DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

Mike Nyuis

For friends of Mike Nyuis,

The complete article from Snowboard Canada and a couple photos. Click the photos to download high resolution versions. (right click, save link as)

Dano

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Anywhere But Here

“We have to get out of town, man.” Jon Cartwright and I are talking on the phone on a rainy day in January. Every snowboarder knows that feeling of desperation when the conditions have turned to crap and there is no change in the forecast. Outside, it’s the third rainy afternoon in a row, and warm wet conditions are smeared all across my Internet weather sites. January started out with cold, snowy conditions all over the Pacific Northwest, but now, a week and a half into the month, the promise of a perfect January has passed into a soggy reality.

“Where are you thinking of going?” Jon asks.

“I don’t even care man. Europe, back East... Anywhere but here.”

“It’s still cold in Revelstoke and Nyuis built a cabin out there,” Jon tells me.

It’s all I need to hear. I immediately start to plan in my head how long it will take to get out of Whistler. “OK, we’ll leave tomorrow. Let’s try to be on the road by noon.” We spend the rest of the night on the phone putting together a crew. It sounds like everybody is on a mass exodus from the rain.

By three thirty the next day I am on the road, driving my truck with Jon Roth as co-pilot. Lukas Huffman has dumped a trip to California and is an hour ahead of us with Cartwright. Dave Short is driving up with filmer Ryan O’dowd and they will be somewhere between two and ten hours behind us.

-

“Even when I was dressing up like I was hip hop, I was still crying to my friends about girls.” Jon Roth is embracing his emotional side on the long drive up. We talk about the changing trends in snowboarding and how one person’s costume is another person’s real world. From the outside, it’s so hard to tell what is authentic and what is marketing. From the inside, the whole thing is as obvious as a narc at the school dance. Credibility is everything to pro snowboarders and there are daily conversations about who is faking it and who is a badass. Things don’t change much after high school in the snowboard world. This sport goes through long periods of slow growth, and then it seems like everything changes overnight. Suddenly everything cool is boring and there is a surge of new names and styles. Right now it feels like we are on the verge of change.

Roth is 22 now, has grown up snowboarding and struggled early on to fit in with the cool kids. At some point though he stopped trying to be like them and started just being himself and, as a result, “The Boy”—as he’s known to some of his friends—is turning out all right. Of our crew, Roth is the newest to backcountry freestyle, having only graduated from the park in the last couple years. The expense of sledding and a knee injury have kept him out of the game a bit for the last couple seasons, but now he is healthy and ready, and he is both nervous and excited about what is in store for us.

-

It’s windy, foggy, and wet but we’ve been making good time despite the weather. I slow to stop for a figure on the road waving a stop sign. As my window hums open, rain drops splatter on my face and neck. She is a big lady, smothered in many layers of clothes and she steps towards my opening window as the truck comes to a stop. She is wearing the orange vest of a road worker, but she looks like she would be more comfortable taking care of orphan animals for the local SPCA.

“I’m going to have to ask you how far you’re going.” she says.

I tell her that I’m meeting friends just this side of Revelstoke.

“Well I don’t know how far you’ll make it. The road is closed at Three Valley Gap”

There has been a huge avalanche on the Trans Canada Highway and it’s been closed all day, I tell her that I’m sure that my friend’s house is on this side of the slide.

“Well there is another roadblock about 20 kilometers up, at the truck stop, so you can tell them. I live the other way so I don’t know how far you’ll get.”

She’s not in the mood to argue with someone dumb enough to try to bullshit his way INTO an avalanche zone. I keep driving into huge wet flakes and fog. I imagine her going back to feed her kittens.

-

Mike Nyuis lived in Whistler for years and, like many people who live in a resort town, became disillusioned with the polished faux-reality and went out looking for something more. He has enjoyed some success acting down in Vancouver’s busy film scene, but he found something good out here in the bush, away from the crowds, in a little spot that gets snowed on more than just about anywhere else. So he built a cabin, bought some snowmobiles, and set out to explore the massive backcountry at his front door. Now he runs a tour company called Fresh Adventures, spends his summers chasing acting roles in the city, and spends his winters with a giant, shy husky named Nemo, chasing powder.

Mike’s cabin is on the wrong side of the second roadblock. Luckily it’s only two or three hundred yards past. The second lady at the second roadblock rolls her eyes when I tell her where I’m going. “Mike sure does have a lot of friends.” she says.

I grin at her and say, “He does tonight.” She lets me pass. I roll past a dozen or so semis parked for the night, waiting for the road to re-open. The normally sleepy truck stop will stay busy tonight

-

At about seven in the morning I wake to the sounds of new voices in the cabin. Dave and Ryan couldn’t find the place when they rolled in at four, so they slept in their truck as long as they could stand it. Ryan is recalling the horrors of waking up to a panoramic view of WAY too much of Dave’s anatomy as he was getting out of his sleeping bag. They stoke up a fire and warm themselves. We chuckle under our breath at their adventure. It’s lightly raining out so we all roll over and steal another hour of sleep.

When we finally get up it’s decided that we’ll head down to the truck stop for some breakfast. The road is still closed and the dozen or so Big Rigs have turned into fifty. The trucks are lined up like a train down the road and around the corner and fill the large parking lot at the truck stop. Truckers are packed into the restaurant, milling around by the pumps, flipping through cheap porn mags at the store newsstand, and generally doing whatever they can to waste time. We manage to find enough seats at a table with a couple three hundred pounders. Truck stops around the continent all smell the same: overcooked fryer oil and stale sweat mingle with burnt coffee grounds and waitress perfume. The background noise is a blue-collar symphony of low-grade racism and trucker stories. When one of the truckers becomes curious about us and strikes up a conversation, his language is all cursing and sexual innuendo. Cheap bigot jokes he’s told a hundred times. Making a trucker sit and wait is the best way to piss him off, and these men with their huge bellies and methamphetamine farts have been waiting for the road to open for half a day and a full night. Everything that comes out of their mouths at this point is a dare and—like any encounter with a wild animal—it’s best to keep quiet and back away.

Our waitress, Joan, could be anywhere from twenty five to forty years old and looks like she’s been bringing coffee to these monsters her whole adult life. She flashes an easy smile when she recognizes Mike. The service is surprisingly good considering how packed the place is, a testament to Joan’s experience, no doubt. We are almost disappointed when the food isn’t greasy, but actually really good. As time passes, the sky seems to become a slightly brighter shade of grey, so we finish up, buy gas for the sleds, and leave the truckers to wait for the avalanche to be cleared.

-

It’s an hour later now and Mike has stopped his snowmobile ahead of me on the trail and is waving frantically. I flinch for a split second thinking something is wrong. We’ve already had to stop twice for sled problems this morning. I press the kill switch and my machine grumbles quiet. “MOOSE!” Mike half shouts, half whispers. I don’t know how I missed it because it is huge and only sixty feet up the road. If you’ve never seen a real live moose in the wild, think Clydesdale, only twice as big, and perched on long gangly legs like a potroast on four chopsticks. It has been startled out of its moosey sleep by the racket of a pack of snowmobiles and is beating a clumsy retreat down the snowy logging road. As the rest of the boys catch up and stop, the moose disappears around a corner and we walk forward to check out the spot where he had been bedded down. It’s an (enormous) impressive impression in the snow. Moose are no joke. I decide to name him Milton. We pass Milton a hundred yards down the road as he is crashing into the forest. The guys bringing up the rear never see him at all but his tracks and scat are everywhere.

Soon we are swapping the logging road for single sled track, pushing forward into the clouds, hoping for a break. The snow is steadily improving but the visibility is not. In between clouds I get my first glimpse of this new place. A long ridgeline is dotted with cliff bands. I ask Mike if we can get there.

“ I guess,” he says. “But that’s nothing, really.”

Eventually we gain as much altitude as the weather will let us. The fog and snow join together to make an impassable white wall, so we regroup, practice some transceiver searches in a small meadow and play around on the sleds. Lukas and Dave get to the top of a nice face and each make some turns. There is plenty of terrain here, but plenty of snow too, making hiking slow going. We are running out of daylight and all the terrain within hiking distance will take too long to get on top of. Satisfied with our first look, we start the long ride back to the valley. Day one is chalked up to recon and the cameras stay in their bags.

As we leave the sub-alpine I take one last look back, just as the clouds split. A gorgeous orange glow is painted on a cloudbank behind a ridgeline causing us all to stop and look. It’s impossible not to smile. The orange deepens to a red and finally fades back to grey. The whole ride down I keep repeating in my head:
Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.

-

Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Grey sky at morning, snowboarders go back to sleep. Whatever—Who listens to sailors anyway?

-

By noon we’ve come to terms with a couple of hard facts:

  • The rainstorm that was in Whistler is now here.

  • There will be no sledding today. We need to find something to do.


The road is open at last, and the truck stop is mostly ours. We get the full attention of the staff today while we try to decide what to do. The world seems far away as we take our time with eggs and bacon and sausage.

Back at the cabin, a couple OF people fire up sleds to see what there is to be done near by. There is a gravel pit a couple hundred yards down the road and, after some careful consideration, the shredders decide that we could make a pretty cool hip/gap with a snowmobile tow-in. What else are you going to do? It takes half an hour to build and another half hour to get the track right on the inrun, and then Dave and Jon take turns launching into the mashed potato landing while Nemo chases them. Dave is having fun, chucking backflips, but the rain starts to come down hard and before long everyone is soaked. My cameras decide that it is time to take a break and we retire to the cabin for some “Big 2”(it’s a card game).

Card games can get pretty competitive.

-

The summer of 2003 was hot and dry in BC; the inevitable result of hot and dry in a province full of forests is fire. Forest fires hit hard and lasted long, some of them smouldering stubbornly through the fall, extinguished at last by winter snows. We lost over 330 homes and over 50,000 people were evacuated. In the end it cost more than half a billion dollars to fight the fires. It all sounds pretty bad, but there is a silver lining if you look hard enough.

A forest fire is a cataclysmic event, leaving in its path a wake of destruction. Where a forest once stood, all that is left is a collection of black tree trunks and soot. There is a really creepy dead feeling in a burn, it’s like traveling through some post nuclear landscape and it’s easy to feel isolated and odd. For a snowboarder though, this lack of branches means that more snow makes it to the ground, and what used to be a hillside covered in trees becomes a wide open glade, perfect for weaving through at high speed. It also makes sled access really easy.

-

Mercifully the clouds have broken and we are making our way through clearcuts, then forest, then burns, and into the alpine. Thank goodness Mike knows his way out here because it is easy to become disoriented. We are in and out of the fog and I can’t kick the alien feeling I get in the burns. Soon we are into good snow and everyone takes turns getting a few shuttle runs in after a few days without riding. Lukas is coming back from injury so he is taking it easy.

We find a nice little outcropping of rocks and set to work. Dave launches a method into a narrow landing, then Cartwright frontside half cabs a thirty footer. Roth shocks everyone by throwing a smooth frontside five off the same drop. He goes past the landing and doesn’t get his feet under him, but serves notice that he has left the park behind and is ready to take on the backcountry. Dave is landing everything he tries.

The clouds have been in and out all day, and at last they close in again. We are stoked to have some shots under our belt, and head back down. I almost run over on the logging road down. I still can’t get over the size of him. I let turn off my sled and watch him in the fading light. He watches me for a moment too, before turning and disappearing into the forest.

Back in the cabin the weather forecast is looking grim. Nobody is ready to turn our back on this place, but sometimes you just have to accept the cards you’ve been dealt and fold. We all plan to get back here as soon as possible to finish what we’ve started. I’m thinking maybe a month or so from now. Little do I know it will be a lot longer than that. Milton will have his logging road back for awhile. I wonder if he’ll still be guarding it when I get back.



PART TWO

It takes us three months to get all of us back out to Fresh Adventures together. Winter schedules clash and everyone has a hard time coming up with good dates. When we finally get back, Lukas is out, his season cut short by injury, and Annie Boulanger and Martin Gallant are in. It’s spring now, and we have to drive our trucks up long logging roads to get to the snow. It’s not long before we run into Milton again. Like an old friend greeting us he is waiting on the road. He turns and runs in front of the trucks for almost five minutes. We are driving a steady fifty kilometers per hour and Milton is leading us like a pace car. Ryan is hanging out the window of the truck, filming him from about ten feet away. When he turns off into the woods at last we stop the trucks and laugh for five minutes straight. Nobody has ever seen a moose running down the road leading five trucks filled with snowboarders before.

Accessing the alpine is a whole lot more challenging than before, we have to wait while government road crews repair washouts, and once we are on our sleds, we encounter long stretches of road where the snow has already melted, forcing us to ride over dirt. Snowmobiles don’t like riding on dirt. After the first hour my sled dies for no particular reason. One minute it’s running, the next minute it is dead. We suspect it is the computer, a suspicion that is proven the next morning at the repair shop. When your computer goes there is nothing you can do to fix it on the hill. After finding a decent jump and shooting awhile, I suck it up and we tow it out. I’m glad Cartwright was stomping sevens, because on this day I’m looking for some good news.

The second day seems like it may end before it even starts. At the end of a long stretch of snow, we come to a portion of the trail through a clearcut that has completely melted away. The spot where the trail was is vaguely visible but it is on a sidehill and snow machines aren’t made to sidehill on dirt. We send Mike walking ahead to scout where the snow begins again, and after some debate decide to actually build up the trail with logs, dirt and rocks until we can tug our sleds past. It is a long morning.

Once in the alpine it’s as if we’ve traveled in time back several months to winter. The snow is good, the terrain is amazing, and the only problem is that we’re running out of light. In the space of an hour we hit two jumps and scope several others. This place is a playground and these guys are professional kids. Roth shows off his amazing style while Martin, excited to be a part of the trip, hikes up a ridgeline to explore the steeps in between hitting the jump. Then on the way down he finds a burnt out log to use as a launch ramp. Just as he hits the peak the whole thing cracks and falls to the ground. He lands on his feet to the cheers of everyone.

The trip back down is less stressful now that we have a trail built in, but by the time we reach the trucks people are skeptical about coming back to this area. It’s not worth the cost of a blown engine to return tomorrow. Luckily Mike has another plan. On the way down Dave and Ryan almost run into Milton. He races ahead of them for a short while before launching off the side of the road into a creek. It’s dark and they can’t see him, but they hear him thrashing around. They have guilt written on their faces when they finally reach the cabin. “I think we killed Milton.”

-

Sitting around the campfire with a couple guitars and a bunch of friends sounds like a scene from a different story, but spring in BC is nice like that.

-

After our last two days, I’m nervous about what kind of crazy road we’ll have to drive up next. Mike isn’t giving any hints as we drive down the highway to the next zone. I ask him how often he sees other skiers and snowboarders out here and he tells me that nobody who sleds here regularly can ever remember seeing any. Ever. As we start to climb higher and higher towards the snowline, I am just waiting to see what crazy obstacle the mountain will throw at us, so when we arrive at the snowline without incident I am more than a little relieved. We unload and drive straight up a really good, snow covered road that takes us straight to the alpine like a snowy escalator. I’m no longer relieved; I’m shocked and elated. The alpine here is good too, really great terrain all compacted into a relatively small area. The kind of place I would create if I were making the perfect backcountry area. I see the most perfect flat top cliff I’ve ever seen, but it is already in the shade and will have to wait until next year. We fight the urge to race all over right away checking everything out, and set to work on a perfect blind stepdown. Dave goes first and throws a nine that gets away from him. It’s big and the landing is forgiving and we are all smiles. Well…everyone except for Dave.

Once again I’m stunned by Roth’s style. He makes a cab 5 Japan into the best trick ever. The months since we’ve been here last have given Roth some valuable experience and his sledding and backcountry riding are way more confident.

Cartwright has scoped some lines and, when we are done with the jump, he makes his way through a couple of tight chutes. Again we are losing light, and there still much more to see. It has become warm and the snow conditions are getting worse. In spring the snow can change in a matter of hours. We know that there will be no tomorrow for us to shoot and we decide that in the morning we will pack up and head home. Now that we’ve got a good grasp on this place nobody is too keen to leave it behind. Eventually we slowly start to make our way down. I stop for a second to check out a cool looking hip in the woods. It seems like the landing is too flat, but when the shredders check it, they are more than willing to give it a go. Anything to put off the end of this trip it seems. We dork around on the small jump, everyone having a good time in the late daylight. Cartwright pulls off his shirt and abuses the foliage with the tail of his board. Ryan takes a break from filming and hits the jump on Roth’s board. The session reminds me of the good times I had with friends when I first started riding. A bunch of friends hitting a fun little jump

As we hit the logging road on the way down, the sky erupts with fiery clouds.
Red sky at night, sailors’ delight. We stop for a few minutes and take it in. Too soon, the red ball of the sun dips behind the horizon and the moment is over. It’s a good ending to our trip, and to our winter. Somewhere in the woods, Milton the Moose is watching us, waiting for us to leave so he can resume his duties as guardian of these forests. “See you next winter Milton” I say to myself.

-dsp
Comments

The Grizzly bears of Tweedsmuir Park Lodge in Bella Coola, BC.

Hello friends,

I've been planning my trip to Bella Coola to see the grizzly bears for over a year. It finally happened last week and I'm here to share some photos and stories. I had to take a couple vacation days to make the whole thing work, so at 7AM on Wednesday morning, about an hour later than planned, we aimed the trusty Xterra north, destination; Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. We were staring down the barrel of a long drive and a lousy weather forecast but the thought of a bear encounter helped the miles fly by.

We arrived at the lodge around noon on Thursday after an overnight at the Nimpo Lake Resort. (Pretty nice, wish we had more time there) and after a delicious lunch we set off on our first activity, a 3 hour drift down the Atnarko River. We heard from all the staff about the dozens of sightings in the last 24 hours so I was half expecting to be greeted by grizzlies at the boat launch. As it turns out, we didn't see any for the first 2 and a half hours. But then, just as the rain started and we pulled out the Gore-tex pants, I heard a twig crack off on the left bank of the river, turned and saw a sow and three cubs emerge from the forest. Thus began a 45 minute encounter that saw two sows facing off across the river while we sat in between.

The drift provided our first glimpse at these huge animals and set the tone for the entire trip. At some point we stopped counting the bear sightings.

By far though, the highlight of the trip was a nature walk with Ellie Archer where we spent about a dozen heart-pounding minutes within a car length of a perfect grizzly.

There are words and there are pictures but the experience of sharing space with these animals is bigger than they can accurately portray. So let's just get to the photos.

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We arrived to typical BC weather after some of the driest weather on record. Still, the river was extremely low.
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Our first bears. The cubs huddled behind mom as she faced off with another sow.
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Teamwork. We called the big one "toughy".
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This was the second sow. She walked out into the rapids as we were already committed. She's looking back at her cub deciding what to do as we inch closer. She retreated back to shore before we got too close...
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Moments later she crossed the river and sniffed the wind.
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Deciding it was safe, she got back to fishing.
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This was our big beauty. S/he came down the same trail as us only meters away. We settled back and let her do her thing. So close. So amazing.
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She wasn't sure about passing us by and spent some time checking us out and making the decision.
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Usually, when I'm making a tough decision, I like to wrap my arms around a tree.

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After passing us S/he found a nice rock in the river to look majestic on.
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On the drifts, we had time to watch the dolly varden in the crystal clear river. They were all over the place, sitting behind the spawning salmon and feasting on any stray eggs. Bad shot, but my fishermen friends will appreciate it.
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We made our way to the end of the road to get a view of the ocean. It's beautiful country but the loss of their Ferry service will surely impact the tourist trade in their already struggling town. Kim and Garry take in the view and watch for slappy seals.
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Easily the best illustration I've ever seen on a "danger" sign.
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This is Clayton falls. It's named after my friend Clayton Larsen. At least that's the story I'm going with.
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Out here, there are stars. Out here we are small.
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As we're packing up, a sow and a cub give us one last show. This kind of access to wildlife is just unbelievable.
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A gift from the lodge. Safety first!

Thanks so much to Swede, Beat, Ellie, Rebecca, Tim, Amelie and all the staff that took good care of us. And remember folks, a long lens doesn't make you photographer any more than a laptop makes you an author. Getting the shot is never more important than being present in the experience and respecting the people that you're sharing it with.

If you like the shots, leave a comment, and if you want to have a great bear encounter, get your ass to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge.

D.
Comments

A Sims snowboard mystery is solved.

Hi friends,

Here's a little story for you for the long weekend.

Back in another life I was a pretty good snowboarder. More importantly, I was one of very few snowboarders who had a way to do it full-time. And I lived in the perfect place when the explosion of the sport took place. I sometimes hear about how lucky I was to get in so early, but by the time I started in December of 1987 I thought I’d pretty much missed the boat.

Still, within a couple of years I had sponsors and was traveling around to contests a bit, and more importantly going on “magazine trips” where we would travel with a photographer and a writer and someone from a magazine to take photos for a story in an upcoming issue. People these days like to talk about how Craig Kelly invented the freeriding pro, but there was already a whole culture of that in BC when he quit doing contests, maybe just not as successful as he was.

So in 1991 I was at the height of my “career” and was asked to come to Mammoth Mountain in California to do an on-snow board test for
Snowboarder Magazine. This was a time when one of the big brands, Sims snowboards, was going through some changes in their licensing and manufacturing. I’ll leave the details to those who were closer to it than I was, but the boards that Sims shipped to the board test were a weird grey model with the word “prototype” on the tail.

It was a great board. I may have given it the highest marks in the test, I’m not sure, but I do know that when we finished the test I asked the Sims people if I could keep it. Which was lucky, because soon after I started riding for Sims. Although those things weren’t really related. So for some reason I went home with the board and rode it through that summer. And I just grew to love it more and more. It had a crazy deep sidecut and huge camber, it was light and snappy, and it ripped.

Eventually I had to give it back. It was a prototype after all, and in the meantime Sims had formed a partnership with a manufacturer in Europe. I hated to return that board and before I sent it, I wrote on the nose “Dano wants this board” since I figured they wouldn’t be sending it back to the manufacturer. I hoped I had a shot of getting it back some day.

So the production boards came out and they had all sorts of problems. The fakie was delaminating like crazy and the rest of the line was super heavy with lousy shapes. I rode Sims for a while longer, but by the spring of ‘92 I’d started selling more photos and stories and that career path was becoming an obvious choice.

But I never forgot about that grey board.

When the internet started to become a thing, I would occasionally try to find pictures of the GSP, the Grey Sims Proto, but never found any. In fact, I never even found it mentioned anywhere. Board collectors didn’t talk about it, snowboard history dudes had never heard of it, in fact if I hadn’t gotten pictures published on it I might have thought I was making that board up.

Then a few weeks ago I got a message from my brother with a photo:

Tom Routh sent me this pic wondering if you knew anything about it.”

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And there it was. After over 20 years. Of course I started to ask questions. Tom had as many for me as I did for him. I gave him the history up until '91 and he filled in the missing pieces. The board, it seems, was one of just 4 that were made, possibly by Apocalypse, and they ended up back with Tom. So upon cleaning out Tom’s estate after his passing in September of 2012 the boards finally saw light of day.

While I was amazed to see that there was a surviving board, what Tom sent me next BLEW MY MIND! He figured that I would know about the board because this is what the board looked like when it came out of Tom’s storage:

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I was stunned, after all that time. My writing, stickers, everything. I looked like it had gone from the shipping box straight into the garage and nobody had touched it for 20 years.

GSP-sidexside

So it sounds like there are 4 of these boards left and Tom has the one that I rode, the others are with collectors. It’s so amazing to finally have the answers about this board after all this time. I’m saving up pennies to try to buy it back but I’m not a huge board collector and Tom really is, so maybe it’s best that it stays with him. At this point, maybe it’s just the story I want.

In any case, here are a couple shots that ran in Concrete Powder and Snowboarder Magazine on that board. Have a great day.

D.


1991-coc-concretepowder

1992_boardtest1

Thanks to Tom Routh, Brooke Long and Michael Hess for solving a mystery 20 years old.
Comments

South for the holidays.

Hi Friends,

It's been a minute or two since a blog post, largely because it's been a minute since I've had time to take a photo! However, eventually holidays are taken and this time they took us to Mexico. It's been a couple years since my old friend Mikee and his (now) wife Katy moved to Playa del Carmen and we've been threatening to visit ever since. We missed the wedding due to one of us becoming a Doctor (hint: it wasn't me) and it's taken us this long to finally get down.

Despite our rather shortsighted planning (people are really busy the week before Christmas, even when they live in Mexico!) Mikee and Katy welcomed us with open arms and cold beer. After a couple days of Playa del Carmen it became pretty clear that what we were looking for was slightly further south so we booked a last-minute room and hit the bus station.

Tulum is the kind of beach town I like, although you can tell by the cost of a room there that it's a bit of a victim of its own popularity. Nevertheless, we spent two lovely days and nights there capped off by a spectacular dinner at the Hartwood with Mikee and Katy.

So we're back to Canada in time for Christmas day with families and already planning the next trip. Thanks for all the hospitality M & K and Merry Christmas to all my friends. Here are some photos from the trip.

Dano.




Tulum 2013 - Images by dano pendygrasse
Comments

Camping with friends.

Hi Friends,

So it's been a month now since I started with Arc'teryx. I've been really busy there and haven't had a lot of time to update, but last week we went out on our annual trip for Kim's birthday and I had a chance to shoot some photos. We went with friends up to Big Bar Lake, north of Clinton and spent two nights camping. We then travelled a bit further north and spent a couple more nights at another lake that will remain nameless in this blog.

Did a bit a fishing, some walking around, some cooking and a whole lot of laughing. Good times, good friends. Here are some photos. Enjoy.

D.


mandatory stop at Joffre Lake on the Duffy Lake road

Big Bar Lake sunset

Colin Casting at sunset on Big Bar.

A cruising evening trout slurping.

Early to rise. Glassy before 6 AM.

Big Bar camp with Heather, Kim and Brian.

Oh deer...

Classic Thermos cooler from the past. Still works!

Let me axe you something

Classic Coleman twin burner.

Classic Coleman twin burner. In use.

Hellfingers.

Hellfingers.

Ran into a BC flyfishing legend, Joe Kambietz. Google "the squamish poacher."

Campfire Colin

Campfire

Campfire

Campfire

Campfire

Campfire

moonlight on the water through the trees.

boatride

boatride

classic skies on the interior plateau

A man, getting it done.

Tent flap view.

Rainbow

kicking around

After I caught this guy, I decided to stop taking fish photos since I forgot my net...
Comments

Megan Pischke fundraiser

Hi friends,

I had an amazing night last night attending a fundraiser for Boarding for Breast Cancer and specifically for Megan Pischke. The crowd was literally packed with good friends of mine from the last couple decades and I only had a chance to catch up with a few of them. I tried to take pictures of as many as I could, but missed plenty. Hello to all the people I saw across the room and never connected with. So lucky for the conversations with the folks I did get to share some time. If you are generous, you could do worse than to donate to this amazing woman.

D.


Mark Bannock is beardy

Alex Warburton

Dez Price

Eero Niemela

Gaetan Chanut

Dave Seoane

Sarah Tipler

Iikka Backstrom was in a buying mood.

Jessie Lu Galbraith

Paul Watt

John Scarth

Anthony Vitale

Stu Andrews had a baby about 24 hours before, but had to come up to MC. Lucky.

Dustin Craven was the most generous man of the night.

Love my brother.

Candice Drouin

Adam Levitt

Scott Birke

Annie Boulanger

Shin Campos

Chris Brown

DCP

Jibber

Natalie Langman

Wes Makepeace

Jeff Keenan

Logan Short

Nix

Casey Northern and Scott Sullivan!

Iikka and the Lady of the your, Megan Pischke

Mel Lawrence and Kevin Sansalone

My brother Garry and Martin Gallant

DCP speaks nice words to a nice crowd.

Craven wins the New Year's at Baldface auction for a billion dollars. Worth every dime.

Live painting.

Wes takes the stage.

Alison Pasemko, Andrea Cooney, Nicole Desmarais, Maria Brander-Campos

JF Pelchat

The extremely talented Anastasia Chomlack
Comments

Oliver and Osoyoos wine tour

WARNING: Lots of boring wine talk follows. If that kind of thing doesn’t interest you, scroll down to the pretty pictures.

Hi friends,

Spent the weekend with Babesy* at the Burrowing Owl Winery guest house in Oliver, BC. It’s about a 5 hour twisty drive over the Crowsnest Pass from Vancouver but we got to break it up with a stop in to visit my old friend Wes Makepeace at the family orchard/vineyard in Cawston. They have about 65 acres of Ambrosia apples, Viognier grapes and a whole mess more of things that grow on vines and trees. We took a quick trip on the atv up to the top of the property to check out the view. It was nice to see after hearing about over the years, and I finally got to meet the senior Makepeaces. Good times.

Then it was off to Burrowing Owl where we had reservations for two nights in the guest house. They run a top notch deal up there, beautiful room, great view, and for dinner, The Sonora Room Restaurant. Quick review: Top 5 meals of my adult life. They’re doing good things with a lot of local food and everything from scratch. We tried out some of their library wines (in this case the 2005 vintage) and then had a bottle of the 2005 Pinot Noir with dinner. I’d write more but you can read it on trip advisor. The server knew her stuff, was there when we needed and smiled a lot. Perfect.

That night there was a pretty decent thunder storm and we stayed up and watched the lightshow cuddled in the giant bed. The rain came in buckets, but didn’t last long.

In the morning we had breakfast at the guest house (delicious) and took a tour of the winery. It was just the two of us so it was really informal and I learned a lot about their process. Even if you don’t give a rats ass about wine making, the process is impressive. Plus I love giant stainless steel tanks, so there’s that. Plus they have a $40,000 dollar mass spectrometer. This ain’t my dad’s basement wine production...

After a walk in the vineyard where we got briefly caught in a downpour (thank god for that gazebo, it saved us) we were off to tour some of the other vineyards in the area. We had a couple places that we wanted to see but left the rest of the itinerary up to Natasha at Wine Tours Gone South. She’s quickly building a reputation for her inside knowledge of the area and she took us to the places we wanted to see as well as several we’d never heard of and would never have discovered otherwise. She’s a ten out of ten. I wouldn’t want to tour it any other way. We liked the Gamay and Mirage at Desert Hills, Tried the three offerings from newly opened Platinum Bench (so new that their website is still in Lorum Ipsum!) and then moved on to Quinta Ferreira. Our favourites there were the Obra Prima and a Rose that Babesy tasted every last drop of, the only wine that she finished all day.

Next we stopped at Church and State which could pass for a nightclub instead of a tasting room. The design and architecture are so modern that they really stand out but none of that really matters when you try their Quintessential. It’s a damn fine wine but at $50 it’s not fine enough for me to drop in on. It’s also the only winery that charges a tasting fee ($8). Luckily that was waived with purchase, but still, it sets a tone and speaks to their priorities. We liked the Meritage and it’s more reasonably priced.

After that we were off to Cassini Cellars. We don’t drink a lot of whites but the Mamma Mia Pinot Gris was the right combination at the right time of day and won us over. I’d been told about the Nobilus Merlot but sadly it’s sold out. The Maximus blend would have to fit the bill and after tasting the incomparable Moscoto I had to get that too. Then we headed a little ways north to one of the highlight wineries of the trip. Hidden Chapel is doing some really nice whites, but we’re not much for the whites, so we got into the reds and what a lineup of reds it is. The first one to get the check mark was the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was quickly equalled by the 2009 trilogy, and then the 2010 Soul Sister shut us down. Too many good reds to choose from and a really great price. Not to mention the wine is poured by a member of the family who has a real passion and isn’t just a hired goon. Hidden Chapel gets a thumbs up and a bunch of it came home with us.

That was enough for one day but we still needed to eat dinner so we made our way up to Terrafina at Hester Creek Winery. We drink Hester Creek pretty often at home so we weren’t too disappointed that the tasting room was closed by the time we got there, we’d heard good things about the restaurant and wanted to give it a try. The $24 price of the Antipasto platter should have been a hint that it was going to be a lot, but maybe we’d tasted a few too many vintages by then and our judgement was off. It was big, it was good and it should have served four. I had the Halibut which was also nice, if not a bit heavy on the anchovy butter, but after the Sonora Room dinner the night before, it was sadly overshadowed. The 2008 reserve Merlot was a good choice though.

Sunday dawned wet and our scheduled horse ride at Satary Stables was doomed. Not a total loss though as we picked up some cherries and strawberries. They’re really nice folks up there and we’ll have to rebate the ride next time we go up. Their neighbour was our last, and much anticipated, stop on the wine tour. Young & Wyse has become our favourite bottle at home and we we’re very much looking forward to seeing the place that makes the wine we love. In a downpour we pulled up to the tasting room and dashed through the deluge to get inside. Another group was already there on a Sunday morning and despite the weather everyone was in great spirits.

We were disappointed to find out that our favourite blend, the Black Label Collection 33.30.24.13 was sold out and we kicked ourselves for taking it for granted when it was so easy to come by just a few months ago. The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot are both top notch wines in their own right though and they made up the last of our weekend purchases. We bought both the 2009 and 2010 Merlot. We won’t take a Y&W wine for granted again. Even on a Sunday morning that familiar taste sets itself apart from so much of the wine we’ve tried. Fans for life.

So that’s it. We’re home, we blew the wine budget for the next several months, and we had the time of our lives. Now let’s see if I have enough willpower to actually cellar some of those bottles...

D.


* not her actual name.



Obligatory road sign shot.

The Makepeace spread.

Burrowing Owl in the middle of a sea of vines.

Stormy night.

followed by a decent morning.

Mmmmmmerlot.

Stainless. Primary fermentation.

Again.

Oh so much delicious wine.

It’s not a fancy instagram effect, it’s f1.4

Barrels cost between 600 and a thousand dollars. They have lots.

Presentation.

(sic)

Babesy goes walking.

Vines and more vines.

rolling hills of vines.

The hidden chapel. It’s real.
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The Sunshine Coast

Hi friends,

Just spent a lovely couple days on the Sunshine Coast. Haven’t had a walk through the woods with a camera in a while and I really enjoyed the chance to get close to the water. I love rivers. Had lunch at the mouth of Robert’s Creek at a lovely little park and then stayed at the Tuwanek Hotel. All in all, a couple of really good days to leave the computer off.

Enjoy some pictures.

D.


On the Ferry

signs

tideline

Robert’s Creek

The balancers have been here. Robert’s Creek

drift

dusty

Conversation.


Dalby

Kim and Shannon

Robert’s Creek

Robert’s Creek

Robert’s Creek

Dalby getting in my shot. Robert’s Creek

The trail in Cliff Gilker park.

Forest

Smooth

fiddle

Robert’s Creek

Red in the woods.



prop

sl. ug.
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update.

Hey friends,

Well, it’s been a long time hasn’t it? To say that my life has been going through changes would be an understatement! Without going into too much detail, last spring, after several challenging years, my personal life unravelled. It took a little time to put the pieces back together, but that’s what I’ve been up to over the last 12 months.

So if you’ve been following closely you may have seen some of my posts over at bneeth. I’ve been documenting the photographic transition I’ve been going through. Spoiler alert; there’s a happy ending, but you’ll have to follow along for a few more episodes before we get there.

Also I’ve been really active on Instagram lately. Check it out or add me @danopendygrasse. As always, you can check out where my head is at on Flickr.

I’ve mostly been busy with Monster Energy though, and that’s why my blog has been so quiet.

There is a really cool personal portrait project on the horizon and I’m looking forward to showing you some of the results. More and more it’s the kind of thing I want to be shooting. Well, that and the “walking around” shots. Here’s one now.

dano.

Comments

Back in BC. Out of the frying pan...

Hi friends,

Well life certainly doesn’t pull any punches when it wants to get good and busy on you, does it? 2 weeks ago I was sneaking a quick last dive in on the Cordelia Banks in Roatan, a week later I was looking at a contract with Monster Energy Canada, and a few days later I’m on a plane to spend the week with some of the best wakeboarders in the world on a 100 foot long houseboat. Ok... Meanwhile I am still trying to catch up with all the interesting opportunities that have arisen from the Cordelia Banks photos, which has been surprising but fantastic.

Here are a couple highlights from the week. I don’t shoot wake on the regular so I was trying to bring something different to it than what I see in the magazines. I didn’t come close to trying all the things I had in mind. Next time. The wakeboarders sure know how to have a good time. There were lots of late nights and fun stories. Having your own Chef and Mixologist doesn’t hurt either...

Next, I’m catching up at home for a bit and then trying to sneak a day of flyfishing in before Crankworx and Monster Energy week at the Camp of Champions. Doesn’t look like life will be slowing down anytime soon...

Enjoy,

Dano.


supplies, part one.

supplies, part two.

das boat.

Gettin’ warmed up. Shane Bonifay.

Craven along for the ride, doin his best impression of Huck Finn.

Waterslide action.

Henshaw goes off the top rope.

Shane, method style.

Splashing about.

Mel and Tom watching Bob.

Mel getting some.

Bob spinnin’ and flyin’.

Tom.

Henshaw.

Shane.

Shawn Watson.

Parties are always better when Darryl is on board.

Henshaw again.

Balzer with a little balance beam over a creek.

Balzer on the wake skate at dusk.

wildlife

Sonni on the tow boat.

Shane staying warm.

Dusty air to body jar on the rail.

Shane’s method.

Nicest guy you ever wanna meet, Tom on the last morning.

Balzer watches Dusty’s pass.

Balzer sneaks one last run in on the wakeskate.

The man, the myth, James Balzer.
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back in the water.

Hello friends,

Made it to Roatan in one piece. It’s hot, the bugs are bad and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Reunions are good and it’s great to be around friends all day. Got the rig underwater yesterday and put it through its paces. Didn’t see too much but it’s nice to just be getting it dialled in. That’s the plan this month, to shoot as much as possible underwater until the big new rig is second nature to use. Thanks to the crew at Reef Gliders who are taking good care of me.

Here are a few. They should get better as the summer goes on.

d.


White wire coral shrimp. These guys are so hard to shoot.

Grouper gets a cleaning by some gobies.

Goldentail Moray eel.

Angelfish takes a turn.

Spotted Moray eel.

Giant hermit crab churning up a sandstorm.

Mantis shrimp peers out of a little crevice.
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What is Technophobe Tuesday?

What is Technophobe Tuesday?

I didn’t invent unplugging from social media. I’m not trying to start a revolution but recently I’ve felt the need to take a social media break.

A little background: My involvement with social media all started with Snowboard.com (RIP), a website that, before Myspace, Facebook or Twitter, was a really big and vibrant community of snowboarders who interacted online. It was a really good prototype for what was to come but it was niche oriented and as a result everyone had something in common. (I kinda miss that model actually) I “met” people from around the world and it was a good way to promote my photography. Then Friendster showed up. You remember Friendster? No, I don’t really either, but I was on there for a couple years. At least until Myspace showed up. That was pretty much the nail in the coffin of Snowboard.com

When I worked for
Future Network we were encouraged to have a big online presence for the good of the brand and that was when I started blogging, mostly just about the magazine, and spent time almost every workday on Myspace too. I learned right around then that some of the photographers I dealt with only communicated through their myspace, (and/or facebook) page. Weird.

Then I shifted gears and built my own website. Joined
Facebook soon after. Transferred to a blogger account. Quit Myspace. Started Twitter. You see how it goes.

Even though I joined a long time ago I only really started using Flickr recently and it’s actually way more interesting that I thought it would be. And then there is Vimeo…

Ok, so at this point I’m simply too deep into “online” and it’s got me by the throat, I feel like I NEED to stay on top of it to stay productive and not to be left behind.* I’m the kind of person who gets a tiny bit of satisfaction from seeing my ideas get passed on, who likes when he is “liked” and who occasionally analyzes his self-worth with Google analytics. That’s how I know I’ve crossed a line. These are not real things.

I also spend time in places that aren’t particularly Internet friendly but are hugely interesting in the real world. I was in
Roatan for six weeks this summer. How many blogs did I write? Zero. Did I survive? Of course I did.

So just to give myself a break the other week I started “Technophobe Tuesday” which simply means that I didn’t log into Flickr, Facebook or Twitter all day. Simple right?

Actually yes. It’s just that simple.** The logging off is the easy part. But if you work online all day you might find the next part more difficult because inevitably in the course of the day, you become bored, distracted or curious. If you are curious like I am, the Internet could be the worst thing that ever happened. And the best thing. I can become curious about
anything and feel the need to know everything about it. This is bad. I can stay up till the sun comes up researching obscure punk bands or the physics behind lens optics, or nudibranchs, or…anything. The Internet has made me want to know everything.

It’s not working.

Cutting out the social media doesn’t solve all this, but what it does do is remind you how much it’s become a part of out day-to-day lives. How faux-connected we feel all the time despite the fact that we are spending hours alone. When you can’t share interesting and funny things with your online community, you find something else to do. So it’s a start.

The standard I set to decide if my Technophobe Tuesday was a success was whether I was more productive, (I was) and whether I felt like I missed out on important business (not so much). I also caught up on all the outstanding social media threads in about 30 minutes on Wednesday.

So I called it a success. The next week I changed and did it on Thursday, and I recruited a friend to try it out. He emailed me before noon to say, “This is hard”. And he was right, it is hard. It changes a routine we’ve become comfortable with and as humans we don’t really like to change our patterns.

But I’m doing it anyway. This week I’m doing it on Tuesday and Thursday. I’m not trying to change the world, but I’m changing mine.

Give it a try.

d.

*This is utter horseshit.

**If you are reading this thinking “well I go days without logging onto any of those things”, then you aren’t like me and this blog clearly doesn’t apply to you. Congratulations.

Comments

This week.

Hi friends,

Here’s a little update of what’s going on in my world in the second week of December, 2010.

I’m back with Monster Energy Canada working on media and events for the winter season. The big event at the 2011 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival will be all new this year and I’m pretty excited to be building up something that will stoke everyone out. Details to come in the new year.

In case you missed it, I’ve been the guest editor of VancouverIsAwesome.com’s Daily Flickr photo for the last 3 months. It’s been very cool to see some of the great photos that come out of Vancouver and taken as a whole, the collection is pretty amazing. It would make a great coffee table book actually. I’m coming to the end of my stint with them since winter work is getting busy, but the passing of the torch will bring a new set of eyes to the process, which is good. VIA is currently raising funds, they are a great organization and if you’ve enjoyed any of their city coverage it would be nice if you could donate. I’ll continue to be involved with them in any way I can so stay tuned for some new ideas in 2011.

I finally caved and made a “Dano Pendygrasse Photography” facebook page that is separate from my personal page. It will take awhile to migrate people across but I’m going to keep the photo stuff on the photo page and the personal stuff on the personal. Right now I have about 1500 friends on my personal page and 150 on the photo page which is about completely backwards, but hey...

We were in Whistler for Mat the Alien’s birthday this week. A bit of a bender at Sushi Village and then on to Maxx Fish. It’s been awhile since I went underground in Whis. It’s dangerous.

Work continues on the Paul Brunes Young Heart Foundation. After we lost Paul last spring there was much discussion about how to make a difference in the lives of people with heart rhythm disorders. This partnership with UBC and VGH is trying to put into place resources for professionals who work in the field. Precious little is done for young people with heart disorders and many go undiagnosed. For people like us, the first sign of a problem could be the last, and if you are young, you can easily slip through the cracks. Please consider a donation or join the Cause page.

I’ve done some reorganizing of my Photoshelter account. I still haven’t used this site up to its potential. It is an incredible resource and I wish I could have all my photos up there. I keep plugging away at it but for now it’s incomplete. It sneaks a little revenue into my life too, so that’s nice. Check it.

I’ve been throwing a lot of my day to day shots on Flickr lately. I like that I can only ever have 200 shots at a time up there so I’m always weeding out some of the least successful ones and the best ones stay. You can add me as a friend on there if that’s your thing. Here are a couple of my favourites from the last little while.

D.










Comments

2010 Whistler opening day

Hi friends,

Snuck up to Whistler for opening day today. Harps from Monster and a couple of his good friends grabbed me and Smiley before the sun rose and we trucked it up. Made good time, hit the hill and managed to find most of the best snow on the mountain. Ran into a bunch of friends along the way. Opening day always has such a great vibe.

Here are some people I saw.

D.


smiley before dawn

first view of the peak

the posse

looking back at Dave Murray rollers. They were good.

DCP was there.

So was Romain

Picard wears this sweatshirt every opening day. It’s an autographed photo of him shredding. Awesome.

Stubbs was up in it.

Mike D has been skiing all week so opening day is no big deal for him...

Rencz and J-Bone at Dusty’s

wings

Browner and Craven working on their mustaches.

Then Browner grabbed my camera and took this gem!
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A week in Belize with Sun Dancer 2

Hello friends,

I’m just back from a week in Belize aboard a fantastic liveaboard dive boat called the Sun Dancer 2. The flagship of the Dancer fleet, the Sun Dancer 2 runs out of Belize City and spends the week hopping from site to site along the mesoamerican barrier reef and exploring some really pristine reef systems, much of them protected and part of a UNESCO world heritage site.



Close friends of mine will know that we’ve had a tragic year and this week away was very much what we needed at the end of an emotionally exhaustive stretch. This trip would have already been great, but that fact that the captain and hostess are Simon and Andrina made it even better.

I spent a week diving these waters in 2006 and was looking forward to getting another look at the reef. It’s very similar to what I know in Roatan, but it gets less traffic and has some creatures that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. I can’t recommend these guys enough, they are so quick to take care of every need, the food is great, and some of the best diving in the Caribbean is right under your bunk.

I finally housed one of my Nikons after years of messing around with point and shoot cameras underwater. It’s bigger and heavier, but it does the job a hundred times better.

Here are some shots.



Captain Simon. Hold his nose and air comes out of his ear...



Some really nice staghorn coral.




The spotted toadfish is endemic and found nowhere else. It took me until the last night to see him though!



First time I’ve ever seen a Spanish Dancer.



This funny little guy is called a Goatee blennie. Another first time creature for me, they are extremely reclusive and rare to find.



Fringe backed nudibranch.



This is the second Viper Moray I’ve ever seen and the first I’ve ever got a shot of.



Gorgeous little filefish.



Andrina underwater...



Andrina waiting on the stern.



Tiny little brittle star.



Reef Squid at night.



Octopus at night.



Pushing the limit of my 60mm macro.



Pedersen’s cleaner shrimp.



Horse eye jacks lived under the boat all the time.



an eagle ray.



Nice walls and fans.



Damn lionfish.



Cave full of silversides.



Sponges.



Horny.



Relaxed.



Night stingray.



I’m a fan of fans.



The housing gets a rest.

D.
Comments

Fishing again. The Skagit.



Since moving to Vancouver my fishing has suffered. In Whistler I used to pop out to the lake several times a week, and hit up the rivers fairly often as well. Vancouver was intimidating. Where to go? How could I fish without going shoulder to shoulder with the crowds of tin-chucking meat harvesters? I don’t keep fish often, it’s a pain in the ass to clean, carry and care for them and the truth of the matter is, I’d rather fish for a big trout in a catch-and-release only stream than a million average trout in an overstocked put-and-take fishery. But that’s me, I don’t judge.

Last week I finally got out to the Skagit. To say that it’s “local” is a bit of a stretch, the drive is over 2 hours from downtown. In fact, I could probably get to the Birkenhead faster, but I’m looking for new water and the Skagit is that. Plus I went with Jon Cartwright and he’d spent a productive day there last year, pulling decent fish on the dry fly, so I wasn’t going in completely blind.

First of all, this is some beautiful water. Right now you can wade it everywhere, there are perfect deep holes, riffles, undercut banks and best of all, fish. Almost right away we started to see big silver flashes in the deeper water. Like, BIG flashes. That and lots of surface action. Then I started turning over rocks and what I found blew me away. Huge mayfly nymphs, massive cased caddis, and lots of stoneflies. Eventually I found one of the biggest I’ve ever seen, almost two inches long!

There were a few fishermen and women around but people moved frequently and we never felt crowded. The rainbows here are as cautious as they are plentiful. I found a noticeable difference in my luck when I switched up and fished 5x tippet after a relatively slow patch with 3x fished wet. We had luck on dark stone nymphs, not so much with the golden stones that had been recommended and all sorts of dries. At first we concentrated on elk hair caddis, but after we started to see more mays coming off, we moved to green, yellow and black humpies and had the most action. Really pretty rainbows between 12 and 14 inches were the order of the day.

Near the end of the day I got too curious about those big silver flashes and put a big black bead head leech on my sinking line, dropped it into a deep slow running hole and waited. A minute later as I slowly retrieved I felt a heavy weight. At first I thought I had bottom, then the bottom did a head shake and I knew I was into something better. I could tell pretty quickly that I was into a Dolly. He took a few sharp runs but mostly just bulldogged me and worked his way into the current whenever he could. On the 5 weight, he was a perfect fish. He measured out just over 18 inches when he finally gave up and showed off his vibrant peach-coloured spots and flashy sides. He was a little skinny, but clean. From the flashes I saw, I’m pretty sure that he was small to average, I’d wager there are some of his far bigger brothers in there too. But that’s for another day.

So I’ve got a little gem in my pocket now, I’ve seen some beautiful water, not too far from home, and am looking forward to learning more about this beautiful river.


First look

First fish on a black nymph

Jon tests the banks

A small stone nymph. The huge one I found was a little too active for a photo.

Jon releases a bow.

and casts for another one.

Under these rocks, lots of fish food.

The dolly.

Full length.

End of the day.
Comments

Vancouver is Awesome.



Hello friends,

Followers of the blog will probably know that I have spent quite a bit of time away lately; Honduras and Sweden have taken a couple month chunk out of my summer and a little time in Arizona rounded out a lot of travel. But now I’m home. I’m committed to a year in Vancouver. No taking off to go dive for a month. No galavanting with foreign friends in far off lands.

So I need a job. And until that happens, I found something else to keep me busy. The other day, my favourite website picked one of my photos for their Flickr photo of the day, which is always cool. The very next day this notice showed up in the place of the daily Flickr photo. I thought to myself; “Well that seems right up my alley. I’m a photographer, I’ve been a photo editor...” So I shot Bob a note, and here we are, a few days later, and me with my first pickr, from flickr.

I’m going to be doing that for the next 3 months and I’m looking forward to seeing a ton of photos, but I want to encourage all my Vancouver friends who aren’t part of the Vancouver is Awesome flickr pool to join and submit some photos. Be part of the best website in the city.

Enjoy your labour day!

D.

PS: I caught this Dolly Varden in the Skagit River on Friday. It was around 18 inches and super clean.

Comments

Granville Island


The other day we took the aquabus down False Creek to Granville Island for breakfast. As it turns out, almost everyone who serves breakfast there stops serving it at 11 o’clock, so if you’re thinking of going for brunch, you might end up having lunch instead. We had blueberry crepes though and they were delicious. We also found out later that the food place in the net loft serves breakfast all day. So now you know. Here are some shots of things from Granville Island.

I’m in Sweden for a couple of weeks. I’ll put up some photos soon.

D.


The aquabus arrives.

Sylvie is very excited about the aquabus!

crepes. mmmmmmm.

conversation.

happy sausage. mmmmm.

stuffed peppers. mmmm.

fresh new potatoes. mmmm.

a big stack of cherries. mmmmmm.

prawns! mmmmmmm.

carrots

fresh salmon!

desert.

amazing looking tomatoes.
Comments

Sound System


I have cool friends. Stylish friends. Amazing and interesting friends that make me look like pretty much of a shlub in comparison.

The other day we went over to my friends Semele and Bruce's home for an afternoon cocktail before heading out for a sushi dinner. They have taken a typical vancouver box house and turned it into a beautful example of good design and impecable taste. When we got there some surfy acoustic bliss was coming out of this stereo record machine. Sounds as good as it looks and made for a perfect soundtrack for Sem's spur-of-the-moment blender drink creations.

Good times, good company, summer...real nice.

D.

Comments

Cirque de Soleil Kooza in Vancouver

So the last time that La Cirque de Soleil set up across the street from us, we looked at the tents for a month or six weeks or whatever and barely discussed going to the show. After it was gone we kinda slapped our heads and said "What the Hell were we thinking?"

La Cirque is back with a show called Kooza and this time we're not going to miss it dammit. However, our tickets aren't until we're back from sweden so I'll have to wait a few weeks. Until then, here is a review and some photos that I've taken in the last few days. The tents are so big and distinctive that they are hard to miss on our daily walks. I've yet to really get a shot that I like but will continue to snap away.

D.



The inside of BC Place and the cirque tent and our building

In tents, Intense.

La Cirque with no Soleil.

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Hastings park for Wiener races



Yesterday was the second annual Hastings Park Wiener Dog races. Louise was a little young for them last year, but this year she was ready to go. After an extensive training program (4 days of running from one parent to the other in the park) she was ready to test her skills against some of the finest racing dachshunds on the planet. Or at least the 64 who bothered to sign up in time from Greater Vancouver.

Right out of the gate she was flying, until she noticed that there were 6 other dogs behind her, so she slowed to take a look at them all. That's right about the time that she noticed Max, a good looking chocolate dapple, making a break for the finish line. She hit the gas and almost caught him at the wire, but had to settle for second.

So Louise didn't advance to the final, but she did show a lot of promise and flat out speed. If she can focus next year, I think she might take it.

Our friend Nancy has a little video of the race. From her angle it looks like Weezy caught up and won. It was that close.

D.


That is one good looking racing dog.

I took a t/s lens with me. (No I didn't).

In the gate and ready to rip.

So right here is where she got a little sidetracked. "Hey, what are all you guys doing back there?"

I was so excited that I stopped looking through the viewfinder and just let the camera rip. Focus/shmocus.

Actually, the sound of pounding hooves is really soothing.

I don't bet on the ponies.


The winning form of Joey. Two years running.

Next year Louise will have some training behind her and give him a run for his money. Or not, whatever she feels like...
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A little fishing trip

After 6 weeks diving I came home to no obligations and a fierce need to go fishing. I unpacked for a week and caught up on some things and then called my old friend Rob from Whistler Cigars.

Me: "hey buddy, I'm thinking about trying to sneak away for a few days of fishing"

Rob: "I'm leaving Sunday at 6 AM with a couple friends..."

Me: "Done and done!"

So a couple days later I'm driving with my oldest friend up to a lake that we haven't been to together in about ten years. I'm writing a little story about the trip so I'll keep it short, but here are some shots from the trip. Enjoy.

I've been off blogging for awhile, but I'm back in the groove folks. You'll be seeing lots more from me again.

D.

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Sunrise at 5:45 in Whistler.


flybox full of options

pumping the stomach to find out what they are feeding on.

Chironomid fishing is a patient business.

Misty evening sunset fishing.

Rainy and cold in July.

And even some damn snow.

A boy and his dog.

Hydration is essential...

...as is proper nutrition.

Neon green sunset forest. Notice the Beetle-killed pines?

This is what it's all about.
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Monster, Nike, Olympics, History, Keynotes...just a normal couple weeks.

What a crazy couple of weeks.

It goes without saying, but during the Olympics the eyes of the world were on Vancouver. There was so much going on that it was almost impossible to keep track, so here is a little wrap-up of the projects I was involved with.

I worked with Monster to put on a series of parties at Grouse Mountain, the highlight of which was Live Transmission. It took place the night of the Men's halfpipe contest and featured Mixologist Darryl McDonald from Port Restaurant in Toronto creating adult beverages from behind a custom ice bar, and Chicago MC Kid Sister who blew everyone away with her set.




Over on Mt. Seymour, I was working with Nike 6.0 to document the installation of their "Greatest Hits" park. The idea was to give locals a place that they could hit up some really iconic urban jibs in one setting. the 6.0 crew did an amazing job on recreating a version of the Quebec Red Ledge a few weeks ago, and then smack dab in the middle of the Olympics they unleashed a perfect replica of the infamous Burlington double set that has been featured in shred flicks for years. With the video I set out to do an opening segment that could be mistaken for a true urban setup, and then reveal it to be part of the greatest hits park. Since a couple Olympians dropped by we had a ton of issues with clearance, but eventually it got done and released. I like the opening. We did a ski and a snowboard edit, here is the ski edit.



I spoke a bit here about the Aries 2010 project that I was involved with, that took place right in the middle of all the Olympic madness as well. Here is a shot from Trevor Graves, and the video of the project. I can't say enough about being able to speak at this event, the people involved are just so top notch and the idea behind it is overdue. Thanks Trevor for thinking of me.





I also managed to sneak in some actual Olympics. In fact, I was somehow lucky enough to attend the single biggest hockey game of my lifetime, the Canada vs. USA gold medal game. I've never been so consumed with a sporting event. As someone who came a little late to hockey fan-dom, I have certainly embraced it now. There are some shots on my flickr, and here are a couple to tease you.


Faceoff

Team Canada sings the anthem

crosby waves the flag

And now it's on to the Grenade Games. You'll start seeing more from me on that by the end of the week. Stay tuned...
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The Nike and Nemo Aries 2010 project

A few months back my old friend Trevor Graves from Nemo asked me to be involved with a project that he was putting together. It's called Aries2010 and it is a time capsule to chronicle historical artifacts from the progression of snowboarding. At first he just asked me to submit some photography, which of course I was happy to do, but as the date of the opening reception came closer he asked if I would be a keynote speaker with Legend Terry Kidwell. That was an easy decision despite the fact that I've been underwater with other projects in the run-up to the Olympics.

As I walked in the door last night I began to understand the scope of what Trevor had undertaken. He spent months talking to many of the players and original characters from snowboarding and collecting many of the most significant bits and pieces of detritus from our culture. There are more memories in that room than you can imagine including many prototypes of influential boards, boots and bindings. Obviously it's not all going to fit into the Aries capsule, but everything has been documented and will be included as well as some select items.

I was honored to say a few words and show a quick slideshow that did its best to shed some light on my perspective of the history of Canadian snowboarding, but I was most honored to be able to introduce Terry Kidwell. His influence on snowboarding can't be understated. He was a critical participant in the design of the first kicktail that ushered in the concept of riding both ways on a board, and then he took that design to the hills and basically invented freestyle snowboarding. Terry never made a fortune from his snowboard career so he's auctioning some of the most photographed boards in the history of snowboarding. A semi-tragedy that is all too common with athletes in young sports. I know he appreciated the turnout last night and young shredders and pros alike were literally lining up to shake his hand and let him know how big a deal he is to them. I saw more than one person stand speechless in front of him.

Here are some photos, I wish I had more time too shoot but I was kept busy most of the night. The whole set is on Flickr. My pal Mark Gribbon shot the photo wall all night and you can see those shots here. If you can get your hands on the Aries book, it is a remarkable document and will be going in my permanent collection. (Right next to Out West, which I gave out quite a bit last night too) If you are in Vancouver before the 19th you pretty much have to go down to the Boardroom and check this out. the closing reception is on Friday and the always entertaining Ken Ach will be speaking.


Trevor's "misty cam". Many photogs in the mid 90's would have given a digit to see this little number.

Trevor and Ken Achenbach in front of the actual capsule.

Shaun Palmer's infamous gold victory suit.

Ken Ach checks out the Kidwell quiver. The best snowboard shots of the 80's were taken on these boards.

John Kamitakahara is a long time Vancouver snowboarder, photographer and unintentional archivist. He was stoked to meet Kidwell.

Annie Boulanger is Rider of the year. What you know bout dat?

Terry talks to a rapt audience.

Former SBC editor and current Push.ca editor Matt Houghton with legend Chris Nicholls.

Kidwell and Kevin Sansalone compare notes.

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Back from Maui, on to the real world.

Back from my trip to Maui to celebrate my one year anniversary. We had a great 10 days in the sun and spent most of it underwater with our friends Gabe and Sarah. The highlight of the week, aside from the obvious milestone of the first year of marriage, was spending 15 minutes around 85 feet underwater with 30 foot long whale shark. This is the biggest fish in the ocean and for most of us, a once in a lifetime experience. Having spent a bunch of time in Utila, my wife T had snorkeled with Whale Sharks on numerous occasions, but to be deep underwater with one, and have it hang around, is rare and we are still amazed by our luck. I didn't have an underwater camera rig on this trip so you'll have to settle for the flickr group that was taken by our divemaster Joe. Thanks to Ed Robinson's dive operation, this is the second year we've done our boat dives with them and they are a solid operation with great people. We did around a dozen shore dives over the course of the week too, and we rented our tanks from B & B scuba in Kihei. They're a really great shop and nice people who took care of us last year and again this year.

For my scuba geek friends, you'll be stoked that we saw over a dozen different nudibranchs, some of which are unnamed and still unknown, eagle rays, more turtles than you could count, huge and tiny scorpionish, devil, leaf, and more, tons of frogfish, one of them even freeswimming, lots of whitetip sharks and some grey reef sharks, that I missed but everyone else saw, tons of different eels including dwarf, whitemouth, yellow margin, zebra and tiger moray, and just about every tropical fish you can imagine.

Here are some shots from the trip.

D.


The "Sea Spirit", our trusty ride.

Kits on board.

Sunset from Wailea

Part of a beautiful drive on our way to a remote shore dive.

On our way to the Mala ramp shore dive.

Rays over the water, rays under the water.

Lahaina

Legendary Hawaiian diver Ed Robinson.
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Home. Finishing some things and starting some others.

"Whoa. Are you still here? Wow. Nice to see you. Me? I've been away. In Roatan, Honduras. Ya, there was a "coup". Big Earthquake too. How big? 7.1! I know, it was crazy. Well, between that and the swine flu scare the tourists pretty much stopped coming. Ya, that's why I'm on my way back to Vancouver. Just in time for the salmon in the rivers and the leaves to change colour. I'm hoping for an indian summer, I love Vancouver in September.

Pictures? Sure, I took some. Not as many as i would have liked, the divemaster training kept me from shooting much and then I started to work leading divers and couldn't take a camera along. Ya, it was a bit of a bummer, but I was happy for the chance to get some experience.

What now? Well I have a couple of interesting job offers and it's an Olympic year so there will be lots of things to shoot, but truthfully, I'm mostly just looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and catching up with friends. Yes, of course I'll start writing regularly again. Having reliable electricity and internet makes blogging a lot easier.

Well thanks, I'm glad to see you again too. Talk soon."




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bad reason to travel

I'm back in Vancouver for a week on an unscheduled break from summer in Roatan. A few days ago our dog Willamina was poisoned and after 10 agonizing hours died in our arms. She was an innocent victim of some local kid's vendetta against a Rottweiler. 6 dogs died within 24 hours from this little prick's poison. There is a special place in hell reserved for assholes like that and I truly hope he dies slowly, painfully, and in view of his loved ones.

It's hard not to lash out at the place and culture that took our girl from us but we're determined not to. Bad things happen everywhere and we're not immune here in the first world. In fact we'll be back in Honduras by Friday and that will help us to start to put this behind us. Besides, Will is there and so it will always be a special place to us.

I don't have a lot to say right now, precious little about photography, but if you haven't hugged your dog lately, or your family, or friends, go do that now. Things change fast, and when they do, the biggest regrets are the little things we failed to do.

D.


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Back in Roatan

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been in Roatan for a week now, took about half that to get my bags, battled off the dreaded "roatan gut" for a few days and then got down to business. I'm doing my divemaster training with Reef Gliders and have started to wade through the thousands of pages of reading and tests, but still have managed to sneak in a few dives. I always like to shoot at El Aguila, it has lots of cool lines and as I learn how to shoot underwater better, it's a good baseline to judge myself against.

Yesterday on the first dive, I was shooting a photo of a turtle passing me by when I heard Barry banging away like mad on his tank trying to get my attention. Barry isn't really one to bang his tank a lot, so I figured something exciting was going on. As it turns out a big green Moray Eel had snuck up behind me and was biting my fin! Never had that happen before! When I got back to the shop and looked at my photos I saw him sneaking up on me in the background of this shot.


Sneaky Green Moray Eel and turtle.


Just blowing bubbles.


A diver on the wreck.


Goldentail Moray's are my favourite eel around here


And finally a flamingo tongue.

It's a little tough to keep up with the blog here, the power still goes out pretty much once a day, the internet is painfully slow and I am kept really busy with the DM course, but I'll try to get something up at least once a week, hopefully more. I'm going to try to get photos up here as often as I can too, so check it out if you like.

Cheers,

d.
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Going away presents

This week I was in at the Monster office saying my goodbyes when Libby asked about the going away presents. Now I've always thought that when someone leaves a job, the people at that place of work have a "going away party" or give that person some sort of "gift" as a token of their friendship and appreciation. It turns out that I was wrong. Dead wrong.

"Where are our presents?" Asked Libby. You see, what I didn't know, (and suspect that Libby didn't until it came out of her mouth at that very moment) was that at the Monster office, when you leave you are obligated to GIVE presents.

Well I thought about sending a fruit basket, I trolled around Home Depot looking for something funny (to which Libby replied; "New rule: no Home Depot presents") and eventually realized, with 3 dollars left in my pocket, that the best present I could give is the gift of memories.

Here is a little photo essay of our trip to lunch one day. There is a restaurant down on East Hastings that offers steak for less than 10 bucks. I've always looked at it and wondered "who goes there? It looks so sketchy." Well now I know who goes there: Friends.


Hand painted signs are the best. Is that the best bull ever?


Oh so THIS is where friends meet.


This is the sign that always had me wondering.


MMMMMMMMM. Multi and Tasty.


Oh I shouldn't.


The proprietress


Dave and Paul map their culinary attack


These live on bulls.


The view.


The meal.


Libby likes?


Let's just drop off some cards. Notice the No LImits in there?


Uh. We're done.


And then there was weird homeless sex acts on the way home.


You're welcome. And I'm out. I'll miss you guys. Best crew ever.
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crash

Earlier this week I drove to Whistler early one morning to shoot some park. You can watch a video of that day here. On the way up, past Squamish, in the Cheakamus canyon I was the 4th or 5th vehicle at an accident scene. As I dove up I saw the highway was blocked by a pickup truck that had been dumped on its cab. Two people were taking the driver out and then took her (I think) to the barrier where they were attending to her. She walked away from this.


Motorists attend to the victim of an early morning accident on Highway 99 north of Squamish, April 7, 2009.

She was taken care of and I was late, so after I saw that I couldn't be of any assistance I drove on. I called it in to Mountain FM, so if you were listening to the radio on Tuesday you might have heard Dano.

Drive safe.
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Life Photos, Snowboarding, and other stuff.

Just after I started writing this blog I got a call fro the New Westminster police to tell me that my truck had been recovered, a week to the day since it was stolen from in front of my building. There is some damage but it looks like I will be getting it back. It remains to be seen how long that will take and what condition it will be in. Of course my sled is gone. I'm going to have to eat that loss and it completely sucks. If anybody is looking at a really good deal on a 2007 skidoo summit 600, please take a close look at the VIN and give me a call or drop me a line.

I shot a couple things over the weekend including the Showdown over the City and was going to show some photos but I suddenly don't care that much. Instead I'll show you this:



Life magazine is allowing bloggers and non-commercial web folks to use images from their archives free of charge, a very interesting move.
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tough week

One of the weird things about theft is the unforeseen consequences that go along with it. My truck and snowmobile were stolen from the front of my building this week. This in itself was devastating but pile on top of it the fact that I was on my way to shoot for a job that I really need to finish, and as result, I missed the best day of the week. That's not the end of the world, but it stings and puts me even further behind on an increasingly huge workload.

I lost that whole day. I lost half a day dealing with ICBC and police. I have lost my ability to get to and from my work at a time when I desperately need to be mobile. But worst of all is the fact that I am mad and disheartened and I have no ability to be creative when I am angry.

I tend to portray myself as a pretty happy guy on this blog. For the most part that is true, but I am a reformed cynical punk rocker angry kid mad at the world, and that guy is lurking just below the surface at all times. When he gets out, I tend to not be very fun to be around. He was knocking on the door with a crowbar this week begging me to come out and play.

I took a few days off from blogging because I didn't want to vent here, and I'm glad I did. There have been a couple of really generous people who have offered to help and that has been a little bright spot in a dark week. I have about six weeks left in the season and I feel like I am at square one. I've been trying to be a better person in the last few years and to have this shit come down just days after raising a bunch of money for my favourite cause is one of those things that makes you scratch your head.
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Aftermath

Sorry this took a whole day to get up. Better late than never.

Thank you very much to everyone who came out to my opening at the Blake Jorgenson Gallery on Saturday night. It was extremely well attended as was the party after at the Firerock. Special thanks go to Libby, Dave, Paul and Nelson from Monster. Scott Arkwell and Mat the Alien who kept the place rockin' all night long and longer, Holly and Joey at the gallery, Russell Dalby who shot photos at the party (you can see them here) and all the people who donated spinal cord research through Murray Siple and the Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion. We raised around 500 dollars and I'm really stoked on that. I'll let you know the exact amount when I count it later tonight. I especially want to thank my wife T who has to put up with all the chaos in my life.

Highlights of the night for me were seeing unexpected old friends like Don Schwartz and Scott Murray as well as JF Pelchat, Shin Campos (who brought his two week old daughter Cora!), David Aubry, Stu and Abby who managed to show even though we didn't think they could make it, Gerhard Gross, Michelle and Ryan from Whistler/Blackcomb
and lots of photogs like John Scarth from SBC, Phil Tifo, Mark Gribbon, Eric Berger, and Jeff Patterson who narrowly avoided a huge avalanche earlier in the day.

Damon from Coastal Riders was there with a ton of the Party Snake kids and they kept the management worried, Gnarcore was in the place too, with Brockelbank having the most fun of anyone grilling Murray about his old snowboard movies and Rouleau sporting a trainwreck of a haircut.

Good times had by all, lots of telegrams and roses from folks who couldn't make it, and I even managed to get up the mountain to shoot a couple photos and ride all day Sunday. The show runs till April 15th so drop by and take a look.




Nelson, Libby, Paul and Dave. The Monster crew. "New rule: shiny backgrounds" Russell Dalby photo.

I carried this thing around till it was heavy and full of money. Russell Dalby photo.

Jim Barnum showed up sporting an original shirt from the first Westbeach classic at Cypress in 1989! Still neon after all these years.

This was the last shot I took in the Gallery after it opened. Then it got busy and I started shmoozing...
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The things I don't know.

I might as well admit right here and now that I don't know squat about photographers. I mean, other photographers. Well, that's not entirely true, I've learned a lot in the last couple years, but for the longest time I didn't know any important photographers beyond Ansel Adams. And that was just fine with me. I lived in a bubble and I liked it. When my shooting started evolving from pure "action sports" into something a little more advanced, I wanted keep the process as untainted as possible. I was really afraid of being overwhelmed by an influence and becoming derivative as a result.

In the last few years I have seen young action sports photographers take unique ideas and recreate them, and pass them off as their own. I think it's totally reprehensible, but the shots are getting published, so I guess I have a higher standard for originality. There is a lack of shame about it to, as if the copyist is entitled to the concept simply because they've seen it with their own eyes. The entitled generation has an entirely different value set and it's interesting to see how they interact with the establishment. I'm sure that at some point I'll see the bigger picture, but right now I just see selfish kids who only know how to take.

One day about a year and half ago, I was showing my friend Tim Zimmerman a bunch of my older non-action sports shots as I scanned them and put them online. He said something like "whoa, Jay Maisel influence eh?" I said: "Who?"

This is exactly what I was trying to avoid, and it didn't work at all. Without ever having seen the man's work I was being compared to him, and I was pissed off. Well in a very short time I completely changed my tune. I stopped being afraid of influences and started to embrace them. Of course, I'm not interested in recreating anyone's photo, but I've gained a lot by looking at peoples' process. In fact that is what led me to finally take a workshop last spring after avoiding them for 15 years. And of course, I learned a ton. Maybe not just from Heisler, but also from some of the other people involved. Just watching other people work changes how we work. We see solutions to problems we've been having. We learn little tricks. Questions that we have are answered and inevitably we have that moment of "Ah Haaaaaa!"

During the Heisler workshop I met Jay in the flesh, his unmistakable marble mouthed commentary sharing the little bits and pieces that make up who he is. It was a brief encounter and he wouldn't be able to pick me out of a lineup, but it completed the transition out of my bubble.

Yesterday Jay shared a little bit more at Scott Kelby's excellent blog and it's worth a few minutes. In the end, I don't want to take Jay Maisel's pictures, I just want to make pictures like Jay Maisel does. The way he works suits my style perfectly. However, I fear that he is last of a breed and we're less likely to see his kind of work much from my generation. (Although I'm sure a few of the entitled kids are walking around his neighbourhood looking for his shots and trying to identically recreate them to call them their own.) I understand that there probably isn't much chance that this body of my work will ever have a showing at the VAG, but that's not the point. I am compelled to shoot like this and have to keep doing it.

Here are a couple links to things about the show this weekend. See you there:

The Pique

Boardistan


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More photos from France and Switzerland

Well I have seen just over half the prints for the show this weekend. I'm pretty stunned with the quality. I don't print nearly enough stuff and that is going to change right here and now. Nothing on a computer screen can compare to a 30 inch supergloss print. It's like rediscovering your work.

I had breakfast with my friend Cole yesterday. He's in Vancouver waiting on weather in between jobs. Kid is on a tear right now having just made the PDN "30 photogs to watch" list. So young and so talented. Good people also.

It's been dumping snow all over Whistler and Blackcomb this week at last. I'm taking care of all the stuff that piled up while I was away and then I'll be on my way up to get my share.

Here are some more shots from the trip. I thought I'd point out that pretty much everything I put up here on the blog is shot with my Canon g9. It came up in a conversation the other day so I thought I'd clear that up. Some of the stuff from the archives and the Snowboard Photo Blog of course are from the Nikon SLR's, but most of my walking around stuff is on the g9.

Also, you can follow me on twitter here. If you're into that sort of thing.


fist tree!

light shadow

sausage?

looks terrible. tastes great.

tram to the top of Le Brevent.
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Lessons learned in Chamonix

I've never taken a vacation in the winter before. Winter is shooting season and shooting takes priority over everything else. That is all good and fine, but one day you wake up and that priority just seems, well, a little bit delusional. Or compulsive. Or maybe just misguided.

I just took a family vacation to France. My wife's family, that is. When the idea of going on this trip came up I looked at the dates and without even thinking decided I wouldn't be able to do it. Second week of March? Seriously? What snowboard photographer could take that week off to just, go snowboarding? In the Alps.

Well as it turns out, I could. And it was easy, all I did was say "yes" and then not book anything that week. The world kept turning. I didn't miss out on anything life changing. And I got to ride Cham with my wife and brother-in-law, in super deep powder and sunny skies to boot.

My priorities have changed a lot over the years, and never more than they have in the last 18 months. Photography is a really tricky lifestyle in that it is on one hand really needy, to show off, to put your work out into the world, and on the other hand very time consuming and often not particularly social. There is a reason that when photographers get together, you can't shut them up. It's because they have already used up the "photo talk" patience of their wives, girlfriends, and family and are just dying to talk shop with someone whose eyes don't roll back into their heads when you start talking about the minute details of a hyperfocal distance or photoshop actions. We go through the often solitary act of making photos, we often have nobody left to bore with our excitement for the things we make, and we compulsively consume information about anything that has anything even remotely to do with our job.

It could be worse. We could be proctologists.

So ya, I'm learning to take a deep breath a little more often. to not get lost in the chaos of winter and to keep my level of passion high. As a result I'm less consumed and more into photography than I have been in years. I've stopped being influenced by the machine of the industry I work in and I'm concentrating on fostering the elements of my work that are true to my vision and not commercially corrupt. They're honest. I spent a bit of time taking pictures last week, no time talking about taking pictures, and a lot of time thinking about taking pictures.

Ok, so here are some shots from europe that have nothing to do with any of that.


Things you find in 400 year old houses

Vines near Hilary's house, Geneva.

suisse

Blue house number.

No Dachshunds?!?! Get Draplin on the case!

Cham is huge

Uh, lady, I think you've had enough sun.

bike

sausages as far as the eye can see.

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. These black birds aren't crows.

The Aiguille de Midi. I'll have some shots from the top in the next couple days. Stay tuned.
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I'm in Whistler

Here are two monochrome shots from a few days apart. I love when the world is black and white without me having to change it. I hate cliche "shoe on the wire" shots, but I was walking along with Paul Rak and for whatever reason I couldn't pass the shot by.



shoes and wall. Railtown. February, 2009.

This morning I was waiting for a ride and it was really warm and beautiful outside so I went to the driveway to wait in the sun. I started searching around, knowing that there was a shot out there somewhere, looking for something interesting. I looked out at the mountains, tried a couple frames that were totally unremarkable, and then looked down at my feet. The slush on the ground was melting away (in fact when I got home a couple hours later the driveway was bare) and I looked into the slushy wetness. I looked closer, saw the bubbles and took a few frames.

I love this shot. There are always pictures. Everywhere, all the time.


Slush. Whistler. March 2009
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12 months

In the last 12 months I:

Got married.
Bought a condo.
Wrote a book.
Spent 20 (though not nearly enough) hours underwater.
Watched the magazine I helped start, end.
Sold photos to magazines and companies around the world.
Did the highest paying photo job I’ve ever done.
Was offered less than I ever have been for photos.
Took huge chances in my career.
Worked on a deeply satisfying personal project.
Worked too hard, but not smart enough.
Lost my priorities.
Found them again.
Fell further in love.
Started to put the pieces together.
Was humiliated.
Was proud.
Was intimidated.
Got over it.
Rode a bus.
Rode a bike.
Rode a boat.
Rode a helicopter.
Rode a snowboard.
Rode a plane.
Rode a (sky)train.
Rode a snowmobile.
Wakesurfed.


Sometimes I have absolutely no idea how I make it through the years. My life astonishes me.


Wind. Olympic Village. Vancouver.
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5PM

Today is the first day of the year where the sun stays up until 5 PM. For folks who live up north, the rapid lengthening of days is a welcome relief from the truncated sunlight hours we endure for several months each year.

Yesterday I came down from Whistler early for an afternoon meeting. When I was done, it was so nice out that I decided to walk down to Granville Island to get a hot cheese bagel from Seigel's. I've been treating myself to these little nugget's a few times a year since I was a teenager and they are basically the most amazing thing you can eat.

But they were sold out. It was Sunday and I had nothing else on my agenda for the day so I decided to take the Aquabus down False Creek and home. When I got down to the Ferry dock they told me it was going to be about 25 minutes so I decided to walk the rest of the 5 kilometers. I mean, it was a really spectacular day.

Along the way I met up with some friends, so some good sights and basically had about the most relaxing Sunday afternoon I could imagine.

Ok, that's enough of that. Back to work. Here is a map and a couple shots from the walk home.

-d




View Larger Map


ducks wait for the pond to melt.

I ran into Jon and Grace and took this while we were chatting.
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Craig.

It's been 6 years since we lost Craig Kelly. I called him "Snowboarding's last great leader" a few years ago when the documentary "Let it ride" came out and I think it holds true. Volumes have been written about Craig's influence so I won't go too deep into it. I'll let his riding do the talking. I wear a "remember Craig Kelly" button riding every day.

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canucks

The Canucks have totally been sucking lately. Sanford even looks bummed here.

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Deep Winter 2009

So tonight is the Deep Winter contest in Whistler. For the last three days, 6 photographers have been shooting their asses off in terrible conditions with the aim of putting together an award winning slideshow tonight. I've done this contest for the last two years and it is easily one of the most exhausting photographic experiences I've ever endured. Considering the conditions, I'm more than glad to not be doing it again this season, but I am very much looking forward to seeing the results. And this year I will sit on the panel of judges.

I think that judging photography is stupid. I said "no" to the request half a dozen times before finally being convinced to participate. In the end, someone will win, but I know that just the experience of shooting for those three days and making a slideshow to present on the night of the fourth provides a huge sense of accomplishment to the contestants.

Here is a link to my show from last year and a couple shots from the contest. Good luck to all this years contestants.

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transitions

I'm having a really hard time transitioning from the warm water and beaches of Maui to the grey cold of Vancouver. It's that time of year that is always really challenging, too early to snowboard, but already cold and wet. Roatan is sounding better all the time. Reef Gliders is moving and I can't wait to check out the new shop. I miss my friends down there and the fun times. Shooting diving photos underwater again in Maui has got me all amped on that again. It's a shame that it is so bloody expensive to get into and a tough place to sell photos. I figure it will take about another season before I have some really good underwater stuff. Not that I'm not happy with some of the things that I get down there, but I'm not as consistent as I am shooting people, or snow or whatever.

Ok, time to write a chapter for the book.


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Maui in October

Tomorrow is my last day in Maui, and then I have to faced the reality of cold November in Vancouver. In the last week I have done a bunch of diving, hiked through a tight bamboo forest, had some great meals, and, um, oh ya, got married.

I'd never been here before this trip, and I pretty much fell in love with the place. Here are a few shots. In a couple days I will try to catch up a little bit.

Dano


The sun sets here like, ever single night!

sometimes guidebooks tell you to go places that aren't really there

But sometimes those places turn out to be pretty cool

this is not the waterfall we were looking for.

Lava, oceans and green as far as the eye can see.

On the highway to Hana there are all sorts of super beautiful famous waterfalls. This is not one of them.

This is my wife checking out a huge anchor. She found a Green Hawaiian Lionfish.

This is the lionfish she found

and this is a leaf scorpionfish, which is also cool.
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Fishies and deep breaths.

A year ago today, I left Roatan after living there for 3 and a half months. I expected to be back there around June, but life is always interesting and you never know what is around the next corner, so instead it has now been a year since I've seen some of my friends down there. I've booked a flight back for Christmas, which makes me extremely happy, but I miss the place. No Roatan has also meant, no diving, which I miss terribly. People have asked me what the appeal is lately and my response is this; scuba diving is everything that snowboarding isn't. It's warm (at least where I like to do it), it's no impact, it's quiet and calm (which snowboarding actually can be too, but not sledding or crowded mountains, etc.).

Diving to me is like a forced meditation. You slow down your breathing, clear your mind, and look at pretty fishes. It calms me.

So in the year since I've been home, a lot has happened. I've made big strides professionally, and am very proud of the work I'm doing these days. Between that, the new apartment, and impending wedding, life has kept me very, very busy. I feel fortunate, considering the state of the global economy and how tough it is out there to make it as a photographer, to still be getting work, selling pictures, and interesting new clients.

Now if I can just figure out how to do it all of that from the beach...



This is a typical view off the wall in Roatan. No sharks or seahorses or barracuda, just a squirrel fish and lots of coral. Aaaah.
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Snow day

Good day my friends. Check this:



Not a live picture. Click the picture to see the snow melt. Winter is just around the corner...

Hope you all had a great weekend. I'll try to get another shred shot up by the end of the day.

d.
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Blue skies and happy days.

Sooo...

Sorry about that last rant. Things were a little dark at that point. In the old days that might have sent me off on a week long bender but now I just blog, shrug, and move on.

Here are some photos to look at and think about all things non-governmental.

-d


happy clouds

happy forest
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more new stuff from the past

I was doing an interview yesterday and the subject donated a bunch of materials to the book project that I'm working on. There in the midst of all this stuff was a single slide in a page, with no label or marking and the picture was of me.

I think this shot was taken in 1991 and I think it's at Mt. Bachelor in Oregon. I could be wrong on both accounts. I have no idea who took it and my friend doesn't even remember how he got it. So, for the second time in as many weeks, and at the risk of making this into some kind of history blog, here is what your faithful protagonist looked like while doing a method 17 years ago. Dig the colourful Westbeach gear...



If you took this photo or know who did, please get in touch with me. I'm off till Monday, have a great weekend.
whistler photographer, snowboard photos, snowboard photographer, vancouver city photographer, vancouver photos, 2010 Olympic photo, whistler stock photography, vancouver stock photos, snowboard stock photo, action sports photo, whistler outdoor photography, vancouver portrait photographer, whistler portrait photographer, mountain stock photography, blackcomb snowboard photo, blackcomb stock photograph, british columbia stock photo, canada snowboard photo, Daniel Stephen Pendygrasse, False Creek Vancouver photo, pictures of False Creek Vancouver. current vancouver, new vancouver, current whistler, new whistler, street photography
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Tuesday

I was up in Whistler all last week doing a project for Whistler/Blackcomb and Origin Design, as well as catching up on some personal thing. One of the personal things was fishing.

Fishing is on of the things that evens me out, it keeps me humble, happy and calm. I love casting flies and catching fish and I don't do it nearly enough. Even though I couldn't convince anyone to go out with me, I braved the wind and went out on Alta Lake. It was a pretty crappy day to be out there, casting was tough and there was no visible surface action, so I fought the wind for a couple hours before getting a text message from my buddy Rob that he was back at the house with Mojitos and bbq. I conceded a loss to the lake and started to kick back to shore. Just as I had given up hope I felt a strong tug on the line and the slow head shake that meant I wasn't just dragging weeds.

5 or 8 minutes later, and after a nice showy jump, a beautiful golden 17 inch cutthroat slid into my net. I was too busy pulling the fly out of the corner of his mouth to take a picture before releasing him back into the lake, but sometimes it's better that way. I don't want to give away all my memories after all.

Thanks to Brian at Whistler Flyfishing for the help picking out new waders and the good deal too!

Here is a picture of a bubble.

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Pemberton Festival Madness - super post, lots of photos.

Pemberton Festival photos, band photos, and so on. Read More...
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Life before this life

Right around the time I started getting pictures published, I had to quit my real job, and make a go of being a photographer. Those were lean years and I was broke. I did all kinds of strange things to make a buck and keep paying the rent until the photo thing took off. Coming from a background of being a sponsored snowboarder, I would do whatever jobs I could get relating to that. I modeled winter clothes for Japanese magazines, snowboarded and had lines an early Kokanee beer commercial, was an extra in that movie "Ski School" and on and on.

One of the best jobs I got though, was being a stunt guy for a Hong Kong action Movie called "Black Cat". Legendary shredder Kevin Young and I spent a few days getting chased off cornices by snowmobiles, riding through gunfire, lobbing grenades, and doing methods that knocked guns out of peoples hands. I think I made a couple hundred bucks. It was really bad, but the job was fun and I got to see how a movie set worked.

I never saw the movie. And now, by the magic of youtube, I have. I guess someone included it in some euro shred movie back then. Weird.


whistler snowboard photographer, whistler stock photography, vancouver photography, street photography vancouver, vancouver city photographer, canon g9
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cool shit

This came across my blog reader this morning and I'm afraid that if you don't think it's cool, we may not be able to be friends anymore.




Thanks to
www.changethethought.com who got it from somewhere else that was a dead link for me.
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July second

My patriotism spilled over into a whole 'nother Day!

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July first

Happy Canada Day everyone. We had a spectacular day in Vancouver. Beach, books, movies, bikes, blades...

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animation time

This is the best thing I've seen in a long, long time. It makes the scope and scale of so much art seem very tiny.

Thanks to [in plain sight] blog for bringing to my attention and and especially blu who created this craziness:


MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.
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Snow



This is the view from my house. All week I have been watching it snow and snow. I've been riding a lot too, having some really good days with some really good people.

When I was living in California and working in the office, people would ask me what I missed about Canada and I would always say, the time from opening day until Christmas. That's when the storms hit and the crowds are still small, when the pressure to shoot hasn't gotten too hectic yet and I get to ride my ass off. Well after the mountain opened we had a couple weeks where the snow where it didn't snow and I started to question the whole Early season myth that I had been building in my head. Luckily the snow came and just in time. I feel like I have gotten my legs back now and I am ready to dive into shooting now. I've gotten it out of my system once again. It was worth it.


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House Cleaning

Well here is a little blog entry just to talk about the updates to the site. It's mostly cosmetic, but there are some additions. New bio page, new link page. Other than that there is just better organization than before.

I've been riding a lot and my legs are sore. That's a good thing. Christmas week means I have to finish off shopping stuff, which I've never been good at, but this year I am a little ahead of the curve compared to past seasons.

I'm picking photos for the upcoming Gallery show. It's a huge process but it's cool to sort through old stock. I also have to choose images for a photo contest and teach myself how to use this new slideshow software that I bought. The "deep winter" photo contest is coming up in a couple weeks and I have to be able to make a slideshow on the fly.

Oh ya, and I decided to start adding pictures to my blog posts too, because Owen's blog is way more interesting than mine. This one is from the deep winter contest last year. It's me riding down lower insanity (!!!) on Whistler:

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The gift of time

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to sit down and write. Life has been throwing me one thing after another lately. I overbooked my Holiday’s to the point where I didn’t even feel like they happened, dropped straight into a photo contest and woke up on a plane to the east coast. Now I’m back in San Diego, putting the final touches on our last issue of the year, and I have a chance to take a deep breath. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; “life is long and interesting”.

I know I missed about three quarters of the people I wanted to see when I was home. I’m sorry. (One day you’ll forgive me goodze&hellipWinking I’m looking forward to spending lots and lots of time making it up to all of my friends. I can’t wait to spend hours over a good bottle of wine and a meal explaining why I have felt the need to be gone for the last couple years. I can’t wait to offer up a weekend trip away up to the interior to make up for all those summer weeks I missed. I’m just dying to sit around the dinner table with all of you and listening to all the crazy stories of times I missed. I’ll sit back and smile and imagine all the fun you had, and pretend I was there.

Most of all I can’t wait to give all of you a present. It’s the best thing I have to offer and I have only recently realized how valuable it is. It’s a bit selfish, because it’s the kind of present that I get as much out of as you all will. It’s sorta like when Homer got Marge the bowling ball. Anyway, the present is time. Soon I’ll have the time to give all you that I haven’t been able to. I’m dying to have time for my friends again.
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