DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

roatan for the holidays

In between power cuts and with extremely inconsistent internet, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and New Years from Roatan. Diving with Reef Gliders again and they have a new, much bigger and better spot in the West End. I've seen all sorts of old friends and met some new ones too. Saw a seahorse on my second dive, of course I never dive with my camera the first couple times after time off. Of course.

Here is a turtle. I'm already counting the days before I have to come home.

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travel day

I'm stuck at PDX. My 11PM redeye to Houston became a 3AM redeye to Houston. Although the flight still takes up the entire night, I am now stuck in the airport for 7 hours and not that stoked on it. However I can't get too bummed, my wife's flight from YVR to SEA got cancelled and they put her ON A BUS! That's why you pay for flights, so they can put you on a bus....

The other day it was colder than you can imagine in Whistler and they were firing up the snow guns trying to make up for the fact that mother nature hasn't been too helpful in the snow department this season. The wind was blowing like crazy, it was minus 25 up there, and all the snow that they were blowing was just flying up into the air and off the mountain. I pulled out my old 400mm f5.6 too see what it looked like on a digital camera. It doesn't hold up at all, but still, there is character in old glass.

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I'm gone to the land of unreliable internet and no cell phone. I'll be there until the new year so I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who has spent time looking at my photos and reading my words in the past year. The power of my bog is continuing to surprise me as things I've said come back time and again in all kinds of strange ways. At its core, self publishing is the easiest and most democratic way to be heard that humans have ever enjoyed. I don't always have things worth saying, but when I do, there are people out there who are listening. thanks for tuning in.

Happy Holidays,

Dano.
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Brian Savard


Brian Savard was one of the hardest working shredders in the game for awhile and despite never having ridden for one of the big "star maker" brands in snowboarding, he still managed to become one of the biggest names in the late 90's.

This photo ran on the cover of Snowboarder Magazine in 1999 and is an all-time favourite of mine. I've shot this cliff a few times with Brian and also with Shin Campos. It's in bounds on Whistler Mountain and rarely sees much action because it's really hard to get on top of. We called it "tree cliff" because there is a tree in the landing that both Brian and Shin have hit.

In an era where we are seeing more and more weak riding in the media (tail blocks, tiny "urban cliffs", and weak backcountry booters), I miss the power of riders like Brian. Of course there are still lots of them out there, but increasingly they are pushed aside in favour of over-strobed "filler" shots. The rise of this kind of photography corresponds with the strobist culture that is prevalent with young shooters. They tend to prioritize their technical (pocket) wizardry in front of the skill of their riders. With the increase in blogs and websites as the culture-defining media outlets and their lack of buyout budget, we see lots of b and c grade photography being paraded around as legitimate. Unfortunately this trend has trickled upwards and traditional paper mags have been persuaded to believe that if a photo has enough gelled strobes lighting it, the riding can be just about anything.

I disagree. I think we are on the verge of a point where people will stop picking up magazines that continue to pass off this cheesy faux snowboarding and see it for what it is. A charade.


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Brushie

I've been following the VBS.tv series "Powder and Rails" since it started earlier this year and although the episodes are short and they come out erratically, it's fun to watch my youth being given the documentary treatment.

This week there have been a couple of episodes on one of my favourite riders ever, Jeff Brushie. When Jeff was still a teenager he came out to Whistler and lived at the end of a dead end hallway in our house. He was super stoked on riding and was content to make himself a little bed in the corner, live on next to nothing and ride every day, all summer long. When I started shooting pictures in 1991 he was one of the first guys I shot and over the years I got to shoot with him quite a few times.

Brush was the kind of rider who set the bar for style. If he changed how he did a trick, the very next day half a dozen pros would do the trick his new way. I guess some would call that a compliment. Jeff had pop back when hardly anybody did and he was always crowding the top of my frame.

Style is harder to put your finger on these days and maybe as a result there is less emphasis put on it in snowboarding. I think that is a shame. Brush will always be the king of style.

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Blackcomb, Summer 1991.
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Blackcomb, Summer 1992.
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Squaw Valley, 1993.

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Snowmass, 1994
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Westbeach Classic. Whistler, 1996.
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Carts of Darkness, Whistler Film Fest, WCP party.

Here is a quick shot from last week. I was in Whistler for a screening of my friend Murray Siple's "Carts of Darkness". It's an amazing documentary about bottle pickers who ride shopping carts down steep hills. Afterwards we met up with Nix from Fourstar Canada for some sushi. The Whistler Film festival is going on so we went to one of their party/gala deals where we hooked up with Whistler superstar Ace Mckay-Smith and legendary DJ/Producer Scott Arkwell.

This crew was obviously a recipe for hours of conversation, foosball and venue-testing. I don't get to hang with the good people as often as I'd like and this was an awesome night that I paid for dearly the next day.

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The next night was the Film Fest party put on by Whistler Creek Productions. I set up a photo booth and we shot some of the attendees. Another legend, Bruce McDonald, was in the room and there were screenings of some of the films from the Heavy Hitting B-Grade Horror film Fest as well as an auction of some photos. Here are some of my favourite shots from out front. The rest will be on the WCP site later.

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Romain De Marchi and Paul Watt from Absinthe Films
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Super Master DJ Mat the Alien and his better half Amanda
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Alberta is a long drive but Rob Stevens don't care
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"Hey I'm going to do a backflip"
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Nix And Kashi show their party face.
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best expression of the night
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Stuart Andrews and Shin Campos from Whistler Creek Productions
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Just awesome

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waiting

Winter is taking its sweet time this year. Here is a wall from Antigua, Guatemala in 2007. Layers and layers of paint, plaster and concrete. 400 years of bumps and wear.

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classic


Hey folks,

Today I'm posting up one on my best-known and favourite photos. When I shot this photo of Lukas Huffman in 2003, this jump (known as 'perfect jump' because of its natural perfection for jumping) had become pretty blown out and was a one trick pony in terms of angles. I was completely sick of shooting it because there is such an obvious angle that has been shot to death, but not many others. This day I was determined to get something different.

I watched Luke's shadow pay across the snow in the foreground and set out to capture it. I had to beg the rest of the crew not to mess up the snow in the foreground zone with tracks, so someone threw the last bit of their sandwich in there just to mess with me. You can see it there on the left. My friends rule...

When I shot this I had never seen another snowboard shot that looked like it and I was really, really happy with the result. It has run in Magazines a bunch of times and I recently sold a print of it. I love this shot.

Ok, on a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to throw a shoutout to the good folks at Yobeat.com who have been making fun of snowboarding for over a decade.

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