by Hannah Dobson
December 21, 2016
With camera phones in everyone’s pockets we’re always snapping away on rides, at races, and in the pub afterwards. Sometimes we’re even equipped with a ‘proper’ camera. The result is hard drives full of images. Some capture something visually beautiful, while others capture a moment that was beautiful if you were there, but probably doesn’t look that artistically outstanding to the outsider. Here we bring you our favourite pictures from our own collections this year.
Andi, Social Media Guy & Gadget Geek
Brendan Fairclough whipping at Fort Bill. Pretty chuffed with this pic as it was taken on my phone in the glorious sun. First time to Fort William. My son and I traveled all the way from our home in Spain to the race for the weekend.
Chipps, Editor & Guitar Hoarder
This is a photo of my girlfriend riding a trail called Amasa Back in Moab, Utah. It’s one of my favourite trails in one of my favourite places to ride. It was shot on my trusty, very worn Sony RX100 compact camera and I think the angle and the shadows help to show what a chunky bit of trail it is, with a 100m cliff off to one side too. It came at the end of a two week riding holiday in the States this October and we’d ridden nearly every day, gaining, as you do, more speed and finesse every day so that by the time we got to this section, which is on a very steep and challenging jeep trail, we both rode it without a moment’s hesitation. If we’d come across this on our first day, we’d probably have walked it. The exposure is pretty scary and the drops are also pretty committing, but because this was the end of the trip, we were both not that fazed by it and just took it in our strides.
Just a look at this pic again fills me with the warmth of the sun and the sense of adventure that we shared on that trip. Everyone needs to go to Moab one day.
Hannah, Editorial Manager & Crap Crafter
This is a photo of my husband heading down towards Malham, taken on my in-laws’ point and shoot because I’d packed so many layers and so much food that I couldn’t fit my own camera into my bag. We’d booked our annual weekend away to ride (road) bikes without the kids, and the day before we went it snowed. With the high passes we’d planned to ride under snow and ice, I persuaded him that he should have a go on a fat bike. My husband is not a mountain biker and doesn’t like being cold, so I was pretty worried that it was going to be a miserable trip out. We pushed up from Settle through knee deep snow in scenery that could be mistaken for the Alps, then set off down the other side towards Malham, where the snow was untouched by anyone. At this point I was saying ‘I’m not sure if that’s where the path goes’, and my husband was shouting ‘who cares?!’. This isn’t the most beautiful of the the shots I took that day, but it’s the one that reminds me most of my husband giggling his way down the descent. I’ll make a mountain biker of him yet.
James, Despatch Guy & Head Hucker
Luckycharms spotted at the ‘Ard Rock 2016. Personal top tube decoration for good vibes and a happy ending… caught my eye and made me smile.
James has taken a ton of pictures this year that capture the scenes away from the race action itself. Look out for another photo feature coming your way soon…
Mark, Publisher & DIYer Extraordinaire
The way to make sure you take a great shot is watch what the pros do… and then totally rip off their shots. That’s pretty much what I did here. The pro in question was top northern lensman, Sam Needham. Sam was working for Kona at it’s launch in Austria that day. His job, to shuttle groups of international journos up the mountain to take pictures of the test bikes they were riding. The Brits always tend to huddle together at these events. It sort of makes sense as we are the most awkward of ‘clients’ who insist on having the brakes swapped around on the test bikes we are riding. If we are all together it helps remind the hard done by mechanics that they need to swap them back before some hapless future continental journo grabs a big handful of front when he thinks he’s about to drift the back.
So, anyway. Sam spotted an awesome section of trail with a high vantage point that setup a massive mountainscape as the backdrop. We were at 8000 feet and it looks precipitous. I just rocked up behind Sam and took my iPhone out and nicked his shot. He’s beneath me in this shot but he’s so small you can’t see him.
Rob, Designer & Trainer Fiend
This shot was taken at Red Bull Hardline earlier in the year of one of the Atherton siblings, Gee at his home event at Dinas Mawddwy, Wales. After plenty of injury troubles from previous races and a crash in practise, it was looking unlikely the Gee would make his race run. Thankfully, after plenty of pain killers and injections directly into his shoulder, Gee was able to get his race run down which saw him complete his first full race run at Redbull Hardline, and in the process claim 4th spot overall. Taken on a Canon 7D, with a 28-70mm ‘L’ lens, getting the shot nice and crisp with such a fast rider on a flat out section of the track, was always going to make or break the shot – thankfully, all came good in the end!
What makes this shot even more special for me, is if you look closely at just under Gee’s helmet visor, you can see the pinhole red light on his GoPro. When watching his race footage back, you can see me hiding behind a rock getting this exact shot. With almost 750k views, it’s pretty cool being able to say I’m in Gee’s video, even if I am just an orange blur creeping from behind a rock. Take a look at the video at 2:05 and try to spot me.
Ross, Ads Man & Enduro Bro
Ross doesn’t take photos while he’s out on a ride – he says it’s in case he breaks his phone, but we suspect he’s too busy taking Strava lines. So we’ve picked our favourite picture of Ross instead.
Wil, Tech Writer & Token Office Fit Guy
Wil has picked a photo of him, rather than by him, which is not strictly in the rules, but since he’s let us use so many spectacular images of him in Fresh Goods Friday every week, we’ll let him off with this:
This photo was taken at the start of 2016 on the top of Mt Tarrengower, just outside my hometown of Bendigo in Australia. A friend of mine called Pete Walsh (a.k.a ‘Digital Hippy’) took the photo, which is a shot of me descending down one of the open rock lines down a big ol’ boulder on the mountainside. It was a tricky shot to get, as the runoff out of the frame steepened until a nearly sheer drop, so I had to get enough speed to roll down, but not so much that I went careering off the side of the mountain! It was taken just on sunset with Pete’s SLR camera, so the dying light meant it was a pretty grainy shot.
For this particular photo, I was riding the yet-to-be-released Mojo 3 from Ibis Cycles. I’d been hooked up with a test bike to ride for a couple of weeks so I could put together a ‘First Ride’ article for Singletrack Magazine. Pete helped me out with photos, and I also put together a video about the new bike, which was published on the Singletrack website. Although I was living in Australia and managing a small bike shop at the time, I was starting to do some freelance writing on the side for Singletrack. Not long after the review was published, my wife and I booked one-way tickets to fly over to the UK to look for work and to be a little closer to my Dad’s side of the family. It just so happened that Singletrack had a position available on the editorial team, and I was extremely lucky to have been offered that position. And so when I look back at this photo now, I not only see it as being a lovely riding shot amongst a quintessential Australian landscape, I also see it as the turning point that kicked off a new and very exciting chapter in my life. That’s why it’s my favourite photo of 2016.
Have you got a favourite image from the year? Do you remember to take pictures on a ride? In the Editorial for Issue 102, Chipps implored us to take more photos:
“Every photo is a glimpse into a time that will never happen again. Every unique moment captured in a photo is one that is spared the fading of memories and cements a point in time in a way that several people’s recollections of the same event can’t.”
Make sure you remember to record your year ahead.