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

January 3, 2014

Another 12 months of firsts – 2013 in pictures

Doing what I do, you’d think it’s easy to get blase about travelling to new places. You know,  “what a job… another month, another remote but beautiful location to shoot”. But in reality, it’s the unknowns of new places, their challenges and unexpected rewards that keep me doing what I do. And 2013 was one of those years –  a series of first time experiences, most unique, some incredible, some insane and some I’d rather not repeat. Whatever their lasting impression on me, whatever the pain, the scary-bits, the ‘too many hours in airport departure halls’, I’m glad I got the chance to go and shoot them all, from Arizona to Afghanistan.

So here’s a little look back at the places, people and things that through 2013 helped me continue becoming the worldly-wise, level headed pro-photographer I am today. Or maybe they just made me go a little more crazy. You decide. 2013 was also the year I started Twitter (follow: @danmilnerphoto) and got an iPhone, which can do most of the things photographers do. Apparently.

The year kicked off with the Voelkl team ski shoot. Epic snow always helps. Getitng the balance between aspirational, inspirational and just showing what the product can do is the photographer's challenge. Nikon D3s, 70-200 f4.

The year kicked off with the Voelkl team ski shoot. Epic snow always helps. Getting the balance between aspirational, inspirational and just showing what the product you’re there to shoot can do is the photographer’s challenge. Is there an app for powder landings? Nikon D3s, 70-200 f4.

Tales from the dark side. Nothing beats working with light like this. It's a popular misconception that today's photography is all about computer work, processing and instagram-like filters. Who needs them? Nikon D3s, 70-200 f4, @ 1/1000th, f1/8.

Tales from the dark side. Nothing beats working with light like this. It’s a popular misconception that today’s photography is all about computer work, processing and instagram-like filters. Who needs them when you have January winter light? Nikon D3s, 70-200 f4, @ 1/1000th, f1/8.

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June 5, 2013

P.O.M. April ‘013 – the Life of Mo

Filed under: bike, photography — Tags: , , , , , — danmilner @ 7:23 am

Photo Of the Month: Tracy Moseley, Punta Ala, Italy.

DM_TMo_PuntaAla013_0163

A post-practice stretch session, squeezed in the aisle of her campervan during the first round of the new Enduro World Series, Punta Ala, Tuscany. I spent 3 days shadowing the World Champion DH-now-turned-enduro-racer, shooting for Bontrager a behind the scenes reportage of life on the road of one of their pro-racers. Not getting in the way was one of the challenges, while still trying to record authentic other side to the pro athletes life. Tracy went on to win this event. For me it was also chance to try my new Zeiss 18mm ZF-2 lens on the Nikon.  Nikon D3S, Zeiss 18/3.5

December 31, 2012

A lot of legwork: 2012 in pictures

Another 12 months. Another set of blinding adventure shoots, my busiest year yet.  One that included camping through -20C temps and shooting for a handful of new clients and one that squeezed in 100 days on the bike. Here’s a look at 2012 through my lens…

January kicked off with the Volkl ski shoot while most were still heavy headed from new Year revelries. Heavy storms meant most of the Chamonix valley was closed due to avalanche dangers and we had to get creative for the shots.

Nikon D3S, 70-200 2.8 @ 1/250, f5.6. 2x speedlites

Nikon D3S, 24-70 2.8 @ 1/250, f5.6. 2x speedlites & Pocketwizards TT5.

I  had this statue jib (above) in mind for 3 years, waiting for conditions to shoot it. I finally managed to get the shot I had envisaged for so long.

Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @1/1000, f7.1

Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @1/1000, f7.1

Meanwhile on the mountain, amazing low January light (above) delivered side-lighting that helps render any scene a beautiful aspirational image, while shooting from an elevated vantage point means you get to see the ski graphics. That always keeps a ski client happy. I start shooting for Volkl again next week.

February saw the coldest weather hit Europe for 50 years. It was the month I teamed up with Jeremy Jones and TGR for the Further project, meaning camping for a week through -20C temperatures in Austria, followed by a week in a remote refuge. Both backcountry forays involved 5 hour access approaches, dragging all our gear needed for surviving and filming/shooting, forcing decisions on what kit (which cameras? lenses?) was really essential. It was one of the harshest winter sessions I, or any of the TGR film team, have endured during the 4 years of filming Deeper and Further. The Further movie came out in the autumn. It’s a banger.

Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @ 1/1000, f8.

Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @ 1/1000, f8. This image has become O’Neill’s prime advert image for 2012/13 season.

Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @ 1/250, f6.3. Our camp in the cold Karwendel range.

Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @ 1/250, f6.3.  Our camp in the cold Karwendel range. The sun never reached camp and 2 of our athletes never changed out of the same set of their outerwear even in their sleeping bags.

Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @1/200, f4.  Shooting with Jones always means early starts. No time to warm boots; just get on with it.

Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @1/200, f4.  Time: 6.30am. Shooting with Jones always means early starts. No time to warm boots; just get on with it.

The cold continued during a shoot for Mens Fitness magazine on Biathlon (below). Shooting in -17C meant trying not to touch any of the bare metal of camera or lens while trying to dodge frostbite.

Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @1/1000, f4.5.

Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @1/1000, f4.5. Our MF journo chases his instructor into the icy wastelands of a very cold winter.

March delivered a return to winter tent life via a trip to Kyrgyzstan (below). If truth be told I didn’t want to go to Kyrgyzstan, having been misled by 3 previous trips to Russia as to how testing such trips to ex-Soviet countries can be. Sometimes even the ‘dream job’ can seem a nightmare. Camping in a traditional yurt at 2600m for a week and splitboarding the mountains around it had its scary moments but the whole trip proved to be enormously rewarding. A great country. Very friendly people. I am planning to go back, with the bike.

Nikon D3s, 14-24 2.8 @1/1000 f8. Stentiford lays out before a stunning Kyrgyz backdrop, only a few miles from the China border.

Nikon D3s, 14-24 2.8 @1/1000 f8. Stentiford lays out before a stunning Kyrgyz backdrop, only a few miles from the China border. Snow instabilities meant a lot of the steeper lines stayed out of reach.

Leica M8, Voigtlander 40 1.4 @ 1/20, f2. The Leica always seems less intrusive when it comes to capturing local colour. We stayed with a Kyrgyz family for a night, and kept their little girls entertained with our western habits.

Leica M8, Voigtlander 40 1.4 @ 1/20, f2. The Leica always seems less intrusive when it comes to capturing local colour. We stayed with a Kyrgyz family for a night, and kept their little girls entertained with our western habits.

Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @1/30, f10, tripod. Our home for a week. No TV, no cellphone. Perfect.

Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @1/30, f10, tripod. Our yurt home for a week. No TV, no cellphone. Perfect. People seem less willing to disconnect from the obtrusive technology  that seems to dominate our lives now. If they did they might appreciate being alive.

Hit the more button below for the rest of the gallery….

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November 24, 2012

The Mangina Chronicles: Riding India with Tracy Moseley

Well, as you’ll see from the last POM, India was on the agenda in October. For me this was a totally different experience from the normal DIY masochism that now seems to be the norm for my photographic excursions. This time I joined mountainbikekerala for their guided 12 day odyssey into the Indian Himalayas, something I was worried might be a tad tame. No need to worry there. In fact my biggest concern on the first day was how the hell I keep up with world champ Trek/Endura pro Tracy Moseley, James Richards and Phil and Lucy who run bikeverbier, out on a busman’s holiday.

The trip, although guided, included enough gnar’ to make you feel you earned every foot of descent (of which there was a lot), riding what seemed (although cliched) endless singletrack through steep, forested foothills into the high mountains up to 3800m at Zero Point. Technical, flowy, paved, steep, hike-a-bikes… the trail delivered everything, including monkeys swinging above our heads. Go there. Ride it.

And so while I was there to shoot on my trusty Leica M9, rather than film (we had an ace Indian rider/filmer/pinch-flat master, Vinay, with us for that purpose) I managed to squeeze in a a day of Go Pro’ing to make this little (tongue in cheek) glimpse at the upper end of the trail.  The story will appear in print in MBUK and Bike Germany in the spring. But until then.. enjoy this little taste of India.

Riding the Pindari Glacier Trail, India from danmilner on Vimeo.

November 23, 2012

P.O.M. Oct ‘012

Photo Of the Month October 2012: Railing the Himalayas with Tracy Moseley.

Lets’s face it, October is the best month for riding pretty much everywhere in the world. Colours become softer, light lower and temperatures more manageable when you’re faced with hours of climbing. It’s a busy time for me. I hit the Indian Himalayas with World Champ Tracy Moseley and assorted bike delinquents as part of a guided trip by Mike of mountainbikekerala.com. Our 12-day out-and-back ride included this day, a six hour climb up to 3800m, on some of the most beautiful singletrack I’ve ever ridden. At the top we turned around and started back down a descent that took over 2 hours. This shot was actually captured on the way up, while the early light (we started out at 5.30 am) still threw the valley into shadow, making for perfect silhouette opportunities against the glacier-strewn backdrop of 6611m Nanda Khat peak. Leica M9 / Leica Summarit 90mm 2.5.

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