Bike Mag Feature of Mark Summers
A few of my images were recently featured in the May issue of Bike Mag, the holy grail of cycling publications. The images were part of a feature written by my friend and colleague Colin Field about Joyride 150 Bike park co-owner Mark Summers. Mark is an incredible human being and Colin did a stellar job on the article.
Like most photography assignments, this one came with a rapidly approaching deadline, giving me only a few days to get the images Bike needed. This article was meant to be all about Mark the man and I was tasked to avoid shooting him in typical settings such as standing with the park behind him or with any kind of signage. It was February at the time and we were buried in snow so I had my work cut out for me. On a nice warm summer’s day this would have been a much simpler proposition. I could have comfortably walked around the industrial complex with Mark looking for some nice light or open shade but in the dead of winter, this wasn’t an option. Not if I wanted Mark smiling, anyway.
I decided to bring a fairly big kit and brought Dean Thomson along to assist me (thanks Dean). Bike is known for its beautiful, naturally lit images and while I was not restricted to using available light exclusivly, I wanted to stay true to their look. The ambient light in Joyride is pretty harsh. There isn’t much of it and what is there is not very flattering for a portrait. Bouncing small flashes or using reflectors really weren’t viable options either. The light that I chose to use as my main light for this shoot was the 190cm Elinchrom Octa. It’s a massive light source but more importantly, it’s an indirect light source which means that the strobe, in this case my Rangers, point back into the light bank and give it a nice even diffused quality. My best hope for decent light was window light but there are only a few in the complex and the light was burning in way too hot. Rather than get the bed sheets out to diffuse it, I decided that the Octa would best allow me to recreate that quality of light anywhere in the park. It would give me the light I was after and also allow me to have it where I wanted it. I also had Speedlights and umbrellas with me but they would only be used for fill and accents. You can see from the behind-the-scene images that Dean grabbed just how big the Octa is.
I shot quite a few images over the course of the two days and even hauled poor Mark out into the snow to get some of the raw imagery Bike was looking for. I did manage to find some nice ambient light throughout the day and those were the images that the editors chose to run with. These images were my favs as well and I am really happy these are the ones they selected. It’s always nice when your visions align. Bike is renowned for the quality of the articles and photos that grace its pages and I am certainly honoured to have been the photographer chosen to capture Mark for this story.
It is nice to see Mark get the recognition he deserves. He is the greatest thing to happen to the scene here in Ontario and we’re lucky to have him. Big thanks to David and Anthony at Bike and to Mark for allowing me to spend the day working with him in front of the lens.
The issue just hit the newsstands so be sure to check it out. I was at Disney when the issue was released and there was no way to get it there. I picked up a digital copy on my iPad while I was down there but was happy to see it in print, as it should be, once I got home.