Reuben Krabbe Wins Deep Summer Photo Challenge

A bikemag exclusive: Watch the winning combinaton of nature, technology and people

By Joe Parkin
Video and Photos by Reuben Krabbe

Music: “Do Not Resuscitate” by Tall Heights

Synthesis / noun / the combination of components to form a connected whole. Often contrasted with analysis.

Considering this definition, it would be a shame for us to offer our own analysis, so we'll just leave it to you to judge Reuben Krabbe's 2012 Deep Summer Photo Challenge winning entry for yourselves.

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This year's Deep Summer Photo Challenge marks Krabbe's first entry into the prestigious mountain-bike photography competition, but it isn't his first time working within the contest's format. Earlier this year, the Whistler-based photographer took third-place honors, and had one of his photos named Best in Show in the Deep Winter Photo Challenge, the ski-photography sibling of Deep Summer.

His experience this past winter surely proved beneficial when, on the third and final day of shooting, Krabbe crashed, forcing an inconvenient trip to the hospital. Since the competitors are allowed just three days to get their shots, a clear creative vision is imperative. As soon as he'd been sewn up—"The only break I had on day 3 of #deepsummer," he captioned an Instagram photo posted from the hospital—Krabbe headed directly back to the park to photograph some of his riders on Crabapple Hits.

Krabbe's Synthesis uses the components of nature, technology and people to tell its story. In a telephone conversation the morning before judging, it seemed clear that he was extremely pleased with his selection of people, commenting that "It was really impressive how hard everyone worked.”

Deep Summer photographers each hand-select their own athletes, and Krabbe's team featured a number of different riding styles, ages and cultures. From young, local shredder Jackson Goldstone airing it out alongside pro Kenny Smith, to Will Craig, who rides with a prosthetic arm, to Rocky Mountain freerider Geoff Gulevich, it seems he wasn’t at a loss for superb subject matter.

And since mountain biking is usually best when done with friends, he included Sarah Leishman and Stephen Matthews; both of them, like Krabbe, moved from Alberta to live in the mountains of B.C.

Familiarity paired with hard work has its advantages: Leishman, who used to teach mountain biking with Krabbe back in Alberta, was involved in more of his photo sessions than any other member of the team and, fittingly, is featured heavily throughout the slide show.

Submissions from Bike magazine senior photographer Scott Markewitz, Justa Jeskova, Ian Hylands, Jon Hayward and Mike Zinger were entered alongside Synthesis for judging, and when the show was over, the Deep Summer panel picked Krabbe's work as the winning entry, edging out Markewitz in second place and Jeskova in third.

Pressed for comment by the Bike staff immediately after learning he’d won, Krabbe responded graciously: “I want to say thank you to everyone who was at the event, who came together to celebrate everything we love about our sport, the places that we get to go, the people that we get to share it with, amazing riding, amazing views and culture.”

Synthesis / noun / the combination of components to form a connected whole.