A few months back, I had the privilege of working with Salsa Cycles shooting stills of their new 2014 bikes in and around the breathtakingly beautiful Teton Valley. I was also tasked with producing a short film about a fun-filled bikepacking trip.
I met up with the Salsa crew (Mike “Kid” Riemer, Justin Julian, Kelly MacWilliams and Tim Kruger) at one of the most impressive bike shops in the country, Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in Victor, ID. As you may or may not know, Victor is also home to endurance cycling legends Jay and Tracey Petervary. They know this area like the back of their hand and being the gracious hosts they are, lead us into some amazing territory which resulted in getting the killer shots we were all hoping for. If you find yourself in the Teton Valley make sure you stop by Fitzgerald’s and say hello to owners Scott and Jannine, who are not only great people but also appreciate really great coffee. Seriously, check out their coffee bar in the shop.
My main camera kit on this trip was the Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200 zoom lens and 16-35 wide lens. I also carried plenty of batteries and media plus a small 2 stage carbon tripod for shooting video with the Mark III. This was all packed in the Clik Elite Escape backpack. I like this pack because it is comfortable while riding long distances and access to the camera can happen very fast when jumping off the bike needing to get the shot. I worked on keeping the gear to a minimum as specific locations were not scouted ahead of time and our plan was to set off on a variety of trails over a couple days and look for the good stuff as we were out in it. We usually rode 3-4 hours on each trail starting off early in the morning and again later in the afternoon wanting to get as much of the ‘good light’ as we could. As we found scenic sections along the trail we’d stop, set up and knock out some shots. You can find some of these stills scattered throughout the newly updated Salsa Cycles website. Many are in the Adventure Slideshow section inside each of the Bike pages.
One of my favorite shots is the dusty backlit image of Tracey Petervary. We were coming to the end of that days shooting around Grand Targhee and as I was riding in the rear of the pack I noticed the dust kicking up at certain sections would fill the air producing an atmosphere that created nice silhouettes of the riders. A bit further down the trail we found the perfect spot to set up and play with this. Jay took position one and flew through the section kicking up as much dust has he could with the other riders spaced about 3-5 seconds apart. I got some great shots but this one of Tracey really stood out.
One thing that became even more apparent to me during this shoot was the almost cult-like following Salsa Cycles has created. This really hit home when we were in front of Fitzgerald’s getting the bikes set up when a customer started chatting up Salsa’s Art Director, Kelly ‘Mac’. He was telling Kelly he recognized her from the Salsa catalogue, how she was famous and that he has two Salsa bikes – the titanium Colossal and Vaya. You’ll see this encounter in the short film…
The creative brief from Salsa Cycles for this video was to focus on having a truly good time on an overnight bikepacking trip. It was about gathering your friends, a fly rod, some local beer and setting off on an adventure by bike; all the while making it a point to create some laughs and good memories along the way. Salsa wanted to highlight the ‘lighter side’ of bikepacking and convey that not every mountain bike adventure has to be a death march or about setting records. My only regret with the shoot was we didn’t have fish to cook over the camp fire that night – better luck next time boys…