From Onboard Issue 142:

To offer insight into the realities of what goes on behind the lens and the characters responsible for the stellar static shred porn in this issue, we sat down with four photographers whose work often graces the pages of this mag and others.

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Stone

Can you briefly recount how you got your break into snowboard photography?

Kevin Zacher and Nate Christenson let me hang out while they were shooting and taught me everything I needed to know. The real catapult was getting a hand me down camera from Blotto when he left Technine to go work for Burton. Photography quickly became my passion and I spent as much time shooting as possible.

When does winter start for you and how do you plan it out?

X Games Real Snow has riders really motivated early so the second the snow flies winter is on. I plan a couple of major trips a year for magazine features but other then that it's really about where the snow is falling and who is blowing up my celly for a trip.

How many days of the year are you on the road? And do you find this a blessing or a curse?

I would say on average I’m on the road two weeks a month from November to May. It's a both because I love to travel and see new places but I also miss my wife Angie and my crew of dogs.

What kind of snowboard photos do you LIKE to take, and what kind of snowboard photos do you HAVE to take?

Snowboarding is an amazing subject to shoot. They're really are no rules, the more creative you get the better so I don't really HAVE to shoot anything. I would like to carve out more time to shoot timeless images where the focus is more on art. I think in the long run these are the images that will have the most impact. I’m definitely dedicated to capturing progression and this is what drives the magazines and is most likely to get run. If you are lucky on your journey to capture progression the timeless moments will happen.

Stone

How much time do you spend editing your photos after a shoot? What software do you use?

I really miss the days of shooting film. I used to love the intimate process, always so much to learn from your work. The stakes were high because if you blew a shot there was no going back. Back then a lot of the work was done when you shot the photo. It was a combo of film type and processing that made the images come to life. Now shooting a photo is really half the job. When I shoot I’m always thinking about what I will do in Adobe Lightroom to complete the process. After you process the photos begins the painful task of key wording, meta tagging and labeling. This is the worst part of being a photographer for me.

How much time do you get to actually ride your snowboard?

I get to snowboard all the time with a pack on but unfortunately not as much as I would like without a pack. The days I do get are quality. As I get older all I want to do is slash pow.

What’s the difference between working with a rider who really understands how shooting snowboard photos works, or even specifically how YOU work, compared to someone who doesn't?

One of the most important things in shooting snowboarding is the trust between rider and photographer. In today’s world of shooting it seems like most features are life and death. When you know a rider and you have that trust you can make amazing images happen. It's also fun working with someone you have never shot before but you have always wanted to shoot. You have to feel each other out a bit in order to get the best images.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Traveling and the wonderful people that make up the sport. As we travel the world people who don't even know us will take you in and show you their city. Shooting snowboarding has taken me to places I never dreamed I would see. The snowboard community is like none other and I love being part of it.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

The winter is truly a grind and you have to put in a lot of work to be successful. All the travel can start to really wear on you that is for sure. The hardest part is being away from Angie my wife and my crew of animals. Thankfully she puts up with it and we get plenty of hang time in the summer!

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Sami_Tuoriniemi_02_Photo_Daniel_Burrows

Can you briefly recount how you got your break into snowboard photography?

Photography was my hobby when I was a rider and when I got injured it somehow became my job.

When does winter start for you?

As I’m the photo editor for this esteemed publication the actual shooting starts pretty late as I need to finish the magazines before I can go and shoot. I would say it really starts in January, snowboarding-wise, when the resorts are open.

How many days of the year are you on the road? And is traveling a blessing or a curse?

I have no clue how many days I travel as it tends to change yearly. I love traveling but sometimes you need a bit of time at home as well, so it’s kind of both a blessing and the curse.

What kind of snowboard photos do you LIKE to take, and what kind of snowboard photos do you HAVE to take?

I like to shoot pretty much on every terrain but I also “have to" take photos at some competitions and that might get a bit boring, sometimes.

How much time do you spend editing your photos after a shoot? What software do you use?

It varies but I try not to spend too much time on editing my photos, usually between 1-5 minutes on each shot I think is decent. My tools are Photoshop, Bridge and Lightroom.

Sami

How much time do you get to actually ride your snowboard?

I spent the last 8 years in Munich and my riding time was actually quite limited. Now I’m back in Finland so I bet I will get a lot more time on the board this season on our tiny hills - the closest ski resort is less that 10 minutes away and I’m up the hill 15 minutes after leaving my home.

What’s the difference between working with a rider who really understands how shooting snowboard photos works, or even specifically how YOU work, compared to someone who doesn't?

It makes a huge difference, I’m really anal for getting a right angle for the tricks. I’m always trying to communicate a lot with the riders, so we can walk away with as many shots as possible. If you shoot the biggest or craziest thing but it is an “ass shot" it might not even get published.

What’s the best thing about your job?

You can’t go wrong combining your 3 hobbies: snowboarding, photography and traveling. Those are the best things for me.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Carrying heavy bags, I guess.

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blotto

Can you briefly recount how you got your break into snowboard photography?

While working for Technine in 1994, Ethan Fortier and I picked up a computer, scanner, SLR camera, lenses and started learning as much as possible about taking photos and producing catalog and web materials.

When does winter start for you?

The winter season kicks in just after the Thanksgiving Holiday (USA) and doesn’t stop until mid-May the next year. My assignments consist of shooting in the backcountry,streets and resorts for our video efforts, and I’m usually covering the Burton events.

How many days of the year are you on the road? And do you find this a blessing or a curse?

On any given calendar year, I find myself traveling around 250-270 of these days, including personal missions and holidays. The best thing about traveling is coming home, so I don’t see it as a curse, it’s definitely a blessing in getting the chance to see the world and experience this never-ending education about life.

What kind of snowboard photos do you LIKE to take, and what kind of snowboard photos do you HAVE to take?

While working on video projects my assignment is to cover any and all activities associated with riders building video segments. I enjoy this ‘documentation’ aspect of photography, but I always try to throw in at least a couple of ‘photo shoots’ each season where the video shot isn’t the primary focus. There are no creative restrictions with my position at Burton. During catalog building season, a bit of studio shooting is required, but this is no problem because you’re having a good time taking pictures of your friends.

Blotto fact box

How much time do you spend editing your photos after a shoot? What software do you use?

Photo editing takes up all of my down days and the days not traveling; it’s a job in itself. I enjoy taking the photo much more than editing the file (hence, why I miss film). My editing program is Adobe Lightroom.

How much time do you get to actually ride your snowboard?

Not enough.

What’s the difference between working with a rider who really understands how shooting snowboard photos works, or even specifically how YOU work, compared to someone who doesn't?

I’ve been working with the crew at Burton for so long we completely understand the working ways of each other. When a rider comes out to start filming with little to no experience, it usually starts at the springtime park shoots and they learn the ropes quickly from their fellow riders. There’s no real complexity in figuring out how to be successful with photos and videos, you only need to work until you get the shot, pitch in when you’re not riding and keep the vibes tight with your crew.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Seeing a photo published in a great magazine like Onboard because the amount of effort, time and budget that went into the shot is way more than one would think.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

Seeing one of the riders get hurt and know they’ll be off their snowboard for many months.

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Jerome

Can you briefly recount how you got your break into snowboard photography?

I was riding a lot with my friends in Les 7 Laux and started to shoot them for good memories, the photo issue magazines did the rest to convince me it was what I wanted to do. The freedom that represented this job to me was probably the strongest push.

When does winter start for you?

When it snows, really. I don't enjoy too much riding in autumn on icy glaciers and I like a little break to learn more about photography and try some things in my lab [Tanon shoots exclusively on film], so usually around mid-November when you can start hiking around in pow in the Alps.

How many days of the year are you on the road? And do you find this a blessing or a curse?

I love the road. I don't think it's gonna change, because the road means adventure and you can never be bored of new things. I'm home a couple of days here and there from December to April, and when home I've got to develop and scan my films as fast as possible so I can meet the magazines’ deadlines in spring.

What kind of snowboard photos do you LIKE to take, and what kind of snowboard photos do you HAVE to take?

I organise my job the best I can so I don't HAVE to take photos, it happens that I turn down jobs because they wouldn't be very fun (and sometimes regret it later when I'm broke), and with the deals that I accept I make sure I can shoot the way I like to shoot. I like to take anything that is true, from action to portraits. I love it most when I can recall a genuine situation, like a snowboard trick that the rider would have done even if no cameras were around.

How much time do you spend editing your photos after a shoot? What software do you use?

I'd rather not talk about it... haha. Developing my films is terrific, because you discover shots you took weeks ago and almost forgot about – you're so stoked when you find a sick negative in your roll. The bad part begins when you scan them: it takes hours and days. Then I open the file in Photoshop to put it back upside down, contrast, dodge & burn if necessary, and then erase the dust – sometimes it takes half an hour to undust a single neg. When I have free time I take my favorite negs to the darkroom and make silver-gelatin prints; by far the best feeling of all.

Jerome

How much time do you get to actually ride your snowboard?

With the backpack, almost every day, but without... Not enough, that's for sure. Whenever possible I put down the pack for a last free run of the day.

What’s the difference between working with a rider who really understands how shooting snowboard photos works, or even specifically how YOU work, compared to someone who doesn't?

In my [analog-shooting] situation when you can't see the photo right away, it helps a lot to have a rider who knows your style and trusts you. I have to trust myself, if I feel 100% sure the shot is good or if I have a doubt and should ask him to go again if he wants to, but he needs to trust me on this too. That said, every experience with new riders has been good so far; they’re curious to see different kinds of photos, and ready to go again to get the shot. It's easier to convince riders you know well to do stuff for me when I'm trying something that's gonna work once in a hundred tries!

What’s the best thing about your job?

The adventure. Adventure is what I miss the most when I'm home doing nothing special. The opportunity to witness some sick snowboarding as well, capture a tiny bit of it for posterity and maybe inspire kids to go out there and snowboard.

What’s the hardest thing about your job?

The cold. Even the worst days are Ok when it's not too cold. But on those days when you freeze your ass off for hours... then it's not very fun and it could almost feel like a real job.