A: Typically I’m out to make the trick look as epic as possible. This can mean so many things.... often people run to grab a fisheye and that’s a great way to make the most gnarly spot look REALLY tiny. I guess what I’m typically looking for is a good composition, good lighting, and whether the scene calls for wide-angle distortion or telephoto compression. I’ll gladly hold off on shooting a photo and come back another day if it means the lighting is more ideal on that day/time. My medium format camera gets 10 images per roll and my 4x5 gets 2 shots per holder, so the mentality of “Think more, shoot less” truly comes out. It’s why I tend to shoot from a tripod and pre-focus / compose. This allows me to use a cable release and fully “be there” in the moment with my subjects.
Miguel Ramos - Invert, Tehachap CA
Q: What do you enjoy the most about capturing this scene?
A: The positivity and all-inclusive nature of roller skating is amazing. Personally, I rollerblade cause I watched too much “Brink” growing up (yes, we can all laugh at that one), but have no bias. It’s why I love the term “action sports”.... cause we’re all out here doing the same thing, having fun!
Max Mead - 5050, Santa Rosa CA
Q: Have you had any stand out sessions?
A: Totally! Every single one of them!!! My reason being.... most other communities of action sports aren’t as inclusive and supportive as the roller skate community. I’ve gotten to meet so many amazing skaters and feel truly blessed. With that said, two that stand out right off the bat were unknowingly shooting the DogDays cover with Trample & Havoc (below) randomly while I was in LA, what a blast that was and they’re both such lovely people. Another is, a photo shot a few weeks back with Max where I asked him to wallride this little statue.... he, of course, takes it next level and grinds the almost 4 foot high top of it (above)... then he decides “oh I think I can air off that little curve”.... He, of course, landed it and blew my mind (cover image). But that’s just a few of many stand-out sessions, cause again... it’s a lovely community. Since I shoot all of this strictly for art and not for profit, it’s important to have supportive people around me who are there for a common love of this sport.
Lady Trample / Havoc - Doubles, Los Angeles, CA
Q: Favorite trick to capture?
A: Anything street. Grinds, gaps, wallrides, you name it. If it’s on a street obstacle, especially something out of the ordinary... I’m down to shoot it :)
Q: Dream skater to shoot with!
A: Omg! She’s not a roller skater but... Cher Autum. Her style is great both fashion-wise and her skating. Within the roller-skating community, I’d really love to shoot with Barbie Patin someday cause she skates so much street and I really relate to those clips more. But that said, I wanna shoot with anyone who wants to throw down some tricks! :)
Estrojen - Michelle Steilen Jumping off a roof in Long Beach CA
Q: One piece of advice for anyone looking to get involved in action sports photography?
A: Totally, buy a flash and shoot a ton of photos. Flash is the game-changer, especially off-camera flash. Godox Speedlite + a radio trigger is a great start. You look at 90s transworld skate magazines and the quality of skate photos was top notch. That’s what I’m after.... that level of quality. Hard to achieve that look without using flashes. My other biggest advice would be to “think more, shoot less”. Think about your composition, what if you moved, got lower, etc... how does that change the background and aid your composition. Are you able to put them in clear skies, if not... maybe there’s a better background than your initial angle. Move around, pre-visualize what you want to shoot before you put the camera to your eye. And have fun, there are no rules. Ignore every rule and go make photos. Also, ask questions. My parents raised me on the idea that everyone has to learn somehow, so there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Talk to other photographers, learn from each other. I’m always down to answer questions and help others achieve their visualizations. Photography is not a competition, it’s a community of artists growing together.