Winning by a few drops of rain 

Amateur photographer Tracy Howlett wins 24-hour Clik photo competition

click to enlarge Riding creativity Local shutterbugs challenged imaginations and disposable cameras to the 24-hour photo competition called Clik.
  • Riding creativity Local shutterbugs challenged imaginations and disposable cameras to the 24-hour photo competition called Clik.

Tracy Howlett spent the day cycling around Lost Lake and roaming Whistler Village snapping bike-themed images on her disposal camera for the inaugural Clik photo competition last month.

She entered the 24-hour shoot at the last minute. It was one of those lazy weekends where she didn’t feel like being social, but tagged along with friends’ decisions to sign up.

Forced to forgo the rapid fire and bottomless store of digital wizardry for the competition, Howlet carefully thought out each image, but at the end of the day she was still left with eight pictures to fill.

Inspiration struck, again and again, as summer skies gradually filled with rain.

She drove to a friend’s house to borrow a bike, moved a rain-soaked car from the driveway, placed the bike on the dry pavement, let the rain work its magic and then lifted the bike to reveal a first place finish at the Clik competition.

“By the time I thought of the idea, everything was soaked so I had to move my friend’s car so I could get a dry patch of pavement,” Howlett said. “I must have looked like a maniac… I find it funny that is the picture that won. What I liked about it, is that some people thought it was chalk, others knew it was rain right away and others just looked at it and wondered what the hell it was.”

Clik was the Guts and Glory Production brainchild of artist Arne Gutmann and Joe Lyons, president of the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA). The 24-hour competition on disposal cameras got amateur and professional talents clicking over the Crankworx weekend. The competition culminated in a photo exhibit of the finalists’ work as well as a slide show presentation of all of the images taken.

“I was really impressed by the creativity,” Gutmann said. “Especially for an instant camera, the images are really awesome. You wouldn’t have suspected they came from a disposable camera.”

Deliberation by judges — bike magazine editor Ian Miller, sports-action photographer Bruce Rowles and pro rider Brad Bethune — was long and argumentative.

“Everyone picked different images,” Gutmann said. “They didn’t share the same opinion on anything.”

The diversity of images turned in challenged both judges and the eye. From wizzing by a blurred street on a road bike to a tiny tot showing off his training wheels, pictures encompassed the two-wheel way from many directions.

Howlett finished first for her rain-silhouetted bike, Corey Grandfield second for his road bike solo ride and Chris McPhee third for his descending female rider.

Honourable Mentions were given to Matthew Mallory, Todd Hellinga, Bea Gonalez and Carin Smokinski.

Kim Myers was also awarded the accolade of Funniest Photos for her day-in-the-life of a mountain biker. She snapped one of those crazies, all too familiar to Whistler, waking up with his mountain bike in bed then followed him until he ended the day wrapped up in bandages with a beer.

Slide show crowds applauded the innovation of the images while photographers reveled at what can come from a $10 snap and shoot.

“The quality of the film really picked up the texture of the driveway. It had been a long time since I had done something with film,” Howlett said. “It was a neat idea to use a disposable camera. I didn’t have to compete with people with lenses and filters. It was a great competition. I saw so many people walking around town with the little camera. It was a community building experience.”


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