The Daily Grind
Shooting snowboarding for a living is an exciting job. People always think that it’s the “coolest Job” and yes, it’s pretty cool at times, but it is a major pain in the ass other times and feels like hard work just like any other job out there. There’s a lot of driving to locations, unloading snowmobiles, and taking trails to the promised land of the wide open backcountry where you and the riders look at the features trying to collectively create a mix of action and art.
Then there’s flying to different countries and ski resort locations. Air travel with numerous amounts of bags is not a lot of fun these days, not to mention that most airlines are not very generous with the number of bags that you are allowed. The ever increasing extra bag charges & overweight charges end up adding a fair bit to your overall travel costs. Once you’ve arrived at said location you now must cross your fingers that all of the elements will line up in your favour; Is it going to be sunny? Is the snow going to be good? Is the terrain going to be big enough? If it’s not sunny are you waiting for sucker holes in the clouds for sun breaks or just brighter patches of clouds? If the light is terrible then are your lugging around another camera bag full of flash/strobe gear to create artificial sun? The satisfaction of knowing you’ve hopefully shot a print worthy photo, there’s a lot of ducks that need to be in a row before you even click the trigger. Here is a brief outline of a typical day for me.
Wake up at 4:50am brew a quick coffee load up the truck and depart from my house in West Vancouver and start the drive up to Whistler or Pemberton.
Stop at Starbucks in Squamish and grab a second coffee and some food for breakfast lunch.
Next is stop and fill a thirsty truck and snowmobile with some non-renewable resources.
Meet up with the video gang your going to be working with that day and grab a 3rd coffee.
Drive some more to the location, everyone unloads their sled’s and then you make your way up the cat tracks to the backcountry. Finally get to the office and wow, the clouds actually parted today so you count that as a good day at the office.
Then we spend some time looking to see if there are any natural features that look good, if not pull out the shovels and start digging a jump, at times I have felt like a ditch digger. We spend the rest of the day trying to maximize the terrain and light until the riders call it and say they are done.
Then drive home, if my kids are still up I send a bit of time with them before they go to bed. Eat some dinner and then try to edit the photos I shoot earlier in the day. The last step often does not happen because I am too tired form the day and that have to wait for a cloudy down day before I can get to them.
So yes it is a cool job, but at the end of the day it is still a “Job” it defiantly has some sweet perks but there is a lot of hard hours put in just to get to the point of releasing the shutter so the next time you are flipping through a snowboard magazine have a good look at the photos in there and know that there was a lot hard work went in to each image from the athlete and photographer, it is our version of the Daily Grind.
Check out my new website for more photos