April 18, 2013 § 8 Comments
My most recent post is on the Cycling Illustrated web site at http://cyclingillustrated.com/2013/04/shift_er-by-seth-davidson/
They’re running it for five days on their web site before I port it over to my blog. I’m going to be posting two columns a month on their site. They’re doing an incredible job publicizing local and national cycling events, and I’m really pleased that they’ve included me in their efforts.
You can order a print version of their magazine from their web site. They were kind enough to ask me to do the lead-off column for their inaugural issue, and even threw in a photograph that made me look like I was semi-sort of-halfway-potentially legit on the bike. You and I, of course, know better.
October 23, 2012 Comments Off on The beautiful eye
The first time I saw the photo, I was envious. Then I looked at it again, and my envy turned to burning, green envy with a purplish tint. There was no enjoyment of the image, no appreciation of the slice in time captured in the pixels on my screen, just envy.
‘Cause that’s just the kind of person I am.
I scrolled through the handful of photos he had posted on the gallery. Each one was not better than the one before. They were equals. Toweringly beautifully posed photographs ripped off shutterclick by shutterclick at some insane number of bangs per second, these were the keepers out of how many? A thousand? Five thousand?
“That bastard. That fucking bastard. Fuck. He is good.”
You’re so transparent
When people take pictures, when they write paragraphs, when they paint or sculpt or throw clay, they reveal themselves. The more you know about their craft, they more they show.
This dude’s autobiography was pressed into his gallery of nine images. All I needed to know about him, I learned in the hour or so that I studied those photographs.
Let me tell you these things about him. We’ve never spoken more than a minute or two with each other, and never about his photography.
- He’s a perfectionist. You won’t see his work until it’s ready. The vast majority of his work, although stunning to you, isn’t good enough for him.
- His photography doesn’t show people. It shows their character.
- There’s only one right shot of a given person at a given time doing a given thing. That’s the one he wants.
- He’s meticulous about his equipment, but he knows that it’s all in the eye.
- He believes that great photos can only be created with the proper foundation. He prepares and looks and thinks and chooses each vantage point with incredible care, and that’s the foundation upon which he builds each photograph.
- He hates what’s common.
- He believes that if you want to show different characters, even from the same person, you have to shoot different perspectives.
- He can’t take snapshots…he thinks and plans and angles and reflects too much to reflexively point and shoot.
- Every picture isn’t a painting. It’s a sculpture, crafted laboriously by hand, with much effort and furrowing of the brow.
Danny Munson, photographer to the wankers
If you’ve spent any time on CyclingIllustrated, you’ve seen Dan Munson’s work, and it has left you slack-jawed. The power, the energy, the dynamic pulse of the athlete leaps out from each image so strongly that you can feel the striations in the muscles. If you’ve spent time on his web site, it’s equally amazing. If you’re lucky enough to be his friend on Facebook, your cup runneth over with more than a thousand pictures to browse through, which are worth millions of words.
I’ve been lucky to work with one of the finest photographers anywhere, Ted Eubanks, who also happens to be married to my mom. However good you think you are, you’re not this good. Unless you’re Colin Finlay. Because if you’re Colin Finlay, you’re better than Ted Eubanks…as long as you’re not shooting birds, butterflies, dragonflies, or natural landscapes.
Like Colin, who I’ve never worked with, there’s another giant behind the lens who I’ve actually ridden bikes and drunk coffee with. That’s Greg St. Johns. What he does with a camera is another degree removed, yet again, from what normal people think of when they think of photography. Greg is the head chef at a high end image restaurant; a professional TV cameraman who nails incredible shots of the cast–stars and water carriers alike–in black-and-white when the mood strikes.
I’m going through this mental Rolodex of photographers simply because I put Dan Munson in their sector of the Venn diagram, where the edges of artist, genius, and amazing person all intersect to make a tiny little club built out of photography. The thing about each of these guys is that their photos move, and you’d think that Danny’s job, shooting bikers, would be the easiest one for capturing motion.
But anyone who’s tried to photograph a crit or a road race knows that’s not the case; it’s the opposite, in fact. It takes amazing skill to wind up with anything other than a frozen figure hunched over a bike going nowhere. It takes love and passion and intellect and strategy and compassion and risk to make an office park routine into what it really is: A gladiator’s arena filled with pain, danger, despair, humiliation, elation, risk, defeat, and victory.
He shares all of these things with us, and more. Thanks, dude.
September 11, 2012 § 19 Comments
Of all the awesome awesomeness of Rudy Napolitano’s national championship ride in Bend, Oregon last week, the most awesome ego fapping part of all is that I’m now able to say, “Yeah, I train with that dude. National road champ, 35+. Uh-huh.”
I’m not the only wanker who got a woody thinking about the stars-and-stripes jerseys brought home by Rudy, Rich Meeker, Michael Easter, Jamie P., and the medals harvested by Jeff K., DeMarchi, Glass Hip Worthington, Charon Smith, Karl Bordine, and the other SoCal riders who dominated at nationals. No sooner had news of Rudy’s win hit the Cycling Illustrated newsfeed than a whole host of other bone idlers began crowing and bragging about how they train and race with these champions.
Prez even admitted what we all do but are too ashamed to confess: Calling his buddies back East to say “THOSE are my training partners, yo!”
The difference between theory and practice
In theory, I suppose it’s legit to say, for example, that I train and race with Rudy and those dudes. Most Saturdays, after all, he shows up on the Donut Ride, and I show up on the Donut Ride. Several times a year I do the Really Early Morning Ride a/k/a REMR. Jeff does the REMR. And of course numerous times I suit up and saddle up for local crits and road races, events at which Jamie, Glass Hip, Meeker, and Charon also toe the line.
Unfortunately, the extent of my “training rides” with Rudy usually ends about fifteen minutes into the ride, or whenever he makes an acceleration, whichever comes first. I mean, can I really call it “training with Rudy” when he’s not even breaking a sweat and I’ve pulled over and quit? Did we train together when he lazily pedaled away from a hundred idiots on the part of his training ride that was actually before his training ride, because if it had been his actual training ride we, like, would never have known he was there?
Same for the “racing with Rich” thing. Did I really race with him when I got shelled on the first climb? Were we really racing together when he was sprinting for first and I was sprunting for 86th? Were Charon and I in the same race when he was a tiny speck at the front and I was a flailing wanker barely hanging onto the tail end of the whip?
And if it’s that bad for me, what about the other bone idlers like Prez who are still attending esteem building classes in order to actually enter a Cat 2 or 35+ race? What about the wank fodder that gets diarrhea and breaks out in hives the night before the “big” showdown at CBR, then wets their bed so badly they catch cold and miss the race?
Cycling is a reality show, and you’re Snooki
The antics of the men and women who trundled off to Bend and whipped the snot out of the best amateurs in America, if truth be told, have nothing in common with the antics of the rest of us. It’s like having Rahsaan Bahati next to you on the New Pier Ride. He’s with you, but he’s not really with you.
The accomplishments of those who returned with jerseys and medals are incredible. They did what the rest of us wish we could do: Ride our bikes smarter and faster than anyone else in the country. Having them back in our midst is good for some ego fapping, but it’s kind of a bummer, too. If they put the wood to the best racers in America, what’s the math looking like that I’ll ever finish ahead of them?
Better dial up ol’ Russ back in Texas and let him know that my training partner just won nationals. Uh-huh. ‘Cause that’s just how I roll. Me and Prez, I mean. When we’re not crashing. Or getting dropped. Or ego fapping on the bricks.