My road trip story is more about the amazing people I've met and the incredible locations I've been lucky enough to experience every time I hit the road for a photo shoot rather than how badly we love pulling the E-brake on our rental car or the endless nonsense that goes along with the whole travel scene. I've been experiencing life to its fullest by traveling all over the country, and the world for that matter, over the last 10 years of my life photographing ATVs, motorcycles and everything in between. There are so many great stories I could tell, but I'm actually having a hard time narrowing them down to a single trip. However, there is one photo shoot in particular that does stand out in my mind, and like most of our more epic trips, it was a shoot I did recently at the Glamis dunes in the deserts of Southern California.
There's something to be said about getting up at the crack of dawn with a truck full of camera gear, ATVs, food, a few buddies and heading off to an ATV fanatic's dreamland for a day of shooting. I don't know how many people can say they're on their way to work when they're headed to the dunes, but it's something I get to do quite regularly. I guess I'm just lucky, right? Growing up, I never would have thought in a million years that I would be so fortunate in my life to do what I do, in the industry I love, with so many interesting people.
After busting out four extremely dark early hours of driving to our location we finally saw the shimmer of the sand dunes emerging over the horizon. Seeing those dunes even so far away, you are in awe of its natural paradise and allure. We had finally reached our destination and could not wait to dip our wheels into the warm, golden powdery sand. And trust me when I say riding and working in it is even more amazing. For those of you who have never had the chance to experience a day ripping through the sand in the dunes, it's like getting on your favorite roller coaster and never having to get off or wait in line.
We could hardly wait to unload the quads, gear up and scout out that perfect location for our shoot. After putting in a few sick miles of nonstop bowl carving in the most incredible virgin sand I've ever seen, it was finally time to get focused and knock out some work! We came across the perfect jump facing into a breathtaking sunset-exactly what my test rider and I were looking for. It was the kind of jump that looked like it was man-made, with the perfect takeoff and optimal smooth landing just on the other side. Our test rider was going to be hitting this jump fourth gear pinned in order to clear the massive gap. After doing a few pre-jumps it was time to go big or go home. With my assistant and I looking on anxiously, my test rider hit the massive jump and cleared it without a hitch. By this point, we only had about an hour or so left of sunlight and we had to start lighting the scene. For this setup, I used three strobes to illuminate the surrounding sand dunes as well as my test rider. After dialing in the light to perfection, it was time to unleash my camera and begin to shoot!
My test rider must have hit this gnarly gap 30 times or so, gaining more and more confidence with every leap. All of us were having the time of our lives; virgin sand and no crowd combined with an amazing crew and an awesome test rider. Not that it's an often occurrence, but every now and then I just get lucky and the work flows smooth and easy. With the combination of this location, the perfect light and my talented test rider, it was nearly impossible to get a bad image! It was as if all of the pieces of the puzzle just fell into their places without exhausting effort. After making sure that I perfectly captured the shot, we only had a few more minutes of sunlight left before we'd be consumed by the pitch black of night. Everyone chipped in to help pack up all of the gear we had laying around so that we could enjoy the long dune ride back to our camp. Knowing that I nailed the shoot, I was looking forward to sitting around the fire and telling some lies with friends. Does life get any better than this? I highly doubt it!