Athlete in Action: Michael Schmitt


A week ago I got the chance to hit some of the locals trails with Michael Schmitt a young and upcoming XC mountain bike racer who is starting to show strengths in longer formats of 24Hour solo events.  Michael and I have known each other thru various venues for a few years now and after growing up in Sydney’s Northern Beaches has moved to Canberra to study and continue with his racing endeavors.  Racing since 2009 and focusing more on solo efforts since 2013 Michael has had some good results with a 5th in the Jetblack 12Hr in 2013 and 2nd place podium at the WEMBO U23 World Championships, both in the 24hr Solo category.

Now in “rest mode” Michael was able to catch up with me at Manly Dam and reflect on his 2014 results and plan for bigger things with goals to better this year’s Jetblack 12Hr Elite Solo 6th place and 3rd at the Scott 24Hr Elite Solo category.  The Scott 24Hr is a very popular race in Canberra at Stromlo mountain where Michael now calls his home trail where his skills are improving all the time on the world class quality tails it has to offer.

What I wanted to capture is some photos for Michael at this early stage in his cycling life and it was fitting to return to Manly Dam and shoot there as this was at one time his home trail starting out.  Portrait shots were the focus of this shoot along with a few action shots but really I wanted something for Michael to use on his blog / social sites to help promote his future cycling efforts.


This required some extra gear that I normally don’t get to take out on the race course which again is the whole purpose of this project.  Use different lighting techniques and equipment to achieve a different look and experiment with new angles or shots not possible during races and tap into who athletes are and what drives them in their chosen sport.  Michael’s motivations are similar to mine, love of the outdoors and pushing ourselves and we both find that the social atmosphere of cycling highly addictive.  It becomes all consuming in mind and time, for Michael in pursuit of performance and for me to capture that in the frame.

Thanks Michael, great fun appreciate you wanting to do shots over and over until we nailed it.  All the best for 2015 sure you will do great.

cheers Gil.