Posts Tagged ‘Destyn Via

16
Feb
11

Sex Sells!

Europe has a fairly laissez faire attitude towards nudity and sexuality, but on our trip it seemed that any sort of premises, business or advertising campaign could be spiced up by adding a naked female…not that I’m complaining!

Our first taste of out-of-the-ordinary nudity was inside a pumping Czech nightclub in the old town of Prague, right near the famous Charles Bridge. Zlaty Strom is made up of a dozen or so underground rooms, some cavern-like and quiet, others decorated like an English pub or Saturday Night Fever dancefloor…except for the one side-room with vaulted ceilings, sky-high shelves of alcohol…and topless strippers dancong on poles in front of the barmaids! Suffice to say, it was a pretty popular room (with both guys and girls…but mosty with guys). Clearly impressed, Dane was keen to take some of the moves he saw up on the bar down to the Euro-disco dancefloor room – but I don’t think he was keen to emulate the nude sex toy show that apparently went on at the bar very early in the morning. This might sounds like we actually just went to the strippers, but no, Zlaty Strom is a legitimate, high-end club in Prague (but ok, we did get the tip-off to go there from a scantily clad Prague Hooters Girl who frequented the club often – but, like the slogan says, maybe she was just: “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined”?).

A couple of days later In Spindleruv Mlyn we came across this trashy sign on the way into town that advertised a ski school and ski gear rental. What is with the chick? Going on the quality we saw on our trip, she must be the ugliest girl in Czech! Whose topless sister is she…and why did they decide to make a billboard from a photo that looks like it was taken with a 4-year-old point and shoot camera?

But while that advertisement and business was clearly low-rent, even the official ski school of Spindl had funny sex-themed billboards to get you to employ their services…and teach hot girls to keep their legs together, presumably?

But it wasn’t just the crazy Czech’s using booty to try and relieve you of your hard earned, ah, booty. After the Innsbruck Air and Style we maxed out the gutless little Renault Kangoo on the autobahn on our way to Munich for the ISPO tradeshow. This thing is huge, rivalling, and some say, out-doing the SIA trade show in Denver. There are three halls full of snowboard companies, at least four for ski companies, a couple for outdoor brands, then some halls for Asian manufacturers to show their wares. I only saw the three snowboard halls, complete with the Volcom skate halfpipe, and visited the aussie boys in at 3CS and Destyn Via.

It was good to these guys making inroads into the massive European market, but what impressed me most was the Ride Snowboards stand. It was the first thing you saw after entering the snowboard wing, tall and imposing and styled up like a New Orleans Bourbon Street strip club, complete with a huge black bouncer guarding the velvet rope and curtains of the entrance. Out the front among the thronging crowd promo-girl hotties handed out specially minted coins, which you could then go into the private booths and put in the peep-show slot. And behind the frosted screen was a 2011 board, boot and binding package, lovingly presented by a busty stripper under UV lights. Impressively creepy! But after hearing rumours of actual nudity, I was lucky enough to get myself inside the Ride booth just as Big Black closed the rope and shut the curtains…just in time for that same stripper to get on the podium and pole in the middle of the salesfloor and give a real performance! Does this sell more snowboards to the dealers and distributors? Who cares! I’ll take a freebie anytime.

And just to round out our european sex-sells adventures, while we were filling up the hire car’s tank before taking it back, I came across this great point-of-sale display for Jack Links beef jerky. Coz clearly smoke-dried dead-cow is a natural fit for naked babes!

However, that is one display that certainly makes me want to buy all the packets to see what’s underneath!

Did I forget to mention that I love Europe?

Keep an eye out for some more of my Euro adventures in the next few days.

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14
Jul
10

Behind the Scenes of Snowboarder Issue 2…

 

Issue 2 of Australian-New Zealand Snowboarder has been out for a couple of weeks now, and it was a productive issue for me, including another double-page-spread advertisement for Destyn Via. This time the photo was of Cohen Davies taken on the June Mountain stair rail. Here’s the original shot, which you can see has been cropped a bit, I guess to enlarge Cohen and his DV gear.

It was great that Linton from DV was willing to negotiate to purchase another photo, instead of just re-running the Darragh photo – not only did it give Cohen a big exposure boost, but it advertises some other “colourways” of the gear and shows the breadth of their team…and it was nice to see they spelt my name correctly this time! Check out my previous entry here and Olliepop Films’ video of our trip here.

On that same June Mountain trip two photos I took of Darragh made it into his 7 page interview that I conducted with him. The above shot is a slightly alternate angle of his June rail switch frontside boardslide, but the one published had better style. While discussing the upcoming interview with Darragh and living with him and his constant lolly munching, we came up with the idea to highlight this unusual habit in the text, and top it off with a themed portrait shot.

One rainy night at the end of our season we drove all around trying to find a candy vending machine, and finally spotted one out the back of the Tahoe Inn next to the Tahoe Biltmore Casino in Stateline. We snuck in and set up the shot…and of course got hassled by a few curious residents, but fortunately weren’t stopped by any rent-a-cops.  It’s a shame there’s some shadow across Darragh caused by his arm and hair, but with only about 5 minutes to set up the scene and lighting and shoot a few frames before we felt we would be boosted, we didn’t have time to check every frame. But we did manage to capture the feel for the shot that we wanted, and I liked how the magazine designer ran with our theme and gave the article some candy-cane flair.

I also thought my 8 page interview with Courtney Phillipson and Jess Rich looked good and came together as a good light-hearted read. As I mentioned in my previous post about shooting the girls in Tahoe, as a visual theme for the article I had envisaged it to be all about mirror images, reflections, and like I said in the intro: “Brunette vs blonde, goofy vs regular, experienced pro-rider vs pro-ranks rookie, measured confidence vs all-out fearlessness.”

I had planned to shoot as many features as possible from opposing angles, as I had a photo layout in mind. I even sent through some Photoshopped arrangments of the photos side-by-side, which I was pleased to see the magazine designer applied when putting the pages together. I think it really captures the mirror-image action theme I was going for…however, they failed to follow my suggestion for a slightly saucy/creepy/arty reflection-in-a-mirror portrait shot.

Perhaps the artisitc references for my unusual portrait shot would have been lost on the Aust-NZ Snowboarder reading public? Diego Velazquez’s 17th century painting Las Meninas is the original famous artwork to place the artist eerily within the frame, along with intriguing dark figures and mirror reflections, giving the artwork an overall feeling of unease.

More recently, the revolutionary Aussie-German fashion photographer icon, Helmut Newton, often used mirrors in his work, placing his reflection in the frame as a sort of creepy voyeur in a trench coat, or all in black like here in a hotel room with his wife Alice Springs. This was my true photographic inspiration, and it was fun to try and recreate this sort of image with Jess and CP, and I made reference to the unusual photo shoot in the interview in the hope the shot would make it into the mag. But alas, Evil Editor decided that Snowboarder was not a proper place for some art history education.

But I’m not the only one who has been inspired by Newton and his use of mirrors – TopShop in the UK even set up a “Newton Machine” photo booth to recreate his self-timer and model-in-the-mirror shoots. Check it out here.

A couple of my Vancouver 2010 Olympics photos of Torah Bright made the issue, but I believe the bulk of the action shots will run some time on the magazine website.

But the biggest thrill for me in this issue was my quarter-page self-portrait pow slash from Northstar that ran on page 17! I think this is the second action shot I have featured in among the pages of Snowboarder over the years. Dragon get good exposure with their goggles in this shot, but unfortunately for Nitro, I had split the nose of my board out at Donner the previous day and was riding an old loan board while my Nitro “Team” 159 was being repaired. But maybe I should still try to claim a photo incentive payment from Dragon?

For this shot I was inspired by a couple of Frode Sandbech point-of-view covers I had seen overseas, and I played around a few times with my 15mm fisheye and motor-drive as I followed the girls down through the park while shooting them for their interview. Clearly I’m not the only one who had noticed Frode’s shots – take a look at the cover of issue 2 of Snowboarder if you haven’t seen it on the shelves. This shot from a previous blog entry was another POV experimentation from the same session.

I was able to thank Evil Editor, Ryan Willmott, in person for putting me in his magazine, as he came up to the Gold Coast for a week to finish off issue 3 in the Burleigh Heads HQ of the publishers Morrison Media. He was pretty stoked to show me his new free ride, a stickered-up Toyota Rav 4. It was cool to check out a bit of the behind the scenes of magazine publishing, and get a preview of issue 3, which has our Los Angeles trip in a big, colourful feature article…and also pick up a few free mags. Look out for that issue on the shelves very soon…and take a look at some shots below from my visit to Morrison’s head office.

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.

30
Apr
10

Is a photo worth 1000 words…or just $43,000?

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, but in this case is a $43,000 picture worth a 1000 new Navy recuits? The Herald Sun had an article about a new recruiting campaign photo commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy using up to 100 sailors in the shape of a warship. And this is costing you, the taxpayer, $43,000 for the photographer’s services, another $11,000 for the accompanying behind-the-scenes video, and there would be unspecified expenses for updating the website, not to mention the $20,000 or so to pay for the sailors 2 days of wages that the shoot occupied.

Here’s the article, and the video and website.

I actually think it’s a novel campaign and a pretty cool photo. But what I found most interesting is that we get to find out how much the “top fashion and advertising photographer” Andreas Smetana charges for a shoot. I wish snowboard photographers made 40 grand a shoot!

But really, why don’t we? Obviously market forces come into play, and the Australian Government has millions to spend on Defence Force recruiting. But from a technical point of view, snowboard photographers work probably harder than anyone else in the world to get a shot. Yep, big call, but think about it. To get a photo to be used in a snowboard ad, we have to fly to either North America or Europe (Aussie photos don’t really cut it anymore, plus the new gear isn’t ready the previous Aussie season), get to a location (either deep in the backcountry via sled, or hike, or some sketchy urban location in the middle of the night, dodging potential trespassing convictions), set up lighting, compose the scene, get the shot (which you might just get one attempt at before the landing is bombed), check that the rider’s style is acceptable and that the gear is visible, then photoshop the end result if needed (for colour correction or dust on the camera sensor). 

Take for example this shot I took of Darragh Walsh, which was bought by Destyn Via for their advertising campaign. We had shot on this chimney feature already, and showed Destyn Via a preview, but partly because Darragh had forgotten to wear his jacket, we had to go back and shoot it (and also so that I could try to get the dark glow of dusk sky to show the distant trees, instead of a big bob of black in the original). As Destyn Via wanted us to reshoot the image to be expressly used in an advertising campaign, it’s not alot different to a commercial photographer’s assignment…except in what we get paid.

By comparison, Smetana has come up with the unique concept, probably hired the cool white warhouse (or perhaps it is a Defence Force loaner?), executed the shots and Photoshopped the end result. And as far as I can gather, fashion photogs organise the whole shoot, paying for models, makeup artists, assistants and have to get to the location (usually some overseas exotic beach), and they charge an all-encompassing fee to proved Armani (or whoever) a series of finished photos. I wish I knew how much they charged! (Check my previous post about Terry Richardson and his Pirelli 2010 Calendar shoot to get an idea of how it works in fashion).

Unfortunately, in Australia, the market rate for a 12 month unlimited licence for a photo to be used in snowboarding advertising, posters, point-of-sale etc seems to be in the range ot $1000 to $1500. And it’s about half that if the image is bought for just a “once off” use. The situation is even more dire with magazines, who pay $130 for a full page shot! Yep, think of how few shots actually get run full page, and you can start to imagine the level of work you all have to undertake (photog and rider) to get a shot worthy of full, or double-page-spread. And it’s not much better overseas. I was sent the payment rates for Transworld Snowboarding a couple of years ago: Cover – US$900, Double page spread – $250, Full page – $200, and a sequence – 1.5x the listed (size) rate. And of course, you get proportionally less if the shots are smaller than full page.

So if you are an up-and-coming snow photographer, and you’ve sold a photo to a company for less than $1000 you are undervaluing yourself. But worse, you are also undervaluing the whole photographic industry – companies will expect that they can pay a couple hundred bucks for a photo, plus some free gear- you might be stoked to see you shot in print or on a poster, but by underselling yourself you are costing the rest of us who want to do this as a real career and charge higher prices accordingly.

While I inderstand that companies like Destyn Via can’t afford to pay $43,000 for a photo (but Billabong probably could), I’d like to see all the rates (for both private advertising sales and magazine publication) be at least double. Then maybe more photographers could justify the travelling expenses for a season overseas again. This year unfortunately I was just about the only Australian snowboard photographer who spent any length of time overseas to take photos of riders. As far as I can gather, it just got too expensive without the right level of financial return for all the other core photogs. And when companies can fork out $2 G’s  for a piece of paper (ie just a bit of blank space in a magazine to put their logo and photo – it costs on average around $2000 for a advertising spot in a snowboard mag), they should be able to pay more to the guys (and girls) that actually go out and get the shots for them: the rider who risks injury just to wear/use their gear, and the photog who gives them a commercial-grade advertising photo.

I guess all the Aussie snow companies will cry poor (we’re such a small industry, last year was so bad for us, blah blah blah) – but until things start to change, the quality of ads and photos in print will drop away as photographers stop bothering to travel and make the effort to get shots.

Please drop some comments if you have anything to say on this topic. Oh, in case you haven’t seen it yet – here’s the finished advertisement for DV. It came out pretty cool, I reckon.

23
Apr
10

Radman Cameo…

Our medium-to-slow speed internet has been out and running even slower for about 10 days now (and only just got changed over to super fast ADSL2+ with a different provider) so I haven’t had time to check out the video of our June Mountain trip. You’ve probably already seen it in your Facebook Newsfeed or on snowboardermag.com.au or transfermag.com. But if not, (and if you have fast internet) take a look…

The film is up on Vimeo thanks to Destyn Via, the Torquay-based outerwear company that both Darragh Walsh and Cohen Davies ride for.

Fellow Falls Creeker, Jeremy Richardson of Ollipop Films has put together a pretty rad edit of our day and a half riding there. He certainly got a lot of content filmed! And if you check it out, you’ll see me in the back and fore grounds snaking photos, and also getting a little riding cameo in the park. Yeeewwww!! haha.

And one funny thing I noticed about the vid is the angry, pissed-off look on Darragh’s face when he stomps his (final) switch frontside boardslide. Normally a rider is stoked, and pretty much “claims” with a joyous fist-pump when they stomp a tech trick, but because of the general annoying crowd, overall disorganisation, early painful slams and problems “getting the shot” on earlier stomps, by this stage Darragh had well and truly had enough. He just wanted to get it done and get the hell out of there. And I think he was taking some of his anger out on me. It’s all good though – we kissed and made up. And got a great photo to boot.

To see some photos from our trip, click the link here…or wait till issue 2 of Australian-New Zealand Snowboarder Magazine drops…

06
Apr
10

June Stair Shoot

For the last three years, every time that I’ve been at June Mountain I can’t help but think about doing a photo shoot on the stair-set leading up to the access chairlift. It looks so inviting, sitting all there alone with three high round down-bars and 24 or so cheesegrater stairs. Almost all the rails around Tahoe are wooden (which severely limits the tricks that can be done) and have all been shot on many times before. I think I remember Kevin Jones or someone hitting the June stairs back in the day when Mammoth (and June) were taking some of the shine from Tahoe and Whistler in the old Mack Dawg vids. This rail is certainly legit!

I’ve mentioned shooting on the rail a few times to a few guys, but it’s three hours away from Tahoe, and needs a fair bit of snow for the in and out-runs. Enter Reuben Cameron and Sam Pofley. Reubs is probably my oldest snow mate, and I would have met him back when he was a Falls Creek park monkey.

He’s progressed to become Falls’ chief park builder, and after a couple of seasons at June Mtn, he’s also taken on that role there. Yankee Sam did a couple of seasons at Falls, showing Reuben the ropes, poached him to June and just this last season took over the organisational role for the freestyle park program. So when I finally found a project and a rider who wanted to come to June I called up Reubs to see if he could help, and he promised to not only smooth it over, but even use his Kat to build the take-off and landing!

Darragh Walsh was pumped (but a little nervous) to get a shot on the rail, and I roped in his Destyn Via teammate, Cohen Davies, to come along and get a different shot. All was planned…and then I got a call from Reuben saying that it was all cool to go ahead, but that another crew wanted to shoot on the rail so we would be combining shoots. No problem…until I heard that the other riders would be none other than super-pro Eddie Wall and wunderkind Tyler Flanagan! Talk about pressure on the Aussie boys to get the goods.

So packing the car Tuesday morning we set off, picking up Olliepop Films’ Jeremy Richardson on the way, and arrived in June’s carpark (complete with redneck truck and guard dog) by lunch. The guys have an awesome Taco Tuesday in place for Spring, with cheap beers and tacos besides the halfpipe and quarterpipe – and you don’t have to even hike the pipe or catch a chair – the maintenance guys tow you back to the top behind a sled! Awesome. It certainly was the place to be on a warm and sunny Spring day and there was a big Aussie and Hotham crew enjoying the good times, including my good mate, Mike D. Mike’s a salty old character (literally, as he spends half his life out at sea working on big ships) who’s been a big part of Hotham Boardriders for many a year, but who loves nothing more than to boost massive out the top of a halfpipe…and he’s always great for a crazy story or laugh. After the arvo shred it was time to celebrate with a couple of cold ones (check out Mike’s stoke with his fridge’s beer dispenser!), a recovery spa, then some good times down at the Auld Dubliner pub in town.

We all woke a bit foggy-headed, except Cohen and Darragh who took it easy to be in the best shape for their meeting with Eddie and Tyler, and headed back to June to get a few shots in the park. Once you’re up the mountain and off the super-slow access lift, June is a great place to shred a fun park without any crowds and hit some unique and cool-looking features. Cohen even found a new way use the top of his board to slide park features. We got a couple of nice shots and Jeremy filmed a bunch of park laps for Destyn Via…but the big challenge of later in the evening was never far from the guy’s minds.

Finally we headed down the hill when the lifts closed, grabbed some food and came back to find one kat shaping the in-run and take-off, and Sam dumping piles of snow in the car-park for the landing. Sure beats shovelling! However I was surprised to see such a huge crew on site – there seemed to be about 30 people stuffing around, getting in the way, arms waving, busy yelling and looking like they were there for business. No site of Eddie Wall though, unfortunately. I guess we weren’t cool enough for Video Hyper Shred. As time wore on and the sun dropped down it looked good to go and a heap of guys started hitting the middle rail and left rail (I’m not not sure why you would bother, though). It was an absolute shit show. Everyone was acting as if they were the most important person there without any consideration for all the other guys. There were 2 other photogs, and I counted at least 6 video cameras. Tyler Flanagan did some steezy boardslides, and Darragh and Cohen stepped up straight away, but all the other riders were less impressive. But it was such a weird vibe – there was no central organisation or order, and dudes were getting in shot, getting in each other’s way and causing lots of angst.

Cohen stomped his nose press before even the sun went down and I had one shot in the bag, but Darragh was trying to get a much more difficult switch front board – much harder than all the 50-50’s, boardslides and front boards the Yanks and Euros were attempting. There was one loudmouth fat photog who I’ve seen around Mammoth and June a lot before – he had all the gear, including a big strobe setup…but clearly no idea how to use it. One flash just isn’t enough to get a decent shot, no matter how powerful it is (I jusy had 3 small Canon Speedlights), and he must have moved the flash 10 times and done test shots 10 times for each location. We were all on edge as wind storms blew through and covered everything in dust, straining to hear the call of “All clear?’ and “Dropping!”. Then as Darragh stomped his trick the fat boy got in my way, and another time one flash failed to go off.  It was a complete shemozzle, and we just wanted to get the fuck out of there and get back home. Darragh was banged up, but I coaxed him into going back up the hill a couple more times…and he kicked a goal straight through the sticks, stomped that switch front board and with a sigh of relief high-fived the crowd. I was happy with the shot, and happier to be getting out of there and heading home to Tahoe. Job done.

It was a short day-and-a-half road trip to June Mountain…but I’ll never have to walk up those access stairs ever again and wonder “what if…?” It was well worth the drive and the shit-show surrounding the rail, and it was a bonus to get a couple more shots in the park too. Thanks again to Reuben and Sam for organising everything for us – I think you guys should be happy with the published results. Cheers, boys.