“It’s that connection of all things that makes me whole…”
With regard to places, looking only at 2017, I went to Lanzarote, The Netherlands, Costa Rica, Gran Canaria, Bulgaria, Paris, Norway, Turkey, Morocco, China, La Palma, Wales, Italy, Greece, France, Andorra, Switzerland, USA, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Madeira, Nepal and finally, Peru. Don’t ask about my carbon foot print!
All the elements I’m involved in feed into each other – they are interconnected, and that’s perfect. Photography is my first and foremost professional skill, but my writing and my podcast weave wonderfully to make any event, race or even just my website into a multi-media experience. As technology has improved, the need to supply everything immediately has increased – nobody wants to wait for anything these days. When I work on a race, I’m post images and story that same day! Just think, only 5+ years ago we would wait 4-6 months for the story to appear in a magazine. Today, we’re in an immediate world, and we need to feed that. So, cameras, laptops, portable power, satellite connections, mobile phones and so on, all need to be the latest models to function best. The downside, of course, is trying to escape from all this when I need downtime. We’re all way too connected these days and for me, it’s essential to regularly update my social media, be that my website, podcast, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google ID, Scoop It, etc. It’s a real dilemma and one I fight with often. But unfortunately, technology is only going to progress, and it’s essential that I keep on top of the latest developments.
At the Ice Trail Tarentaise I was traversing a snow field, following a beaten line of footprints. I’d been shooting all day, and was making my way back to the car and photographing the runners as they approached. A good friend from Australia, Scott Hawker, came toward me so I stepped off the track of footprints onto the fresh snow to make way for him. As I began shooting, I felt the snow move… and in that moment I just knew what was about to happen. So I leapt and landed on my back, and slid on the mountainside on my back for hundreds. I was carrying two cameras, one in each hand, and there I was, skidding down, not knowing how I was going to stop! Eventually, by luck more than anything, the gradient eased and I came to a halt. Post-race, Scott came to me and said, “Dude, that’s the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. You were flying, I’ve never seen a photographer so committed for the shot…!” I had to explain that me looking cool was anything but!
Finally, this year I was at Kilian Jornet and Emelie Forsberg’s race in Norway, Tromso SkyRace. It’s a tough and challenging race with a very exposed and technical ridge. I had hiked up in advance of the race, found my spot, and then moved up and down to capture the runners. The US’s Hillary Allen, who’s a good friend of mine, was coming towards me. I was ready to photograph her, hiding behind a rock to capture the moment she appeared. But just then, disaster struck. I heard the sound of rocks moving, Hillary screamed, and before my eyes she fell from the ridge like a rag doll. She bounced on jagged rocks multiple times, and then stopped about 30-50m below me. It was horrific. I thought she was dead. I made it down to her with two others, and finally Kilian came. I called the helicopter and she was finally winched away an hour later. I’m pleased to say her recovery has gone well, and Hillary’s smile has returned. You don’t forget moments like this, and it makes me realise the risks I take to get the shot!