And So It Begins

by Robyn M. Perrin

You could say that my business partner and I know each other pretty well. We’ve been together since 1993, when we met on my first day of college. Cycling has played a big part in our lives. We started road biking on a whim when a college buddy invited us to a charity bike tour, and felt invincible after finishing 50 km on a hot Midwestern day. Eventually we trained longer and harder, and in 2003 we decided to race as a tandem team.
Which, of course, necessitated a new bike. She was a beauty. Gleaming white with black letters and longer than a subcompact car, we named her Bessie in honor of her bovine lines. She must have felt a kinship with the Holsteins on the farms we passed.
And oh, she was fast. Two people on one bike makes for difficult hill climbs, but on flat terrain Bessie flew. Descents were an exercise in total exhilaration mixed with complete concentration.
It was an amazing summer. We traveled all over Wisconsin, biking nearly every weekend. We won a few races, some due to luck and some due to skill. We hauled up hills, tucked tightly onto Bessie’s back, and used code words for calling out tactics. And we learned from other cyclists – when to surge ahead, when to hang back, how to lead a paceline.
It was awesome.
I wish I could show you a photo.  But other than a couple of distant shots snapped by a friend, there aren’t any.
After all, you can’t photograph yourself when you are on a bike. There’s no scarcity of images in my head: landscapes, fellow cyclists, sunsets. But mental images are impossible to share. And in time, they fade.
It was a turning point in our lives. The next year, our first daughter was born, and we stepped back from competition. But as Clint devoted more of his creative energy to photography, he said, “I’d like to specialize in photographing subjects that are passionate about what they do. I want to do something that just feels…totally true.”
I smiled. He’d already been photographing local bike races, and the images immediately evoked memories of our competitive season. Somehow he had captured the intensity and aesthetics of sports in a way that made me re-live it again. The idea of helping athletes share their dedication, joy, and energy was irresistible.
And so Focal Flame Photography was born. Our initial focus is custom sports photography for athletes of all ages and every level. Because we know first-hand that behind every athlete, there’s a tale to tell.
That’s our story. What’s yours?

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