New Personal: Salt Flats Dance

This past summer was a time for me to concentrate on personal work before making the big move to LA (spoiler, I now live in LA!). I had the opportunity to collaborate with local modern dancer Rachel Barker. In addition, I also collaborated with a local stylist out of SLC, Mimi Porter. My goal for this shoot was to have the wardrobe complement the salt flats and show the vast expanse of the landscape.

 Modern Dance out on the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, NV

Salt Flats Dance

Photographer: Wray Sinclair
Dancer: Rachel Barker
Stylist: Mimi Porter
Hair/Makeup: Courtney Lott

Coming up to the shoot I was quite nervous with how the weather was looking. Late summers in Utah can be a bit hit or miss with regards to wildfires, and as luck would have it, we were having some of the worst fires in the area I've seen. You could barely see across the valley in Salt Lake due to the smoke being so thick. We had about a 2-day window between Rachel's availability in town, and my availability before moving to LA. I was so close to calling the shoot off but decided that all the upfront planning would go to waste. So I crossed my fingers and we headed 2 hours west to the Salt Flats.

Luckily, the grey/white tones of the smoke played very nice with the tonality of the salt flats and our wardrobe selection. 

I kept the shoot simple, I shot elevated on a ladder with a 24-70 and 85mm lens. One strobe with an XL softbox camera right. Photos were retouched in Photoshop.

New Personal: Cowboy Work

Excited to share some new personal work from a project down in Castle Valley, Utah. 

 Cowboy Work at Red Cliffs Lodge in Castle Valley, Utah

For quite a while I've been trying to expand some of what I shoot outside of the core outdoor sports, some of which you'll notice if you follow along on my Instagram. This is the first of several personal shoots that I've been working on.  I reached out to my friend Cory who I knew had been working as a Cowboy on several various ranches over the western US. Lucky for me it turned out that when I reached out, he was working at a ranch outside of Moab, Utah and I was able to connect with Cory on his day off.

To be exact, we were shooting in Castle Valley, Utah. This is a place that is home to many famous western movies, and a place where the Marlboro ad campaign is still shot today I'm told. I had one day to shoot, and we utilized the time from sunrise to sunset to capture all the shots that we were looking for. 

Shooting in the desert during mid-July is no ideal task with temperatures reaching up into the high 90s. Not to mention doing hard work in the sun all day takes a toll on your body. I looked at this shoot more as a documentary trip, rather than a produced shoot. I wanted to show the day in and day out life of a Cowboy in the American West.

The end of our day was spent practicing 'roping' cattle with the sun setting over Castle Valley. It became easy to see the allure to this type of work. It's not the easiest or best paying, but it sure is thoroughly rewarding at the end of each day's work. After dinner with everyone (where I tried rocky mountain oysters for the first time, and they were amazing!) it was back off to Salt Lake with a brief drive through the night. 

Check out the full gallery here: https://www.wraysinclair.com/cowboy-work/ 

Montana: 3 Rivers, 3 Days

I've always been one for adventures, This past April I was able to get in on another one for some early spring fishing in Montana. What originally started as a plan to spend 3 days on the Missouri River in Montana immediately changed to take a mini tour of southwest Montana to experience some of the best fishing opportunities. 

Missouri River, below Holter Dam

Missouri River, below Holter Dam

We were all set up to spend out time at the Missouri. Tents were pitched in Craig, beers were consumed at Izaaks, the only thing missing was the fish. They were being picky, picky. No one could quite figure out exactly what they were on, or where they were at. Waking up the next morning and checking the weather was talking about gusts upwards of 20-30mph. When you're out in the water on the boat those winds aren't the kindest to the fly angler. All it took was one drive up to the Holter dam planning to drop the boat there when we saw the look on the guides faces. It was cold and windy, not what we were looking for. So we decided to pack our bags and head to the Big Hole. 

Getting into Melrose around 2pm, we grabbed a quick shuttle from the Sunrise fly shop and headed to put on. We were planning to be pushing it with our float getting off right at sundown. Instead of fishing size #20s such as on the Missouri, the skwala's were starting to go off so we were fishing dry dropper rigs with #8 chubby's and rubberlegs. Thankfully we were greeted with better fishing, and an amazing dinner of elk that was shot the previous season.

Getting done with the float and dinner around 9:30 we loaded the boat and headed towards Ennis to spend our 3rd day on the Upper Madison. 

Once again more fish were brought to hand, and more of the beautiful scenery that Montana has to offer was seen. It's amazing the diversity of public, floatable rivers that Montana offers. There's something different on each piece of water. From the technical big water fishing of the Missouri to the smaller more intimate fishing on the Big Hole, and the striking landscape of the Upper Madison. 

Chico, Montana

Back from several days in Montana attending the Collective Quarterly portfolio review. It was great to meet a number of other peers in the industry and get to chat about photography at the Chico Hot Springs

Canonet QL17 / Ektar 100

During the 4 days in Chico, we were also able to get our portfolios reviewed by established people in the industry. Getting other eyes on my work has always been very important to me, and whenever I can do it with a personal meeting is always a plus.

Leica M / Summilux 24mm 

Red Bull Rampage 2016

I was ecstatic to be granted a press pass for this years Red Bull Rampage event. To give some background, this is an invite only event where the best in freeride mountain biking compete outside of Zion National Park in Virgin, Utah. 

Tom Van Steenbergen hiking to the top of his line on the first practice day

Tom Van Steenbergen hiking to the top of his line on the first practice day

21 Athletes were preselected to compete at the new venue this year. The rules were slightly different, the two main changes being riders only allowed to have build crews of 2 people, and not allowing any wooden features to be built. Other than that it was game on!

As you can see from the photos it was an incredibly dusty event. Each day started with a 4 mile off-road jeep ride at sunrise down a dusty trial. The build crews had to constantly be watering down the athletes runs, and water trucks were attempting to keep the dust down on the main road into the course. Camping gear, camera, and clothes were all caked with dust by the end of each day and required intense cleaning before bed each night.

Media was given permission to shoot on the two practice days and final. However on the last two days access was heavily restricted, cramping on how creative photographers were able to get without clearance. Due to the cut in build crews, many worked together to collaborate on different lines and features to maximize their build days before practice. 

Thomas Genon eyeing his run in

Thomas Genon eyeing his run in

This was quite different from other types of shooting that i've done with mountain biking. First off these athletes are at the absolute top of their game, watching them ride their individual lines was otherworldly. Also most of my shots are somewhat "staged", meaning its either a pre-scouted location, or i'm having my athletes ride it over and over again with minor changes to perfect the shot. Obviously you're limited in this regard at Rampage, which is where I struggled most. It took time to learn each riders style and be able to guess when they were going to go or not. You wouldn't get any warning when the time came other than photographers near you turning their lenses. I vividly remember waiting over an hour for Kyle Strait to hit his big drop. Many of us sat there with our lenses pointed in his direction waiting. He must have run up to the lip 20-30 times to fine tune his run in speed and drop.

The final event was a nail biter. Out of the 21 athletes competing only 12 completed both of their runs, the remaining either crashed on course, or never started. Many of the athletes will push their runs to the absolute max during their final run. Both Graham Agassiz and Cam Zink decided to throw 360s of their step down drops, neither landed either trick (pictured above) and only Cam was able to walk away from his crash. Many of the athletes implemented tricks in multiple portions of their runs. Backflips, 360s, Tables, and Superman's were par for the course out there. 

Kyle Strait and Cam Zink head out for their first runs of the competition day

Check out the rest of my photos from the event under the "Projects" tab, or click on this link. 3 days and 2,500 photos later the curated collection is below! 

https://www.wraysinclair.com/red-bull-rampage/