Posts Tagged ‘Dan Himbrechts

20
May
10

Online Exposure

Nitro and Destyn Via’s Darragh Walsh has been getting some good exposure so far this season, most lately with a “Day in the Life of…” on Transfer Magazine’s website. The attached photos are ones are just a few that we took one sunny Spring day up at Northstar. Take a look at the web entry here and make sure you check out the video, which is pretty cool for a fun web edit, put together by fellow Sawmill Heights resident, Corey Turner. Too bad Transfer spelt my surname incorrectly…again!

This “Day in the Life of Darragh” was ear marked back in early March, and so I was happy to sacrifice a valuable day of riding when I knew the photos would make it online…and more so as I knew Transfer Magazine normally pay for photos used on their website. For a rider, getting exposure online is a great and simple way to maximise their “name”, brand and sponsors’ support, which in turn should hopefully lead to more (potentially financial) support from sponsors. It seems like everyone’s getting on the blog bandwagon, from Robbie Walker, Ryan Tiene…and even snowboard photographers, as a simple way to get some exposure on the world-wide-web.

But for photographers, videographers, and writers (“journalists” sounds too serious for snowboarding) there is very little future financial pay-off for online exposure, unless a site is willing to pay directly for content. This relates partly back to my previous entry about the value of a photo: because snowboarding (and the like) is such a fun lifestyle, there’s always someone willing to give away their hard-worked digital content for free – they are just stoked to see their creation online. This sort of mentality has helped what is known as the “crapification of everything”, including online publishing, whereby the level of visual content seen on websites (from writing, photos and video) is at a much lower level than you would see in print at the newsagent or on your TV. As Robert Capps says in his original article “The Good Enough Revolution”, with the increased use of new technology, rather than focus on the quality of a product or service:

 “Instead, we’re now focused on three things: ease of use, continuous availability, and low price…We now favor flexibility over high fidelity, convenience over features, quick and dirty over slow and polished. Having it here and now is more important than having it perfect.”

With snowboarding websites, we want to see news and content immediately  when it starts to provide news too slowly it starts to become irrelevant, we could instead buy a paper or pick up a magazine. So I think we are all willing to trade off a bit of online quality for immediacy and importantly, without having to pay for it.

So for this reason, I applaud websites, like Transfer, that are willing to help out seasoned photographers when publishing their content, as hopefully it raises the quality level of content on the web when there is a financial reward. Of course, we all have to start somewhere, and an online magazine is the logical place (outside a blog) to get some recognition. And there’s nothing wrong with volunteering your work to get it online for free when you are starting out, as honestly, it probably isn’t worth being paid for. I guess it’s like work experience. But at some point as you’re career chugs along, you have to take a stand and demand being paid (in one form or another) for your work.

All this made me think back about some of my work that has been published online, some of which I received payment for, and sometimes not.

Boardtheworld.com:

This is the first snowboarding article I ever had published online, for just about the oldest-running snowboard website in the world, operating since 1996. I wrote the competition report when I was completing my Articles of Clerkship on the way to becoming a solicitor back in 2003. Of course I didn’t get any payment for this, but when it turned up in print in Australian Snowboarder Magazine in May 2004 I did…and I was hooked! It came out right before I flew off to a German Alps Spring snowboard camp, Gap Camp, where I met lots of pro riders and photogs, and it helped kickstart my desire not to return to law and instead see where a life in snowboarding might lead. I went on to contribute lots of items for BTW over the years, and Bear and Mouse were great to me, and publishing on Boardtheworld helped give me confidence in my work, an idea of how to write and operate more professionally, and it opened lots of doors for me in the snowboard industry.

Read “BTW Riders Dominate Mtn Dew Shredfest” here.

Ski.com.au:

After my first season at Falls Creek in 2004, Australia’s most popular snow website, ski.com.au, offered me the dream position of On-Mountain Representative at Falls for 2005 after I had piqued their interest with some articles I had sent them. I knew it was too good to be true: I basically got paid to snowboard every day, check the conditions, take a photo and write a report for that day, as well as liaise with ski.com.au advertisers, the resort and other parties…oh, and I got paid more each week than I was earning as a lawyer! The dream job couldn’t last after that season, but it gave me the unrealistic hope that more lucrative snow industry job offers would just appear from the ether. I’m still waiting.

It was hard to find any of my old blog entries or articles, but here is another competition report I put up on the site.

Transworld Snowboarding – 2008 Burton Australian Open:

With some persistent hassling I finally made in-roads at the biggest snowboard magazine in the world, Transworld. The Burton Australian Open was on again at Perisher (for the last time we were to discover unfortunately 10 months later) and Transworld wanted some gallery shots for their website, twsnow.com, to go along with the Burton press release and handful of shots by Dan Himbrechts. I think they paid me US$200 for each gallery, slopestyle and halfpipe, which I was happy with for a couple of days work – photos that I would have taken anyway. And fortunately, a couple of the photos also made it into the print magazine during the upcoming Northern Winter. Stoked!

See the halfpipe report here. (The gallery on the slopestyle page has disappeared unfortunately, but above is a photo of winner Torstein Horgmo, which also made it into print.)

Transworld Snowboarding- Oz Regional Report:

This was something I had been thinking about and proposing to the editors of Transworld for a couple of years, so I was really excited when they told me they wanted a regional report in the magazine. I went to all the main Aussie resorts in 2008 to get some Transworld-worthy photos (well, for a Regional Report anyway), but I don’t think many riders actually believed me when I said I was working on a project for Transworld. A shortened article made it into the last issue of Transworld for 2009, giving some lesser-known Aussie riders some epic international exposure, and I was even featured with a headshot as a contributor in the contents page. I sure felt like I had finally made it, getting some international industry recognition, and even better – I was paid for the print version, as well as for the online post.

Take a look at Transworld’s guide to snowboarding in Australia here.

And if you want to see what content of yours might have been put online without your knowledge, it’s always interesting to google yourself…that’s another problem with online content – but I’ll get into that some other time.

UPDATE: Speaking of googling yourself…I just came upon a lo res layout version of the double-page-spread I had in ESPN: The Magazine for their January 2008 Winter X Games issue. This magazine is similar to Sports Illustrated in the USA, althought perhaps not quite as prestigious, and so I was pretty excited to get a DPS…especially when they paid US$1000 for it too! The Senior Editor of the magazine has some of her work available for download. Take a look here.

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23
Feb
10

Canadians are weird, man!

Wow – there are a lot of loud, drunk and dumb hockey rednecks that congregate en masse down Granville Street. I know that Australians can be unbelievably embarrassing, and the cheap flights of V Australia and Jetstar are just allowing povvo bogans to travel overseas for the first time and ruin the reputation for the rest of us, but I don’t remember Sydney 2000 having such an agressive, teetering-on-out-of-control vibe…but maybe that’s because I was part of the “team” cheering along, and not a foreigner making sure that I smile and high-five the gangs of guys in red, lest I get set upon? Or maybe it has something to do with the brainless way Canadians cheer for their 51st State of America. After 10 days at Sydney 2000 I never wanted to hear “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie…Oi, Oi, Oi…” again. In Vancouver, Granville is jam packed with a sea of red and white, random games of street hockey, and chants that start up: “Can-a-da!…Can-a-da!…” Or guy will start screaming “Whoooooooo!” and then another will join in, or it will be “Yeahhhhhhhh!” and another will join in till the street sounds like a riot. Their cheering and chants are even more brainless than ours…and it’s the worst in an around Canadian hockey matches. (But then again, ‘U-S-A! U-S-A!” is pretty uninventive as well.)

And I forgot, I found another difference between Aussies and Canadians at the start of the week: Aussies shout “Show us ya tits!” at Indy/Bathurst/Melbourne Cup, whereas the Canuck chant must be ‘We want boobs! We want boobs!” After the Opening Ceremony a random mosh pit of crowd surfers (with the aforementioned “Whoooos” and “Yeaaahhhh”s) had formed on Robson and Howe Streets, and when a girl was lifted on to shoulders the booby chant started, and wasn’t sated till another girl was lifted upon high for a faux-lezo makeout. An interesting, organic way to celebrate the start of the Olympics I guess?

And I have also noticed a bit of a “bad sportsmanshio” from the home team, whether it be claiming to “Own the Podium”; or bar crowds cheering-on the last non-Canadian (and incidentally American) mogul skier to “Fall, Fall, Fall!”; ripping the flag off the back of some Americans cheering down Granville and throwing it on the ground; or booing former-Canadian Dale Begg-Smith during his medal ceremony. I hope that Aussies would never act such a way – but then again, my impressions might be coloured by the fact I had been getting back to Vancouver exhausted and grumpy each night, hating having to dodge throngs to get home, and seeing the crowds at their drunken worst?

Anyway, right now I’m in West Village, New York, New York! I decamped from the Olympics the day after Torah’s amazing Gold-Medal win – but sort of wish I had have stuck around now. And what a night it was. I was so nervous – so nervous to get the shot after she blew her first run (as night shots are clearly so different looking to the qualification photos), and so nervous for her to score well and get the win. Afterwards, I felt so happy for her and gave her a rousing shout-out and wave from the photo-pit in front of the podium – she waved back…and it gave everyone else who wasn’t cheering like an idiot a great million-dollar-smile shot looking right down the camera. So another shot missed by me. But she was smiling so much and looked so excited that i quickly blew the rest of the 16gig card on “jube” (jubilation shots, so Himbrechts tells me).

I finally managed to get up alongside the pipe – Himbrechts had left his pair of crampons lying around, which I naturally purloined and made the long hike up for the girls’ training and qualifications. Both Holly and Torah rode amazingly well, and went so big. It was awesome to watch up close. It’s hard along the pipe, as you aren’t given much chance to move around or get close to the lip for the regular fisheye shot. So I struggled to get some good shots, but think a couple turned out ok. And still I’m having trouble with my software processing the Canon EOS 1DMkIV RAW files to jpegs to put up on the web – but fear not, Evil Editor, the shots are there and there are some pretty nice ones – I’ll sort it out somehow. So again, all I have are the ones from my regular back-up 1DMkIIN and the candid pocket Sony Cybershot ones. And anyway the best of the Aussie shots I have to save for the mags: they won’t publish any shot that has been splashed around on the net before. So enjoy this small selection of action and behind the scenes.

13
Feb
10

Let the Games begin!

I had heard photo spots were limited for the Opening Ceremony, and as I think that the Olympics are about sport, not ballet I wasn’t overly fussed if I missed out. However, a couple hours before the kick-off, I strolled past the protesters downtown and into the MPC and asked about photo spots…and was handed a ticket! So that meant I had to race to BC Place to get there in time and get a position in the stand. It was a bit of a mission with all the traffic and crowds to get there…and out front was another sign of Vancouver’s “prosperity”: an old woman sitting in the rain collecting plastic bottles for recycling. What a welcome to the Opening Ceremony.

Once inside, the first person I saw was Himbrechts.

Now that the action has started, the games are on, and the niceties are over! Our two super-agencies, SRM and DHP have had a rivalry for ages, he’s Nikon and I’m Canon, and as he is the enemy I made sure I sat right in front of him. This was great, because just as I realised the snowboarder was going to frontside-air through the Olympic Rings and I didn’t have the right lens ready to capture it, I just sneakily bobbed my massive head in front of Himbrechts super-dooper long lens to also stop him getting the shot! Perfect. Unfortunately, you’ll see here that he still managed to get in a few shots from the night despite my best efforts.

The Opening Ceremony was great and I really enjoyed it.  They made everyone wear all these hospital-bibs so that it looked better on TV, which was pretty funny. You pay all this huge money to watch an event, then they employ your free labour for the world-wide TV production! The only lull was the innumerable teams that came out and paraded around. Those indian/native american/first nation/aboriginal/original tribes/indigenous/whatever-they-are-called-this-year dancers must have gotten so tired jumping up and down and spinning around and around during the parade!

Unfortunately, despite the massive status of SRM (and unfortunately also DHP) we were assigned pretty crap spots far away, and it was a challenge with a long lens and very dark interior (and only being able to shoot at max ISO 1600 on the Canon 1dMkIIN). The big guns at Reuters, Getty, AFP, AP and AAP get the prime spots, and the best shots. It was a challenge to get nice shots – we were both pretty happy with our work…until we checked what the uber-agencies managed to capture. Check-out Fairfax’s gallery here. Those guys have it so sorted – prime spots already assigned, they just fire away till a memory card is full, then hand it to a runner who takes it downstairs to a guy who edits the shots for him, then emails them on so they are online before the Ceremony is even over! So I’ll chalk my night down to a great learning experience and an awesome, fun, general Olympic experience…

12
Feb
10

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I was woken up Friday morning by the thunder of helicopters echoing off the buildings and rattling the window next to my bed – fortunately I wasn’t in some sort of Hunter S Thompson bad-acid Vietnam flashback (sorry, i’m currently reading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to get in the right frame of mind for our Snowboard like a Rockstar magazine trip to LA in March). The Olympic flame was in town, and the choppers were catching all the action in downtown Van…and when I got out on the street it was packed, and the real Olympic spirit (not my manufactured, barstool one) had finally hit.

Thursday had been a great first day in town, checking out the massive MPC (Main Press Centre) and picking up my free kit, as well as running into Dan Himbrechts. Check his blog here for some more shots of pre-Olympic Vancouver. It was a busy night, first up with a ritzy reception by the AOC to introduce the Australian Team, and announce Torah as the flag-bearer. Well done, Torah! I knew how these things go, so while everyone was dressed in their semi-formal attire and on best behaviour, I, in my t-shirt and jeans headed straight for the bar and the food buffet to get the most of my tax dollars. Some snowboarders may scoff at the idea of being an Olympian, but I couldn’t help but get a real sense of excitement and pride from the “athletes” representing Australia. More than any other moment, I wanted to be up there with them, part of the Team. Maybe it seems more attainable when you see guys and girls you’ve known for years up on stage? I don’t think I’ve ever seen the last member to sneak into the snowboard team, Steph Hickey, with a bigger smile on her face!

The party was surprisingly full of sports and Channel 9 famous faces, and some out of place swimmers like Grant Hackett and Gian Rooney. The most important man in Australia gave a speech and intoduction, and even K-Rudd sent a video message perpetuating the myth that Australia “punches above its weight” on the world sporting stage – what a crock. If it weren’t for an old High Court interpretation of the Constitution that allows Australia to use taxpayer money to fund communist-styled institutional sporting programs for the “good of the country” we wouldn’t “perform” so well every 4 years. I’m all for public spending on sport, but now that the rest of the western world has cottoned on to taxpayer-funded sports programmes (except the USA, which is privately funded – ie sponsorship) don’t just expect and demand medals, Kevin. And remember, this is the same Labor that wants to cut sport spending unless a sport can guarantee medals (which affects all the marginal winter sports, except snowboarding and freestyle skiing).

After the AOC gig Dan and I then caught a cab to the aquarium where Canon and Nikon were jointly hosting a party – more open bars and hot buffets – for all the 1200 photographers. We just wanted to go along so we could pick up our gift, a limited edition Lowepro Flipside 500 camera backpack, which you can’t buy but would be worth about $300 in Oz. Score! But it was a bad idea to have a photog party at a place with some many bright and shiny things and so many enquiring eyes – I don’t think the jellyfish were allowed to float alone once…I even couldn’t help but get in on the paparazzit act, no matter how hard i tried to resist the obvious. It was a surreal, sort of nerdy party – but fun nevertheless. I got discussing Van’s shitty weather with a Canon Professional Services woman who commented that you don’t need to worry about white balance here – with all the clouds it’s always 18% grey. Haha. Photo humour.

Speaking of weather…it’s been pretty much raining the whole time i’ve been here, and doesn’t look like stopping. And I must say, i’m trying to love this city…but just can’t. What makes a city beautiful? Is it the people, the landscape, the structures or all three, plus that little bit of something else you can’t put your finger on? Van certainly gets a tick for its beautiful women, but a cross for all the pasty, splotchy-half-bearded hockey jocks. Without the advantage of makeup, fake tan or mineral bronzer, all the guys are so pale and weird looking – I swear I saw Edward Cullen yesterday. I understand why they filmed up here – the sun never shines on his glittery skin. And Van should get another tick for the theoretically snow-capped mountains across the bay, but with all this cloud, you can’t see them. The city itself is nothing special, in terms of structures, but where it really lets itself down is it’s slums right on the CBD doorstep. As the warmest city in Canada, Vancouver is mecca for the country’s homeless. They are everywhere, and then there’s all the druggies: I’ve been asked for spare change by cocky mother-fucker losers in the line for McDonalds and Pita Pit! I was walking just a couple hundred metres from the MPC and came across a homeless food shelter (I felt too intrusive to take photos) and on East Hastings there are shops selling everything to make your homeless life comfortable. There are even tourist information signs in front of the old Woodwards building that celebrate the descent into depravity that East Van has become. What’s next, Rio de Janeiro-style motorbike tours of the slums (favelas) to laugh and point at the downtrodden? Even Reno is less visibly sketchy than this place. I’ve never been to Detroit, Philly or the Bronx, but they can’t be much worse than Vancouver, except that in US slums I would be judged by the colour of my skin, and not by the content of my character, and targeted accordingly. It’s mostly white homeless here in Vancouver, which can make it hard to work out if that guy in tatty black clothes is a drug addled drifter, or just an urban hipster/emo punkster…until they get up close and you look at their eyes and skin.

Anyway, enough negativity. The Games are on, and there’s a great festive spirit all around…and I can’t wait till the weather clears (a little) and they can schedule some snowboard practice up at Cypress.




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