, bring you hours of exploring and a host of new friends who shared the same passion for this new sport. I don’t completely fault you for not spending time caring for me during these early years of pedaling. I don’t know if you realized how much I needed it.
As your years of pedaling moved along. Your sense of adventure in the sport grew. You’d take trips to Mammoth, Moab, Fruita and Sedona. Bringing home more stories than anyone cared to listen to…I was happy for you. Observing your joy in these new areas brought joy to me too. While you were aware of my needs, unfortunately you continued to ignore my plight.

I’d never asked for help. It seemed to me that my need was obvious. As you traveled more, I thought you would become even more aware I needed help. You had read articles in magazines and on websites where others were helping me. They even made a movie about it. Some spending nearly a lifetime caring for me. Yet you didn’t move. I understand you were busy raising a family…investing much needed time with them. I stood by waiting. If you had an hour you would still visit me, but that offer for help was still missing.
I began to assume that all hope was lost. The government didn’t have the budget to invest in me. There were others in your town who did provide some much needed care for me, but more was needed. I don’t know exactly what changed in you, but one day you just showed up. And you brought help. As you and your friends began to care for me I knew that you weren’t pressured into this…but in fact you had changed. You invested time in me. I watched as hours ticked by and your only breaks were to grab some much needed food and water. As you began to pack your belongings after that first day I had so much hope that you actually enjoyed the effort and you would soon return to me. Your expressions that day brought me memories of your early days exploring the desert.
Not long after your first visit, my hope turned to reality and you were back to care for me. Again you were there for hours and you seemed to really enjoy it. You began a pattern of showing up and even brought new friends who seemed excited to help. We’ve spent more time together than we ever have and your work has made a difference. I love where this journey has taken us and look forward to many more years of new adventures.
Your friend always,
The Trail

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Is the Camelbak Mule perfect? It might be….

While this post isn’t necessarily photography related, it does include a large part of my life that usually involves my photography..mountain biking… I’ve been mountain biking much longer than I’ve been taking photos and as soon as I could manage to bring a camera with me on rides…I did. The whole idea for this post came to me on a recent ride where I bumped into a friend of mine who happened to be on a trail that intersected with the one I was on. When I rode up to Alan he was in a bit of a jam and said something to the effect of “man you wont believe what happened…I’m screwed…my front brake pads fell out”. I gave him the look of how does that happen and then listened to his story. He’d done a pad replacement and forgot to install the pin that hold the pads in place. He was lucky enough to hear the pads fall out when riding and was able to pick them up, but was missing a very important spring that holds the pads in place. I told him that I thought I had one and the group of guys around us said a collective “no way…who carries an extra spring?”…Guess I did/do. I gave the spring to Alan and he was quickly back in business and continued on his ride. This encounter with Alan was a reminder that I often labeled myself a pack mule as I typically carry a LOT of gear, but usually end up giving it to someone else. Which got me to thinking…I wonder what all the items I carry in my Camelbak looks like laid out on the table?

So a small photo project was born. Once I began laying out all the items I carried, I realized that my current Camelbak carries a LOT of stuff…and its not even close to being at capacity. And the stuff I laid out to photograph was from a spring time ride. I usually carry even more in the winter months. Which got me to thinking this might be the closest thing to a perfect product that I own. I sat for a few minutes and thought If I were to find a fault in this pack what would it be. I came up empty. Now if you are reading this thinking I’m on Camelbak’s payroll (I wish)…I’m not. Or that they kicked me down some free product (Again..I wish)..they didn’t. I’m just a long time user who took a while to realize I had been using a product that was pretty awesome….dare I say perfect?

I’m not going to take the time to list out all the ways that makes the Camelbak Mule perfect…I’ll just say its comfortable, holds everything I need and I still have a couple pockets/compartments that I haven’t had to use….yet.

 

Click the image below for a list of the items I carry in my pack. Don’t judge me for over packing..You might need to borrow my soapy water or Advil one day.

A couple of notes on items in my pack
The Pump (T) I bought at Kmart over 20 years ago. Still works and that there is a solid product. Think it outlived Kmart itself. (NO idea what brand it is..no markings left to ID it)
The Soapy Water (P) helps in tire changes.
Spare Cable (O)..I’ve been carrying one for years, never used myself but have given out at least three over the years.

The contents of my Camelbak Mule NV

The contents of my Camelbak Mule NV

 

camelback_mule

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Published on:
April 4, 2017 7:31 pm
Categories:
General

Kristian Atkins Steps Up-Mountain Bike Photoshoot

I’ve had the pleasure of shooting Kristian on his bike a few times in the past year or so…and each time he mentioned “the step up jump” that I needed to check out. If someone with Kristians skill set tells you to check something out, you probably should. Well unless he is suggesting you check it out on your bike. I knew for me he was suggesting I go take photographs at the jump. Once I arrived at the location I understood his eagerness to shoot here. Amazing spot and a MASSIVE step up jump. It’s difficult to explain the speed he was hitting this jump at….other than to say it was FAST..like no brakes coming in from a massive hill fast.

Huge thanks to Kristian for the location suggestion and for being the rider for the day.

Tech info-
Canon 7D
Tokina 12-24 f/4 lens
Strobe-Godex AD600 fired via Godex Remote (My first time using this strobe and remote…so far so good. Very impressed with all the features)

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Mountain bike photography-Spring in SoCal

All of the extra rain this year in Southern California has been a double edged sword…On one side the hills look amazing and you want to go out and shoot…on the other the rain didn’t let up long enough for everything to dry. Eventually everything lined up and I was able to get the riders, the gear and the right location to be able to highlight the great spring conditions.

Technical Details:
Canon 7D
Canon 580 and 430 flash units fired via PocketWizards

Click any image for a larger view.

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