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The Quiet Streets of Saint-Lary-Soulan

Streets of France

It’s no secret that I take cameras everywhere I go. Even when I’m out and about on a bike ride, I have one tucked away in my jersey pocket. You just never know. Before the iPhone I went through an embarrassing amount of digital P&S cameras. I shot this image, while riding through the quiet French town of Saint-Lary-Soulan, with a Canon G11…boy was that thing bulky. The last couple of years it has been all iPhone. I think it’s pretty cool that my camera also serves as a jukebox and GPS.

Quick question for everyone…have you completely replaced your digital P&S with your iPhone or do you still find value in them? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

The Tour de France: Stage 12

Col Du Tourmalet

As you know the Tour de France is well underway. However, the first big day in the mountains has yet to come. It will come to the riders this Thursday in the form of the Col du Tourmalet. Yep, that is the monster of a mountain pictured here. They will actually be ascending the Tourmalet from the other side, descending down this side, then finishing on the climb to the ski resort of Luz Ardiden. You can find the full stage profile here. Just to put things in perspective, this mountain is close to 19km of climbing, averaging 7.4 percent grade. I would probably put myself in the top 3% of the world’s population in terms of cycling fitness (by no means am I bragging, there just aren’t a lot of cyclists compared to the population of the world). If I were to give it my best shot, I might be able to ride this climb in about 1hr 45min (ish)? That is based on my run at it last year, but I did stop at the sports bar 2/3 of the way to watch the tour’s finish on the TV with a bunch of European friends. I spoke with the brother of one of top riders in this year’s tour, and he told me that in training, Andy Schleck was putting in sub 1 hour climbs up it. That is the difference between the rest of the world and the men who ride the tour.

There is a good chance I will be tweeting live from my living room during this stage, and possibly providing some TV capture/commentary on instagr.am so if you are interested following me on Twitter this Thursday morning.

Photographic Note: This image is actually a composite of 4 images I shot with my old Canon G11. All I did was turn on the ‘panoramic assist mode’, shot my images, then let Photoshop auto assemble them. I was surprised how good it turned out. My hands were by no means steady, I had just ascended the Col after riding Luz Ardiden and I was shelled. I now have a 7ft long print of this hanging in my living room to remind me of the beating my legs took that day.

The Still Of The Marina

The Marina

It wasn’t surprising that photographers gathered here to to make images of the beautiful Vancouver skyline. I stumbled upon this location after I spoke with the concierge at our hotel. If you find yourself in a new city, it doesn’t hurt to ask. You will probably walk away with a great location for a sunset shoot as well as the perfect dinner recommendation. I arrived on the scene early to scout out a good location. By the time I left there was about 20 other photographers gathered to share the moment. It was a beautiful sunset, but what I remember most about the evening was how still the evening was. It was still, the air was clear, and the tones were cool. That is how I will always remember this sunset.

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…

Chasing The Tour (The Movie)

My first glimpse of the Tour de France was back in the late 80s when you could watch 30mins of highlights on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. As a kid, my buddy and I would plan our weekends around this 30mins of epic television. Thanks to VHS we would watch the same 30mins over and over again while riding our trainers. I attended the tour for the first time in 2004. Armed with nothing more than a Velo News course map, a tent, and some stinky French cheese, my college teammate and I chased the Tour for 12 days through the French countryside. We had to be there for Lance Armstrong’s record breaking 6th Tour win. I shot the photo below 1km from the finish of the final individual time trail where Lance secured his 6th TDF victory (full story here). Last year, in 2010, I took my pops along with a bunch of our riding buddies to witness the greatest sporting event the world has to offer. However, this time we stayed in a hotel and rode our bikes along many of the stages. Here is what we saw. For all my Tour images, click here.

I know I am stating the obvious, but it amazes me how much the internet is shaping the world of art and adventure. Sure, I still love the coverage Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett, but here we are able to share little windows into the world around us. I know that everyone out there isn’t a cycling fan, but there is something satisfying about being able to introduce you all to a world I have loved for over 20 years. I know it’s no ‘Wide World of Sports’ but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!

Help Support The Livestrong Foundation The movie opens and closes with the messages of hope, healing, loss, and inspiration that the Nike Chalkbot penned along the roads of France. Don’t worry, the chalk is biodegradable and Nike cleaned it all up after every stage. As we pedaled our bikes along these roads, you couldn’t help but read the stories of those who had lost a loved one or who are currently in the fight against cancer. After miles and miles of messages, you become painfully aware how devastating cancer is. At an early age I lost my cycling mentor to his battle with this disease. We can all take action by supporting the LiveStrong organization. They do nothing but focus on kicking cancer’s ass. So please take the next step in this battle and join the fight.

Music

Song: Nobody ‘Cept You
Written By: Bob Dylan
Performed By: 16 Horsepower (the best band Denver ever produced)

Get it on iTunes here.

Secret South - 16 Horsepower

Videographer’s Note: My movies have been evolving over the last couple of years. All my previous films have been produced solely with my Flip studio. With this movie, I used a myriad of gear. Everything from point n’ shoots duck taped to my helmet, to video enabled DSLRs. Heck, I even edited it with iMovie (a free tool that comes with all Macs). But don’t worry, it is still a lo-fi gorilla view of the Tour de France.

Capture Notes: One of my favorite scenes, the last one of Jens Voigt crushing it in super-slow-mo, was shot with this totally cool and rather inexpensive piece of gear at 240 frames per second!

Good Luck Lance!

Passing The Time

Passing The Time

This is a 1/15000 of the current project I am working on. I have posted pieces of it on facebook the last couple of days. They seem to be pretty popular, and I hope you like them. As for facebook, I have been posting quite a bit more information on the LightAsMagic.com facebook fan page. It has become the home of many behind the photo snapshots, quick unrefined looks at upcoming projects, and a great place to engage in discussion. If you haven’t already, and would like to find out what is going on behind the camera, give the page a quick ‘like’ and keep up to date. You can find the page here.