Oregon MTB Photoshoot, Day Five

Today's shoot started REALLY early...we were all up at about 5:30am and left Bend at 6am to try to catch the good morning light out at Smith Rock State Park, which is about 45 minutes outside of Bend. Since we were going to be heading back to Portland, we had to get our bags packed and say good-bye to Bend.

We drove to Smith Rock in...you guessed it...the rain. While it wasn't raining all that heavy, the sky was angry and cloudy which meant there probably wouldn't be any chance at all for golden morning light to shoot in. By the time we arrived at Smith Rock and unpacked all the bikes, the rain had stopped, but the clouds persisted. Not to worry...that's what flashes are for. Pete has enough flashes in his camera bag to light up Las Vegas.

We hiked down into the bottom of the canyon with 6 bikes to shoot. From the top of the canyon, we identified a trail on the side of a hill that looked like it would be good to shoot on, but Pete, Aaron, and I hiked up to scout the trail just to make sure. We ended up hiking about a mile up from the canyon floor up a fairly technical trail with many switchbacks, but were rewarded for our efforts by finding two awesome locations to shoot on. One was a tight switchback going down the west side of the slope and the other spot was high above the floor with a great view looking east. The downside to this great spot is it was quite a push with the bikes and all of the camera gear.

were nearly done with the shoot when we hear a voice screaming at us from across the canyon. "MOUNTAIN BIKERS!!! PLEASE COME DOWN TO THE FOOT BRIDGE!!!" It looked like a ranger. We quickly packed up all the gear and hiked back down the trail to meet the ranger at the foot bridge that crossed the river. It wasn't till we got all the way to the bottom that we noticed a small sign on a post indicating that bikes weren't allowed on the trail we were just on. Uh oh...busted. Sheepishly, we walked up to the ranger and he was actually very cool to us. He asked if we were aware that bikes weren't allowed on the trail and wanted to know what we were doing. When we told him that we were shooting some photos for our catalog, he said we had to obtain a permit to shoot on trails that aren't techincally open to bikes. He was kind enough to point out some other trails that we were free to shoot on if we called the park manager and just let him know we were there. Whew! No citations were issued. We rode down to one of the lower trails by the river, finished our shoot, and headed back up to the trailer to make some lunch.

Our next stop was one we were all pretty excited about...we were invited to go ride the indoor skatepark at the world-famous Windell's Camp up near Mount Hood. And since there aren't campers there this time of year, we were getting a private session since it's not open to the public on a regular basis. We were stoked!

When we arrived at Windell's, there was a crew working on installing some railing, but they finished up and then the place was ours. This park is really nice...it's set up more for skateboards and BMX bikes, but everyone had a killer time on the MTB's for sure. Porter did a cool footplant on the faux brick wall...Pete and Aaron both got good shots of him. Wilson, our new flow rider, was so stoked to be back in his element, so he just killed it. He was pulling some big tire grabs and bar spins over the hip for Pete and Aaron to shoot. Blake, who doesn't ride park all that much, was looking smooth and fast.

After riding for 2 or 3 hours, it was time to pack up all the bikes and head back into Portland. The weather is supposed to be clearing up, so our goal is to shoot some of the stuff we didn't get to shoot over the weekend because the weather was bad. Keep your fingers crossed that Mother Nature will be kind to us.

Ciao for now!

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