North Shore in 1998 by Sterling Lorence

Feb 24, 2011
by Sterling Lorence  

I get asked all the time if I still shoot film. Answer is, hardly. The Digital workflow is how the business works now and I don't find the time and applications as much to venture back to film stocks. The technological advancements in digital chip technology inside our digital cameras far exceeds the advancements that are being made in film. What I am capable of shooting in low-light conditions on the Shore today digitally versus the poor looking high iso films stocks of the past is laughable. However, I did shoot film and shot lots of it and did discover ways to make the most of the available films. Black and white films were one way to capture the Shore, and I loved the feel it gave to the Shore.

My career in mountain bike photography is entering into year fourteen and if you look into my files of photos, you will find more images on film than you will find digital. I still love the look and feel of film, and the printing process and really appreciate how organic that process was in terms of not having to spend hours on the computer tweaking your raw file to 'make it' look like film.  Nailing it on film was part of the expertise and art and it is slowly becoming a lost art today. So, to celebrate the film days, and to also look back into where I have roamed, I have chosen to share some shots from the first roll of black and white film that I ever shot specific to mountain biking and the attempt of getting publishable shots.
  My career in mountain bike photography is entering into year fourteen and if you look into my files of photos, you will find more images on film than you will find digital. I still love the look and feel of film, and the printing process and really appreciate how organic that process was in terms of not having to spend hours on the computer tweaking your raw file to 'make it' look like film. Nailing it on film was part of the expertise and art and it is slowly becoming a lost art today. So, to celebrate the film days, and to also look back into where I have roamed, I have chosen to share some shots from the first roll of black and white film that I ever shot specific to mountain biking and the attempt of getting publishable shots.

My riding buddies, Eric Vandrimmelen and Scott Grieve volunteered their talents as shore riders and we made our way down and through Pre-Reaper with my one roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 (pushed +2 to 1600) in the chamber of my camera. As it turns out, two images off this first roll have become iconic images for my career and images that have been published all over the world many times. Images that I was proud of, was inspired by, and felt that they expressed the true feelings of what it was like to ride on the shore more than 13 years ago. I also have lots to owe to trail builder and rider legend Dangerous Dan Cowan...his riding, imagination, and trail building skills provided loads of content and stoke.  Here is a look at Pre-Reaper Trail from start to finish, through my rookie photographic eyes, back in 1998.
  My riding buddies, Eric Vandrimmelen and Scott Grieve volunteered their talents as shore riders and we made our way down and through Pre-Reaper with my one roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 (pushed +2 to 1600) in the chamber of my camera. As it turns out, two images off this first roll have become iconic images for my career and images that have been published all over the world many times. Images that I was proud of, was inspired by, and felt that they expressed the true feelings of what it was like to ride on the shore more than 13 years ago. I also have lots to owe to trail builder and rider legend Dangerous Dan Cowan...his riding, imagination, and trail building skills provided loads of content and stoke. Here is a look at Pre-Reaper Trail from start to finish, through my rookie photographic eyes, back in 1998.









The last two images came from a shoot a few months later. Roll number 4 or 5 of black and white film. Eric VanDrimmelen and I ventured back into PreReaper and Reaper on a day when I would call it perfect conditions...freshly rained for 2-3 days, slightly clearing in Vancouver and the top of Cypress blanketed in a thick fog.  Back in these days, the wheelie drop was a big deal, especially when the take off is a slimy old cedar, and the transition waiting was a pitted out root pile and some rocks. Simply being one that did airs on a mountain bike on the Shore was a significant accomplishment. EV was one of the first riders that I shot where I could see his smooth style and talent was impacting the results in my photos.  Important, as you start to try and move images professionally. Talent and style of the rider needs to be up to speed with your camera moves.
  The last two images came from a shoot a few months later. Roll number 4 or 5 of black and white film. Eric VanDrimmelen and I ventured back into PreReaper and Reaper on a day when I would call it perfect conditions...freshly rained for 2-3 days, slightly clearing in Vancouver and the top of Cypress blanketed in a thick fog. Back in these days, the wheelie drop was a big deal, especially when the take off is a slimy old cedar, and the transition waiting was a pitted out root pile and some rocks. Simply being one that did airs on a mountain bike on the Shore was a significant accomplishment. EV was one of the first riders that I shot where I could see his smooth style and talent was impacting the results in my photos. Important, as you start to try and move images professionally. Talent and style of the rider needs to be up to speed with your camera moves.

This is the Millenium Log ride. The entrance move to the Reaper trail. One of Dangerous Dan's signature pieces and certainly one of the more challenging log rides the Shore had at the time. Steep, narrow, long, hard to get onto, and 5-6 feet off the ground with nice granite boulders lacing each side. it scared the shit out of us as riders and was quite the accomplishment to ride, each ride. Many simply walked past it. I wanted the mood to be as such for a photograph of it and felt that black and white was the right vibe. That afternoon, while we were in there, I can remember freaking out with Eric about how incredible the light was and how extra daunting it felt to be in there. Hardest job of it all was certainly done by Eric, cleaning this move, 5-6 times for me as I tried a few different compositions. My favor back to Eric was breaking the news to him that our image was going to grace the cover of the Bike Magazine Photo Annual as a gatefold.  Stoked.
  This is the Millenium Log ride. The entrance move to the Reaper trail. One of Dangerous Dan's signature pieces and certainly one of the more challenging log rides the Shore had at the time. Steep, narrow, long, hard to get onto, and 5-6 feet off the ground with nice granite boulders lacing each side. it scared the shit out of us as riders and was quite the accomplishment to ride, each ride. Many simply walked past it. I wanted the mood to be as such for a photograph of it and felt that black and white was the right vibe. That afternoon, while we were in there, I can remember freaking out with Eric about how incredible the light was and how extra daunting it felt to be in there. Hardest job of it all was certainly done by Eric, cleaning this move, 5-6 times for me as I tried a few different compositions. My favor back to Eric was breaking the news to him that our image was going to grace the cover of the Bike Magazine Photo Annual as a gatefold. Stoked.

To conclude, hope you enjoyed the step back in time to see where I have roamed and the trail tales that have happened around my photography. I have lots to share, so please check back regularly on Pinkbike for more eyeroam. Gotta throw concluding props back to Scotty Grieve, Eric VanDrimmelen, and trail maker Dan Cowan for helping make this set of shots happen. www.eyeroam.com





64 Comments

  • 29 0
 Awesome photos, love the history lesson
  • 14 0
 bone shakers & rim brakes haha! the good old days when Rob Warner was the DH man of the time eh..
  • 8 0
 Rob Warner is fully awesome, I lol at him during freecaster
  • 4 3
 those guys were bad ass. i cant imagine anyone even trying to do that with that little suspension nowadays
  • 12 0
 I love how he can make his pictures "time-less" Like, if you couldn't see the bike, you would have no clue at when this picture was taken.
  • 5 0
 i ride a bit of north shore on my hardtail with 60mm little forks lol
  • 2 0
 Also loved the history lesson and great photography Sterling! ..the photos remind me of the first videos I watched from the shore, they amazed me! .. go Dangerous Dan Cowan!
  • 1 0
 you´re right sterl, celebrating the film days! awesome photographic retrospective!
  • 1 0
 in the third pic, there is a branch in the bottom center that looks like an old school stem handlebar combo, even with "shifters" and everithing. Awesome photos, a long path has been walked since those days where 200mm full suspension bikes where a dream.
  • 5 0
 black and white shots are ALWAYS sick! and visually stunning. Keep up the awesome work Sterling!
  • 2 0
 Coincidentally, I was just looking through that issue yesterday (Nov/Dec. 1999). Incredible B&W by Sterling Lorence, the old school bikes w/ so little suspension. Color on page 72 of Eric V. is good representation of the super rustic bridges we used to ride. On page 73 is a pic by Lee Cohen, of me (Will Haring), on Molokai, Hawaii, lots of Hawaii in that Photo Annual. Curiously, in Late 1998 Bike did a story on Molokai mountain biking,Cohen was the photographer, CAN ANYONE GET ME THAT ISSUE?
  • 6 0
 Sick write up!!!
  • 3 1
 Amazing pictures!
  • 6 0
 what an evolution..
  • 1 1
 whats an evolution?
  • 3 0
 those last 2 shots were stunning! film is great. its like listening to a record player as opposed to an ipod, there's a richness to it which i love
  • 1 0
 With the move to flowy trails, it seems the art of tech-gnar woodwork moves is ebbing. When I moved to N. WA I was enthralled by the Shore (and still am). Long live FR!!!
Great photos and write-up....looking forward to more from ya!!
  • 1 0
 Tech-gnar... I like that. I for one miss tech-gnar.
  • 1 0
 i love hearing about cypress...thats where my mountain biking experience started... My favorite trail in the whole world is there, and named after mountain biking's finest photo artist! Way to go Ster!, you make this awesome sport even awesomer !
  • 1 0
 I remember riding Reaper before it got axed. It was with Hans Rey, Dan Cowan, Kim Steed and Kenny Maude. Super fun to watch Hans clean everything on a little hardtail while the rest of us were riding tank-ish freeride bikes. Fun times....
  • 1 0
 I remember clearing that small teeter totter for the first time in similar weather then my buddy behind me stacking it.... was bigger than it looked... was the good days.... was about 16 at the time as i remember we could driver ourselves over to Cypress rather than riding all the way over to Fromme from the Handsworth area.
  • 4 0
 old school. it sure has changed a lot since then. great pics.
  • 2 0
 film has an "organic" feel. True. It's more fun and takes more effort to actually control the shot. Good write up. Sweet photos.
  • 1 0
 My oh my, how things have evolved in just a decade. What happened to our roots? Now, if you're not grabbing ridiculous air inverted, with one hand on the bars, it aint jack. Great photos Sterling!
  • 2 0
 Every Pic looks like its extreme slippery and they gave you this rainy ridin day mood...
  • 2 0
 Awesome stuff dude, What film and camera were you shooting with out of curiosity?
  • 1 1
 Did you read the article?
  • 3 0
 Yeah i did actually, he mentioned he used Tri X once, he never said what camera or any other films he used...
  • 1 0
 Nice write up and easy to read. Thanks for the black text on the white background. It is nice to read a PB article and not feel like it is making me go blind.
  • 2 0
 Seeing these guys makes me feel badass for still rolling hardtail on trails
  • 2 0
 i'd said we got next months PODs right there !
  • 1 0
 thats awesome, I had no idea that the North Shore had all those stunts back in '98
  • 1 0
 those root sections look like the whatsitcalled forest from harry potter :p
  • 1 0
 Reminds me of the old NSX videos. Watching guys gaping with bar ends and toe strap pedals.
  • 1 0
 Great piece. Thank you for sharing! I love seeing so much great photography on PB! I'm feeling the stoke.
  • 1 0
 I remember seeing the last one in a BIKE magazine cover... I've always loved BIKE mag because of Sterlings' Pics.
  • 1 0
 I feel such a wos as I would p** myself on that stuff And I got 170 mm travel front and rear 100 more then them
  • 1 0
 Sterling your stuff is and always has been a class apart. Keep it up and keep inspiring others!
  • 1 0
 Excellent article,memorable pics.
Gringo. Camera
  • 1 0
 I would love to have a coffee table book with these photos in it. Something to consider Sterling.
  • 2 0
 thats real mtb!
  • 2 1
 jakie fury az sie lezka w oku kreci Smile
  • 1 0
 Beautiful pics & great story!
  • 1 0
 good quality for a 90s pic...
  • 1 0
 Beautiful FREERIDING baby
  • 1 0
 that last picture i have hanging up on my wall
  • 1 0
 What type of bike is he riding? Sweet pics by the way!
  • 1 0
 wow ive never seen old school photos so clear
  • 1 0
 old school riding..I still have all my VHs tapes of the NS..classics
  • 1 0
 I like North Shore style!
  • 1 0
 I've forgotten how much pre-reap made me crap my pants
  • 1 0
 Amazingn
  • 1 0
 Yay FILM!
  • 1 0
 Wow. HT power ;p
  • 1 0
 Film ftw.
  • 2 0
 Those are amazing pics, i love photos of the old times, brings back merories when i just started getting into narlier riding in Kent england, pod the hole photo album in my opinion m8 more pics please fantastik, you made an old mtber larf, cheers Smile
  • 2 0
 Seriously! Nothing beats a perfectly exposed/shot roll of film.
  • 1 0
 Timeless!
  • 1 0
 Awesome Sterl!
  • 1 0
 Awesome stuff. Ken
  • 1 0
 Cove Hummer, dialed...
  • 1 0
 dan is a ns legend
  • 1 0
 COOL!
  • 1 0
 Old school Baby!

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