While Pacific Crest Stock focuses on licensing images to other entities, we occasionally do have our own outside projects and this is a fun one. Mike Putnam has released his own Mt. Bachelor poster. The poster is big, 24inches tall x36 inches wide. The printing quality is excellent and the colors printed very accurately from Mike’s beautiful original Mt. Bachelor Photo. so far, the posters have been a big success at local ski shops and at Mt. Bachelor’s very own Gravity Sports.
This stunning Mt. Bachelor Poster was captured after a heavy winter snow fall in the Central Oregon Cascades. Winter images with barren trees are one of my pet peeves in the landscape photography world. images with barren trees simply look like the photographer didn’t care how the scene looked, they just wanted to take a shot. I have returned to this location countless times, at sunrise in an attempt to capture a beautiful, snowy image of Mt. Bachelor. The wonderful clouds in the background, enlivened by warm sunrise colors, finished off this beautiful image and make it the best Mt. Bachelor Poster we’ve ever seen. The poster is available for $20 and at wholesale rates for retailers who are willing to make larger orders. If you’d like to place an order, don’t hesitate to call us at 541-610-4815.
I have to start this blog entry with the admission that this is my first real attempt at sports/action photography. As many of you readers in the web world know, my strength as a photographer lies in my landscape images. I typically shoot with an old school wooden 4×5 film camera with the hopes of capturing the next great Oregon landscape photograph. To see some of my landscape photography, check out the following link: Oregon Landscape Photographer. Because I have lots of bicycling friends in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, I’ve developed an interest in the local wheeled sports. Last year, the good folks at Visit Bend, helped bring the 2009 Cyclocross national championships to our home city of Bend. I went to cheer on the local competitors and I was hooked. It is a great spectator sport. Lots of action, rough riding conditions, and a very colorful crowd. This year, I returned for the 2010 Cyclocross National Championships and once again, it was a blast. Below is one of my favorite shots from this year’s 2010 mens elite cyclocross race. A winding, spectator laden, muddy course, complete with a masked shirtless guy in briefs(Salty), 7 Santa Clauses, and Gumby. How awesome is that? During the two days that I shot during the Cyclocross nationals, I was repeatedly drawn back to landscape type shots like this that manage to capture the feel and energy of this tremendous event.
The first race I was able to catch was the men’s under 23 elite race, and it was riveting. Below is an image from the start of that race showing the riders poised, clean, and comfortable
Please notice the signature smoke stacks from Bend’s Old Mill District nicely framed beneath the starting gate and over the riders. That was no accident! Also notice the rider who is wearing the orange,blue and white lycra near the center of this photograph. That rider is Danny Summerhill who later became extremely filthy and then extremely happy after he eventually was crowned U23 Cyclocross National Champ.
As you can Summerhill didn’t stay clean the whole race. I spent a lot of time near the stairs as the climb made for some dramatic images. Below is another of the countless images of suffering and exhaustion I captured from near the stairs at Cyclocross Nationals. This kid is making a great face!
The following image of competitors climbing the stairs does a nice job of capturing the feel and mood of the U23 elite race. Muddy, and grueling.
Another interesting spot for viewing the races was at the bottom of a small sloping hill, near the vendor tents. During the wet and muddy U23 mens race, this hill was chaos. I saw at least 3 course marking poles broken by falling competitors. Below is a typically chaotic scene from that location.
A special commendation should be given to the large unknown man on the other side of the course who stood on top of a dagger like broken pole and saved at least to different competitors from seriously impaling themselves. I’m convinced that the unknown man prevented at least two trips to the emergency room.
The start of the mens 35-39 race offered a different kind of drama as there was a huge pile up immediately after the starting gun which led to the cyclocross scene you see below.
I love the randomness of one guy running with his bike at the start of the race and all the disruption in the middle of the pack.
Above is a competitor who deserves special notice for an unusual reason. The man you see grimacing on the stairs is Bend’s very own Doug Laplaca, the intrepid leader of Visit Bend. Doug and Visit Bend have done a phenomenal job of helping to bring wonderful events like Cyclocross Nationals to our fair city. These events bring in visitors, and are brilliantly suited to Bend Oregon’s strong and distinct outdoor personality. Thanks to Doug and the rest of the talented staff at Visit Bend.
Another fun attraction near the stairs was one of many big puddles on the course. After the first lap, the competitors were so soaked and mud coated that they largely disregarded the puddle, allowing me to capture images like the one below.
While the races on Saturday were thrilling, the true mayhem occurred on Sunday during the Men’s Open Elite Cyclocross Race. The course was inundated with cowbell swinging spectators. Part of what seems to make Cyclocross attractive and successful is its crazed fans. Below is one of my favorite shots from the men’s elite cyclocross race.
How excellent is this? Mud covered riders carrying their bikes up gooey stairs underneath a landscape worthy sky while some guy in dinosaur pajamas and a panda mask encourages them. Pure Awesomeness!
This is another image of wonderful cyclocross randomness! A crazed shirtless and masked man( “Salty”) cheers on Bend’s Ryan Trebon as a group of varied Santas also offer their support. Few spectator sports offer scenes that are more fun filled than this! Below is the obligatory winners photo of Todd Wells of Durango Colorado taking the gold. Todd rode strong and edged out local favorite Ryan Trebon who was cheered on by a frenzied local crowd.
For those of you who have never been to a cyclocross race. Go, go, go. The atmosphere is phenomenal and the competitors truly pour their hearts into the races. Hopefully in the not too distant future, Cyclocross Nationals will return to Bend, Oregon as Bend is an exceptional venue and the races were brilliantly supported by the Central Oregonians and visitors alike. To see many more images from the 2010 Cyclocross Nationals, please visit the galleries at our stock photography site by folowing this link: Cyclocross National Photos. If you have any specific needs for images from Cyclocross Nationals, feel free to contact me at (541) 610-4815 or email me at Mike@pacificcreststock.com. I have hundreds of great shots from this phenomenal event that may meet your cyclocross Imaging needs.
Thanks for visiting,
It was a simple plan, really. Backpack into the base of Three Fingered Jack for a little snow camping, and hopefully get some good sunrise photos. What could possibly go wrong? Well, a bloody tree-riddled ride down an icy slope for one. Hmmm . . . I didn’t really see that coming.
Summer had arrived early in Bend, Oregon and I had the itch to go exploring in the backcountry. From a photography perspective, it is always tempting to get into the high alpine areas in early summer while there is still a lot of snow on the mountains, so I did a little scouting along the forest service roads outside of Sisters, Oregon and determined that I could drive most of the way into Jack Lake, which is the primary access point for Canyon Creek Meadows and Three Fingered Jack Mountain. The southeast-facing road leading up to Jack Lake is usually one of the first to melt off every year, and in early summer, hikers can usually drive up to the last big north-facing curve in the road– which is only a mile or two short of the trailhead. While going early in the year adds a few extra miles to the total hiking distance, it’s not a bad trade off for the added solitude that it provides. Plus, it’s always kind of fun knowing that you are one of the first to make it into the area for the year.
I parked the Jeep at the curve where snow was still drifting across the road, creating a steep ramp that sloped off the edge of the hill. I contemplated trying to 4-wheel it through the corner, but the sloping angle of snow and ice just looked a little too intimidating and I could easily picture the back of my truck loosing grip and sliding off the edge of the cliff and down into the valley below. It didn’t seem worth the risk just to save a few extra miles of hiking so I strapped on my snowshoes and started hiking toward Jack Lake. There’s a nice view of Three Fingered Jack from the lake, after which, the trail climbs gradually through a relatively dense forest of Fir trees and into the meadows near the base of the mountain. Although the trail was completely snow-covered, I have been fortunate to make this hike many times in the past and I have several waypoints saved in my GPS, which makes it very easy to find my way into the meadows.
I arrived in the lower meadow a few hours before sunset, but while I was hiking through the forest, thick clouds had moved in from the east and completely obstructed my view of the mountain. The clouds were hanging just a few hundred feet off of the valley floor, and as I started trying to formulate a backup photography plan that accounted for the possibility of morning clouds (i.e., no sunrise picture opportunities from the meadows), I remembered that the Pacific Crest Trail runs along the top of the ridge to my immediate right and that there were some really interesting views of Jack’s pinnacles from up on that ridge. I have a waypoint saved in my GPS of a “secret” climbers trail that traverses from the far end of the upper meadow to the ridge top, but this time of year, I knew that there was no way I would be able to make it up the steep climb and I was a little worried that I might trigger an avalanche if I attempted that route. Rather than taking the route from the upper meadow, I decided to try to find an easier way to the top by approaching the ridge from the lower meadow.
Within a few minutes of leaving the lower elevation meadow, I had climbed my way into the overhanging clouds. The temperature dropped precipitously inside the cloud bank, and I soon found myself covered with a fine, frozen mist. Fortunately, the heat that I generated while struggling to climb up the steep pitch with a 40-pound backpack more than offset the drop in external temperature. I picked and chose my way to the summit, hiking in and out of woods and rock slides until I finally made it to the top of the ridge. With virtually no visibility on top, I started hiking blindly west along the ridge top, sometimes following a knife-like cliff band that dropped several hundred feet on both sides. Given the steep exposure on each side of the cliff, I was frequently forced to take off my backpack and heave it up and over various ledges rather than attempting to awkwardly navigate the rocky scramble with it on my back. I finally arrived to an area that I recognized, and just before sunset, the clouds parted around Three Fingered Jack long enough for me to capture the following image.
Soaking wet and exhausted from the climb, I searched around the edge of the ridge until I found a small, fairly level snow-free area for me to set up my tent and then I crawled in and immediately crashed for the night. It seemed like I had just fallen asleep when my watch started beeping–alarming me that it was time to peak outside to check sunrise conditions. It was a bitterly cold morning, but fortunately, the prior night’s clouds were completely cleared out and the mountain was rising above me in all of its glory. I reluctantly crawled out of my toasty warm sleeping bag and into ice cold boots to start scouting the area for the best sunrise compositions. I was barely awake, so I collected up some coffee and my backpacking stove, Java Press, and camera gear and then stumbled toward the mountain until I found an attractive composition. I had just begun trying to warm my hands around a fresh cup of coffee when the first light of the day landed on the pinnacles of Three Fingered Jack.
It was the perfect morning for taking pictures. I hiked back and forth along the ridge line shooting the mountain from every conceivable angle until I felt as if I had done all I could with my current location. Then, I went back to camp, loaded up the rest of my gear and started mentally planning my return trip. I wasn’t too excited about trying to re-negotiate my way along the knife-thin ridge that I had followed the previous night, and after seeing the hard-packed snow on the slopes closer to the mountain, I was much less concerned about triggering an avalanche there, so I decided that I would make my way down the westerly route and into Canyon Creek Meadows for a few final photographs and then back out to the Jeep.
My plan worked fine for about 5 or 10 minutes until I lost focus, and accidentally stepped onto the back of my own snowshoe while descending the steep slope. That little misstep immediately sent me hurling head first down the hill. My water bottle shot out of the side pocket on my backpack and rocketed past my head and down the slope in front of me. As I watched it ricochet off of the trees a few hundred feet below, I fought to roll myself over to my side and dug in the edges of my snowshoes to stop my sliding. Both forearms were bleeding from scraping along the ice, but otherwise, I had escaped without any serious injury. Still, I was in no hurry to repeat that episode, so I left my water bottle to fend for itself and started traversing across the slope, using short careful steps. Traversing the steep, icy slope was much easier said than done, and less than half away across the open snow field, my left snowshoe lost purchase and I again found myself sliding uncontrollably. I shifted all of my weight uphill as I started to slide and between the force of losing my balance and the added weight of my backpack, the hiking pole in my right hand dug into the snow just enough to bend it at nearly a 90 degree angle.
Within seconds, I had slid into the tree line below, bouncing feet-first off the trees like a pinball. As I bounced off of the trees, my eyes quickly took turns between focusing on the next tree in my path and shielding themselves from the tip of my newly bent, L-shaped aluminum hiking pole, which kept flirting dangerously close to my retina with each impact. I pin-balled off of four or five smaller trees until gravity eventually deposited me into a deep snowy tree well. Bloody, but relieved that I had survived without breaking my leg or piercing an eyeball, I strapped my snowshoes onto the back of my pack and eased my way down the rest of the slope . . . this time, staying in the trees and using them for balance as I worked my way down reaching from one branch to the next. I followed my GPS coordinates to the bottom of the climbers trail and then limped out to the upper meadows.
As I stared at the mountain from its base, I could see the southern ridge on the opposite side where I had almost died on a previous hike (see previous blog entry) and then I re-played the events in my mind that occurred to me that morning. I just sort of smiled and shook my head in disbelief as I thought about myself pin-balling down the slope in the distance, and then I hiked out to the Jeep singing ““Always gets a replay, never see him fall, [the pinball wizard] sure plays a mean pinball.”
Posted by Troy McMullin