This article was originally posted on http://universalklister.blogspot.com/, Hansi Johnson’s blog.
This weekend was an interesting one for me. For the first time I was invited to attend an event as a “photographer.” In the past I have attended cycling festivals as the “IMBA” guy, as a presenter of a trip or an adventure have taken but in this case I was invited to coordinate a photography seminar. Certainly it was a minor situation, however it did strike me as the first time I have been described or defined that way. The event was the Salsa Ride Camp. That said I had a really fun crew of about 16 people. I have never instructed a photography course and it showed for sure. The range of abilities was from rank beginner to semi-pro photographers. That in itself was challenging, so in the end I had to really pull back and almost talk more about artistic process in the early start of the weekend and then move to setting up hands-on shots and working with each photographer to help them grasp the concepts as we moved on. I know for a fact the more advanced shooters learned something, I would not be surprised to hear the less advanced shooters learned less, but that is the challenge of setting up the course that way I guess. The whole weekend was a pretty plush assignment I have to admit. Salsa used the Birkie Ridge property between Cable and Seely with sweet access to the CAMBA Trails and all the gravel roads. They had every bike in the line for demo, fed you three times a day and had awesome speakers and music at night. Amazing. We heard the incredible story of the Tour Divide Race from Jay Petervary and also heard about the insane Alaska “Ring of Fire” Expedition that Bjorn Olson and Kim Mcnett did this summer. On top of that was the truly inspiring music of Ben Weaver. The shots that the Photo Class took over the weekend were run behind the music to create a fun finale for both the event and the class. I am sure some folks in the audience were shaking their heads at a few repeats of me and of Pete Koski as we were both used as shot dummies for the course so there were 16 folks all shooting the same shot to “learn” it. Regardless, it worked amazing and I am really proud as to how my role played out. However I will say I set a new PR in editing as I had to pile through a couple thousand images to select then edit them before the slide show that evening… I personally learned a lot. I was forced actually to NOT shoot a lot as I was constantly teaching others to do so. I did shoot at the “Camp” a bit so most of the images here reflect the down time, versus the riding itself, which thanks to CAMBA was amazing. It was also really inspiring for me. It is always good for your mind, your heart and your soul when you meet other like minded and inspired people and hear about their trials and tribulations. To hear them presented is one thing but to sit around a fire late at night is the other and I was really, really stoked to get to know, even a little bit Bjorn, Kim and JP. As well as hang with the Salsa Crew who are hard workers, deep thinkers and celebrators of life for sure. In the end really that’s whats it’s all about…living. Living as much as possible, and the Salsa Ride Camp was that, it was like the feasts of Valhalla… Of course I have to thank Mike Reimer and Salsa for having me at the event. I have had a lot of really great partners in the cycling industry for a variety of things. Salsa however has been the biggest partner in my photography. They have pulled me in for a variety of campaigns and have been extremely encouraging in helping me forward. I have to not only thank them for the event and the chance to learn from the people in the class, but also to challenge myself to better understand my own process – and to also keep shooting in general.