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

September 1, 2014

I went mountain biking in Afghanistan and all you got was this lousy video

Filed under: bike, video — Tags: , , , , , — danmilner @ 12:47 pm

Here’s my moving image take on the Bikemag trip I photographed.  For your enjoyment. Or maybe mine. Click on image to watch on EpicTV.

Screen shot 2014-09-01 at 1.43.39 PM


July 8, 2014

This Life Aquatic – hauling bikes on boats in Scotland

Filed under: bike, photography, video — Tags: , , , , , , , — danmilner @ 6:45 am

Sometimes ideas for features take a while to come to fruition; like my Argentina railway bike epic in March, and like this slightly out there adventure I shot in Scotland in May. The idea: take some sea-kayaks, pack with overnight camping gear and throw our bikes onto inflatable dinghies towed behind.

Putting new meaning to the word 'floater'. Shot with GoPro HD3+

Putting new meaning to the word ‘floater’. Shot with GoPro HD3+

Combining bikes and kayaks like this might seem a bit like mixing water with electricity, but there was an inner voice that nagged me over the last couple of years to try it (the same voice that leads me to places like Afghanistan to shoot bike features it seems). After all what can go wrong?

Sea kayaks are great for covering distance on water. Sleek, fast, efficient. Add a floating ‘trailer’ of an inflatable dinghy with the displacement dynamics of a barge, load it with bikes and the equation gets interesting. Especially if the wind is against you. And finding a suitable stretch of water to try this 2 day, 2 night escapade presented another challenge. So we teamed up with Go-Where Scotland to help with location logistics and Sea-Kayak Highlands to provide the boats and then we hit the deepest loch in Scotland, Loch Morar, a loch with its own legendary monster. Apparently.

Dont stray form the paths lads. Leica M9, Zeiss 18/4

Dont stray from the paths lads. Leica M9, Zeiss 18/4

So armed with the Pelican-case packable Leica M9 and a couple of GoPro HD3+ cameras our idea finally came to fruition. No it wasn’t quite the miles-from-anywhere-Alaskan-wrestle-bears-for-your-dinner insanity that many now come to expect from me, but it was an authentic little adventure, right there on our doorstep with its own set of challenges and rich rewards. It shows that sometimes you don’t need to travel too far to put the ‘escape’ into escapade. You just have to be willing to get out there, ride some bikes and paddle 20+ miles in whatever weather nature throws at you, and do it with a dinghy in tow.

The feature will rear its monster head in MBUK and other bike mags around the world in the next few months, but in the meantime, here’s the EpicTV episode from the trip. It’s a little… err, different. Click image below to watch.

Click to watch film episode

Click pic to watch film episode


May 9, 2014

Me? Scared? Well, you can see my legs trembling 3 minutes in.

Filed under: bike, video — Tags: , , , , , , , — danmilner @ 12:57 pm

Want to see how our recent Argentina railroad epic with Hans and Tibor looks on video? Well, here it is.

Screen shot 2014-05-09 at 1.53.16 PM

March 22, 2014

A little yellow bird told me – shooting Canaries

Filed under: bike, video — Tags: , , , , , , , — danmilner @ 3:08 pm

Yeah I know, it’s been a while, I’ve been busy. And one of the busy moments recently was shooting an MTB traverse of the magnificent island of Gran Canaria, following the advanced route of the TNF Trans Gran Canaria. It’s an idea I have had for a while, and finally it came to be. Three days, 4500m of up and downhill, and 95% on trails carrying our own gear (I used my F-Stop Kenti pack) this trip was a blinder -and the island’s incredible landscapes was a bonus. One of the best MTB adventures I’ve done & shot in over 30 years of MTB adventures (some would call them moments of madness). So here’s the photo for the month of February..

Read the print story in MBUK and Bike Magazin Germany any time now.

Railing one of the best, and little ridden trails on the island. Leica M9, Zeiss 50/1.5 @ 1/1000, f8

Railing one of the best, and little ridden trails on the island. Leica M9, Zeiss 50/1.5 @ 1/1000, f8

And the unique GoPro video episode that goes with it (video opens in new window).

Screen shot 2014-03-22 at 14.59.02

December 26, 2013

Latest GoPro episode.. with a smile

Filed under: bike, The Mangina chronicles, video — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 3:27 pm

Sometimes it’s too easy to get wrapped up in the business side of the sports that provide my livelihood. It’s too easy to be glib too, and pretend that it’s just a barrel of laughs. My work takes me to places that are scary, environments that are unfriendly, and under deadlines and budget pressures that can sometimes take the edge off what is a ‘dream job’. So in case you’re wondering where I stand, here’s my latest GoPro episode -from one of my favourite bike destinations-  from the monthly series I produce for Sometimes a smile is what it’s all about. Oh and a damn big royalty cheque from the boss.

Trail Ninja Kirroughtree

October 14, 2013

Santa Cruz -whatever!

Filed under: video — Tags: , , , — danmilner @ 5:35 pm

Occasionally I venture out without a conventional stills camera. The results are , err, a little different. Here’s the latest in my EpicTV GoPro series that sees Santa Cruz, California get a shoe’ing. A new episode coming out in a week… so watch this while you can.

May 16, 2013

The Birthplace of Mountain Biking gets some Milner movie madness

Filed under: bike, outdoors, photography, The Mangina chronicles — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 9:15 am

A few years ago someone asked me if I thought the (then) new D-SLRs with their HD filming ability would change the role of photographer. Would us stills-monkeys suddenly become overnight Spielbergs and of course be shooting both stills and movies while we’re out on location? It was an understandable question. After all you just have to push some buttons right? It’s a question that has popped back up time and time again, not least from clients wanting me to shoot and film expeditions simultaneously.

My answer remains the same. No. Of course it’s pretty much impossible to shoot stills and film at the same time. Each has its own set of skills and techniques and each focusses on different decisive moments. For filming it’s about 30 Frames Per Second (FPS) and needing a little motion blur to help the frames blend into each other, and tripods or steadycams. For action photography, it’s still about hand-held, high (1/1000) shutter speeds and focussing for maximum sharpness. You can’t do both at the same time. Simple.

Now sponsored by GoPro though, my job has evolved, a little, and now its rare for a trip not to be accompanied by the need to record it in moving image format, as is expected by the Youtube obsessed populace and employers alike. And so on the recent trip to the US while shooting mag features on Joe Breeze, Mark Weir and E*Thirteen with my Leica M9, I produced a few more episodes for my EpicTV Trail Ninja series with the GoPro HD3.

So here’s my fun trail guide to mountain biking in the the birthplace of the MTB  -Marin County, California.

Check here to see more.

March 9, 2013

Milner announces collaboration with GoPro

Filed under: photography, The Mangina chronicles — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 7:01 pm

It may or may not be a reflection on my photography, but it turns out that my talents have been recognised as worthy by a video camera company before either Leica or Nikon could hook me up. Maybe the latter two haven’t been following my blog enough. Whatever. I’m happy to announce a relationship between the photochimp that is me and GoPro.

An inside leg view of Finale's epic trails

An inside leg view of Finale’s epic trails just before it got dark and the goblins came out

Now don’t get all flustered and start worrying that I’m about to lay down my Leica M9 or D3S (I just got back from 10 days shooting for Transworld Snowboarding mag in the Dolomites, Italy… more about that later). But so as to dance to the tune of increasing demands for video content from the many expedition-like forays into far-flung lands atop bike or splitboard, you now get to see more of my face *squinting/wretching/wincing (*delete as appropriate to expedition’s destination, diet and temperatures) and not just lovely pictures of other people doing radical things.

If you’ve kept an eye on this column, you’ll know that little video insights into some of the ruddy hard trips I’ve been shooting of late have been creeping onto my radar –India, Morocco, Arctic Svalbard, Dolomites– all have been given the moving image treatment, with resulting edits appearing on websites of clients such as The North Face and Osprey packs.

And now with the formal backing of GoPro sitting hand in hand with my new MTB Trail Ninja series for EpicTV, you can expect to see more of this kind of nonsense, perhaps a little more directed, a little better edited and, well just better. And expect you should. I have some insane locations for original trips happening this year…. watch this space. You can bet that none of them will be easy. I’ll be pushing the GoPro 3’s capabilities too as a still camera.

Next stop: learning to ride pump tracks with Mark Weir in California. That’s going to hurt. And you’ll see it all at 60 Frames-per-second, full 1080 HD.

December 23, 2012

Morocco Rematch and the launch of Ready Steady Ride

Filed under: bike, The Mangina chronicles — Tags: , , , , — danmilner @ 3:51 pm
The Hobbits enjoy the new-found fun to be had on bicycles. Leica M9, Zeiss 18/4.

The Hobbits enjoy the new-found fun to be had on bicycles. Leica M9, Zeiss 18/4.

Six years ago I hit Morocco with a couple of bike friends. We rode a week through the Atlas Mountains with only our backpacks and a map to get us through. It was what adventure is made of – memories, good times, hardships, food poisoning and tough riding at 3000m+

I liked the country so much I went back there in 2009 to shoot a snowboard story.

Simply, Morocco is one of the most accessible adventure locations you can find. It offers a true taste of the “exotic” -cuisine, customs, culture that are different to anything offered by the “West”, without the risks often associated with travel in some middle eastern countries or the jetlag of long-haul travel.

It is a country that also offers a lot of good trail riding, something that due to the A-to-B agenda of our initial bike trip, meant we missed out on. I knew then that I’d have to go back to shoot more mountain biking, oh and ride some damn good singletrack.

This November I did that, packing my Leica M9 for portability and unobtrusiveness. Like most of my trips, I needed to find a story pitch that would anchor a fee-paying home for my shoot. That was the easy part: the idea was already in place: to show how easily Morocco can deliver true adventure without the awkwardness of getting shot at/robbed/eaten by bears that you find elsewhere, even the USA.

The story is lined up with MBUK magazine amongst others in the springtime, but until then you can get a taste of the adventure from this new TV series launched in Morocco.

Ready Steady Ride Morocco 640 from danmilner on Vimeo.

July 25, 2012

Heinous for 15 minutes (and another 23 hours, 45 minutes)

Filed under: bike, The Mangina chronicles — Tags: , , , , , — danmilner @ 8:00 am

Followers of this invaluable interjection of wit and satire will recall me shooting a 2 day MTB epic, with 24 hours of riding, in the Dolomites last autumn for an MBUK magazine feature. Well aside from the story shoot, I also multi-tasked and recorded this whole heinous affair for prosperity on my trusted GoPro HD2 for The North Face, the people that had initially sent me to that steep and mountain bike challenging area a couple of months previously to shoot their Lavaredo Ultra Trail running event. This time of course, I was accompanied by TNF endurance mountain bikers Rob Dean and Josh Ibbett, who, as no strangers to pain, at first seemed oddly at ease with the whole challenge, but did, I suspect, share in my jubilation at finally reaching our overnight alpine hut at 11.15pm (at least we would have if we’d had the collective energy remaining to do so.)

Anyway, this is all by-the-by now. The dust has settled, the pain receded, but my short film from our “adventure” is now pride and place on the TNF expedition journal website where you can find the film, images and a link to Rob’s blog of further mountain biking insanity.

the film is also below…

Riding the TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail: welcome to Hell. from danmilner on Vimeo.

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