At last… finally after all these years my home valley of Chamonix is finally recognising that the mountain bike thang is here to stay. To plant the seed firmly home took two Swedish locals, Toya and Malin who run the POC Protection systems store to seize the moment and organise a damn decent bike event, much to the appreciative awe of five hundred gathered spectators. Getting permission to close off the main street through the middle of Chamonix right at the height of tourist season was just the start of their ambitions, and a double kicker line was constructed for invited POC rider Martin Soderstrom and local jump riders to show the public what street ramps are all about.
With a gathering like this (accompanied by live music and solid DJ’ing) ramming home the potential of the bike culture to enliven what can sometimes be a somewhat reserved evening scene in Chamonix, we also seized the opportunity to hold a raffle in benefit of internationally renowned trials rider Hans Rey’s charity Wheels-4-Life (www.wheels4life.org). The charity exists to provide working bikes to people in developing countries to use by doctors, teachers and other valuable services. With local busineeses donating prizes, we raised over 500 Euros for the charity… enough to provide 5 bikes. Not bad for a late-notice affair.
For me it was also the chance to try out the new Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 lens I just splashed out on (what credit crunch?). You’d guess that Nikon and Canon never make best bedfellows, so the newly released lens (now renowned as the sharpest ultra-wide angle zoom on the market, ever) needs a funky 200-quid Nikon-to-Canon adaptor to make it fit the Canon bodies that fill my arsenal of pro gear. Funky.. definitely. No Autofocus, no f-stop display… just a little slide lever to manually control the aperture and exposure via the lightmeter reading in the viewfinder. Hey its just like old times. Of course that all goes a bit tricky when you have to dial in your exposure to match the output of a remote flash gun, but this event, with little pressure on ‘getting the shot’ (ie, no client to answer to) meant that it didn’t take long to get it dialled. Check the flash shots and you’ll see what I mean. So what of the lens… well, yep it is a funky addition to the gear I have and it’ll be gracing a lot of shoots I imagine… just seeing the edge to edge sharpness of the images tells me that. Heck, regular readers of the blog will know I like a challenge. Why make it easy for myself?