My career has long been a travel intensive one, having me on the road for most of the year, logging more days in an airplane then in my home town. This year that is changing. I am making a point to source more work locally in Grand Junction and spending more time exploring my hometown. Yesterday I went for a day hike in Mee Canyon. A tough but amazingly beautiful hike, this is an easy day trip for me. I am loving where I live!
As the anesthesiologist wipes my neck with an antiseptic wipe, I pull back slightly. The sudden cool moisture takes me off guard, making me jump.
“Oh, sorry Devon. I should have warned you it would be cold,” replied the caring doctor but I say nothing.
Looking out past my out stretched legs, I watch the assistant draw up the Versed from a vial; just beyond my parents walk out of sight back to the waiting room of Vail Surgical Center. This medication would in essence make me not have a single care and wipe my mind clean of what was about to happen. The anesthesiologist continues to prep my neck and shoulder for the nerve block about to be implanted.
As I watch the assistant flick the full syringe, clearing it of air bubbles, everything suddenly rushes down on me like the crash of an imploded build. Every emotion and feeling comes to light. Every compressed pain is suddenly felt and what is about to happen fully sets in.
I begin crying. Slowly at first, then heavily. No sound is made, my face is blank, I do not blink, but tears fall from my eyes like an open faucet. Quickly my face and beard are wet, soaked from my falling tears. Not going unnoticed the Doctor quickly comes to my side. “Are you ok? Are you in pain?”
“I am ok. I am just really not looking forward to this.”
“You will do great Devon! You will be back to normal in no—.”
“Just give me the shot.”
I cut him off as I let my head fall back, fully relaxing my body. I lay there, looking up at the ceiling seeing my future play out in the new altered way. The new Devon. Things will forever be different.
“Ok, Devon, here we go. You’ll feel some coolness in the IV then you should feel good.”
I don’t look up to watch him inject the medication into my IV. I feel the coolness. Then, slowly, so very slowly… nothing. I am pain free and feel nothing. Then; nothing. Black. Empty. Nothing.
Ride for Reading is a Nashville based non-profit that I have had the great honor to work with for several years now. Delivering books to low income students via bicycles is right up my alley. This great organization has donated hundreds of thousands of books since it began in 2008.
A few weeks ago the organization experienced a robby at the home of the Executive Director. The following is a note from JC.
On the morning of Tuesday June 14th an incident occurred. As a result of this situation Ride for Reading took a loss of equipment. The thieves stole the organization’s main computer, a tablet that was used for programming and a hot spot used for mobile connectivity.
The laptop and tablet were both password protected and authorities believe that the equipment’s data will be purge by the suspects. However, we are taking precautionary steps and resetting all of our passwords in all databases containing donor information. At this time there are no signs that indicate a breach to our platforms, website, social media, or donor data base.
This equipment was integral to the day to day operations of Ride for Reading. In order for our mission to continue we most replace the stolen items. Therefore, we are asking the public for support in covering the cost of replacing this equipment.
I am auctioning this print to help support Ride for Reading in getting the equipment replaced. This 20x30 metal print will be the only print created of this images and will numbered, signed and delivered to the highest bidder. All proceeds will go directly to Ride for Reading. For more information on the organization please visit their website.
Open bid is set to $500 and will stay open until July 4th. Winner will be announced on July 5th. To bid simply leave a comment below. Payments can be made in a multitude of ways and a tax deductible write off is available.
I recently started working with a new website, shouldersofgiants.com. It has been a great outlet for me to do more writing, which is working out well for my broken hand. I am anticipating to announce some exciting news in the near future about Shoulders of Giants, but in the mean time here is a link to all my recent work for them.
Falling behind on sharing my e promos. This was the second e promo for my marketing year that went out back in November. The images are from Alaska and the Colorado Trail.
The third e promo for my marketing year features two images from Alaska. The top is the Exit Glacier outside of Seward, Alaska and the bottom was a bear paw print seen from the saddle.
I am definitely way off the back with this post. I continue to want to make regular blog posts and continue to fall short. Back in late October I traveled to Denver for a weekend of Halloween fun and my first Instagram Meetup, or Instameet. It was a fun experience, getting to meet some Denver local photographers. Little did I know that this would be the very tip of a deep iceberg I am still exploring! Instagram may very well be the best thing to happen to the creative world in recent future. That is if you know how to use it!
This Instameet sent photographer on a visual scavenger hunt down Colfax Avenue. It was a lot of fun to get an assignment of sorts, to hunt out and capture things you may not normal think to photograph. It was truly an eye opening experience! Follow the experience on my Instagram account.
I am currently entering my second year with Agency Access. Last year went extremely well, getting my name and work in front of some huge brands and companies. I am continuing to market myself beyond the bike industry, going after companies like United Airlines, LuLuLemon, ESPN Magazine, Lifetime Fitness, Patagonia and many more.
I am excited for my second year of marketing to kick off with this new e promo. The images featured in this promo are from my Colorado Trail attempt last year with Dejay Birtch.
This past weekend the mountain bike community lost a good man. I don’t know Will Olson personally, but that will never matter. Will was just like me, just like all the great friends I have. Will loved to ride his mountain bike and he was good at it. Really good.
The tragic events really started to hit home when I realized I had captured a shot of Will last year, on the very trail that took his life. To this day, I can remember him flying by, smashing through a creek crossing that seemed to give racers trouble. He made it look like a puddle with the ease he crossed it. His speed and control looked like a monster truck blowing up a mud hole with hundreds of horse power behind it. Throwing mud and water into the air as though a stick of dynamite blew up as he past by. I let out the loudest yell of excitement! I love seeing racers excel.
Will was your average Colorado mountain boy. He loved riding bikes and snowboarding, and he was talented at both. He camped at the races, sleeping in the dirt, just like I do. The more I learn about Will, the more I realize this was my friend. We have shared a cheers, I am sure of it. I have cheered him on down the mountain, and gave well wishes at the top. There is no doubt in my mind.
The days following our loss of Will’s physical self, the rains have hardly let up. I like to think it is Mother Nature washing Herself of what happened. A fresh start and a better appreciation for what we have. Going to sleep to the sound of gentle rain drops pinging off the metal roof of my van home. Laying there, I think of how crazy this thing called life really is. No one thinks that we might die as we roll up to the start line of a bike race.
I like to think Will was having a spectacular race run. That his mind was full of joy and excitement for being on his bike and racing in the mountains with his friends. To be so lucky to leave this world under such terms. Will was doing what he loved when he died. I hope for something so amazing as that. It doesn’t make the pain stop, or make the tears not fall, but it does make my heart smile.
I have always been proud in how I appreciate life. How I so often will stop to smell the flowers. Or to just look. These events have further reinforced this idea. Life is short and there are no guarantees. That thing you have always wanted to do, but keep putting it off waiting for the right time. Go for it. There is never a better time than now.
Wake up feeling grateful for another day on Earth. Every day is a gift and there is no way of knowing when that gift will end. Hug your family. Hug your friends. Tell them you appreciate your relationship. Laugh. Live with intention. Be grateful for what you have, for what you can do. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Say hello to a stranger, you may just gain a friend.
Losing a friend I never made has made me really appreciate the friends I have made. There will always be events in life that don’t make sense, that hurt like hell. At the end of the day, life is amazing; every last good and bad event or feeling.
I am beyond honored to have captured Will in the midst of doing what made him happy and feel alive. Rest in peace, friend. Ride that endless golden hour singletrack and know you will not be forgotten.
To my friends still on Earth- smile more, the world needs more smiling faces.
Sometimes life throws a wrench into your plans and you have to sit out on some fun, only to experience something awesome!
I recently got the opportunity to travel to Del Norte, Colorado for a media gathering at the Windsor Hotel. The hotel hosted a select group of journalists and industry professionals to come out for three days of exploring the area, experiencing the town and enjoying beautiful weather in the San Louis Valley.
Earlier in that week I had taken a silly crash on my bike, meaning I wouldn't be able to ride the trails in Del Norte. At first I was super bummed and hesitant to want to go. Then I got word from Kevin with Windsor Hotel that he could line me up on a private plane ride around the valley to scope the terrain and trails from the sky. How could I not go?!
Bright and early on a Tuesday morning I met up with local pilot and honey farmer, Tom Haefeli. Tom took me out to the small local airport where we then loaded into his two person plane. This was going to be awesome!
I must say, the trails and terrain around Del Norte looks amazing! The diversity and extent of what is available is very surprising. For anyone that is looking to ride a new and relatively unknown area in Colorado, I would HIGHLY recommend Del Norte. When you go, stay in the newly restored Windsor Hotel and be sure to have dinner there as well. The food is superb.
I was deep inside my own head. Pedaling, head down, dreaming of a cold drink and fatty foods. The day had been a tough one. The time was coming down to the wire for us to arrive to the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo on time.
Over 350 miles had passed under our tires by that 9th day. As I climbed to the top of another unknown rise on the horizon, the grade picked up and I stood to keep my fully loaded rig rolling forward. As I neared the top I look up to see a women, on a bike, fully loaded just like me. Was I dreaming? Had I finally lost it on that day?
A few pedal strokes more and I could see a second person. In fact, these were real people, on the trail, riding bikes. We hadn't seen a person on our route for days. Aside from the times on a road or resupply we were the only people in the world, as far as we knew.
After my brain cells began to fire properly again I was able to hold a conversation with this co-ed pair. We talked about where we came from, and where we were headed. We spoke about how the current route we were separately riding was a recommendation from the same person.
We said our good byes and continued on. Our route sent us on for two more hours of a hard struggle through a desert paradise. Views forcing me to skid to a stop, only to stop and stare off into the beautiful nature before me.
It wasn't until days later that I realized I had been following Logan on Instagram; PedalingNowhere. Soon Logan was in contact with me asking to be part of a new series he was starting on his website, pedealingnowhere.com. Volume 2 was recently released and it is awesome to see what other bike loving photographers use for their gear.
Be sure to check out Logan's site and follow them on Facebook.
"If you ever say 'Why me?' when life is hard, you should be asking the same question when life is going well." -Lovebomb
We all experience hard times. Times in life where things seem too difficult. Times where it seems like life is crashing down on you, or simply that a major or tragic event happens, leaving us asking, "Why me?"
A friend once taught me that if you ask "Why me?" when life serves up a plate of hard luck, you should always be asking the same question when thing are going really well. Why me? But rarely do we do this.
Last week I crashed my mountain bike. Not completely out of the norm, however I have been beyond lucky over the years. With my line of work and fun, I am so lucky to have gone so long without an injury. Why me? But last week that luck ran out.
The morning started long before the sun was up. Good friend and fellow photographer Max Lietner was in town for a quick visit and shoot. For once I would be in front of the camera! After riding sections time and time again for Max, some of which scared the crap out of me, we headed back for town and some coffee.
I was feeling great, having just started a training program to whip me into tip top shape for the Breck Epic. We dipped off of Monument Road onto a bike path, a section I have ridden hundreds of times this year already. Then BAM! I was on the ground, skin ripping off onto pavement, metal sparking. Then, just as quick as I hit the ground, I was on my feet and running.
My arm burned. My hip throbbed. Raw skin was exposed that normally did not see light or feel air. The adrenaline was pumping. I decided the best idea was to get back on the bike and continue to get coffee. The day continued and the pain in my right hand increased. The following day I figured it was a good idea to have it looked at.
Walking into the ER by myself, it seemed surreal. Was I really that hurt? Or did I just take a good spill and a few days is all I needed. After a slue of check ups on blood pressure, heart rate, xrays, financial paperwork and more xrays I got the words I feared most, "You definitely broke the Scaphoid bone in your wrist."
Fuck! This wasn't good. The tears grew and started to fall. Why me? Why now? Why?!?!
I found myself feeling depressed. I would get emotional and sad thinking about what I was now going to miss during the summer ahead. Then, just as quick as I had hit the ground, I changed my attitude.
Even though I now have a cast and won't be able to ride my mountain bike for a while, I was looking for the bright side of things. It can be really hard, especially when it feels like life is taking a crap on your head. After some time alone to reflect I came up with a list of things that were good about what had happened;
I did not sustain a serious or life threatening injury. I didn't have any head injury. My eyes still worked. I could still hold and use a camera. I could still pedal a bike (on smoother surfaces). I still had the use of my legs, my lungs and my brain. Even though I couldn't get on my mountain bike, I wasn't going to let this slow me down.
After sharing the news with my coach we immediately formed a new plan to work around this hurtle. My new goal was to keep the fitness I already had, and continue to increase it any way I could. F U broken bone! A problem is only a problem if you allow it to be that. This was now a challenge.
Not even 48 hours after learning I broke a bone I was on a spin bike, hammering, really hard! I went running, up 2,600 feet in three miles. I was going to do whatever I could do! Some friends asked, "Why would you do that to yourself? Ride a trainer and run?" My only response was, "Why would I do anything else but continue to push and improve myself?"
It still bums me out thinking about the crash and the broken bone, but now I have a much more positive attitude about it. Life present hurtles, those difficult times where we want to just stay in bed and sleep away our troubles. But it is in those times that you truly define yourself. How you deal with those hard times. Well, I'm not about to sit around and wait. I am hungry and I am motivated.
Why am I so lucky to be alive?
Recently a friend turned me onto a well known YouTube vlogger (video blog) by the name of Casey Neistat and it got me thinking. Why don't I do something similar? Casey is a powerhouse, pumping out a full video every single day. Not really what I am after, more just wanting to add some personal projects to fine tune skills and share with everyone. Here is my first go at it.
Three years ago, my good friend, adventure and travel buddy Dejay Birtch told me about a stage race outside of State College, PA. Situated in the heart of Seven Mountain Scout Camp. Utilizing the scout camp as the headquarters and launch pad for the week long race, this event has a very unique feel and atmosphere. Over the 7 days you get to know the racers and volunteers as you see them day in and day out, on the trails, in the mess hall, and around the camp.
The slogan for the Trans-Sylvania Epic is "Singletrack Summer Camp" and that is exactly what this event is. Everything about it from the cabins to the cafeteria food (which is amazing by the way!) makes you feel like you are 12 again and at summer camp for a week.
For me, it is a really long and hard week of shooting. Seven days of racing... chase race, shoot, return, download, edit, upload, post, edit, eat, edit, sleep, repeat. Early mornings, long days and late nights. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else! For me this week also marks an annual trip, getting to spend time with friends I see but one week of the year.
This Thursday I'll be flying to Chicago (again!) and then driving from there to State College with my good friend Erik. Last year Erik and I got to really connect during our week at TSE, so I am excited to get to do that again this year! There will be daily updates, images and photos from the event, so keep your eyes open for that!
Last week traveled to Chicago to shoot for Bern Unlimited, a helmet company based outside of Boston, Mass. Over four days, myself along with a great creative group of models and photographers I was able to come away with a massive collection of great images. Bern is already rolling out ads with images I captured and it is looking great!
Two weeks back I had a post about my yearly visit to California for the Sea Otter Classic. This year found me mostly not being at the event, aside from an afternoon of visiting friends. After a long weekend of visiting my brother in Santa Cruz I headed north to the higher elevations of Kings Beach, California to shoot images for Light & Motion. Situated on the shore of Lake Tahoe, myself along with a few friends spend five days working remotely for all of our various jobs and shooting a wide variety of images for the different uses of new Light & Motion lights. I got the chance to work with some new prototype broadcast lights that were amazing to use for still images, adding a whole new level of light opportunities in a VERY compact and light package. These lights will be changing the game for broadcast video, production video, home video and likely photography as well. I am patiently waiting for my own set!
Last week I shared that I will be having a full page ad in the June issue of Outside Magazine for Snowmass Tourism. Well I am very excited to announce I will be having TWO full page ads in the June issue of Outside Magazine!
Snowmass, Colorado has always had a special place for me. Growing up in Western Colorado and going to college in Glenwood Springs, the Snowmass area has long been a place to play and enjoy the outdoors. It has also been a place of countless bike races that I have been to photograph.
Last summer, Big Mountain Enduro had their first stop of the season at Snowmass. For two days racers descended upon Snowmass and the surrounding trails to test their skills and speed. The flowers were popping and the peaks were still nicely coated in white making for amazing photo opportunities.
Snowmass Tourism contacted me this spring, in hunt for a striking image for their upcoming ad in Outside Magazine. I have yet to have work within the pages of Outside Magazine, but this ad marks my first image to appear in the magazine. Super excited!
It happens every spring. At least for the last five years it has. My brother can expect it. The strawberries are starting to pop, the blackberries are slowing making their way in and his brother Devon should be coming around anytime. My yearly flocking to the west coast sparked by the annual Sea Otter Classic.
Sea Otter Classic, one of the largest cycling events of the year situated at Laguna Seca Raceway in beautiful Monterrey, California. Luckily for me, that is right down the road from Santa Cruz, and my brother.
The last five year's I have been going to Sea Otter. Working the event, shooting the races, talking to the companies. It is a long, hot, dusty and tiring four days. This year... I didn't want to go. So, I didn't. I didn't hunt down jobs, I didn't line up any shoots. I made no plans to be there. Sadly that would also mean I wouldn't be making my yearly visit to my brother's place.
But then, I get a call from one of my favorite clients, Light & Motion.
Light & Motion is based just outside of Monterrey. A company that started with diving lights, they are now expanded into any sort of sport lighting from bike to kayak to camping. The call came to do a shoot in Lake Tahoe area, the week after Sea Otter.
How perfect. Now I had a perfect reason to visit my brother and one of my favorite places, Santa Cruz. Four days of visiting my brother and sister-in-law, meeting my new niece, riding amazing trails, and a little organic farming.
All shots taken with Sony RX100ii, unedited.
Walking into the main lodge building at Sylamore Creek Camp, we are quickly greeted with a friendly “Hello! How may I help you?” As I wander around the building of the secluded campground, my two friends and traveling companions handle getting a spot for our high class rig. Looking around I am completely fascinated by all the things on the walls and every inch of flat surface. My curiosity finds me towards the back of the main lodge where I find a clear glass case. The case has two inches of water housing the largest bull frog I have ever seen. I let out, “Holy shit!” a bit louder than intended.
The walls are lined with fishing gear and random nick nacks. Just about everything you could need for your RV, as well as a large glass display case showing a healthy collection of arrow heads. Looking just past the arrow heads I spot another reptile pet of the campground, a python. Turning back towards the front of the building I yell to Erik, “Dude, come check this out!”
Upon getting no response I walk back toward the front of the building to overhear the friendly lady ask Erik and Dan, “You two left handed?”
“Well, no actually.” Erik responded politely.
“Wishful thinking I guess. I’ve always wished I was left handed” replied the front desk attendant.
Tired from our long drive and confused from the ladies question, the three of us make our way back outside. “Why did that lady ask if you guys were left handed? And what was that wishful thinking business?” I ask in bewilderment.
“Good question,” was Erik’s only response.
Mountain Flyer Magazine has been my longest running print publication client. I met Brian Reipe on the side of the race course at the Mountain States Cup, Rabbit Valley Rally in 2008. Since I have graced the cover 5 times and countless images inside the magazine. Here is a quick gallery of some of my recent spreads with Mountain Flyer Magazine.