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Ben Haggar at VIMFF – The Devil is in the Details


Amongst a slew of international and local entries, Squamish photographer and squamish.com contributor Ben Haggar took home second place in the Mountain Sport category at the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival photography awards last night.  

Here are a few words behind the winning shot.

Ben Haggar’s VIMFF prize winning image of Scott Veach

The Vision

This shot just kind of happened. I guess you could say that for any photo that wasn’t pre-meditated, but really, this wasn’t the shot we came for.

Scott Veach (trail builder extraordinaire and shredder of bikes) and I were looking at this area in Whistler to build a new trail. After a few scouting missions, we had a clever line flagged through some difficult terrain. It was late in the day and the IPAs in the truck were beckoning.

As we reached the upper slab section of the prospected trail, beautiful evening light shone through stunted Red Pine and Douglas Fir covered in witches’ hair above a thick bed of lush moss descending to a vibrant stream lit with tall ferns and Devil’s Club which caught a hold of the last rays of sun in broad leaves.

I instantly got a photography boner.

A Purpose To Build

Fast forward one year later and no progress had been made on this trail as we played the waiting game with an active logging tenure, but I had never forgot about that spot near the top.

With incredible fortune, I received an invite to the prestigious 2016 Deep Summer Photo Challenge—an invite only competition where 6 photographers have 72 hours to shoot and edit a 3-5 minute mountain bike slideshow to be shown, judged, and heckled at the Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival in Whistler.

I wanted this shot, which I had spent a year envisioning, in my slideshow. Scott and I revisited the area with pulaskis and pruners and got to work.

Creating the Line

After a few hours of hacking and exploring for dirt, we had a rough line cut into a small gap over moss laden roots which would be backlit by the low angle of sun just before it dipped behind Rainbow Mountain.

As the sun drew closer to the horizon, we tested out the line which needed a few tweaks for it to run properly.  The golden light highlighted ferns, cedar branches, and leaves to create a magical shot which we were both super stoked on!

The Shot

Amazingly, the light lingered for what seemed like hours, so with the main shot in the bag, we turned our attention to the open slabs and began scratching in another line. I climbed a stout fir tree and was immediately covered in sap.

With my camera glued to my hand, I snapped a few shots of Scott with this being the best of the lot. Golden hour kept on and we nailed a few different angles of the slab and took another few rounds on the jump. Exhausted and covered in organic debris, we cracked an IPA and were quickly driven into the truck by black flies.


Ben Haggar

The author Ben Haggar

Ben is a Squamish based photographer and writer. Using surfing and mountain biking as catalysts, he aims to meld action sports with experiential travel in remote and wonderful locations around the globe. Ben also works as an Assistant Expedition Leader planning and executing expeditions in the Polar regions, but misses BC's alchemy of hops and water when away. He is an ambassador for On-Sight Equipment. Follow him on Instagram @benhaggarphoto
Tags : Ben HaggarphotoVIMFF

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