Pinkbike Photographers - Best of 2011

Jan 13, 2012
by Ian Hylands  
 
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Sterling Lorence, Ian Hylands, Margus Riga, and Colin Meagher and Fraser Britton take a look back at some of their favorite shots from 2011. As always there are some amazing shots that are off limits for this sort of thing, shots that are sitting waiting for ads and catalogs and can't be published yet. Here are some of the best of the rest.

Colin Meagher

I was lucky enough to sign onto a week with Big Mountain Tours with Stephen Matthews and Seb Kemp as Guides in Verbier and Zermatt. The mountains in Zermatt were really socked in during our first two days there but the clouds blew out and gave us the views that Zermatt is known for on the last day. Here client rider Peter Classen of North Vancouver was kind enough to crank out a lap for the camera with a background that to this day blows my mind.
  I was lucky enough to sign onto a week with Big Mountain Tours with Stephen Matthews and Seb Kemp as Guides in Verbier and Zermatt. The mountains in Zermatt were really socked in during our first two days there, but the clouds blew out and gave us the views that Zermatt is known for on the last day. Here, client rider Peter Classen of North Vancouver was kind enough to crank out a lap for the camera with a background that to this day blows my mind.

Mike Montgomery sending it at Crankworx. Every contender sent it off this drop but for this shot I opted to go for the crowd s perspective. Mike s the only rider I shot from this spot and while I really should have placed more of the crowd in the foreground to balance the subject I think that overall the shot works well. I just wish I had perhaps shot a few more riders from this vantage point. Next year...
  Mike Montgomery sending it at Crankworx. Every contender sent it off this drop, but for this shot I opted to go for the crowd's perspective. Mike's the only rider I shot from this spot, and while I really should have placed more of the crowd in the foreground to balance the subject, I think that overall the shot works well. I just wish I had perhaps shot a few more riders from this vantage point. Next year...


This was one of those moments where everything just lines up right Brook s body lean the course poles and tape framing the corner... When I got this shot and knew I had a winner.
  This was one of those moments where everything just lines up right: Brook's body lean, the course poles and tape framing the corner... When I got this shot and knew I had a winner.

Val di Sole is right up there with Mount St Anne and Ft William when it comes to demanding a complete and focused rider a single mistake at a place like this can have massive consequences. As a photographer the most difficult thing at a place like this is finding a shot that illustrates not only how gnarly the track is but also how graceful and skilled the riders are. This shot of Blenki dancing through this rock and root infested gutter below the main rock garden is one of the few times in 2011 where I feel I truly nailed it.
  Val di Sole is right up there with Mount St Anne and Ft William when it comes to demanding a complete and focused rider; a single mistake at a place like this can have massive consequences. As a photographer, the most difficult thing at a place like this is finding a shot that illustrates not only how gnarly the track is, but also how graceful and skilled the riders are. This shot of Blenki dancing through this rock and root infested gutter below the main rock garden is one of the few times in 2011 where I feel I truly nailed it.

4X is hard--really hard--to shoot. I feel as if I only just figured it out two seasons ago. And even then it s still a crapshoot for me as to whether or not I feel that I ve genuinely got a shot that tells the story. Except in this race. I think I told the story here and then some. The thing I like the best is the fact that Roger Rinderknecht is completely oblivious to the carnage behind him. But then that s racing. I will miss 4X during the 2012 season.
  4X is hard--really hard--to shoot. I feel as if I only just figured it out two seasons ago. And even then, it's still a crapshoot for me as to whether or not I feel that I've genuinely got a shot that tells the story. Except in this race. I think I told the story here and then some. The thing I like the best is the fact that Roger Rinderknecht is completely oblivious to the carnage behind him. But then that's racing. I will miss 4X during the 2012 season.

Fraser Britton

Doggy tearing through the mud. Thanks to Flipper and the terrible light for pushing me to get some ridculous pans in this morning. i owe you
  Brendan had had a rough year in 2011. Knee issues, crashes, everything. I've shot with Brendan for a long time now working with Monster Energy, and this was the most down I had ever seen him. Worlds turned everything around for him. He went out positive, had fun on the massive jumps and steeps and got his smile back. He went up a muddy, cold 4th place, grinning from ear to ear. It'll be sad to see him gone from the team in 2012, but hopefully he can roll that momentum as well as a brand new knee, onto the podium for next season. I'd been working on a shot like this for Dog for a few races, and it never seemed to quite click. Finally the tiny spot of light at the bottom of the track in Champery was exactly what I needed. Maybe it's what Brendan needed too?

Kintner s in the Mist.
  The World Cup can be a lonely, miserable place sometimes. I happen to like this shot just because it shows how lonely it can really be. It showcases the mood of the week perfectly. A foggy, cold day at Mont Ste Anne, and Jill Kintner does her best to conquer her demons on one of the biggest downhill tracks the world has to offer.

Jacy Shumilak - Scotland
  World Cup Mechanics keep the show moving. Jacy Shumilak has his hands full around the Monster Energy Specialized truck. Here he is in the midst of the gong show that he calls home keeping multiple bikes in order, as well as making sure people are on time for their starts and remember their raincoats. He can come off as grouchy sometimes, but trust me, he just has his hands full and is one of the nicest guys on the circuit. This shot just summarizes his job perfectly. Making sense of the mayhem, with 3 perfectly tuned, shiny bikes.

Troy Brosnan - California
  Despite the amount of travel I do, I don't generally get time to ride a lot during the season, a trail ride or 2 here or there is normally the extent of it. At the beginning of last season I had the opportunity to spend 10 days in Socal with Troy Brosnan and Monster boss Sean Heimdal. Troy and I managed to hit the dirt jumps, the go karts, motos, downhill, XC and the burrito shop (3 times a day) all in one week. We sprinted down to the jumps one day just as another epic desert sunset was starting and managed to get about 10 shots in before the light faded and the wind got unmanageable. This was one of the last ones, just as everything clicked.

Steve Smith - Prevost
  One of Stevie's first shot on his new deal with Devinci, on his home trails around Mt Prevost on Vancouver Island. Sender Steve lives up to his name. We had a fun afternoon in an on and off rainstorm, I got schooled on his training track and we ate massive quantities of Sushi. When it comes down to it, all of my favorite photos of 2011 come from the memories they invoke, and not necessarily the content of the images at all.


Margus Riga

  If you keep pushing long enough, eventually you will break through. Wade Simmons in the fog in Whistler Bike Park.

  James Doerfling is the real deal. This shot was taken on day three of the Deep Summer photo challenge, where James quietly and confidently ticked off one bad-ass, big hit after another... numerous times apiece. James' ability to step up and send it as big as it gets, on any given day, puts him in the top echelon of big-mountain, big-hitting rippers.

  I don't know anyone else who likes to ride a bike as much as Garett Buehler. And I know a lot of people who REALLY like to ride their bikes. It is clearly evident just watching him ride. He makes it look so effortless and fun. Even when he's riding sixty kilometers an hour down a thousand-foot, big consequence scree chute.

  One of the reasons why I shoot photos is that it allows me the chance to explore wild and challenging places with awesome people. Andreas Hestler and Seamus McGrath, two of BC's legendary mountain bike racers, exploring uncharted terrain in Chilcotin BC.

  In 2011, I was fortunate and proud to be the photographer for Knolly Bikes. Knolly's team this past season represented pure BC, big-mountain gnar: Mike Hopkins, Garett Buehler and James Doerling.


Sterling Lorence

thomas vanderham in kamloops bc
  Thomas Vanderham is one of the easiest mountain bikers to photograph simply because his style brings so much to the photograph. We were shooting in Kamloops this past year and super dry dusty conditions were met with cold and cloudy weather and I attempted to light up the scene a bit with my strobes as he was hovering these scrubby whips down the Kamloops Bike Park.

sun valley idaho
  Sun Valley Idaho is blessed with so much buff singletrack, not much population, terrain as seen here, and stunning sunsets. It's special. I was doing some documentary style catalog work on this shoot and wanted to show the magnitude of terrain that ultra marathon XC shredder Rebecca Rusch hammers through daily. Here she was riding with Sondra Williamson on the backside of Bald Mountain and one week later, she went on to win the Leadville 100 mile XC race. Her nickname appropriately - "the queen of pain"

wade simmons on vancouver s north shore
  This shot of Wade Simmons on the shore is memorable simply because it was fun watching Wade put a 29'er to the heaviest challenge he could find on the shore. Challenge brings out the best in Wade... he gets all amped like a kid again. We were working on a bike test for MBUK magazine and they asked to see how far he could push the 29'er into terrain that he normally reserves for the 26. Yes, he is rocking a 29'er in this shot and was shredding all aspects of the shore on it.

brandon semenuk in maui hawaii
  It was how symmetrical and perfect the quarter pipe walls were in this snaking sink hole trench that made us stoked when originally found this line in Maui. It's not often that natural terrain provides a quarter pipe that you don't have to hip out of. Brandon was coming back in less than a bike length from his exit point. I liked how simple and clean the quarter looked and tried to play up those lines with my lights...

the new Black Velvet trail in the Whistler Bike Park
  The trailbuilders in the Whistler Bike Park are obsessed with making trails way too fun. Further, they make them with incredible precision and detail to the point that they look like fine-art sculptures. Matt Hunter and Tristan Merrick demo some fresh handy work that will be open soon in 2012...

Ian Hylands

A trail of tear offs leads the way to the gate as Tracy Moseley waits for Floriane Pugin to start. Last rider in the start house less than a minute to go before the start of her winning run.
  This shot of Tracy Moseley waiting for the start of the final at Mont Saint Anne is probably my favorite photo of the year. Mostly just because it shows a different side of racing that we rarely see, and that I rarely get a chance to photograph. Usually at this time I'd be down on the course somewhere, already having shot the rest of the women over a jump or through the rocks, and getting ready for the men. But this year I had Colin Meagher and Fraser Britton shooting the action for Pinkbike, and I was free to go behind the scenes a little. I'm stoked that it paid off.

When I'm thinking of favorite photos some of the ones that come to mind first are the ones that have the best memories attached to them. This ride down Jem trail in southern Utah was absolutely epic, 100% pinned, trying to beat the light and finishing up almost in total darkness. Kelly McGarry races the sun...
  When I'm thinking of favorite photos some of the ones that come to mind first are the ones that have the best memories attached to them. This ride down Jem trail in southern Utah was absolutely epic, 100% pinned, trying to beat the light and finishing up almost in total darkness. Kelly McGarry races the sun...

Luke Fulton with nice looking stretched out tailwhip on the second double on the barge.
  When I first heard about the Jump Ship Contest I was imaging it on a barge in the middle of the harbour surrounded by water, and I'm pretty sure Jordie was as well. It didn't work out that way though, and I got this shot as a result. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, spectators on the dock on one side, Luke Fulton tailwhipping on a barge on the other. I think the darker sky really adds something to it.

  I first shot Ladies Only back in the early 90's, and my first published mountain bike shot was from this trail as well. It was in Bike Magazine around the same time period. After not shooting much on the shore over the past 10 years it was fun to go back and revisit some of the old spots with new skills and new equipment. Steffi Marth on Ladies Only.

Billy Lewis tire taps a tree in the enchanted forest somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.
  This year I also got back to building again, not a lot, but a start at least. Billy Lewis came and helped me with this one, a tire tap way up a tree in the Northwest.
Must Read This Week

55 Comments

  • + 67
 Some of these shots are insane! Good on you guys for brining biking into a new light.
  • + 7
 Excellent work dudes! Keep it up with all the photography bios and tips as well I dig it!!
  • + 2
 Some superb shots there! Like the guy comming through the fog the most though.
  • + 3
 Those pics are purely art!
  • + 2
 My personal favorite is Margus's shot of Garett Bueheler. It's so crisp and really captures the speed, and roost. Makes me want to go ride!
  • + 1
 Too bad none of these made it into the POY comp...but that's the result of having some of the best photographers as judges I guess
  • + 1
 We should call these guys the Pinkbike Protographers!
  • + 13
 Thomas Vanderham by Sterling Lorence is my favourite, followed closely by Ian Hylands - Tracy Moseley pic waiting at the gate. Kinda makes you think whats she's thinking about, before she takes the plunge. (Hylands" Ironic name I always thought).
  • + 4
 Moseleys shot for sure. It has that "total silence" feel to it.
  • + 10
 That group of pics are amongst the best i have seen, well done to all involved..
  • + 2
 The photo of Thomas Vanderham is definitely one of the most spectacular photos of the set, but my personal favorite is the shot of Wade Simmons. I always considered him as one of the most impressive freeriders around. One of the guys that made freeride big. First time I see him on a 29er. I love this photo because it just feels like your out there in the North Shore. Amazing scenery and good timing.
  • + 4
 Definitely- Sterling Lorence is something else. He's as inspiring to me as any rider is- a true natural.
  • + 2
 Fraser Britton's shot of Brendan = Best Picture of 2011
Sterling's shot of Thomas = 2nd

Why weren't any of these in the queue for the best photos of 2011??
  • + 2
 These are all staff photographers for PinkBike and some of the judges for the contest. Not really fair to have them in the contest as well.
  • + 3
 Really like Margus Riga's photos!
  • + 2
 The shot with Thomas Vanderham with the lighted cloud behind him is the sickest photo of this page
  • + 3
 Some B eautiful, I nsane, K ickass, E motional B-I-K-E pictures :-D
  • + 2
 This is what photography always should be, Every pic that is taken is just perfect. Congrats guys
  • + 3
 Thomas Vanderham - best !
  • + 3
 Sweet! Smile
  • + 2
 the best selection I've ever seen
  • + 1
 On the 4X Pic you can see the talented Nico Seidel from germany crashing into David Graf.... huii
  • + 1
 不知道说什么好了。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。。
  • + 1
 3, 5 but most of all 7. I would be delighted to have taken any of them having said that.
  • + 2
 Riga and Lawrence are gods
  • + 3
 desktop calendar pics
  • + 1
 Awesome photos, good to see few kiwi's rep'd!
  • + 1
 LOVE that pan shot of Brendan, the colors, holy crap
  • + 1
 picture of vanderham is the best on pinkbike to date
  • + 1
 Really good pics! Nice colors and light.
  • + 2
 amazing set of pics!
  • + 1
 no comment insane shots nice work by photographers
  • + 1
 9th pic down looks like Hemt Califronia.
  • + 1
 *speechless*.....damnnnn awesome shots!!
  • + 1
 Excelente selección!!!! las mejores
  • - 1
 btw can't believe this guy is missing or at least this shot: www.freeride-magazine.com/fileadmin/data/06_cover/current-issue.jpg
  • + 3
 This is a best of from the staff photographers here at Pinkbike.
  • + 1
 I know. My main intention is rather to get the pic from the cover in a high-res version but I can't find it anywhere.
  • + 2
 Beautiful.
  • + 1
 that epic bank is black velvet
  • + 1
 wow wow wow what a way to start the day sick photos
  • + 1
 R35P3CT 4 U GUY5
  • + 1
 Speechless ......... !
  • + 1
 arte pura !!
  • + 1
 Pure Art!
  • + 1
 SICK!
  • + 1
 good pics!!!!
  • + 1
 clapping hands!
  • + 1
 Amazing !
  • + 1
 awesome pictures!
  • + 1
 EPIC shots! tup
  • + 1
 ERIC PALMER!
  • + 1
 Top shots
  • + 0
 go WADE.

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