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

February 29, 2012

Human flypaper: Further comes to Europe

Filed under: snow — Tags: , , — danmilner @ 5:59 pm

Cold. So cold the oil lubricating the diaphragm blades in my 300/f4 lens started going sticky. That’s cold. I know. Shooting a sequence of Jeremy Jones riding a line that looked like human flypaper, every 3rd frame is underexposed by 3 stops. The aperture just wouldnt open up quick enough in succession to match for the 8 frames per second shutter. Sticky oil. Cold.

I just spent 3 weeks in Austria shooting with Jeremy, Mitch Toelderer and Bibi Pekarek as part of the 2-year TGR Further film project. Our session saw us camping for 6 days straight through one of the coldest snaps Europe has had in 50 years. -23C day and night with no let up can be testing at times, and saw the very real of frost bite in temps that prevented the 4-season gas from burning in our stoves. It wasn’t all a grimace though, no, there were moments of levity. My how we laughed the morning when we discovered Chris had forgotten to unlace his damp snowboard boots the night before and now they had frozen so solid he nearly broke his ankle trying to get his foot inside. The mental picture of him hopping about screaming in pain as he tried to force a foot into the unrelenting boot will make me laugh for decades to come. And then there was the almost daily challenge of trying to hack slithers off the frozen cheese for sandwiches. We had to use a wood saw. Happy days.

Human flypaper: Jones rides a nadge tech line that is usually reserved for summer climbers. We split 13 Km towing our gear on sledges to camp here. Nikon D3s, 300f4, f9, 1/640th.

The snowcamp session and subsequent winter-hut  session that followed drove home how tricky some of these “expeditions” can be, logistically, physically and mentally. Ironic that we were only 10 miles from an Austrian city of 100,000 people, and so much easier than our Svalbard arctic mission last April. So close, yet so far. Thats what it takes sometimes to get into mountains that offer faces that have never been skied/filmed. Willingness to get cold.

Week 3: our cosy winter hut. All we had to do was find it at 7.30 pm in the dark with headtorches in a blizzard after a 6-hour splitboard into the zone. Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8, f5.6, 1/1000th

The feature will grace a number of snow titles next winter. I may have even thawed out by the time they go to print.


February 5, 2012

Holidays on ice: getting in there with TGR.

Filed under: snow — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 6:57 pm

Righto, on the eve of setting off on the Euro-installment of the Further movie project with Jeremy Jones, one that will see us snow-camping right slap bang in the middle of Europe’s coldest snap this year (hmm, I was shooting in a finger and battery crushing -27 C yesterday) I thought I’d give you another glimpse of the kind of challenges we robust adventurer types face (when we’re not being mollycoddled in luxury 4-start hotel spas), with an unplugged episode from TGR.

So, if you’re growing tired of my incessant amateur  video work (see tag ‘Mangina Chronicles’), you can marvel at what a full pro production team that knows how to film and edit properly can make of our Svalbard expedition. Here’s TGR’s recent behind the scenes take on the challenge of getting into ‘the zone’ for our Arctic camp-out in Svalbard. Click on the link below. Be prepared though: this video is no where near as good as my own Mangina episodes.

P.O.M: Jan ‘012

Filed under: snow — Tags: , — danmilner @ 4:58 pm

Photo Of the Month: Oscar Scherlin, Chamonix.

Nikon D3s, 24-70/2.8, 1/200th, f6.3, 2x strobes and 2x Pocketwizard Flex TT5.

Patience is a virtue. I waited 3 years to capture this jib, its location on a south facing slope and low in the valley meaning its rare for it to get significant snow. Not this year. With over a metre of snow in the valley, we had more than enough to build the quarter pipe transition and to cover rocks and roots in the in-run. All I needed now was a willing athlete up for a moonlit jib in the park: step forward Volkl pro skier Oscar Scherlin.

January 18, 2012

The Svalbard chronicles episode 3: The door.

Welcome to no. 3 in my random series of insights into the life of an adventuring photographer camping onthe polar island of Svalbard as part of the Further film project.

This episode: There’s no satisfying some adventurers it seems when an inexplainable “number” arrives in camp.

Svalbard chronicles episode 3: the door from danmilner on Vimeo.

January 16, 2012

The Svalbard Chronicles Episode 2: Friction

Another installment of my GoPro video behind the scenes glimpse of the life of an adventure photographer.

Episode 2: Things begin to go awry among the TGR Further splitboard expedition crew, camping deep on the polar island of Svalbard, 700 miles from the North Pole. Well, what do you expect with seven blokes and only one rifle between them?

January 11, 2012

Live view: Another slideshow in the off’ing.

Filed under: outdoors, snow — Tags: , , , — danmilner @ 7:38 pm

Thursday 19 January 2012, The Vert Hotel/bar, Chamonix: So I am kicking off the new year with another (free) Milner slideshow/hecklefest. Expect the usual inane babble and artfully dark images, this time from the Svalbard Polar trip with Jones and Terje. If you’re not around Chamonix next week, then you can catch a (soya)beefed up showing later in the year at the Kendal Mountain Film Festival (November).

There'll not be a dry eye in the house.

December 25, 2011

The Svalbard Chronicles part 1: Downtime in camp.

It’s that time of year when bike shoots get muscled out by the ripped torso of snow-bound adventures and the postie suffers relapsed hernias while trying to  stuff  my letter box with assorted snow mags from around the world that feature my work shot last winter. This week the latest Transworld Snowboarding dropped with a resounding thud onto my WELCOME door mat, well in fact 2 significant issues of TWS did -the 2011/12 Photo Annual and their 25th anniversary issue. The former sports what TWS’ editors have gathered as the “greatest” shots of the year, and my shot of Jeremy Jones dropping what we tagged “the Nat Geo chute” during our recent Further Svalbard Arctic camping trip scored the spread as “Best Landscape” shot of 2011. I’d be happy enough if this was it all, but nay! The 25th anniversary issue lists my Deeper Alaska story from 2 winters ago amongst the ten most memorable features TWS have run in their 25 years as the world’s leading Snowboard title. Yes, of course I’m chuffed.

Is it really that hard to shoot the "landscape shot of the year" when you have this location and this rider to fill the frame. Surely all I had to do was press the shutter, right? Hmm, yes and hike up to this vantage point at 11 pm. And try to fend off frostbite. And sit out another 3 day storm. And eat 2 weeks of freeze dried meals.. and that's not touching on the polar bear issue. .Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 VRII

So to help me celebrate this boost in ego, I’m launching here the Svalbard Chronicles… a varied and randomly ill-defined edit of my video-diary from the same 3-week Svalbard camping session back in May. if nothing else the video pieces may help you understand how, why and what the hell a mountain photographer’s life is all about. Be warned: there will be more.

October 22, 2011

A little slice of Jones for your wall…

Filed under: photography, snow — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 12:55 pm

If you happen to be in San Francisco on November 10th, you can have the chance of taking home a 2-dimensional slice of Jeremy Jones to hang on your wall and marvel at. Drop into the SF Patagonia store (at 770 North Point St) for an evening of Further-esque happenings and bid on a framed print of one of my shots of Jeremy slaying what we tagged the “Nat Geo” chute during our recent Further film Svalbard expedition. In fact the shot hasn’t been published anywhere yet, so the winner will have the very first print of this shot. Period. The print, measuring 80x65cm and exquisitely printed by Travis Rice Asymbol gallery, will be signed by Jeremy, who will also be there to nag until he either parts with anecdotes about our crew’s time on the remote islands or goes home crying. The whole evening is a fund raiser for Protect Our Winters charity, a US organisation that seeks to educate on climate change and assist ecologically sound developments.

This is what you can bid for in San Fran. Just don't get in your private jet to go and do so. 80x65cm print, archival quality, Signed by Jeremy Jones. © Dan Milner.

This event follows recent similar ones at the Patagonia stores in New York and Denver, both again fund raisers for POW charity, where prints of my shots of the veritable Travis Rice, shot during our Deeper Alaska session were auctioned for $600 for POW.

Travis Rice print .. already hanging on a wall and making its buyer chuffed to bits.

Now, nobody is going to pretend that all our winter activities –let alone all the miles we photographers clock up shooting wintery adventures for magazines and film projects- are a particularly ‘green’ way of enjoying ourselves, but every now and then an opportunity comes up to move the slider towards positive again, if only by a little.

October 19, 2011

Child’s play with Jeremy Jones: Svalbard part 1 goes live.

Filed under: photography, snow — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 10:21 pm

It’s too early to think much about snowboarding for me (hey, there are bikes trails still to ride), but it seems there are some (you know who you are) that are already getting all frisky at the sight of frost, and to keep these types happy, the first crop of this winter’s snowboard mags has dropped, including Transworld Snowboarding’s issue with my 10 page Svalbard Arctic circle feature in it.

It took me 3 weeks to shoot this 10 page feature for TWS including polar bear footprints. So you'd better look and look good at the pretty pictures.

Now, back in May, I accompanied Jeremy Jones, Terje Haakenson and a spool of TGR filmers to Svalbard, approximately 700 miles from the North Pole to shoot a splitboard-camping mission in one of the most heavily polar bear populated locations on the planet. Years ago, I heard about these islands and their vertiginous mountains and couloirs from a skier who told me about the “anti-bear” fences you have to erect around camp, night and day, and I thought “That’s daft, I can safely say I will never go there.” Half a dozen years later though I have a ten pager in TWS about the same location, some sleepless nights (well, days, it’s 24/7 light there during May) and some epic experiences under my belt.

We called this chute 'Nat Geo', because it looked like the sort of thing that would grace a National Geographic cover. Jones turns another page. Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 VRII.

The remote location, made a little more infamous by the tragic death of a British student in July after a polar bear attack, is definitely “out there” and fits squarely into the new TGR film production, entitled Further to be released next autumn. But to give you a little taste of Further here and now TGR have just released the first teaser, sporting a healthy smorgasbord of Svalbard epicness, which you can see here…

September 9, 2011

More floc wallpaper.. but this time it’s insulated: Winter is sneaking in.

Filed under: snow — Tags: , — danmilner @ 8:46 pm

Okay, so I know some of you out there dont’t give a hoot about bikes and are more into the whole ‘winter escapist thang’. Well if the recent wallpaper download from Bike mag doesn’t tickle your fancy then this one might, this time from Transworld Snowboarding.

My shot on wallpaper offering, is of Travis Parker, kicking up the goods, during a brief sunny interlude in what was otherwise a very wintery  and less than sunny week-long feature shoot in Chamonix and you can download it here.

Canon EOS 1Dmk3, 70-200 2.8L

But hey, winter is still four months away, There are bikes still to ride yet.

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