Video: Capturing a Bucket List Trip to the Chilcotins on 35mm Film

Dec 6, 2021 at 17:01
by Yama Folk  

Well before I moved from Australia to Canada, a bike trip to the Chilcotins had been on the bucket list. Every year the pull became stronger as I’d see more and more photos of people riding scenic alpine single track through what has become the famous and iconic Chilcotins trail network.

This year a group of us managed to tick this epic destination off the list. Four out of the six of us on the trip have recently moved to Canada from various places around the globe. The extent and pull of these mountains and trails is evidently strong. The two Canadaians on the trip hadn’t ridden here either. They were equally as stoked to have finally made it out to this epic riding destination.

Over the last couple of years we’ve been shooting a lot of biking photos on film as part of our Photo Synth35is project. So when this trip came up, it was a no-brainer that we’d be taking the film cameras along. We found shooting film really suited this situation as there was a lot of ground to cover. The fact that there are a finite number of frames limited by the roll of film and an inability to instantly review shots means you don’t get stuck in one spot shooting more photos than you need (which more commonly results from our digital shoots). No point session-ing a section and blowing through the roll on the first feature- just, you know, take a photo and move on. We appreciated the simplicity and flow this afforded our mega- pedal adventure. And upon developing the images, we like how this analog format gives a candid honesty in the way we remember that epic trip.

Needless to say, the Chilcotins lived up to the hype. But even more so, it was just good fun to go on a biking trip with a solid crew. After a couple of years of limited social interaction with Covid-19 it was nice to be back travelling and riding bikes with mates. Fingers crossed we’ve got many more to come.

We acknowledge that First Nations peoples have cared and used this land in which these photos were taken, for at least the past 300 years, and possibly for as long as thousands of years. The area falls within the territory of three Nations: Tsilhqot’in, St’at’imc, and Secwepemc.


  • 18 2
 oh That was well done. Makes me want to scan in pictures from the first time in the 90s riding these trails. The area hasn't changed that much but the bikes sure have!
  • 4 0
 Can beat those colors. Also couldn't agree more to taking less photos to create a higher percentage of quality images.

Love to know the film & camera setup. Lugging my f100 or 6x9 on the bike never seemed too practical. Looks like Fuji film if I was a betting man...
  • 2 0
 Looks like Fuji film - really hedging your bets there!
  • 1 0
 @pen9-wy: could you tell the difference between superia 100 and npc 160 after scanning and post processing? I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to make any of the various color negative films look exactly the same in ps.
  • 1 0
 @nedD: I was making a joke but WHO KNOWS. These are a little cooler images (still with clear whites) which is different than what I tend to see out of Portra. Most folks dont color correct color negatives much when they're going out of their way to get that unique "film" quality. That's the beauty eh? Out of the box, ready to roll.
  • 2 0
 @traildad69: I wasn't taking a shot at your comment. I actually agreed with your assessment that it looked like fuji film. pen9-wy's comment seemed to imply that it should be easy to tell the difference between the various types of fuji film, which I'm saying is not so easy with color negative film from the same brand.
  • 1 0
 @nedD: Someone's being sensitive. Aka me, I'm the sensitive one.
  • 2 0
 @traildad69: iso1600 high sensitivity
  • 2 0
 It's a tricky logic. I don't lust after film, digital seems to have so many benefits and very few downsides. Plus taking photos on film, then having to scan them so we can view them on the computer feels like owning LPs and burning them to mp3 so you can listen to them on your phone.. Anyway from a strictly amateur photographer point of view, I'd hate to go on a trip like this and find I hadn't taken the pictures properly or ruined a roll! I can also appreciate not have to weed out thousands of images with the burst capabilities of modern cameras.
  • 2 1
 people have been taking photos on film for a hundred years, if you know what you're doing it's very unlikely you will ruin any rolls
  • 2 1
 I've never found I've ruined a roll, and always take a 35mm with me on holiday - sometimes only the film cam to make me be more selective with shots. If you are in any doubt about whether the shots are coming out right just open the back to the camera and have a look, if the film looks all good then its probably working.
  • 4 0
 It's acceptable now to take French lines in the Chilcotins?

Stay on the trail! It's not that hard to do. This is wilderness backcountry not A Line.
  • 1 0
  • 4 1
 been there over 30 times and will be going till i can’t no longer ride.
Ride or die
  • 1 0
 Amazing to see, can't wait to get out there next summer.
All those dudes are a great time, great to see them in their "natural habitat"
  • 3 0
 Creepy mustaches...
  • 1 0
 This was rad - nice work.
  • 1 1
 I would like to view this on 35mm.
  • 1 0
 Who's the band?
  • 1 0
 Chill video
  • 1 0
 Very nice.
  • 1 0
 Sweet Power Trip hat!
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