DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

Enemy Lines at Fernie.

Hi friends,

This weekend I made a video for a Monster Energy event called Enemy Lines. It was the first year for the event although the concept may seem familiar to some of the older folks in the audience. Anyone who watched the movie "Hot Dog," growing up will probably know the type of race I'm talking about…

So while the concept came from a low budget ski comedy from 1984, and over the years there had been multiple underground versions, (some, like the Westbeach Chinese Downhill in Whistler have become pretty big,) nothing had ever happened on this scale.

First of all, the prize was $20,000. Second of all, Fernie Alpine Resort got behind the event making it the first time I've ever heard of a Ski Hill endorsing this kind of thing. Third, a hand-picked field of world class skiers from a variety of backgrounds competed making it a hard race to handicap.

So the weather the week prior was 21 degrees causing the snowpack to essentially rot from the bottom up. That was a hard reality to swallow but it didn't change the fact that we were going to pull this thing off no matter what. Because the format had to be amended, we changed how the prize was distributed; everyone got a share of the pot as a gesture of goodwill for showing up, but 5 grand was set aside to give to the winner.

It was nuts. The whole run was less than 90 seconds. People chose a variety of different lines, some of them super smooth but longer, some of them super sketchy but shorter. Next year, off the top, this will be the best event ever. Until then, check out the first ever Enemy Lines. Watch for local guy Luke Nelson jumping a massive dirt patch and Rory Bushfield straight lining into a slushy mogul field. There are all kinds of good points to pause.

Enough talk, check it out.


This is your winner; Stan Rey was smooth and fast and beat em all.


Variety is the spice...

Hi Friends,

Just back from Lillooet for a shoot at Fort Berens winery. They're doing delicious things out there…

This month I've shot the most diverse group of projects in my career. Some big, some small, all interesting. Video and stills for a new app, video for a shoe company, the TEDx talk on Gabriola Island, this winery shoot and coming up next is a crazy ski event in Fernie.

I've said it before, I live an unusual life. That's the only way I'd have it.

Here's a photo from Lillooet that I like.


Where's the office? Oh there it is.

TEDx Gabriola Island

Hi friends,

It's been a busy little stretch working on 3 or 4 different projects at the same time. In the midst of it all I snuck away to Gabriola Island to shoot a TEDx event with my brother and my old friend Sean Kearns. Event photography isn't my favourite genre but the chance to do work with Kearns again after several years made me say yes. I met a lot of interesting folks and saw some great talks but my favourite part was shooting a few portraits.

I spent a couple hours setting up the lights the night before with the assumption that I would only have a few minutes with the speakers. That's pretty much how it worked out, I missed 2 speakers but managed to get a portrait of most. Here are a couple that I like. Click here to see all my event photos on Flickr.

Back to work.


Victor Wooten

Mike Stevens

Megan Daalder

Rip Curl Pro in Tofino

Hi friends,

Just got back from the Rip Curl Pro Surf contest in Tofino on Vancouver Island. This is the first time I’ve been to this event and it was fun to finally attend an event that I’d heard so much about. There is a real sense of community in the Canadian surf scene and it’s nice to see how they support each other. The family dynasties are readily apparent too.

Check out some of my photos from the trip and then the video we made at the bottom.


wake for me

wet ride


everyone stops at cathedral grove at least once

remembering another time


Pete won.

Dalby shooting Noah

bargain on the way home

big gnome



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...



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’.




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.


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.

The Show: a snowboarding event. Part one and two.

Hi Friends.

Just finished up with “The Show: a snowboarding event” here in Whistler. As part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, The Show is the biggest event of the year for us at Monster Energy Canada. It’s been my baby since conception and it’s nice to get through it with some really good events and breaking some new ground.

Here are the first two parts of the Video Webisodes. In the past I’ve hired a crew of videographers and an editor to put together our videos, but this year we brought in a production company. Hope you like em.

Still a couple more to come so stay tuned.


episode one

episode two

The lost shots. Part ten.

Hi friends,

Well The Show is just days away and I’m busy as hell. I like being busy, keeps my mind off the bad things.

Here is another shot from the Lost Shots series. If you’re just tuning in, you can read about that here. Today I’m bringing you one of the best snowboarders I ever saw. I met Mikko Sjoblom when he was just a lil pipsqueak from Talma. Never ridden much more than a couple hundred vertical meters in his life. Next thing you know, he’s thrown in with the best riders in the world, dragged up into the backcountry on a sled, landing in POWDER for the first time. It was a whirlwind. He was so talented. I don’t speak any Finnish so our communication at first was a little slow, but I ended up spending a bunch of time with him and came to look froward to his goofy little smile.

Mikko had a big crash that shook a bunch of us and for awhile it wasn’t looking so good. I’m glad that he’s doing well now. With stories like Kevin Pearce’s getting so much media attention these days it’s shining a lot of light on the dangers of head injuries, but Kevin and Mikko are both great examples of overcoming them.

Here’s Mikko in 2000 at Mt. Hood with a huge truck driver Mctwist.



On luck.

Hi friends,

I think that if you are tall, naturally thin, or super handsome/pretty, then you are lucky. Also, being born in Vancouver is lucky, (of course, I’m biased). What these things have in common, is that you have absolutely no control over them. Good genes? Sure, but you don’t get to make that call in utero, it just happens, and you are lucky. Here are some things that are not lucky:

-Nailing a picture of a snowboarder in mid spin as he stomps a trick first try in fresh powder.

-Getting a job with a fearless company, doing something really unique and interesting.

-Spending time in a tropical destination doing things that you love.

These are all things that have been part of my life, and time and again I’ve been accused of being extremely lucky. I will concede this: I was lucky to be born where I was and I was very lucky to move to a mountain town just as snowboarding was gaining traction. But you know what? 2 thousand people moved to that town that year. Not to mention the hundred other ski towns that thousands of people moved to that season. And that many again the next. Were we all lucky then?

Good luck is when something positive happens TO you, and you have absolutely no control over it.

When something really positive happens in your life, and it is a result of planning, preparedness, and foresight, that isn’t luck. I think that “unlucky” people have often been right in the crosshairs of “luck”, but failed to be “lucky”. Why is that? Because “lucky” takes balls.
Often times, six months before you become “lucky” you are presented with a decision that is “terrifying”. The difference between the people who find the luck and those who don’t then, is often intuition and courage. It takes a lot of nerve to take a chance on something instead of sticking with what is time tested and proven. It takes a different kind of thinking to drop everything to chase a dream for a while. You have to be prepared for the worst, have a good plan, and then work like your life depends on it. Just to be lucky.

People often remark to photographers “you must have a really good camera.” They have the best intention, but this is pretty insulting to us because it equates the quality and value of your work to a purchased item of equipment. Professional photographers have professional cameras, but often that is a function of durability and ease of use as much as anything else. These days there are hundreds of consumer cameras that take pictures as good as professional cameras, they just may not last as long.

That’s why I find the “lucky” tag to be insulting.
I’ve taken so many chances in my life, and some of them have worked out spectacularly, but sometimes I’m unemployed, running out of money, and feeling creatively bankrupt. Nobody is calling me lucky then. I have been told time and again that I’m lucky to spend so much time in Roatan, diving several times a day in a tropical paradise. Well that luck has come with a price tag too, (try to maintain a normal career when you disappear for months at a time!) but I just nod and suggest that “you should try it, all it takes is to go there.”

With the exception of where I was born and a few other minor details, I’ve made my luck with risk taking, hard work, and a self reliance and intuition that I value more every day. Finally, a quote attributed to the American film producer Samuel Goldwyn:

“The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Right time, right place? Sometimes you just have to be in the right place and hang around long enough for it to be the right time.

The book. It exists. And folks are talking.

Well! The advance copies of my book "Out West: Snowboarding, Westbeach and a new Canadian dream." have hit some media outlets and all I can say is wow! Great reviews. People are stoked. I'm stoked. Everybody's happy!

I want to talk more about it but I'm swamped in this edit right now. I have a lot of stuff I want to blog about so stay tuned for some recently published shots that I'm stoked of, some of my opinionated rants, and Way more pictures. Until then read the reviews:



Buy it!

I stole this photo from Transworld.


Yesterday was the last day of the catalog shoot I've been working on. We shot a little bit of bouldering around the base of the Squamish Chief, a huge chunk of granite that is a climbing mecca. Despite some problems in the morning, by sunset we were making some nice pictures. I wish I had another week in there, there is so much to shoot. Look forward to another job that has climbing involved, I have some great ideas.




So today was the Mountain Biking portion of the catalog shoot that I'm doing. It was really dark all day so we had to light everything and the priority for the brand is to show the clothes, so we weren't dealing with super gnar riding. Still it was really fun and Eric got to bust out a bit at the end.


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."


Park photos from blackcomb, video.

Yesterday I shot photos in the Blackcomb Terrain Park. It was sunny, hot as heck and super, super fun. Mark Gribbon assisted, he's awesome. Rob Picard from the WVSC came along and shot video and then stayed up late putting it together. That was super nice of him and because of his hard work now you can watch a day at work with Dano. You'll have to wait for the photos until after Whistler/Blackcomb gets to see them.

Thanks to Dan Stubbs, Robjn Taylor and Mark Sollors who hiked a lot for me.

Enjoy Quicktime:

Or Youtube:


Hard times for young photographers

I mentor a few young photographers and more and more, I'm hearing how tough it is to break into the photo world. This isn't news and it isn't surprising, but this post today on A Photo Editor really drove it home. Today I feel lucky to have some solid clients and diverse interests.

I used to tell anyone who asked that snowboard photography was the best job in the world, and at times it can be, but the truth of the matter is that to make it, you have to get published, and the magazines in the snowboard world are in a state of semi-panic as their page counts drop and their corporate bosses tighten the belts. They are forced to do more with less, and since there is little money to develop the web, it becomes underfunded, even though it is clearly the future of media.

Young photographers have always been taken advantage of and it's hard to say no to someone when you are hungry, but these days it's not even like the rates are too low, it's more like there are no rates. I wouldn't mind so much, because everyone can just say no to a bad deal and walk away, but when editors at magazines bully young photographers into giving away their shots for free with threats of blackballing them, things have gone too far.

The stage is set for the demise of paper magazines. At the very least we will see the herd thinned down to one or two titles in snowboarding. Evolution is coming to the shred media and it will come, like all good things, from the bottom up. Behind closed doors, photographers, designers and writers are already planning the next step. We'll soon see the day where publishing bullies are left impotent at the helm of a media ship that has sailed. Then they will have to take a long hard look at how they have treated their young peers.

I've never believed in the theory of stepping on heads to get ahead. I think that today more than ever, the idea of coopetition makes more sense. Also, the idea that poor young photographers should be funding multi-million dollar publishing conglomerates is just abhorrent. I hope that young shooters will stand up for themselves and not get bullied into giving away their shots for free. There is a time and a place for that, but it's called charity, not career. And you magazine editors flexing on these new kids should be ashamed. Especially the ones who were photographers first. This is straight out of Orwell's Animal Farm. Power corrupts eh boys?

"How to start a Home-Based Photography Business"


Hey folks,

On March 21st I'll be having an opening at the Blake Jorgenson Gallery in Whistler. I've decided on most of the photos I'm showing, but wanted to leave a spot open for you guys. Take a minute and look through the galleries and leave a comment or shoot me an email and let me know what you think should be included or what shouldn't. We're keeping it to winter shots, and mostly action. If you remember a shot that you always loved and isn't up here at www.danopendygrasse.com let me know and maybe we'll bring it back for you.

Thanks for all the support. I love that so many of you are visiting this website and following the blog.



Recent Work, Westbeach Heritage book, Grenade Games 5.

It has been pointed out to me that I should maybe showcase some of the things I've been up to lately. As you can see from the last blog, my last year has been really busy as well as really diverse in terms of the projects that I've taken on. I'm still waiting to get the hard copy of Whistler/Blackcomb's media kit to see the portraits I shot for it, but I'll show you some of the other things going on.

Go here to see the Westbeach Heritage blog. We'll be leaking bits and pieces from the book in the next six months as we lead up to the publication, as well as some things that didn't make the book that are super interesting.

Of course I'm
charging hard on my new project with Monster Energy and Grenade to bring the Grenade Games to Whistler for the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. I'm really impressed that after voicing what a lot of people were thinking last year, that the TWSSF has taken an active stance to make a better festival and let me be a part of it. It's very much a "put up or shut up" situation and I've turned my focus to this for the season. Join the Facebook group here for updates.

I've had a bunch of work getting published in the last month or so too. Here is some of it that I like best:

The word "legend" makes me feel old. Snowboard Canada Mag.

Landvik rules. I'm glad Anon picked this shot.

Devun Walsh's interview in Frequency Mag is pretty great. It's a good issue and you all should pick it up.

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.

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

Wind. Olympic Village. Vancouver.

So much new stuff

There is so much going on these days I can barely take it. Exciting times in Danoland for sure. I've taken a new job which I will expand on in the next week or so, I'm getting down to the final phases of the Westbeach book and some of the people who have seen the rough layout are tripping, so that is encouraging. Getting set for Vegas next week, kinda last minute decision to go, due in large part to the new job. I feel really lucky to be in a position to have work, so many photographers are struggling this season and I'm finding that being versatile and able to do more than just click a shutter is helping me a lot. My relentless curiosity, as much as it drives my girl nits sometimes, is definitely an asset to my work.

I've been loosely working on a project for the last few years shooting portraits of the folks who work at dive shops. It's been cool to do something that is just for me and allows me to connect with new people outside the snow world. I put a small gallery up here, so if you have a minute take a look.

Seeya in Whistler or Vancouver or Vegas!


Heineken bottle. Police Yard, Vancouver.

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.

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

The grind, I'm back to it.

I just got back from Whistler this morning after a whirlwind tour. I had about a million things to get done up there including two shoots, and I think I got about 800 000 of them completed. The rest will have to wait till next trip. Highlights included some of the best wedding speeches I've ever heard, Sushi Village, summer shred (watch here for a Dano cameo), some family time ( I hauled rounds of firewood around for the old man), home cooking, quality time at the skatepark with old friend and legendary luddite Scotty (Vinyl Ritchie) Arkwell and Robby Picard of the WVSC, and working with some really great folks.

The best part by far was casting a dry line and watching a trout take my caddis pattern. I don't care that he was 8 inches long, and I don't care that my 15 year old waders are so leaky that I was soaked from the nipples down, because I was tossing flies like I never stopped, and man, I love me some fishing.

While I was gone Rob Haggart of the widely read blog "A Photo Editor" put out a posting with a listing of outdoor photographers. After a little bribe, he even included me.

So... good times in Whistler. It was cool to see Rich Carlson skate for a minute as well. Until he went to the medical clinic.


Meltdown and rebirth.

Sometimes I get in so deep with all the things that need to be done, that I stop taking pleasure in anything. I’m literally checking things off a “to do” list from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep. That’s when I usually end up exhausted, on a couch, feeling like death warmed over and wondering what the hell is going on.

The other day we shot a really long day, and despite the crazy weather, I managed to get some really good action, as well as some other interesting stuff. (more on that in a second)

So in this long day, I was mostly cold, didn’t eat or drink enough, and when I finally got home after midnight, couldn’t sleep. I woke up the next day feeling like I had been run over and couldn’t do anything. I just sat there, unable to find motivation for even the simplest task. So I threw in the towel and called it a recovery day. Just what the doctor ordered.

The next day I woke up and had a whole new attitude. I spent all day
building, which I enjoy anyway, but I took an enormous amount of pleasure in simple things. I slowed down my life a bit, hit the reset button, and started to like doing everything.

It’s not easy to stay positive when I feel overwhelmed by work or whatever, and lately, with all the bad weather that this spring has brought, I’ve been pretty frustrated with the job part of my job. The shooting part is a
welcome relief, but the work part is getting less and less rewarding. When that balance gets out of whack and there isn’t enough creative and too much office, I’m ready for a change.

Anyway, this is a long ramble that essentially says; take a day off, reassess, and try to find pleasure in the process. The exciting and rewarding parts of life can seem few and far between, so for now, I’m looking for more fulfillment in the mundane.

And now for a shot from the other night. After setting up our shoot, the fog rolled in and shut us down for a while. Walking around the lights that were set up for the film I saw my shadow projected onto the fog bank. It was pretty cool so I shot it for a while. Then I used it to do some cool portraits with Mathieu Crepel. But you’ll have to wait for those.


Office Work comes calling

texture in the backcountry

So I've been back in the office due to some cloudy weather and it's been good to take care of some chores, get in touch with some people, and do some work on the site. Unfortunately I pretty much had to rebuild it after messing around with some things that I should never mess with...

Going through shots from the last month has been super fun and I've already had some people asking to get their hands on them. Patience will be rewarded. All shall be revealed in good time.

I always have my G9 with me and as a result I've been shooting tons of stuff on the street. Taken on their own, each shot has a short story, but when you see them develop over the course of a couple weeks they begin to show bigger themes. It's interesting. At least to me. I'll post a bunch next time.



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.