Utah is currently home to what the rest of the world deems to be the ultimate moto scene. Epic surroundings, winding canyon roads, and a collection of talented, driven people that are stealing the Social Media spotlight from the West coast and European motorcycle scenes of old.
One could point their double-tapping finger at a select few faces that could beheld responsible for this boom of popularity, the organisational likes of Juan Coles of Lobo Loco and Rev at Salt City Builds, or the visual duo of Aaron Brimhall and Kaycee Landsaw who are probably responsible for originally producing half of the stolen-and-reposted images on Instagram.
But it takes more than just the pioneers to create such a wide spread community. The periphery of the well-known holds a vast array of skilled photographers, magazine creators, writers and riders who all too often get skipped over by the average moto enthusiast, but those who spend the time to dig deeper into the hashtags will every so often stumble across a hidden gem. Kristin Park is that gem.
Kristin Park Photography
Kristin began her life-behind-the-lens at 16 after loaning a Nikon D50 from a friend. Alongside her best-friend Niki, Kristin spent her days with a snap-happy innocence, taking photographs of tress, buildings and anything else that would take her skills beyond the automatic settings. But one year later, the camera had to be returned to its owner leaving Kristin a camera-less onlooker as her friend Niki invested in a new shooter and continued to hone her skills.
Making new friends in the local motorcycle scene opened up new photo subjects and soon brought back the shutter-bug, finally pushing Kristin to pull the trigger and purchase a camera of her own – a used Canon 7D Mark I. One can only imagine the kind of inspiration that comes from riding with the likes of Kaycee Landsaw, Jun Song, Dan Sammons, & Tory Treseder in such a talented group.
The thirst for learning was higher than ever. Drawing inspiration from watching Tory and Kaycee run around the canyons and incredible landscapes surrounding Salt Lake City. Kristin signed up to a photography class at her local community college, striking gold with a great teacher, Tom Jackel, and picking up the basics of how to control depth of field, sunny 16, shutter speeds, understanding your light meter.
Most importantly, the course changed Park’s perspective of photography.
“It wasn’t just about getting an okay shot anymore, it was about knowing what I wanted a photo to look like, and being able to create it.”
Later upgrading to a Canon 5D Mark III, Kristin had by this point begun to make her mark on her local riding scene, crediting the mindset of her friends and riding buddies for her ability to shoot what makes her happy.
“These amazing people that let me take photos of them riding motos share the love and free spirit for riding that I do. Especially my friends Paityn and Joey, who are not afraid to have a dance party while riding our bikes.”
“I take every opportunity I can to gain more information, a different perspective, whatever it may be. There is so much room to grow. I’m just thankful for the opportunities I have had to shoot, the rad people I’ve met through riding/shooting, and the unexpected support I’ve received from friends, family, and people I have yet to even meet from all over the world. I can’t express how much the nice words, comment and re-posts mean to me.”
Often a great snap will bounce around the internet with no real background as to where it came from so as with all of our photographer session of The Interviews, we asked Kristin to talk us through five of her favourite shots and tell us what was going on around them.
Dump ’em Out
I had found out a few friends I met during Motos in Moab, who lived in Denver, were going to be camping in Central Utah over the weekend. A couple other girls and I decided to pack out moto’s and head south, to Hanksville, UT. One of the funnest rides ever, with great company. When we got there, it had just gotten dark. We met a bunch of new people, and quickly noticed the moto by camp that had a white flag attached to the sissy bar that had been spray painted to say “Dump ’em Out”. We talked my friend Paityn into letting us take photos of Caleb and Jeff rolling by on their flagged up motors while she was topless. Her only stipulation was that she could have her helmet on (such a Paityn thing to say). Sure enough, the next morning, we were ready to set the stage. Paityn put her helmet on, took her shirt off, and awkwardly paced in the desert while she waited for Caleb and Jeff to get set up. This photo was a candid shot of Paityn being her daring and adventurous self, while demonstrating her true hatred for having her beautiful face shown in a photograph. Easily one of my favorite snaps to date.
My friend Mark had reached out to me to see if I’d be willing to shoot photos of Spencer’s bike. Of course I want to shoot photos of his bike, his bike is incredible. I told him I could do it, but I was in Alaska, so we planned to do it the day I got back. Long story short, I almost didn’t make it back in time due to a few delays. Anyway, I grabbed my motorcycle and went to meet Spencer, this was the first time we had met, he was really friendly and stoked to do the shoot. We hopped on our bikes and rode up to Park City to meet Mark. Mark followed us in his van into the Uintas, where I parked my bike and hopped in the back of Mark’s van. The timing was perfect. We had about 45 minutes of golden hour to get this done. After being tossed around in the back of the van and grabbing shoots as close to the ground as I could without dropping my camera, I told Mark to pull over. As soon as we stopped, I looked back and saw that the road was steaming and the sun was hitting it perfect. Spencer hopped on his bike and took a few laps back and forth in the steam, and it made for the best shots in the shoot. The hardest part, is picking one photo out of that bunch.
We’ve all heard endless talk of the fun that was had during Motos in Moab. It’s all true, it was the best weekend ever. I made SO many new friends, and even reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in 18 years. I didn’t really intend to take a ton of photos, I was more focused on riding. A lot of the friends I made while I was down there were photographers, and anytime something would get crazy, my friend Roy would say, “What are you doing! Go get your camera!” This was one of those times. Crazy kids were doing hot laps around this tree in the field we acquired after getting kicked out of Pack Creek. Ben Geise from Meta Magazine was not afraid, and it was so much more than entertaining. I was pretty pumped on this photo. It still blows my mind that no one died on that trip. Ha.
Dying to Shoot
I hadn’t had many opportunities to shoot motos in quite some time, and it was killing me. I don’t generally go out of my way to ask people if they want to shoot, so this was new for me. I posted a photo on Instagram, with a caption saying I wanted to shoot during the weekend to see if anyone was down. I was completely overwhelmed with the responses. I had no idea that many people would be interested. Eventually, we all got something figured out. Most of the people who responded were folks I hadn’t met before. We call got together and I hopped in the back of Paityns SUV to head up the canyon. Well, it’s a no brainer, no braking around corners so I was definitely being tossed around but I knew the second we hit the canyon, it was going to be a good shoot. And it was, I loved the outcome. This photo is perfect, because Jake had just screamed, “IT’S SOOOO COOLLLDDDD!!!” yet, he’s still smiling from ear to ear. We pulled over after that. Elevation isn’t our friend when winter is coming.
I met Mike during Motos in Moab, and couldn’t get over his bike, that damn Triumph Mule. Mike decided he was going to make the trek to Salt Lake from Long Beach, CA, for the Salty Bike Revival Show. I was so bumped to have my new moto friend in town. I met him at 7:00am at the KOA campground and we head out for an all day ride with a few pit stops. We decided to cruise up Mirror Lake Hwy through the Uintas, which takes you up to 10,000 ft. Right where this photo is taken, there’s a cliff. I asked him if he wanted to ride out to it. Well, Mike isn’t fond of heights, so this is as close as he got. Haha. This photo documents the highest the flat track, sea level mule had ever seen. Such a different environment than cruising PCH in Orange County.
Keep up-to-date with Kristin’s work on her Instagram @Kristinlou11