Opening Image: Robb Thompson
We felt extremely vulnerable. A large storm system with fast-moving clouds was approaching. It was late in the day at Purcell Lodge in British Columbia. We were drawn to the awesome force and beauty of the dynamic skies and, like tiny creatures with nowhere to hide, Lorraine Blancher, Kylee Toth Ohler and I rode, humbled beneath towering clouds. Nature's power and magic never cease to amaze me, no matter how long I've been shooting.
Photos: Bruno Long and Ryan Creary
(Left to Right)
Mark Matthews and Mason Mashon in Cappadocia, Turkey.—Bruno Long
Mike Hopkins in Revelstoke, British Columbia.—Bruno Long
Mark Matthews in the Panpan Valley of Kham Tibet, China.—Ryan Creary
Photo: Sterling Lorence
Vancouver's North Shore is surrounded by water. It's everywhere you turn. But I've never been able to work the surrounding sea into a riding shot. There isn't a tall enough tree for me to climb to pull the view in despite the unavoidable proximity to ocean; it's forever been frustrating for me. So, I turned to a drone and it was the answer to my years-in-the-making quest. Winter sunsets are low on the horizon, bathing Shore trails in evening light and with the high drone angle, I finally pulled in ocean, islands, snow, Thomas Vanderham and Andrew Shandro. Success at last.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson
Janne Tjärnström and I have been going to Val d'Anniviers for years. And for good reason: It's beautiful, both on a trail and landscape level. Val d'Anniviers is in the Valais canton (state) of Switzerland and we were lucky enough to stay 2,337 meters (7,667 feet) up the mountainside valley in the Hôtel Weisshorn. Staying singletrack-side makes life much better as a photographer. Irrefutably good riding helps this too. When prime lighting peaks, you're steps from where you need to be. This shot is not even 500 feet from the hotel, one of the many benefits of the ride-in, ride-out lifestyle of the Swiss.
Photo: Nathan Hughes
The Czech Republic hides a lot of uncomfortably creepy scenery behind its seemingly benign borders—foreboding Gothic castles overlooking steaming, toxic factories, acres of dilapidated warehouses, haunts of communism's indelible past combined with raw, unrestricted natural beauty. It's untapped.
So, Erik Irmisch and I hunted to find this particularly harrowing backdrop of chiseled faces. Anything goes in the Czech Republic so we erected a kicker and found the right foliage to frame this ominous shot. We spent an entire day on location before driving two-and-a-half hours through eerie mist only to undergo everything again at first light. Thankfully, Irmisch is always down and he nailed it right as the sun's early rays started firing.
Photo: Ben Schleith
Light magically illuminates Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park at the end of the day—I've noticed it for ages but never managed to shoot the plateau overlooking Okanagan Lake south of Kelowna, British Columbia. Harrison Mendel had dreamed about it as well so we committed an evening to it at the end of October. As Mendel warmed up, I experimented with angles and we managed to sneak this shot in just before the sun dipped below the ridgeline. It was pretty fortuitous timing because it snowed just days later, ending the season.