Kicking off the blog with a review of 2019. SPOILER ALERT... it was a fantastic year for us - keep reading!
Thank goodness we have photos and videos to remind us of 2019, because right now, it's just a huge action packed blur of seemingly non stop events! I had originally thought that the winter of 2019 would be the year I kicked the dust off the '74 Challenger Restoration video series. I had spent the better part of three years working on my Microburst 600 SxS ATV, a garage addition, supporting my local ATV club, plus all the usual stuff like my day job and being a husband and Dad. As it would turn out, 2019 had a different plan for us!
Right Place, Right Time, Right Skills
Unknowing to us at the time, we were laying down a solid foundation of work that helped us establish our place in the motorsports photography industry in Ontario
If I were to look back and place my finger on the pivotal moments that lead to GLASSGLOWZ Media and the crazy year that was 2019, I'd have to say 1) starting a YouTube channel back in 2008 and 2) volunteering for an Ontario Tourism video in 2017. Both are a long story and deserve a blog post of their own. The short story is we met Shelby Mahon, owner and photographer for Backcountry Motorsports Media, and after seeing our YouTube content, invited us to help film her race in the 2018 TMR Customs Off Road Racing Series. Unknowing to us at the time, we were laying down a solid foundation of work that helped us establish our place in the motorsports photography industry in Ontario.
Our Big Break - Canadian Snowcross Racing Association (CSRA) 2019 Racing Season
When our friend Shelby landed a job with Hoosier Off Road tires, she called on us to fill in for her to photograph the CSRA races. Up until this point, we were really just amateur photographers/videographers, focusing mostly on YouTube content. We snapped some really nice pics of the trucks at the TMR races, but still I considered ourselves amateurs. All that changed when we stepped out onto the track for the snowcross races. This was the big leagues, and we were now the official photographers! In total, we photographed 6 CSRA events, edited thousands of photos, sold hundreds to the race teams, and gained priceless experience.
"Oh, you'll also need to take the ROCKSTAR Energy girls out as well"
WHAT?? Like take them out to dinner? "LOL No No, take them outside for photos on the sponsor vehicles." I think I was more nervous about taking pictures of the ROCKSTAR models at this point. We seriously upped our game with regards to flash photography, and that is one of my proudest accomplishments of the year. The photos of the models turned out amazing.
ATV, Off Road, and Racing
On top of the 6 CSRA events, we also covered 10 summer events:
CrawlFEST TMR races in Tweed
Wheels A Churnin in North Augusta
RCATV B101 or Bust in Golden Lake
Canada Day VMUTS in Mattawa with Mainville ATV
ROCKSTAR Motorcross races at Sand Del Lee
Bill Day Memorial Grass Drags in Harrowsmith
Thunder in the Hills TMR races in Minden
Bay Marine Full Throttle Race Day in Shannonville
International ATV & Powersports Show in Toronto
By the time we showed up to the Bay Marine Full Throttle Race Day, people knew who we were. Our photos and videos had been widely circulated through the social sphere and we had earned a solid reputation as motorsports photographers.
These three videos really set a new standard in videography for us with the introduction of cinematic "b-roll" thanks to the help of our new 35mm F/1.4 L Series prime lens. With the huge aperture, we can completely throw the background out of focus and draw the viewers attention to the primary subject matter. Experimentation with color grading techniques in Adobe Premiere Elements also changed the look of our videos and come across as "professional" in appearance, further setting us apart from the amateur crowd.
YouTube, Publications, and Website Launch
Compared to 2018, our YouTube numbers are down. However, even with the lower view count numbers, we still faired out very well in ad revenue. I suspect the dip in numbers is tied to the fact that we haven't been producing as many '74 Challenger Restoration videos. After a 3 year hiatus, we did finally kick the dust off that project and uploaded 3 new restoration videos along with creating some merchandise on Teespring. Hopefully with more content in 2020, our numbers will bounce back.
Compared to 2018, our YouTube numbers are down
While our total number of publications was also down compared to 2018, we did land an article in 4WD Magazine, returning to physical print for the first time since 2016. Best part was our article made it onto the front page! Ok, not the full cover page, but the corner thumbnail counts right??!?
Funding for the Northern Ontario Travel online magazine seemed to dry up this year, so we were only able to sell them a single article about our trip to Mattawa with MainVille ATV and Outdoors.
Up until this year, we have relied on Facebook to host our photos. Well not anymore! In March 2019, our website www.glassglowzmedia.com went live! The original intention of the website was to promote our landscape and nature photography, with hopes of selling metal and canvas prints to the masses. While a few individuals have purchased our prints, the real advantage of having a dedicated website is that we can upload all the "proofs" from an event weekend, allowing the event attendees to order photos of themselves racing.
Canada Day Collaboration with Mainville ATV and Outdoors in Mattawa
Teaming up with our new friends Kyle and Cass from Mainville ATV and Outdoors was an exciting spur of the moment weekend. The full story can be found on the Northern Ontario Travel page. This was the first time teaming up with another ATV YouTube couple with the sole intention of riding to create video and photo content. At the end of the weekend, we exchanged all our videos and set about to each create an edit for our channels.
Cross promoting your YouTube channel on our social media is always a win-win!
When your high school ex-girlfriend's (annoying little) brother asks you to photograph his wedding, you say... ???
Of course buddy! It dawned on me later that she'd be there. All joking aside, it was an honor to be trusted with capturing photos for our friends Anne & Bobby on their wedding day. Had it not been for this wedding, I probably would have never purchased my 35mm prime portrait lens. Our lens collection at the time was mostly geared towards motorsports and landscape photography. Portrait work was something we generally didn't touch. Well thank goodness for Kijiji! The 35mm EF F/1.4 USM L Series lens has become my "go-to" for video "b-roll" as well as family functions. The extent to which you can blur the background makes me giddy every time I see the results.
The 35mm EF F/1.4 USM L Series lens has become my "go-to" for video "b-roll" as well as family functions.
What's in store for 2020?
I think 2019 is gonna be a hard one to top! It felt like we were on the road attending events just about every other weekend. A little bit of rest in 2020 certainly wouldn't hurt.
I honestly think we'll look back someday and point to 2019 as a pivotal moment for GLASSGLOWZ Media.
This was the year we went from a YouTube channel with an entry level DSLR camera, to a media business booking jobs and rocking some of the best gear you can purchase from Canon. We busted our butts and put in the long hard hours it takes to become successful.
So thanks to everyone that believed in us, purchased our content, shared our videos, and encouraged us along the way! All the best to you and yours in 2020!