As a race photographer, most of my favourite photos come down to first wins, World Champs and World Cup finals shots. Basically, because they are the ones that capture a special moment in mountain bike history.
Whatever race you shoot, it’s not just about getting a good picture; you want to tell the story, get the atmosphere, show the track, the crowd, the focus in the eyes of the riders and their emotions after they cross the line in their final run. That’s what you want to capture each weekend and even more so on those rare and special occasions. The challenging part is that you never know how things will play out while you are trying to anticipate what is going to happen. It can be frustrating if you take a risk and get it all wrong, but in the same way it can be immensely rewarding if you pull it off and you are in the right place at the right time.
At the World Champs in Val di Sole in 2008, the moment every photographer wanted to capture was, of course, Sam Hill’s famous crash in the second to last corner, washing out after already leading with over six seconds on an absolutely insane final run. For magazines and editors this was the photo they were looking for and the one they wanted to print to tell that story. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get a shot of Sam in that corner. I had just left one or two riders before and had decided to go further down for the last couple of riders. Instead I captured a disappointed and bruised Sam Hill at the finish and, minutes later, Gee Atherton winning and celebrating his first-ever World Championship title. Of course, I was disappointed that I didn’t stay longer in that corner and missed this opportunity.
Surprisingly, at the end it turned out that my favourite shot I took home that World Champs week wasn’t even from finals. It was a shot I took of Sam on the second day of practice and I can’t actually tell you why I like it so much, but I did from the second that it showed up on the screen of my camera. It’s not a creative angle or an arty composition and it doesn´t really show much of the gnarlyness of that amazing Val di Sole track, either. Still, until today it’s one of my favourite race shots: if I had to pick one Sam Hill photo I took over all the years, it would be this one. Maybe because a timeless shot of Sam which, to me, represents his iconic years on the Iron Horse, flying down one of the best downhill tracks ever. But probably because it just always reminds me of that amazing race weekend in Italy and how lucky we are as race photographers to be able to witness all those moments live at the venues, even if we don’t get the shot
YOU’LL ALSO LOVE THESE
YOU’LL ALSO LOVE THESE
FOUNDER-DIRECTOR: James McKnight
CO-DIRECTOR: Ben Winder
CO-DIRECTOR: Mike Rose
CO-DIRECTOR: Victor Lucas
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Chris Jones
DOOD OF DOODLES: Jon Gregory
Morgane Charre: Research
Harriet Jones: Management
Sven Martin: Photography
Boris Beyer: Photography
Sebastian Schieck: Photography
John Parkin: Legendary
Ric McLaughlin, Paul Aston, Lauren Jenkins, Tom Caldwell, Chris Kilmurray, Kerstin Kauffmann, Chris Jackson, Pedro Ballin, Alan
Available in two standard sizes: 12″ x 16″ (30.48cm x 40.64cm) and 24″ x 36″ (60.96cm x 91.44cm)
Technical information: Our display prints are printed on Epson Ultra Premium Luster Photo Paper using archival inks. We use Epson UltraChrome water based HDR ink-jet technology to ensure fantastic final print.
Framing options: You can take your print to your local framing store, and they will be able to help you with getting your print framed.
For a cheaper DIY option Ikea have plenty of frame options. We would recommend buying the RIBBA frame.
Books: Our books are stored and posted from the UK.
Fees and duties on non-UK deliveries: If you are ordering outside the UK, please be aware you may have to pay tax, duties or other fees on delivery. We use a professional fulfilment company to help ensure smooth postage and prepare any necessary paperwork, but since Brexit on 1 Jan 2021, some EU and even rest of world customers have reported having to pay a (seemingly random) fee on delivery. This has never happened before and should not be happening, but for the time being there doesn’t seem to be a solution to the problem. Sorry for any confusion or complications during this period of unprecedented change – we hope Britain and the countries it exports to will soon smooth out any issues.
BEFORE YOU GO
Sign up to our newsletters for fun times, exclusive content, regular discounts, competitions and insight.
We’d love you to join the gang.
Stay up to date on all things Misspent Summers by joining our mailing list. We’ll send you discount codes and ask your input to help make our company and products better. Plus, we’ll send you stories, comment and insight you won’t find anywhere else.