I found myself at the clinic at Crested Butte, at the bottom of the ski resort. I was waiting for my friend to come be with me and tell me everything was going to be okay, so I checked my phone in the interim, hoping the distraction would ease my mind. I had just been carried down on the ski patrol sled, after all, and I was all kinds of distraught. I checked my email and saw one from the designer of Springs Magazine, asking “What size bike do you want to ride for the photo shoot this week?”
In my mind, there were mostly expletives and sadness. I had been looking forward to this shoot for weeks! I was going to get to ride a Borealis fat bike for the first time and photograph a group ride out at Venetucci Farm; it was going to be epic! A great combination of things I love… outdoors, bicycles, and cameras! I started my response email: “About that… ” But before I could finish, my lovely friend arrived, followed by the doctor. I would soon find out that I had most likely torn my ACL and some other things. My worst nightmare was coming true. Not only would I be unable to ski any more in this epic season of snow, but I was unable to drive or walk or do my job well. And it’s not like I had never thought about this moment. On the contrary, I thought of it often, how thankful I was that I was able-bodied and so capable of doing my job well, not limited in my creativity by any physical constraints. I started a mental downward spiral…
But then I stopped. This shoot was important. It was important in one sense because it’s for a new magazine I adore and this was a feature story, but it was important in an entirely different sense because it was my first test as a crippled photographer. But, I’m a creative. How was I going to creatively solve this problem? I was made to solve problems like this! And then, the same little brain spark that pushes me to shred down double black diamonds and hit tricks in the terrain park was the same little brain spark that led me to push on and employ a lovely assistant, 2 crutches, my Subaru, and a stepladder to do the shoot. The show must go on!
So, 3 days after I tore my ACL and meniscus and sprained a crap-ton of other things, I found myself at Venetucci Farm with a great group of riders (Allen Beauchamp, John Sawyer, Jeremy Jones, Sam Elliott, and a few others), with Brenna (my amazing intern), and a couple of cameras around my neck. I’m so thankful for this shoot because it was like the double black diamond of photography for me. And thanks to the help of Brenna and the others, we totally shred the gnar :) These photos will always be special to me because I worked so incredibly hard to capture them and because I had to think of new and different ways to shoot what I needed. And you know what? I honestly think they’re better photos than they would’ve been if I had been biking with everyone. So, I’m thankful for the way this injury pushes the boundaries of where I thought I could go and what I thought I could do. I’m handicapable, dangit! And here’s the fruit of that labor, which is featured in the magazine as of this week:
[shot on Nikon d700 with 28mm, 50mm, and 85mm lenses]