Abby Chan, the talented yogi/dancer/entrepreneur I photographed on the roof of the Hotel Monte Vista, connected me with Alex Pavon. Alex is a professional Enduro mountain biker who lives in Flagstaff and was kind enough to give up her New Years Day to shoot with me. She took me to a beautiful section of trail on Mount Elden overlooking Flagstaff, a trail called Sunset.
We had a couple hours to shoot up high before we drove further from Flagstaff, past Arizona Snowbowl (Flagstaff’s ski area), to some double-track trails in rolling hills with aspen tree groves. Alex switched kits and got out her gravel bike for something different.
I really enjoyed Flagstaff. Everyone I met was awesome, and the city had some pretty great reasons to come back – more climbing and mountain biking!
After seven days in Flagstaff, I headed north, through Monument Valley, Indian Creek, Fruita, and back home to Boulder, rounding out an amazing trip around the South West. I need to take more roadtrips like this!
Asking the people I met around Flagstaff, I asked for some awesome locations to shoot different sports. Someone suggested Pumphouse Wash as a nice place to shoot yoga, but on my last day in Flagstaff, I was set to shoot with Missy Verhaeghe, a runner. I didn’t know what to expect, but we found the “trail” after doing a few u-turns, not realizing you park at a bridge and just climb down to the streambed. The wash is a tight canyon, with featured sandstone walls 50 feet or less apart. We walked past a few fun looking sport climbing routes that would be awesome to go back and try.
Flagstaff hadn’t received any precipitation since September, so the wash was completely dry. I was also expecting a bluebird day, but we were surprised with clouds giving us pretty flat light, which gave us a different feel.
Still getting used to my Sony A7RIII, I was super impressed by the autofocus’s ability to keep focus. The Sigma 35 does the best of all my non-Sony lenses, with the Sigma adapter, but the Sony 85mm 1.8 really showed it’s crazy abilities with Missy jumping between the rocks.
Click on an image to see the gallery in a lightbox.
Thank you Missy, you were awesome for withstanding the cold!
When I reached out to the social InstaFacedIn to recommend active people in Flagstaff, Arizona for me to shoot lifestyle with multiple people sent over Abby Chan’s name. She’s one of those inspiring people that is good at everything. She owns Evolve Flagstaff, is a yoga, dance and aerialist instructor, mountain biker, and rock climber. She agreed to meet up on New Year’s Eve, and the weather was brisk but beautiful. Abby knew she could get access to Hotel Monte Vista’s roof, and I wanted to save that till closer to sunset, so we started in the downtown area where there is a lot of awesome mural art.
But the roof beckoned and I didn’t want to miss the light. Huge props to Abby for withstanding the cold.
Her beauty and grace in movement was awesome to watch. Thank you for being an incredible model!
On Christmas day I took off in my Passat wagon, filled with camera, climbing, and mountain biking gear towards New Mexico and Arizona. I didn’t have a set plan, but I was going to meet a friend in Sante Fe, NM and we would make our way to Flagstaff, AZ where a friend had just moved. I met up with Marie Sullivan, and we decided we wouldn’t wait around Sante Fe but head straight to Flagstaff the next day. She had to get back to SF to work the next Saturday and decided to drive separate, meaning I didn’t have to come back to Sante Fe on my way home. We met up with Alex Vidal and went to explore some trails around Flagstaff. Alex’s girlfriend’s sister’s husband showed us a great 14-mile trail that took us to Fisher Point.
Of course, Alex had to pop a tire – a hole even the magic of tubeless couldn’t fix.
I got to ride the next day in Sedona, but was too busy having fun to take photos. Over the next few days I did several photoshoots with a yogi/dancer, pro mountain biker, and a trail runner. Hope to get these up soon!
On Sunday, while hanging out the back of my car, I shot Dan Lehman riding his motorcycle up Flagstaff Mountain. With the back hatch open and my feet securely bracing against my bike rack, I was able to get the angles I wanted with Dan following super close. Dan’s friend, Samantha, held onto my Flashpoint Streaklight 360 (my favorite portable strobe!) completely safely held in by a makeshift seatbelt made from Alpine Draws. Had a lot of fun playing around and definitely learned a thing or two about what I’d do different next time.
This was one of those happy accidents. Camera got stuck in a weird mode, dragging the shutter for .3 seconds.
For this last shot, I was stationary and had Dan ride past me a few times. Melissa is hiding on the other side of the curve with the Streaklight.
I love doing personal work like this, playing around to see what works.