Contributor Archives: Dean Blotto Gray
A couple of summers ago, I accompanied Hans Rey and Dave Watson to the Middle East in search of mountain bike terrain and trails in the country of Jordan. Seeing how there was very little intel to base our journey on, we simply found a good guide that knew the country inside and out, and hopefully point us in the right direction for a journey on two wheels.
Landing in the capital city of Amman, it was quickly apparent that bicycles were not an everyday form of transportation…it was a plethora of buses, taxis, personal vehicles and humans on foot. Our guide, Yamaan Safady, promised we’d find plenty of suitable terrain even with the lack of bicycles rolling through the big city.
The two-word term simply known as ‘The Grind’ has become synonymous with long days searching for terrain, swinging the shovel and chucking oneself in the pursuit of building snowboarding video parts. Given the constraints of a single winter season window, the necessity to go out day after day and take advantage of everything Mother Nature has to offer is the rule, thus creating a five-month ritual of many days on, few days off.
Tabletops are a dime a dozen, Halfpipes make their appearance on a regular basis, while the Hip Jump has always been a rarity. It’s not without good reason, they’re difficult to build, require tedious daily maintenance and are notorious for the low margin of error when snowboarding on these beasts. Read more
Documenting urban snowboarding has come a long way in the past decade, not only from a riding perspective (progression), but the tools to help get the job done. The early years saw the advent of the ‘drop in ramp,’ a device that provided enough speed for handrail maneuvers (gap-outs excluded), built inexpensively out of wood or metal (if you had a bit more money budgeted). Of course there was always a couple of friends to ‘pull you in,’ but that gets old quickly. If you were really lucky, you’d locate a spot that provided ‘natural speed,’ everybody’s dream scenario, even to this day.
Today’s Digital Single Lens Reflex Cameras (DSLR) have a flash sync limitation of 200, 250 or 320, depending on the model. For us snowboarding photographers, we’ve been dealing with this rather slow sync speed since the early days of snowboard documentation. There are a few different techniques in squeaking out a higher shutter speed to properly catch fast moving action while using artificial light.