It’s been said that if a photograph is worth a thousand words…
…then a photographer must be worth a million. That sounded like a lot of reading to us, so we decided to just ask Colorado based photographer Dave Trumpore 10 simple questions. A mountain biking specialist, Trumpore is a relative newcomer to the world of photography, but he’s no slouch when it comes to riding. A former professional racer, he’s been around the world and back, and now calls Boulder home. We caught up with Dave to talk bucket list rides, magical fairy lands, and making your own luck.
[gociety] – What’s your judge of a good photograph? What are you looking for?
[Dave] – There are so many things that go into making a good photo such as light, composition, action, timing, etc., but it really comes down to showcasing the rider’s style in the context of their environment. For example at a World Cup DH race I want to show the riders at peak action over a gnarly section of trail, and if I am shooting high alpine trail riding I want the rider to stand out while still capturing the more of the landscape. If I look at a photo and think the viewer would say to themselves “I want to be there” or “I wish it was me in that photo” then I know I am on the right track. From there it’s just a bit of tweaking to use light and perspective to go from good to great.
[gociety] – Most people are trying to reduce the amount of crap they carry – isn’t riding with a camera a drag?
[Dave] – Yes and no, but I think as a photographer you have to strike a balance and not lose sight of why you choose to shoot photos of mountain biking for a living. For me it’s because I love to ride so I definitely leave the camera at home once in a while. When I do ride with gear, I try to keep it pretty simple if the objective is to ride more than just shoot, and carry one small body and a wide zoom lens. If I am at an event working for clients or on a commissioned photo shoot, I obviously will carry quite a bit more. Even when it seems like a few weeks have gone by where all I am doing is riding with a heavy pack to the point of exhaustion, I just remind myself that I have an amazing job and really shouldn’t be complaining.
[gociety] – Artistically speaking, what are you after with your photography? What would be your ultimate success story?
[Dave] – I’m still chasing the ultimate artistic success story. I am a bit of a perfectionist and definitely not one for complacency, so even if I raise the bar on my previous work, I will still strive to continually outdo myself. That said, I am a huge fan of natural light and natures elements being blended into the action. I love backlit dust, layers of mountains fading into the distance, and dense colorful forests. Just drop a rider and some good action into any combination of those things and I will get excited about shooting for sure.
[gociety] – What’s the most unique thing you bring to mountain biking photography?
[Dave] – I’m not sure on this one. You made need to ask my peers for a proper answer. Honestly I think all of the top photographers are influenced by one another and my style has definitely been affected by others as well. I will say that I have a knack for really being able to capture peak action and emotion, especially in my race photography which is not an easy thing to do, and I have some intuition there that comes from years of professional racing prior to taking up photography.
[gociety] – Beautiful light is a constant theme in your work – do you only ride in magical fairy lands? How do you pull this off?
[Dave] – I wish haha. Obviously early mornings and evening light helps and if you are not making an effort to shoot at those times of day you are missing out. Some of it is planned and some is a bit of luck. However I will clarify that you truly make your own luck by getting yourself to the right place at the right time and putting in a bit of planning. Know where and when the sun is going to rise or set before you convince your buddies to trek out at 5am for an epic shot, only to find that section of trail is in shadow until noon. I am always looking around when out on rides with friends, even when I don’t have a camera, making a mental log of places to come back to at various times. Just remember that natural light will give different colors and contrasts throughout the day so having an understanding of this is definitely paramount, as is learning to work around less than ideal conditions.
[gociety] – Three other photographers people should check out:
[Dave] – Sterling Lorence, Sven Martin, and Mattias Fredriksson. All three shoot different genres of the sport, have their own unique style, and are at the forefront of progressing the art of photography while documenting the progression of mountain biking.
[gociety] – You hiked up and biked down Colorado’s highest mountain, what was it like? Isn’t that techincally frowned upon by hikers and park rangers?
[Dave] – That trail was legal to hike and to ride so there were no issues there. With equal access comes equal responsibility, and of course we would always yield the trail to hikers climbing up. It was pretty funny when one group of hikers yelled at me for pulling over to a stop, as they had been trying to shoot video and photos of us riding and I had totally ruined their shots. We also timed the ride to have the least negative impact on more traditional trail users. We did the ride on a weekday and started at about 2am hiking to the summit in darkness. At sunset we rode back down while there were only a very small group of diehards coming up the trail.
[gociety] – What are some other bucket list rides in Colorado?
[Dave] – Fruita in the fall and spring, the Wasatch Trail in Telluride, the Colorado Trail in Durango, and the Lenewee Trail from A-Basin to Keystone are recent standouts. I actually haven’t lived here that long and travel much of the summer so my bucket list hasn’t grown as fast as it should.
[gociety] – Gociety is all about adventuring with new people – what makes someone a good riding buddy? And more importantly, what makes someone a sucky riding partner? Pet peeves on the trail?
[Dave] – I am less concerned with ability, though there is a minimum standard for some rides. There needs to be an understanding that group rides will have different ability levels and that level will change from group to group so try to pick the right one. My biggest pet peeve is people who are always late and who’s bike is always having mechanical issues. Nothing ruins the tone of an awesome ride from that start more than someone showing up 20 minutes late and still having to fix the flat tire they got on their last ride. Also be sure to check your ego at the door I don’t care if you won a World Cup or are the local Strava hero, we are all there to have fun not to listen to you brag or try to one up every other rider in the group.
[gociety] – What makes riding in Colorado unique compared to other places in the US – and the rest of the world? Is it the dirt, the sun, the way our hair blows in the warm summer wind?
[Dave] – I like the fact that you can ride all year, and with the change of seasons comes a change in the terrain available so you never get burned out on one style. I ride the Front Range almost all winter as it is close to my house. The desert zones like Fruita and Moab are too hot in summer but awesome in fall and Spring. The high alpine zones are a great escape from the summer heat and provide endless terrain to explore, and when they are covered in snow I just head to the previously listed locations.
Check out more of Dave’s work: