Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vancouver SUP Challenge

Last Friday night, Sarah and I packed Benny our faithful VW Westfelia Camper Van and headed up to Vancouver, BC to photograph the Vancouver SUP Challenge.  I was excited as this time Sarah and the girls, Candy and Daisy came with me on my 3rd trip to Canada in the same month.  We stayed overnight at a friends house and thanks to an active night I remember nothing about I woke up unable to move my head to one side.  I can tell you a pulled neck muscle the day of a photo shoot is not fun but hey an adventure is and adventure whatever happens.  Since getting back I spent all day Sunday and every night up until tonight sorting over 2000+ pictures.  I considered only posting the best of the bunch but reconsidered and uploaded 1500 final pictures.

Here is the link to the photo gallery [Click Here]

Race Maps


Calling all racers

14' Race Kicks off

The leaders race for shore

Winner hits home with a clear lead


3rd overall and 1st female

All Boards 2KM Start

Racers head out at full speed

All board winner sprints for the finish

12'6 3KM Race Start

A fast start as the racers head out for the first lap

The winners congratulate each other (many more pictures in the gallery)

A photo finish for a well fought race

Kids Course 800M Start

1st and 2nd Place racing for the beach on there first lap

Racing at its best as these two compete at the highest level

A fast lap followed by a flying transition

1st and 2nd congratulate each other on a well fought race

Sprint 1st Round Start

Sprint 2nd Round Start

Sprint Final 1st and 2nd head for home

SUP sportsmanship at it's best

Flying finish

Relay and the best transition of the day.  The team went on to dominate the race.

Second place team dives for home

Caught on camera using super hero skills to reach the beach. 

But the other teams are having none of it and try to block the way home.

Racers pay tribute SUP style to the last racer in the relay as she races up the beach.

A great day of racing with a great group of racers

Music on the beach as boards are packed away and the award ceremony is prepared

Just one of the award pictures, a good use of bubbly - you decide :)

Music and a sunset closed out a great day at Jericho Beach.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Adventures in Health - Part 1

Tonight I struggled to pull together a post as there are a lot of things to share but getting my thoughts ordered was another story so I decided to just start typing and let the thoughts come through on there own.  The title solves another problem, what to call the post, and now I have a title and a series to build upon. 

The IBS I experienced a few weeks ago is now under control, but it took some time as it seems that once it flares up the body needs to take time to regulate itself again.  The frustrating thing is that in general what caused the flare up is known however the specific food or combination of food that triggered the event is unknown.   When I think back to how I used to eat my body must have been in a constant state of stress that combined with physical and mental stress, well you know the story.

Choosing to eat healthy in todays world comes with a raft of challenges that have forced an otherwise unwilling individual (me) to think about what I put into my body on a daily basis.  I now realize that the food we eat defines us, not a hard concept to grasp really but one I was unwilling to accept.  I always told myself I did exercise to eat what I liked and I did, allowing myself to be pushed around by the health fads and good guidance provided by those that know better than me, oh and want to make a profit out of me.

When you think about it, it is not hard to understand the value of vegetables and whole foods but all those other interesting dishes sounded so much more interesting and tasted so much better.  One of the most interesting things I have experienced has been the change in my taste.  I just had no idea how salty and sweet everyday food was until I started to reduce and eliminate them.  A couple of years ago I was caught out travelling and really hungry.  I thought I would get a burger after all one burger could not hurt.  This was in the early stages of the diet change when I exercised an 80/20 rule that looking back was probably a 60/40 rule.  Even then the burger tasted like candy, I could not believe it, but there it was sweet meat literally. 

Today, I just don't eat out as every time I try I am disappointed and I risk an unknown ingredient that could trigger problems.  I would like to say the food I eat is better in everyway but the truth is sometimes it is boring or bland and other times it is a compromise and the constant challenge is to make it interesting which Sarah manages to do most of the time.  I see the effort and thought she puts into keeping me eating well and I recognize how difficult a road it is to travel.  But the journey is so worth it and everyone should have a Sarah.

There is something great about knowing you are eating well, it is a sense as well as a feeling not to mention a real impact on the body and well being.  Weight regulates itself and the body is able to fight infection and heal faster and more effectively.   I have experienced all of these effects.  When treated right the body can heal and I am eternally greatful for the fact that I am able to have such great adventures and be as active as I am today given that just over a year ago walking to the mail box was a goal.

As I continue with Adventures in health I will continue to share how the lifestyle we have chosen is impacting our lives and how I have used it to help overcome injuries and set my sights on friendly competition next year (now that I understand my limiting belief).  Oh and today I paid off my new Road Bike, pick it up in October - can't wait.

Remember to think great things, be a great person and power up your life everyday manifesting the life you truly want to live.

Nature is a wonder - take the time to appreciate her

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Adventures in Life

It is always good to be reminded that life is a wonderful adventure and we are the adventurers.  In addition to developing my photography, I have been given the opportunity to connect with a great group of people with a mission to make great paddle boards right here in Seattle.  I have invested in and joined the board of "Hemel Board Company".  They are a small company with a great product and journey ahead that I look forward to being apart of. 


This week has been a rush.  When not working, editing pictures or supporting Hemel I have been able to get out for a yoga session a hard bike ride and a great coaching session focused on my values, phew that's a lot just writing it down but with the support of my wonderful wife it has been a lot of fun.

Yoga this week challenged my back and with the help of a great instructor we managed to relax the muscles using a combination of stretches to ensure that the minor spasm did not turn into a problem.  For those of you with back issues you know what I mean.  It is a good reminder to keep focused on strengthening and stabilizing.

I also received a lesson in limiting beliefs this week courtesy of my bike ride.  I figured out that whilst I am competitive I fear my ability to perform competitively.  It is strange identifying a limited belief especially one you have had all your life.  I was on my ride when I was passed by another rider, the first thing that went through my mind was to chase and the next thing was I will not be good enough.  Well I chased and saw that the gap was not growing, my race experience kicked in and I knew I could match the rider but still my mind told me I was not good enough.  I pegged him back and kept the gap, he looked back at me and kicked, I let him go then had a good mental talk with myself after which I changed gears and brought him back to within a couple of bike lengths on my last climb.  Even then the limiting belief kicked in and I now view it as the universe showing me how I think.  The lesson I took away was that I might not always be strong enough but letting my mind decide puts me out of the game no matter what..  The goal for next year is to compete and enjoy competing regardless of the outcome.  I know I have a journey to take and awareness is a powerful thing.

Changing the subject we had an amazing thunder storm last weekend and at around 1am in the morning I was lucky enough to take the following picture.  The power of nature is just amazing.

Yesterday we went to the movies in the park.  We grew up with the film Mary Poppins and when we found out that it was showing in the park we had to go.  Well yesterday after work I have to admit that I was not that motivated especially since it was wet.  But Sarah got everything ready so off we went, we took rain cloths, a sun shade and chairs and had a great evening watching a film that brought back memories of our childhood and xmas.  Who would have believed all those years ago that I would watch Mary Poppins in an American Park, in the rain on a warm summers evening, amazing things happen everyday.


Here's to life's adventures - Power up

Saturday, August 10, 2013


For sure, sometimes things just take longer than they should and this week was one of those times.  I have been reviewing 1200+  pictures and it took all week to shrink in down to a final count of 740.

Part of this weeks journey has been working with the Smugmug site that I upgraded from a power user account to a professional account so that I could share the pictures and allow you to purchase prints from a one stop shop. 

Like all good plans their are hidden speed bumps and I hit a few this week.  The watermark I was using could not be removed when a print was purchased and I was unhappy with the web viewing size which was limited to medium to enable a right click download of a low res image.  So I rolled up my sleeves and sorted it out (I hope).

Changes:  I have disabled the right click function but enabled the ability to down load a low res image with a personal user license and no watermark for Blogs etc at a minimal cost of $0.60 an image.  Smugmug includes a $0.50 one time charge so if you buy more than one image you are only charged the $0.50.  I know it's not free but it helps me limit my costs and maybe one day make a little profit - hey a man can dream you know.  The good news is that I have now enabled pictures to be viewed on the site as XLarge which I think you will enjoy.   If you have questions don't hesitate to reach out to me.

Up Coming Events I Plan on Covering

8/24 - Vancouver SUP Challenge
9/8 - Round the Rock

If you are wondering I had intended to cover the Naish Columbia Gorge Challenge but I was late contacting the organizer and they have photography covered. It is too far to risk not being able to get a good shooting angle.  But I am always open if things change.  If you are heading down this week, good luck and Paddle like it matters - I will be there is spirit cheering you on :)

Let me know if their are other events you would like me to shoot, I am always up for a challenge.

Alright enough talking here is the link to the pictures - Enjoy

(Please buy one to help cover the hospital bill for the blisters on my fingers after all the editing this week)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Weekend: Sun Dog Race in BC, Canada

Friday lunch time I just happened to check Facebook, something I rarely do during the day and saw an entry from Stroke the Slough about a SUP race in White Rock (British Columbia), Canada at the weekend put on by Sun Dog.  The weather looked great and I had been looking for an excuse to take Benny (our 1985 VW WestFalia Vanagon) on a field trip.  So I picked up the phone and contacted Scott at Sun Dog to see if they would appreciate a photographer for the event.  The man from Sun Dog said yes, so the adventure was on.  Oh by the way I am the spontaneous one in the family and it freaks Sarah out every time I do last minute things as she is the planner and organizer I can't live without.   With the decision made to go the next hurdle was equipment, I knew the race would be open water and having been covered a few races I did not think my 18-200mm lens would get me the shots I wanted.  A quick email to a friend led me to a camera shop in Seattle.  We discussed what I wanted and landed on a 70 - 400mm lens.  Buying it at the moment is out of the questions but the good news was that there rental shop had one left and I snagged it.  A quick trip over to Seattle followed by a long wait in rush hour traffic home and I was nowhere near ready to go.

Sarah was amazing sorting out my meals for the entire weekend to ensure that I did not have to risk eating out, packing it and helping me get Benny ready for a last minute road trip.  By 11pm Friday night I was mostly ready.  Saturday morning the last bits of equipment including my bike was loaded into or onto Benny and by 10:30m I was ready to roll.  2.5 hours and one border crossing later.  I feel sorry for the boarder staff as it has to be a mind numbingly boring job, but do they really have to look at you like you’re a criminal.  I gave her my best smile and rolled on White Rock.

Meeting Scott and Kim for the first time was great, very friendly people.  It took me two passes to find them and if they had not parked there truck outside I would have missed them the second time as well.  We had a great conversation about boards and technology.  It sucked that Scott's website had gone down the day before race, but he looked like he had everything under control, either that or he was doing a great impression of a duck.  Calm on the surface and paddling like mad underneath.  With parking pass in hand I headed to the park to setup for the night.  The camp site was in one of the parks about 2.5 miles from the race location the next day so I parked up, unhooked the bike for a scout of the area. 

I headed to the end of the park which was blocked so I turned towards the beach and followed the railway and found myself at the start of a street market.  I had a little look around and met a local selling local product out of a great VW van, as a member of the VW camper family I had to say Hi, wish him luck with his business and of course take a picture of the van.

Leaving the market I headed along the coast to check out the race location, I knew it would be just past the Pier but I did not know exactly where.  Having taken a look, I decided to get a little bit of bike riding in before heading back to the Van for some dinner.  Back at the site, I met up with the owner of iSup a great guy called "Jeff", sorry Chris (in joke), I am really bad with names and I am working on getting better.  He runs his business out of his garage and it sounded really cool, I hope I get to see it someday.  After a chat, I thought it would be great to do a little yoga on the beach to stretch out after the long drive and bike ride.  I rolled out my mat and started my workout.  All of a sudden I got a fragrant whiff of doggie droppings, looked up and realized I had missed the land mine by not a lot.  Seriously I love my girls and always pick up after them, what is it with people who cannot pick there dog's mess up after them, especially on a public beach, it irritates the hell out of me, not just because of the hygiene but because they are the very people that spoil it for the rest of us who do pay attention and clean up after our animals (minor rant).   

Mat moved away from the land mine, I completed my yoga session and headed back to Benny for dinner.  Just after dinner a little lady came sweeping into the van and exclaimed "Are you Camping",  Taylor gave me a big hug and we talked for a bit before she told me she was off to see her parents.  It was great to see my friends and catchup.  We headed down to street market to  stake a spot for the parade that I had heard was one of the best to see.  It was a bonus to me as I had no idea there was going to be a parade.  Shortly after staking our spot with chairs and a blanket we were informed by a local that the parade this year had been cancelled, no floats, just a people parade.  This was disappointing news that had clearly not reached everyone, as like us the street filled with eager on lookers illuminated with florescent bands.  

The parade started at 9:30 and finished at 9:45, it has to be the record holder for the shortest parade I have every waited to see.  On the way back the lead told us (well the crowd) that a fire show would be held in the park, so everyone joined the parade and headed to the park.  The park just so happened to be the park I was camping in so not far to stumble once the show was over.   As shows go it was a lot of fun and definitely made up for the 15 minute parade.  Here are some shots.


Back in Benny, I bedded down for the night keen to get a good night's rest and be up early a ready to go in the morning, the plan worked great until 2am when I was woken by a trains air horn followed by what felt like 30 minutes of van shaking, all of the movement and none of the fun if you catch my drift.  Oh and then again at 4am and 6am at which point I just plain gave up and got up.  Not quite in the raring to go frame of mind I broke camp and headed to the race site. 

When I arrived Sun Dog was setting up and racers where already arriving and unpacking.  I watched the furious activity from the comfort of Benny, as I popped the top, lit the stove and proceed to cook myself bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes with hardboiled egg from breakfast, it sure beat a protein shake and healthy to boot. 

Breakfast finished I prepared the camera's and headed out to introduce myself to the racers and hand out cards so they could find there pictures after the event.  I love the SUP seen in PNW as the racers I have met so far are a great bunch of people and great to hang with and it is always great to talk VW Camper and to take a look at other great vans.  Here's one with its proud owner, it heard you when you said you had projects planned :)


10K Race

The first race a 10K started at 10:30ish before which Scott gave a pre race briefing

and then everyone became silent as Scott had arranged for a Spirit ceremony to be delivered before the race.

my plan was to take pictures at the start and head to the pier to catch them as they passed through a narrow channel and under the pier.  The start captured.


I jumped on my bike and headed over to the pier.  I had planned to take pictures of the leaders and then head back to the finish but it quickly became clear that I would not make it as bikes are not allowed on the trail or pier and I could not cover the distance quick enough.  Plan changed, I camped out on the pier as most of the racers passed by and then headed to the finish to pick up the last ones in.  I thought I had made a mistake but reviewing the pictures I am pleased with the choice.

The race winner

The first female finisher

Heading for home

Final placing order 1st, 2nd, 3rd

Kids Rely

Next up was the kids rely before which I was able to snarf down some lunch and recover a little before heading back down the beach.  It is great to see the young ones put so much effort into the race, there are clearly some up and coming champions in the making.


 5K Race

The last race of the day was the 5K.  By the time the racers headed out the wind had gotten up and the calm flat surface that greeted the 10K racers was now choppy and far less inviting.  Talking to racers after the event (of which some of them had participated in the 10k) the verdict was that the 5K was harder than the 10K so a big shout out to all the paddlers for the great effort needed just to complete the race.


The Start
The winners congratulate each other

Scott removes the flags

 After the events of the day Sun Dog put on a great prize giving followed by a draw which I left few people empty handed by the end of the day, except the poor photographer who retired to the Benny to review the spoils of the day.  Don't feel sorry for me,  OK feel a little sorry for me having to stand in the water all day and watch my toes turn to prunes and get cold from the feet up.  No seriously it was a great day, spent with great people and I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.
The Kids division winning line up
The prize giving line up
A tired buy happy photographer

A quick snack in the car park and I said good bye and headed back to Seattle to a warm and wonderful greeting from Sarah and my girls, full of stories to tell and pictures to show.  Yesterday I spent all evening sorting through 1000+ pictures and I hope to have the full gallery up in the next couple of days - Stay Tuned and Power Up people.

(There are always more stories to tell and I will try to share more in the next post once I have all the pictures posted)