2015 is going to be a huge year for the action sports community and their media detail, just as 2014, 2013, and 2012 were. Every year the popularity of high adrenaline sports such as downhill mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and downhill longboarding increase tenfold. In turn, the media industry that follows these athletes is growing at an even faster pace, almost reaching the point in which there are more photographers and videographers than athletes. For example, Freeskier Magazine is hosting a national photo "shootout" competition this year and only after a few days there's been over 3000 entries. And that's strictly for the skiing culture. What would the numbers look like if the competition wasn't skiing specific? Probably nearing 15,000 or so by now. But the question is, how hard is it to be successful in this quickly growing industry?
The answer? Very, very, very hard.
You know those skiers who are about to bomb a heavy powder run and you're going to photograph? Well... you've got to do it first so that you can set up and prepare for the shot. In a photo, almost every person will focus their attention on the athlete and that's definitely a good thing, it means the photographer did their job. What they probably don't take into consideration is how hard that photographer worked to get into the probably not safe area to snag that photo you found from your favorite Instagram hashtags.
If you're going to attempt to be an action sports photographers, you've got to be a morning person. Waking up on work days around 5am to check the current weather and then cross checking that with the two other weather sites you've got bookmarked on your laptop. And in a sense, 5am is sometimes even considered late if you're planning on doing a beautiful sunrise shoot, but trust me the results are always worth the effort. And the loss of sleep is worth it as well, I think... I'm too tired right now to remember.
Not only do risky maneuvers to capture a photo and loss of sleep take a toll on your body, the industry tends to bleed your wallet, bank account, and couch cushions dry of any money you previously owned before attempting to join the action sports industry. Some may argue that camera equipment is indefinitely getting cheaper, and that's true to a point. You're able to get more bang for your buck with all of these amazing technological advances that media industry is putting out. However, what usually isn't factored into the publics mind is the cost of all your gear like skis, multitude of boots, a plethora of jackets and layers, the stupid amount of backpacks, those way over priced laptops, closets full of external hard-drives, and the scary amount of gas you use to get to all of those beautiful locations you see in Outside Magazine.
But the end result? Pure joy.
There's nothing like sitting on a mountain or by a quiet lake and watching the sunrise while you do something you love. The idea of not knowing what's going to happen and expecting everything you planned for to go to shit is all part fun. It keeps you on your toes, making every moment memorable because the isn't room for any non-memorable moments in your life. If you play your cards right as an action sports photographer, you can live a life full of experiences instead of a life full of what if's.
This should be noted, I do not, by any means, consider my self a high end action sports photographer. I'd probably say mediocre at best. However, you can always improve in this industry and the best thing is that the improving process will leave you with some of the craziest experiences of your life.
If you're interested in my work, I'll link my photo submission to the Freeskier Shootout Competition and my website.