My sister Andrea Blum is starting to map the food artisans of the US. She had formed a website called My American Pantry which is going to be a great resource for foodies or anyone interested in finding local culinary artisans.
We just finished our first photo shoot in Mill Valley, CA. With the use of a remote controlled helicopter, we were able to capture a unique view of the artisans and their products, which included items such as flavored Vodka drinks, pickles, seaweed, spreads, cheese, specialty meats, organic granola, cup cakes and more. Contact me if you want us to come to your area to photograph your local Culinary Artists.
In November of 2012 I had the pleasure of heading down to Baja as part of the Black Owl Media film crew to cover the Monster Athletes race in the Baja 1000. We were on the rod for 9 days from San Diego all the way to Cabo San Lucas, Baja.
Sean Naugle and I were responsible for the Aerial video through the use of our Remote Controlled Multi-rotor Helicopters. These flying machines are becoming more and more popular in the filming industry and I have been successfully flying my camera for almost 4 years now. The trip was a great success with us capturing plenty of footage for 3 different episodes for Monster Energy. Check them out!
The call for a photographer needed on a cat skiing skiing trip came in a couple of weeks ago. Most people in my circle would think I was crazy to have to take a few days to consider if I should take the job. I had to decide between a trip to Lego Land with my wife and kid or to ski Pow for a week. But, with the lack of snow in the Sierras and the fact that I have basically not made a single powder turn all season, the decision did seam obvious.
So, here I am. Like many photo assignments, I sit in the airport (today it is Spokane, WA) waiting for my ride north. I am surrounded by bags, lapsing between people watching and day dreaming about the fresh blanket of snow that just covered all of the old tracks up at Red Mountain. I have a 3 hour drive with another photographer I have not met, but confident we’ll have a fun drive.
As a start to the trip, I thought I would post a video from my day packing.
Fast forward a day. Matt Small picked me up from the Spokane airport and we headed north to the Canadian Border. Although the woman at the border was not as friendly as we had hoped, we made it into Canada without any issues. We arrived at Red Mountain resort just in time to have a cocktail with our host and hostess Jeff and Monica. We then headed out for an amazing dinner at one of the local restaurants called Gypsy Red. Monica actually took some amazing photos of our dinner, Check out her blog!
Before we jumped into the Cat skiing, we headed up to Red Mountain, the local ski hill. Red is actually an amazing ski area with 6 lifts serving almost 2000 acres and 2500 ft. vertical. 45% of the kill is considered Advanced and the tree skiing is as good as anything I have skied, anywhere. On top of great tree skiing, the fall line is perfect! No need to traverse, no pitch and run, etc…. Top to bottom turns are real leg burners.
The result of the photographers working as models as well
So, we checked off a full day of skiing fresh lines at Red Mountain and had a great time posing for each other since we did not have any models. But, the real reason we came north was to join Big Red Cats for 4 days of Cat skiing.
The process at Big Red Cats is simple. You show up at 7:45 to sign waivers or rent skis if needed and meet your guide on the assigned bus. Once on the bus it takes about a half hour to get to the base of cat skiing operation. On the bus ride, one of the guides will go over safety procedures and pass out the beacons. That is between jokes of course! Once at the staging area, the guides will give an instructional session on using the beacons before loading into the cats.
The snow cats fit 14 in the cabin. I believe the typical group is 12 guests and 2 guides. That is how it was for just about all 4 days out for us. Although one day had 4 guides for 12 of us so the groups could be a bit more evenly divided by skill.
Once rolling in the cats, it took about 30-45 minutes to get to the top of the first peak. The stoke is pretty high when everyone gets out of the cat. We all all gather our skis and poles and are clicked in and ready to roll in a mater of seconds. Our guide gives a brief idea of what to expect and pushes off toward the edge of the ridge. For safety, he cuts sideways into the steeper terrain to asses the snow stability for the slope. For this first run, it is some moderately steep trees. Once the lead guide gives the go ahead, we all drop in one at a time. Hoots and hollers are heard, but each skier quickly disappears into the trees.
We averaged about 10 runs a day. The terrain ranged from steep trees to gentle glades and a few open bowls. With a stable snow pack there looked to be great advanced terrain with cliffs and tons of pillow drops.
There are no lunch breaks. Big Red Cats does supply a bin full of sandwiches, bars and apples to be eaten while riding in the cat between runs. Oh, and I can;t forget to mention the bin of fresh baked cookies that disappear pretty quick.
The skiing conditions on this trip? Well, I think photos tell the story best. Here is a slideshow for your drooling pleasure.
Are you in need of a Powder fix? You should really contact Big Red Cats in Rossland, British Columbia, Canada. I highly suggest BRC after experiencing their great customer service, quality guides and deep snow.
About Big Red Cats
Located in Rossland, BC
The Owners are Kieren or Paula Gaul
PO BOX 742
Rossland BC CANADA
Getting to Big Red Cats (Rossland) from the US:
Fly into Spokane, WA.
Rent a Car and drive north 2.5 hours to the Canadian Boarder.
After crossing the boarder, drive 15 minutes to Red Mountain. The BRC office is located in the base village at Red Mountain Resort.
8 main mountains – numerous ridges and sub-peaks
420 named runs – 40% expert, 40% advanced, and 20% intermediate
155km of snowcat roads – 2nd largest snowcat road network in the world (you can’t ski it unless you have a snowcat road!)
45 drainages – in each drainage there are 5-15 runs
Altitude range 7300 ft – 4,000ft
Average run length 1,400 vertical ft
19,300 acres of terrain
Longest run 3,400 vert ft (but practically most days we ski up to 2,600 vert ft as the longest to manage turn-around times).
I’ve gotten to follow Tyler Brown around quit a bit this winter to capture some great images of him kiting. Tyler is very worthy of becoming a sponsored snowkiter, so we put together a portfolio website for him. Check out www.tylerbrownkite.com
Sunshine between late winter storms made for the perfect beach day to get some family portraits. I had a great time with the Johnson family (The parents, 3 kids and two dogs). We played in the park for a while before wandering down the beach for some sandy fun. The young twins kept us on our toes as they ran around, somewhat more interested in everything going on around us than the actual camera. Imagine that!
I was happy to capture a few prime moments in the two hours we spent at the beach and around the park. The kids were kids and they looked so cute in the pink dresses. We did not have a single meltdown the entire time! Thanks you guys for being so cooperative, and allowing me to share some of the photos with the world.
Over the last week about 50 athletes competed in the Ultimate Boarder competition testing there skills at Surfing, Snowboarding and skating. While I did not travel down to Southern California for the Surf Competition (Where Rob Muchado served up awe inspiring riding to win the event), I did get to attend and shoot the snowboarding and Skating events here in the Tahoe region.
The snowboard event was held at Northstar at Tahoe resort in Truckee on Friday March 19. Competitors hucked themselves off rails, huge jumps and a 1/4 pipe type feature at the end of the course. Some of the top riders from around the world competed for the top spot, but it was Trevor Jacob from Mammoth Lakes, CA who beat out the field. There were 3 categories of riders. Youth Team, Open Team and Solo. Even the youth shredded the course with huge spinning airs and grabs.
One Saturday March 20, I headed down to the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino for the 3rd stage of the Ultimate Boarder. The spectators filled the stands to watch skaters from young 10 year old groms to the older 40+ veterans.
The skaters were insane and it was a treat to be up no the ramp shooting the skaters.
Again the kids killed it!
This post was never really finished, but here it is, the incomplete version! Sorry for cutting the story short. Can’t wait until next years Ultimate Boarder.
I actually woke up this morning with every intention of skiing the course from Tahoe City to Truckee, CA. I last participated in the race at least 10 years ago. But this year was again not to be since I decided to take out the camera and shoot the start. Once all of the racers crossed the starting line, I kind of bailed on the race and instead jumped in my car to see if I could make it to Truckee to photograph the winner crossing the finish line.
The top skiers are amazingly fast. I made it to the finish line at the Cottonwood Restaurant only 5 minutes before the winner, Adam Swank of Duluth, MN came flying down the final hill. Adams time was a blazing 1:11:30. While not a course record, it is impressing none the less.
Well, after photographing the first 3 finishers, the skiers kept coming and I decided to keep shooting. I think I was able to photography just about every skier until the awards ceremony started. That was about 1000 skiers over a 4 hour period. I found it quite entertaining with great spirit, costumes, and some impressive crashes. I think Matt Lund took the prize for one of the most dramatic finishes.
Keep in mind, Matt has not been on skate skis in years. He crossed in sub 2:30:00. Not bad for off the couch.
So, I posted a web gallery of some of the choice shots from the day. Check Out the Gallery Here! I will eventually be posting everyone’s finishing photos on another gallery, so check back or email me with your bib number and name for a direct link.
I was very impressed by the number of young skiers this year. A 9 year old made the journey with true style and many 11-13 year olds put in some good times.
This is not my first time being published, but it is fun to see some of my new work out for public view. Thanks to Sean Naugle from Black Owl Media for letting me help him shot the 2010 Nissan Freeride World Tour at Squaw Valley USA. You can see the slideshow on ESPN website
Here are the shots I captured from the event.
We met Dave Sherman of imagestockhouse.com randomly having lunch at a local pizzaria. He was in town to shoot the Nissan Freeride World Tour and ended up not being able to photograph the event. Sean was asked to assist him and Sean was nice enough to invite me along.
Riding up the tram at 7:00 am was a great experience. Too bad it wasn’t for fresh tracks though. Sean wanted to shoot from the base of the run, so I stood up to capture the starting terrain. Sasha was also at the top of the course shooting with me.
Even with a press pass, I was limited to the rim of the bowl so I set up under the roof line of the Tram Building. Competitors used it as a launching point for their runs. I was able to capture some great inverted flight. Sean captured the image of the day from the base as the competitors hucked themselves off of some huge cliffs.
Enjoy the show, and hopefully the credits will appear on the espn.com website so you can distinguish between our shots.