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.


March 11, 2013

Hitting the Dolomites for Transworld

Ok stop pestering me. Yep, thought I’d share a taste of what the Dolomites dealt us over the last couple of weeks shooting a story for Transworld Snowboarding mag.


Forrest Shearer visits the Gelateria. Chocolate sprinkles come free. Nikon D3s, 24-70 2.8 @ 1/1600, f 7.1 ISO 200.

Bundle together a Brit photographer (me), 1 jet-lagged American writer, 2 American pro-riders (Forrest Shearer and Blair Habernicht) each looking for different attractions the mountainscape can deliver, 1 American filmer with the biggest backpack of gear I have ever seen, and a lively, smiling Italian rider (Luca Pandolfi) used to riding crevasse-strewn Mont Blanc in the dark with his eyes closed and what do you get? Hmmm, an interesting trip indeed.

So the last 2 weeks of Dolomites wasn’t without its moments, but after an initial 4 days of stormy weather that left us with over 1m of new snow, the Italian sunshine made a slow but steady re-appearance.  Working the backcountry is never a walk in the park. Avalanche conditions, rapidly changing light and just simple access issues can make an idea become plain frustrating work. And for everyone but the smiling Italian, the Dolomites was new terrain (at least in winter), meaning a fresh set of perspectives to learn. Q. How big is that couloir? (A. 900m). Q. what aspect is that face? (A. South so the snow will be f*cked by now) Q. Will that one ever get light? (A. don’t think so) Q. How long will it take to get in there on a splitboard? (A. How much time do we have?) Q. How deep is the snow over theses very pointy sharp rocks ? (A. Not as deep as we’d like) Questions, questions.

Yep, we missed a couple of epic shots due to lagging at times (just a reason to go back next year though right?) but we nailed some bangers too. From my previous bike and TNF trail running shoots in the area, I know the Dolomites is one of the most spectacular mountain ranges on Earth, and hitting it in winter just re-affirmed the belief.

Blair Habernicht has meatballs. Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @1/1600, f 7.1 ISO 2

Blair Habernicht has meatballs. Nikon D3s, 70-200 2.8 @1/1600, f 7.1 ISO 2

January 8, 2012

2011: A year in pictures

If you’ve avoided keeping up to date on my roamings during 2011, you’re bang out of luck now. You’ve stumbled on my annual recap of this last year spent as a travelling professional photo chimp.. . a collation of images that I hope gives a kind of insight into the eclectic adventures that my dream job allows me to photograph in various corners of the world, and the reason that we photographer’s are *mysteriously moody/unbearably over confident/trembling nervous wrecks (*delete as appropriate).

(Hit the “more” tab below the second image caption to see the gallery in its entirety.)

Canon EOS 1D mkIII, 24-70 2.8, f5 1/1000.

(above) It’s all about the backside air. Nate Kern throws a backside air over old mining ruins near Telluride, Colorado, while two well-known but remaining anonymous female pro snowboarders couldn’t resist giving him cheek. The trip with Jenny Jones, Hana Beaman, Nate and Angus Leith was a reminder that snowboarding, a sport so many of us begun for fun, needn’t just be business.

Canon EOS 1DmkIII, 24-70/2.8, f7.1, 1/800.

(above) Kickers have never been my favourite thing to shoot in snowboarding, especially when there is powder to ride and shoot in the backcountry. It has something to do with how I ride. I’m not a kicker person and find shooting them a little dull and restrictive. A lot of standing around cheering other people on. Kickers, compared to freeride shots, seem more about the style of the rider than the art of the photography, at least normally. After ticking the rider’s boxes however this time I found time to satisfy my own art-urges. Nate Kern is in there somewhere, deep in the Telluride backcountry, Colorado.


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 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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