Welcome to Chain Slap. This is a place for Gillen Photography to post gear reviews, blog posts, sponsor love, and works in progress.
When I am working on a project, whether its personal or for my business, I am always thinking about the the story and how I can tell it best. Making a photo or a video that I care about is a methodical dance between mechanics, electronics, and creativity. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the part my gear plays. To that end I am a bit of a gear junkie. When it comes to photography gear, its all about removing limitations so my creativity can lead. With mountain bikes its all about the connection to the trail, the harmony of mechanics, dirt, and flow
Photography Gear Currently
Nikon D500 (loved it, but sold)
Various Nikon Glass
One Sigma Lens 120-300F2.8
F-Stop Satori (kicks ass!)
Various lighting from Nikon, Godox, Flashpoint...
Manfrotto Ball Heads & Fluid Heads
Heavy, but durable Giottos tripod
Scroll Down for News Entries
Quick Edits, News, and Work in Progress
How Mountain biking has always made me feel...
"We spend hours thinking, designing, questioning;
Also you can spend a few seconds lost in
No time to think, just reaction, focus!
All the worry and the want washed away by the rush. Life Cycles Movie
May 5th, 2018
Back from Colorado and race photos are edited, posted, and being downloaded like crazy. Shooting the inaugural Salida720 was an awesome experience, and one I would like to repeat next year. First of all, Salida is one of those places that I would love to move to. Seriously, it is one of my favorite places in Colorado and I think it would be awesome to call that place home.
This was my first time working with Keith Darner of Chocolate Bunny Productions and he put together an excellent event with some very unique features. I'm not a fan of being woken up at 4:00am, but when its to the smell of bacon, I can't complain and certainly appreciated the early morning breakfast and coffee, Keith had ready. However, the fire alarm with the oddly dystopian sounding voice, I could do without. On the other hand it was hilarious seeing my roommate, completely disoriented slamming into things and hollering for the noise to stop.
First of all, the course is excellent! It was a very technical race, especially the pro/expert loop, which kept things exciting all day long. The start was a lemans style run in downtown Salida with racers going through the Boathouse Cantina restaurant and bar for every lap, which was fun for everyone.
The views are great from nearly everywhere on the course! Josh Tostado killed it with 9 laps and the fastest time for 1st place overall. The Boathouse Cantina was a great place to host operations and general rowdiness that goes with this sort of event. Don't miss this event next year if you love great trails, beer, beautiful Colorado Mountain towns, 12 hour races, and a shit load of fun!
Colorado & Moab Spring break 2018
April 3rd, 2018
Had a great family trip through southern Colorado and over to Moab. Spent a couple days in Salida and absolutely loved that town. Seriously, I want to move there now. The kids got play on the Great Sand Dunes and ride their bikes nearly every day of the trip. Camped in the North Klondike trail area of Moab and got a couple rides in. Although its pretty far out of Moab, the North Klondike trails are fun and its was a great place to camp. Looking forward to getting back to Moab soon. It was great to borrow the folks camper and truck for this trip. It certainly makes traveling with younger kids easier and of course setting up camp is done as soon as you pull up. More trips to come!
ABQ Women's MTB Skills Clinic with Amanda Batty & Abby Stanislaw
2018 Transition Scout
February 8th, 2018
Who doesn't love getting a new bike? My primary full suspension trail bike for the last seven plus years has been an Intense 6.6, which was getting really long in the tooth and was a little undersized for me anyway. The 2017 Fall Outerbike in Moab was the perfect chance to try some of the new whips I have been lusting after. I was able to get some solid testing time on some great bikes and came away with two favorites. The Evil Calling and the Transition Scout. Guess which one I liked just a little more!
Now that I have close to 40 hours on the Scout, I couldn't be happier with my choice. The 2018 Scout has the geometry of a long travel trail/enduro bike, but with the suspension travel of a typical trail bike. With 150mm front and 130mm rear combined with a very progressive spring curve, this is one of those bikes that truly feels like it has more travel than it does. The Fox DPX2 rear shock is excellent and keeps the bike up in its travel even with rapid large hits. Fox has finally created a damping switch that works really well too. Flipping the switch does a great job of firming up the suspension without awkwardly affecting the bikes geometry like older Fox designs.
This bike is changing the way I ride with it's long, low, and slack geometry. I find myself going faster on descents with more control and the bike really encourages you to carve through corners rather then steering it. When pushed hard it is very predictable, even after breaking both tires loose it feels stable and seems to ask for more. Maybe I will get around to a small review at some point, but right now I am simply having shit loads of fun on my new bike!
Outer Bike 2017
October 12th, 2017
Having been interested in the Outerbike events since their inception, I was excited to be making the trip to Moab this year to finally partake in the unique demo event. At just about six hours from Albuquerque, the drive to Moab is close enough that I need to make the trip more often, but long enough that my 8:00pm departure resulted in an unplanned night in Monticello, in the back of my truck no less. Camping at 1:00am when its thirty six degrees outside and about an hour from my intended destination was a bit disappointing, but I would rather be safe than push my limits of exhaustion on the road.
Overall I had a great time at the event and was able to demo most of the bikes I wanted to. I think attending bike companies would do well to add more Large bikes to their demo fleets though. Never got a chance to try a Spot brand bike or some of the Transition bikes I wanted to.
The shuttled rides were good although the Magnificant Seven trail on Saturday ends with a bit of a buzz kill on a sandy dirt road when following the Outerbike designated route. I think if you were going to the event purely to find your next bike, you would be better off just riding all the Bar M trails for quick easy comparisons. However the Hymasa/Ahab shuttle on Sunday was well worth it!
Assuming I have a new bike before next years event, I would still consider doing Outerbike Moab again, but next time I would show up a day earlier to do the Whole Enchilada shuttle on Thursday. Outerbike provides great lunches and bacon and breakfast burrito hand ups to those waiting in line every morning. I am still stoked from riding so many great new bikes and I am pretty sure I know what I will be buying soon. Also got some demo time on a new product from FASST Company that I don't think I want to go without, but more on that later.
Intro to SUP & the NRS Thrive 10'3"
September 20th, 2017
I am super stoked to get out on my new paddle board as much as I can before the season is over! Although New Mexico doesn't have an abundance of surface water, the Rio Grande is nearby and several reservoirs are not to far away either. With Colorado a little over three hours from my door, I plan on getting plenty of happy paddle time there too.
I don't have much experience with paddle boarding and before last month, the last time I was on one was about six years ago in Bend, OR. After a little product research, I decided to rent a board to take up to the Brazos Mountains in Northern New Mexico. My rental board was an NRS and performed well in some high mountain lakes. However, its 209l of volume seemed a little low for my 185lb weight and it seemed to sit pretty low in the water. Build quality seemed to be great though and despite the fact that it was a well used rental board, it clearly can take abuse.
These are just some shots from the first day I opened it up and inflated the big green and white water walker. I have since been out on the board and I am completely thrilled with it. I am hoping to get a couple photo shoots in with it before the mountain lakes are to cold. I plan to post a thorough product write up on this board once I have more time on it, but here are some quick specs.
NRS Thrive 10'3"
246l Volume, 25lb weight, 20 psi max inflation, includes (2",5", and 9") finsDesigned as an all around board for flat water, river use, and fitness (yoga?)
SR8 Rhythm 2017
Santa Fe, NM Near La Tierra Trails
When I heard about the SR8 Rhythm event in Santa Fe, I immediately thought of the Straight Rhythm Moto event by RedBull, and that similarity is a great thing! Approved by the City of Santa Fe, the track was built across the road from the La Tierra Trail system. Perfect for two up racing, the track seemed fast and despite the wind, everyone was loving the event. Feel free to download any full resolution images you want for personal use. Thank you to those that made this event possible and I hope the track is permitted to stay permanently, or at least be rebuilt somewhere else permanently.
July 6th 2017 La Tierra Dirt jump Park
I got a ride in on the Windsor trail in Santa Fe on Sunday, which was definitely a great release. Tesuque was beautiful and at 70 degrees it was cool and comfortable climbing up the canyon as I zig zagged across the stream. I decided to turn around just short of the dirt road with storm clouds rolling in. Got my old school dropper post all set into the position it would remain until I reached my truck. After a quick descent and cool off after crossing the stream with a blast I reached my truck just in time to dodge a rain storm.
I had made plans to meet a friend out at the La Tierra MTB and dirt jump park after my ride. the rain storm gave me enough time to pick up some tasty tacos from the Bumble Bees Baja Grill in Santa Fe, which I highly recommend. At the MTB park waiting for the rain to pass I met Daniel Coriz, who was there walking the grounds and doing a little cleanup. I learned he is one of the stewards and builders of the MTB park, Dirt Jump Park, and Moto track. He invited us to come check out the dirt jump park and graciously uncovered one of the jump lines and made multiple passes for us.
Daniel introduced us to Kevin Rico, also responsible for building and upkeep of this awesome park. It was obvious that these two are very passionate about riding and have put some major dig time in. I look forward to going back and getting the full story from Daniel. Perhaps a short video edit is in order to better explain what is going on out there and some origins.
I am working on some alternative ways to implement photos in videos and this is was a sloppy test I did. It certainly needs to be redone with a more careful selection and some content aware Fill on the wall, but you can get an idea of what I am going for. I will post some more from other images during this same session as get to it.