Before shredit videos blanketed the Internet, it was more often photos — especially those on the cover of magazines — that helped give mountain bikers a nudge out the door and hit the trails. One man behind more magazine covers than we can count is Sterling Lorence. He was lurking among the mists of Vancouver’s North Shore and experimenting with light and shadow when the Internet was still a Dial-Up service. After more than 20 years of turning in banger imagery from all over the world to brands and editorial publications, along with the athletes in his photos, Sterl is still helping shape global mountain bike culture.
In the fifth and final episode of Return to Earth: The Series,The Lensman we explore Sterl’s breakout moments as a young photographer, our earliest collaborations during the years of filming as The Collective and how his work has evolved alongside the athletes, equipment and trails. Bike Magazine, in particular, played a large part in Sterl’s career. His relentless work ethic and quest for perfection pushed the standard of mountain bike photography. Many athletes and mountain bike photographers credit Sterl as a huge inspiration for their own careers.Check out Sterl’s 3-part Instagram takeover today on @OutsideTV
Sterl’s collaboration with Anthill Films continues to this day and he was one of the principal photographers for Return to Earth, capturing what were some of the film’s standout moments in Hawaii, Utah and Quebec. “The Lensman” also dives deeper into Brett Rheeder’s Utah segment and how the team managed to execute the twilight drone strobe shot, the runner up for the 2018 Pink Bike Photo of the Year.
Watch the full 22-minute episode now on the Outside TV app.*
We made Return to Earth: The Series to salute the difference makers in mountain bike communities. Aside from helping put his native North Shore on the map, Sterl has traveled the world to pull back the curtain on mountain bike culture and while doing so, inspired a generation of mountain biking storytellers. He continues to develop his craft as the sport evolves and despite bagging more covers of Bike Magazine than anyone else, Sterl probably feels he’s yet to take the best photo of his career.
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Return to Earth: The Series was developed in partnership with Freehub Magazine. Animation by the talented Taj Mihelich. Photos by Sterling Lorence and Anthill Films.
*Outside TV app is available in Canada and USA only.