the dan milner photography blog: tales of an adventuring photo chimp

February 22, 2011

When the bets are each way: scoring bike mag covers in the snow

Filed under: bike — Tags: , , , — danmilner @ 8:25 pm

Wonder no more. They may have forgotten to credit (something that after years in the business you’re used to, but still somehow really grates) the cover image on the new MBR Photo special out this month, but take it from me, it’s one of mine. I say “grates” as it’s probably my favourite shot from last year’s mountain bike sessions. And it started with a bet.

Mike and Jez revel in post bet-winning glow. Leica M8, Voigtlander 12/5.6

Simply, I bet Mike that we could reach the trail without having to put a foot down.

An hour of hiking through snow to reach this trail –one of my favourites in the Chamonix valley- in late October meant I lost the bet, but seeing the shot gracing MBR’s cover it seems to have paid off. Long after the lifts close, Chamonix locals get their trails back, free from the hoards of milling tourists and stupid, illogical and alarmingly proliferating  bike restrictions. Free from the temptations of chair lifts, all we have to do is be willing to ride or hike up to them again. But the race is on of course, trying to squeeze in as many “last rides” as possible before yielding our trails to the winter snows. This day was one such “last ride”, trying to reach the 1800m altitude start point of this descent only a few days after the hills became buried in 30 cm of snow, anxious that it might be our last decent big ride. I felt sure though that we could reach the start point of the descent, riding up a lung-busting climb without having to ever get off and push. All looked fine for most of the climb until we crept over the final brow to where the climb rolls into a col in the mountains. Bang! knee deep snow. So an hour later of pushing and carrying we rolled into the descent with sodden feet and tingling toes, heading for this corner that I’ve tried shooting before but never quite found the ‘right’ angle to do it justice. Helped by the energy that comes with 2 riders in the shot, and with light almost failing to October dusk, I knew I’d got the shot I always wanted.  Moody, gritty, this is one of those shots that to me at least , shouts real mountain biking.



  1. is that an accurate photo of the mbr cover? i ask because the processing of it looks so dramatically different to your original. love the shot either way, it does, as you say, shout real mountain biking. shame they didn’t credit you too.

    Comment by jamesr0012 — May 25, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

    • Well James, actually the small inset of the photo special cover isn’t a very accurate repro of their cover…. they actually did a sterling job of recreating the original shot as it looks on the blog site here.. it’s just my quick scan jpg didn’t reproduce their accurate reproduction of my original (are you followin’ all this?).. hence why i jut popped it on there small-ish and kept the original big. Repro is a weird thing and as photographers who have invested way too much money buying and way too much time learning their cameras, computers and software processing (currently Lightroom) we get more than a little peeved at some f the quality of repro that goes on in some magazines that run our pics… the same pics we’ve often hiked/biked/splitboarded, camped in crazy places, and endured inclement weather to get. So often it just comes down to cost (as usual) and publishers are always looking for cheaper print solutions for their magazines, be it lower quality inks that are washed out, bad colour calibrations or rubbish paper stock. have I said enough. It’s one of those battles we have with mags and one we will never win. Believe me I have tried. But that said, no, MBR did a great job on one of my favourite shots of the year.

      Comment by danmilner — June 6, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

  2. that’s good. being a graphic designer my photography work has mainly been used in projects where i’ve had control of the end printing, thus if things print badly it’s probably my fault! mbr features consistently stunning photography and it’s good that you can rely on them to reproduce your work well. after all, you’re instilling the spirit of the sport in your photographs as they are in their magazine.

    Comment by jamesr0012 — June 6, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

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