I have loved skateboarding since I first stepped foot on one almost 20 years ago. When life took over and I no longer had time to progress at the sport, I turned to photographing it to keep a hold of something so dear to me. The problem with that is that if you don’t know anyone that skates, it is a little difficult to photograph it. I still have friends in San Diego that skate and when I get down there we sometimes meet up, but where I am currently living I do not know anyone that skates. Because I have a past involvement in skateboarding I do know what to look for in a skate spot so when I spot one I will mark it on a map.
For this shot, however, I did not need to search for spots; this was taken in San Francisco at a spot that has been frequented for many years and, coincidentally, was just downstairs from the hotel I was put up in for a job in The City. This brings me to why it is one of my favorite shots.
I was photographing a week long conference for a large company that put me and a fellow colleague in a hotel in San Francisco for a week. The first night I was there (eager to photograph something) I noticed the popular skate spot easily; I had been through that area many times and had seen skateboarders there 99% of the times I had driven past. As soon as I was checked in and dinner was comfortably in my belly I made a beeline in hopes to get some fun shots.
The first half hour I was wondering around the area I did not see anyone trying anything that I was interested in photographing; there is a certain line in skate photography of the difficulty of the trick relating to the excitement drawn from the photo. If the trick is nothing too special, the photograph will mirror that. There was one guy I saw skating smooth, fast, and with a good array of tricks. Before I approached him I wanted to make sure I had an idea of where and how I wanted to take a shot… That is, if he even obliged. I finally had an idea that I approached him with (something he was already trying of course, and close by) and with my luck of course he was exhausted and ready to leave.
So this is where the business side of my business came in handy. I have talked with many different clients, from social to commercial, and I felt I was pretty good at conveying my ideas in a way that got others on board. He didn’t seem too into it, but saw that I had my gear all ready to go and set up of lights would only take a minute, so he said yes. I got everything up, popped off a shot or two to adjust exposure, and gave him the ok. He dropped his board, popped his trick, and I shot the shutter… DONE!
One try for the skater, only one shot taken by me, and this is the result. Because of the circumstances, this is one of my favorite skateboarding photographs I have taken to date. No more than three minutes before this was taken all of my equipment was in my camera bag, and no more than two minutes following it we were each going our separate ways! I really feel the story behind this one gives a new intrigue to all who view it.