Daniel Blom has been shooting snowboarding for around 12 years. Originally, I contacted him about shooting with the Phase One digital medium format system. I was curious about his workflow. See what he has to say and check out his new book project Drifting Decade.
Where are you from?
I´m from a tiny town in northern Sweden called Kälarne, grew up outside a village of 300 people.
How’d you get into photography?
First and foremost I was into Snowboarding, and figured I wanted to get into that scene and since I was not a very good rider, I picked up the camera. I had always been into drawing stuff so it came pretty naturally.
How’d did you get into snowboarding?
Cant remember really but a few of my older friends started riding, so I saved up money and convinced my parents to kick in the rest for one of my birthdays.
When did you start combining the two?
I started trying back in 96 maybe, but did not start trying for real until 2000..
Can you describe a typical snowboard shoot? Are you leading the charge to get certain shots or do the riders lead the way? How involved are the riders and clients in the direction of a shoot?
I all depends on what kind of shoot you´re doing, if a rider is trying to get a heavy rail or a big line you don’t really wanna be the one trying to tell them what to do, but if you´re shooting for a catalogue or a photo-story you´ll be in more creative control.
How do you select the riders you work with?
A lot of time you´re shooting for a specific story or client, and then you don’t really pick too much. Other than that you try and go with people that you know will get stuff done, who´s productive and fun to hang out with.
How much planning goes into a typical snowboard shoot? Are there exact shots or lighting scenarios you have planned out for particular locations?
No. 90% of the shoots are more “run and gun”, there are too many variables with snow conditions, lighting etc to take into consideration to plan everything out too much. But then again you have those shoots where you´re going after a super specific shot, and then you´ll do more planning.
When shooting a new spot, how do you go about finding the best angle? Are there tricks to finding a good angle quickly?
After a while you´ll know what works and what does not pretty fast, but It can be nice to walk around a bit as the riders is getting warmed up. If it´s a spot where they´re only going to hit it once you´ll have to trust your judgement more.
On what type of snowboard shoots do find yourself using your Phase One, or wishing you had brought it along?
They’re cool for scenarios where you need fast flash sync on high shutter speeds, since you can go up to 1600th of a second and stilly sync them with your big lights.
Whats your workflow like when working with the Phase One? Is it dramatically different from working with your DSLR?
Not really, since you cant fire a burst on action you just need to time the shot a bit more.
You seem to stay pretty busy shooting snowboarding. How do you keep up with work for other clients under the demands of a full season of shooting snowboarding?
It seems to work out quite well, these days I do 4-5 snow jobs / year so there is still plenty of time to do other things which is nice, never wanna do the same thing too much.
How do your commercial shoots compare with your snowboard shoots? Is there one type of shoot you prefer to be on?
As I said I think its more fun if you can switch things out more. Lot of snow shoots tend to be a bit less organized/specific than an ordinary commercial shoot, for good and bad.
Do your commercial clients ever hire because of your snowboard photography background?
Sure it happens, but of course not only for that I’d think.
Any current or projects you want to discuss?
Yes! I have a book coming out with shots from the last ten years I’ve been in snowboarding, Its called Drifting Decade and will be out late september. Check some images and pre-book your copy at driftingdecade.com, all pre-booked copies are signed as well.
Daniel’s book project, Drifiting Decade, looks pretty amazing. Be sure to pre-order one. There probably won’t be too many copies for sale later.