A_Dog Day 2015 Look Back

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We started ‘A-Dog Day 2015‘ at the top of Main Street, a giant posse herded up in memory of our main man Andy Williams, sitting atop one of his favorite skateboarding street lines. After an hour of flat ground tricks, story telling, high fives and smiles we mashed it down Main, through campus, a nice pace into the neighborhoods, then finishing off at City Hall for the first official event of the day.

A sizable crowd was gathered to pay homage to Andy, honoring his legacy and continued influence of positivity in the community, with a Game of Skate and a High Ollie Contest. Luis Calderon was on hand hosting the event, giving thanks and praise to the organizers and volunteers of the A-Dog Foundation, along with the continued support from Maven, Burton, Converse and Powell. Not to be forgotten, the ‘Be The Match‘ bone marrow donor program is always on hand at any A-Dog Event raising awareness about their life saving program.

The 2015 A-Dog Day was one for the books and now we look forward to the 2016 version, the flyer and information is below. Hope you can make it out for the festivities! Blotto

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2015

Flyer artwork ©Adog Foundation 2016

A_Dog Day 2014 Look Back

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A few flicks from year one of the A-Dog Day celebration as we approach this weekend’s celebration…a healthy crew of New Yorkers came through, Be The Match was in the house educating, Collin Hale took the ‘Game of Skate’ crown, the local kids were inspired, we shared A-Dog stories and tales, and the city of Burlington was in full effect letting the skaters do their thing. Huge thanks to the A-Dog Foundation and their volunteers for kicking off this yearly get together. Big up!! Blotto

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2014

Flyer artwork ©Adog Foundation 2016

My Camera Bags

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You gotta have a backpack to carry all those cameras right? You sure do! The good folks at Burton have kept my gear safe and secure year after year year, so I can tell you with confidence the packs work in any and all conditions you find yourself in. Whether I’m making the city trek on a ‘foto mish’ or tackling the ‘mountain environment’ in a variety of ways, the Burton FStop Pack and Zoom Pack pack have me covered. Smart design and good materials have the kit sitting pretty once it’s go time, check the photos below then click on this link or that link for more information.

Talking specifically about the Burton FStop, this is the pack that gets it done for me on snowboarding and skateboarding missions, due to its ability to pack one or two camera kits, a tripod and safety equipment. I can outfit the interior with two DSLR bodies, three to four lenses, two flash triggers, and a pair of Burton Powerstretch Liners, with the inside lid pockets holding my Declan lens cloth, extra memory cards, remote cables and the like. The exterior side pockets hold sunscreen, sunglasses and food items, while the top pocket houses my Mizu water bottle, sandwiches, extra pair of AK gloves and face mask. The long side pockets are built for holding a medium size tripod (my pod of choice is the Manfrotto CXpro3-190, click HERE to view) on one side, with a shovel handle and prop taking up the opposite side long pocket. My shovel blade fits nicely into the lid’s exterior pocket, boom bam, all packed up!

The Zoom Pack sits comfortably on my back when I’m rolling a smaller kit, maybe one DSLR or Mirrorless body, a couple of lens, some water and food. One of those walk around days when you need a bit of camera gear but not the whole shabang. That’s not to say you can’t pack your entire kit!

How you arrange your gear is totally up to you and what works best, what I do recommend with any camera bag is ‘taking up the negative space.‘ What that means is not letting any interior items have the ability to move around once the pack is on and you’re in motion moving from one place to the next. The simple solution is using the extra foam dividers you’ve built up from prior backpacks (if you don’t have any, hit up a buddy or local camera store) to take up that negative place. For example, build up a spot where your 70-200mm will sit, give it a comfy and secure location with zero movement once the pack is zipped up and in motion, then take the time to do this for all of your gear in the bag. Trust me, this makes a huge difference in the life of your gear, and more importantly when you show up to a shoot your gear is ready and working.

Hopefully this read helps you out in deciding what pack is right for you, don’t hesitate to hit up one of the many Burton Flagship and Retail Outlet stores for a run through. Holler! Blotto

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

Cruising Joshua Tree

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While staying in Palm Springs a daily mission to Joshua Tree National Park is mandatory, as the main entrance is a mere sixty-minute drive, so easy, so quick. We opted on two sunset missions and a sunrise adventure to maximize the scenic value, see how the light affects the various rock formations, palm trees, Joshua Tree, yucca plants and it was balmy 108 degrees (42 c) during the day, making the latter hours were a bit more enjoyable. There’s endless photo opportunities every which way you look, simply point and shoot and come away with unlimited amounts of photos to edit after, great place with camera in hand. As with any backcountry adventure, don’t underestimate Mother Nature, so bring plenty of liquids, sunscreen, and a map and let somebody know your destination. Enjoy it, Blotto

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

NYC Visit

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After landing back in the states from Finland, took a beeline to Brooklyn to catch some quality time with the crew, get on the bikes with HernandezCraigTomasChenoah, play a bit of Dominoes at TheGoodLife! Family Dinner night, hang out with Trevor at the trap house and so on…always something popping in the big cities of NYC and BK, never enough days to do it all, so you do all you can! The weather was full on summer, nice and hot on the streets, perfect time for bicycle missions followed by a cool and refreshing dinner at Sweet Chick. Think about a visit to NYC, never a let down. Blotto

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

The Flying Diaper

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There’s a strange looking cement sculpture that has sat on the UVM grounds since the late 60’s, which to most people looks like an artist’s abstract rendition of … well, not too sure actually. Adding to the mystery is why this beast was constructed, who signed off on it and it’s move from one location to the next across the campus. For us skateboarders, we take a look at this work of art as a semi-perfect bank for tech tricks, so we climb up there, do our best to skate it (it’s not smooth) and hopefully walk away with a trick or two on film.

Last summer Quade Rocke and I were skating around UVM filming for the Best Ever video project when we happened upon the Diaper, Quade climbed up, skated for thirty minutes or so, I snapped a photo of the lone stomped trick (kickflip fakie) and we moved on. While on site I was thinking about the name ‘Flying Diaper’ and promised myself to research its origin.

With some digging, in which I’ve pulled direct quotes, I found this project was originated by Burdette ‘Bud’ Stearns, an assistant professor of civil engineering, where twenty-three of his students were assigned a design project of any kind, dividing the students into groups to promote competition. Once the designs were complete, the class voted on the best, which Burlington native William Arnold received highest honors for this ‘hypar’ (a hyperbolic paraboloid), a shape made entirely of straight lines that appears curved.

There were no apparent plans for the actual construction of the winning design until nontraditional student Ralph Clark suggested they do so. The students pitched in their own funds, along with donations by local businesses and the Flying Diaper became a physical reality, somehow getting through the red tape of a project like this with no issues. In 2003 the Diaper was scheduled for demolition due to campus renovation, but one of Stearn’s original students, Jean-Guy Béliveau came to the rescue and helped find it a new home on campus.

The Flying Diaper is a great story, going from a professor with a project to motivate and teach students, to students making it happen and building the design themselves, to a former student turned professor saving this infamous structure from destruction.

In completing this image I took the original picture of Quade’s kickflip, found a Vermont based cloud photo from the same time and handed off the files to my main man John Brown. He blended the two pictures together helping me realize my imagination of what the Flying Diaper would be like skating through the clouds. Blotto

Finland Flicks

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016

Finland Check In

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Finland mission with Roope Tonteri was all time! Here’s a quick pic skating the wood trail next to mini ramp number one, frontside 180 over the foliage with a clean landing then point it down to the lake for a dip. Finnish style! Blotto

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Rodeo Magazine out of Finland recently published this Enni Rukajarvi image we captured on Mt. Hood two summers ago, under the watchful eye of a ‘sundog‘ high in the Oregon sky. We were cracking turns through the High Cascade Snowboard Camp ‘Lap Park‘ and had planned on shooting portraits near the end of the course atop this big lava boulder, but low and behold as we pulled up and shuffled the cameras around, the starts aligned and enhanced our photo opportunity with a massive circle within the clouds, total luck and complete stoke! Thanks Enni, thanks cloud master, thanks Rodeo for placing this image on Page nO. 1.

Speaking of Finland, I’m headed out there on Tuesday to meet up with another long time friend and snowboarding buddy Roope Tonteri to complete a skateboarding image we dreamt up while traveling this past season. The ‘Honey Badger‘ (as most of his peers call him) has been busy with the lumber, hammer and blueprints getting the location ready, should be a great time! You can follow Roope and I in the next few days on our Instagram accounts @roopetonteri @deanblottogray and we’ll leak some goodies. Thanks for following! Blotto

Frendly Gathering X TheGoodLife!

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Head on over to the TheGoodLife! and read the summary and photo captions HERE covering the 2016 Frendly Gathering in Southern Vermont. Craig’s clever words and captions should get you frothing for the 2017 festivities, whether you attended this year or have plans to make it out next summer.

Jack Mitrani and Danny Davis put a whole lot of time and effort into this festival and you see and hear it once the masses arrive to enjoy the entertainment, these guys deserve a big applause, along with their team of workers, volunteers and of course Tim Waker, who graciously hosts the FG on his property four years running. BIG UP crew! Thank You!

Below are a few images from the weekend, with plenty more to go around that Craig Wetherby captured. Enjoy and get your plans set for FG2017 . Blotto

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All images by Blotto ©deanblottogray/blottophotto2016