You might have seen some of Danny Wilson’s images in our Monday Morning Debriefs. He lives pretty locally to Singletrack Towers, and is a regular at our local Havok Bike Park. Compared to us mortals in the office, and despite what he might say, he’s definitely on the rad end of things. So here, for an injection of air, gnar, and rad, is Danny’s favourite ten images of the year. Over to Danny…
I am a keen rider and photographer who loves to share my passions with the world. I don’t race nor am I super fast. I just love having a good time on bikes with friends, and do my best to make it look good on camera. I started riding bikes properly around 18 years ago when I was still in high school. Since then I have ridden many different styles, starting out with dual slalom style bikes. Back then, mountain bike parts were not like they are today and quite often I could go through a couple of sets of square taper cranks in a day. This prompted a change to BMX, while living out in Australia. They were heavy but they were bombproof. I moved back to the UK around eight years ago. With the British weather how it is I picked up a mountain bike again. I’ve not looked back since. Over the last decade my love for bikes has only grown with my passion for cameras alongside at every step. I no longer go out just to hit the biggest features I can, but just to enjoy the ride no matter what it throws at me. I have always wanted to inspire people to get themselves out in to nature and away from the couch, be it on a bike or not.
Instagram: _Danny Wilson_
Here is a look back at my ten favourite riding related photos from over 2017.
01: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
I love this shot for a few different reasons. It was my first time playing with smoke grenades while shooting and it posed a new challenge. You have the time constraints of the life of a smoke grenade and wind to contend with. On another run I had to stop as I couldn’t see anything between the wallride and the hip’s take off. Eventually the wind settled and even with the timing not being at the peak of the trick the photo came out so well. The back light on the smoke just helps everything pop in the image and really draws the eye. I also thought I was about to die at this exact moment but managed to ride it out.
02: Progression Session.
The shutter man for the last photo was Dan, this is Dan. He is a great friend who works for a past sponsor of mine. So whenever he visits from America for work, we meet up and get out for a ride together. The day usually starts with him pointing out all the things he will under no circumstances ride. Followed by me slowly pushing him as the day goes on. Each and every time he visits all those ‘No’s’ have turned in to a ‘Yes’ by the end of the day, with big grins all round. I still find it hard to believe how much progression can happen in a single day but Dan proves me wrong every single time. It’s a reminder to myself and every rider out there that this sport is so much more a mental game and that no matter your level you can always surprise yourself if you try.
03: Over and Out
This shot was taken while shooting an advert and is on a feature that has bitten me in the past. The pace varies a lot based on the weather with a super slick run out to add to the mix. However, this was taken on one of the rare dusty days we get here in the UK, I was surprised too. I love the lighting in the shot even down to the pine and dust being lit on the take off, with great contrasting colours throughout. It might not be the biggest feature I’ve hit but it’s one you can never take too lightly as I can testify getting it wrong hurts. As riders we get up, dust off and go at it again. Riding is no time to be carrying a ‘what if’ daemon along with you.
04: Man’s Got Wings
Huey is one of the locals down at Havok and is always a pleasure to watch ride. Young and seemingly without fear he will hit features even seasoned riders might think twice about and take his hands off the bars for good measure. Watching him ride takes me back to the care free days of my youth. You know, when you used to hit the ground and bounce rather than go crunch.
05: Breathe it in
Up on a rock near the eye of the needle in Tignes. Looking down at what is to come. Riding amazing trails with people you have just met all with one thing in common. Sometimes you just have to stop and take it all in. It’s pretty amazing the places a bike can take you. Riding to me feels very much a lifestyle, it drives my love of travel too. This was my first riding trip up above the tree line with exposure on all sides and was such an eye opener.
06: Heading Home
Back to tree level and heading for the cake at the chalet. This trail, though not the steepest was so flowy and fun even though I was over biked for it. It finished right outside where I was staying, so was a must ride to get back instead of taking the road. I can’t think of a better way to end the day. Now I just need this to replace my daily commute.
07: Going in Deep
I love this shot more for the feeling it gives me. Riding down a deep scree slope was something I have always wanted to do but not had the opportunity to do before. Once Rab started climbing the slope to give it a go I knew I had to follow. Climbing up was half the challenge as we were constantly sliding back down. This thing was so steep and loose. The feeling of finally dropping in and getting the bike to stand up in the gravel was something else. As soon as you let off the brakes the bike hit warp speed all while in a constant two wheel drift. I don’t think the smile went off my face for the rest of the week.
08: First Runs Can be Fun
This shot was taken on my first run on the only double black decent in Tignes. We rode it on my last day, which left me wondering why I hadn’t ridden it sooner. It was by no means more difficult than the black runs there which were a lot steeper and more technical, but instead had more of a flow feel with some huge features along the way, pretty much right up my alley. A friend who lives out there said he had been struggling with this table, so I took the lead. Once the Marmots had moved I rolled in and this was taken on my first attempt. What a run this was.
09: Pump Track Playtime
In the later part of this year I’ve really enjoyed time off the big bike, riding my 4x bike instead. Riding different styles keeps you sharp and reminded me of why I started riding bikes in the first place. This was taken on an afternoon up in Ingleton before we went and hiked their waterfall trail. It was nice chatting to the younger riders there and those that have just started out and seeing their passion for the sport growing already. Every town and village should have a pump track or place to ride.
10: Back on Dirt
Getting to ride some proper dirt jumps for the first time since the BMX days was a little scary at first. I was a slow starter that day. Once I got going I had too much fun. Who would have thought dirt jumps could still be ridden in late November? Surrounded by great company and an amazing atmosphere we all pushed each other hard which to me is what riding with friends is all about. Everyone getting the best out of each other and raising the bar.
I have some big things planned for 2018 which I am very excited about. My riding will be more diverse than ever and I really can’t wait for the year ahead. Watch this space.