I find my spark of inspiration for photography can come from anywhere; whether it’s a great painting, a riding vibe that you just have to try and capture, or in this case, a quick and dirty phone photo that threw a whole new light on a particular section of trail.
But first, let’s back it up a little? There’s a techy rock slab (AKA The BadStep™) mid-way down a local trail that I’ve been looking at for years – to both ride and shoot. The first time I saw it, I simply shook my head and mumbled something about it being some kinda Rampage nonsense. I mean, it was hard enough to walk, let alone contemplate riding. Obviously there were always going to be those who could send it, but they’re from another planet and stuff like this is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals like myself. Except that it forms part a longer killer descent, so we kept on coming back to work out how to link it/ride it as to make an unbroken descent. Every time I got to this feature, my brain would whir through the motions of ‘what if’, and I’d start looking for lines, only to bail at the last moment, jump off the bike and staggering down to the next rideable section.
Then one day a friend rode it and made it look so damn easy. That was the spark of inspiration to not only ride it myself, but I saw a magic shot in it too that I just had to get. Although I had my camera with me that day, I didn’t even think about taking a picture and by the time I realised what was going on, he was gone, and I was left both picture-less and humbled.
Eventually I plucked up the courage to ride it, and have captured it on video, crashed on it, and ridden it cleanly several times. However, that elusive image showcasing the utter madness and sheer gnarliness of The BadStep™ had still eluded me. Because it’s so steep, if you shoot from above it compresses everything and looks flat, while if you shoot from below, you don’t get any real sense of scale as you’re shooting into the sky.
I needed to work out how to get the shot that was now sitting in my head.