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

June 11, 2011

Singletrack cover June 2011: Worth waiting for.

Filed under: bike — Tags: , — danmilner @ 8:47 am

Not quite home in time for tea, but what the hell. Leica M8, Voigtlander 15/4.5

So my office is still half full of filing cabinets. Filing cabinets rammed with sleeved photographic slides. Probably in excess of 20,000 of them, accrued from over a dozen years of photo trips around the world before I went digital a few years back. Now I have a stack of hard drives accrueing several thousand… OK, you get the idea. I need to edit my stock. But one of the beauties of having a stock of images is that you can pull from it from time to time when a client or mag needs a ‘stock’ shot. I’m not saying Singletrack magazine needed this shot for their cover this month (well, obviously they did I guess), but I came across it while rummaging through the hard drives for shots for another client (hmm,’client’ makes me sound like a high class private escort, which come to think of it I am in a way… we are all prostitutes [under capitalism] and all that).

But there was something about this shot that I knew was a tad special when I shot it. The shape of the trail, positioning of the rider, the beautiful low light and shards of glacier in the background and I can remember saying to Guillaume (the front rider) on the day, “that’s a cover, definately”.  It was only after the story I was shooting was filed with a mag and this shot didnt make their edit, that I was surprised (we photographers are always surprised when photo editors don’t select our favourites from a shoot). The shot was relegated to the stock files to gather pixel dust for a year or so. So as I browsed my drives, I saw this shot and instantly bunged it, alone and uncluttered, on an email to the Singletrack mag blokes. All it said in the email subject box was “cover?”. It worked it seems. Sometimes you have to wait for the moment to be right.

And what of the shot? Well it’s somewhere above St Gervais, French Alps, riding a 1100 m descent having “poached” the train ride up by smuggling our dismantled bikes in random bags to breeze the 600m climb (a climb we had pushed up a year prior to explore this trail so don’t go getting all high and mighty about earning your descents). It’s also nearly dark and still a long way from home and it’s shot on the flowy bit of trail immediately following a set of cliff-side ladders you have to climb down with your bikes. A lot of effort, but it’s made the cover. In the end. Worth waiting for.

Thanks Singletrack.



  1. Am I right in thinking the last train of the day you can now take bikes?

    Only the other day we had joked of off-road bromptons for going up on Montenvers

    Comment by Oli C — June 18, 2011 @ 8:16 am

    • Ha, a Brompton would be ideal on this trail. Hm maybe not. Yes you’re right in thinking you can take bikes (space permitting) on the last 2 trains of the day on the Tramway Mont Blanc, but only as far as the Belle Vue station above Les Houches. There’s an additional 700m of climbing above that to drop into this trail form the Nid d’Aigle station, a spot reserved almost exclusively for Chris Bonnington wannabe’s and gawping sightseers. You push up or smuggle.

      Comment by danmilner — June 24, 2011 @ 8:53 am

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