I wanted this first blog entry and photo to be about something that made a photo truly unique or worth remembering. Minnesota is a unique skating state because we have a reputation for our dedication to street skating in all conditions. Even in a state that deals with the cold non-stop, this night was a whole different beast. Poor, poor John having to shoot photos that evening. We do have a lot of cold blading sessions here in Minnesota and as difficult as the skating can be, I believe that filmers and photographers have it far worse — no movement to keep warm and they need to be ready at a moments notice. When the skater misses the trick, he goes back to try again. If a photographer misses a trick in the cold, he knows that means the skater may have gone through all that work for nothing. Not a responsibility I would ever want to carry.
This night was even colder than usual and the wind was close to howling. We had already shot three or four different photos at other spots in the area that night and John came through with gems every single time. But the night was getting later and the wind was picking up even more. We were about to call it a quits for the night when I made the choice to force through this trick even though the combination of extremely cold temps and intense wind had me second guessing myself from the moment I buckled into the blades.
When we shot this photo I was younger and much more stubborn with my skating, the idea of saying “nevermind” after committing to a trick would have been pure torture. I had high expectations for what tricks to do on this spot but with weather and time working against us, I settled on a topsoul and fishbrain. I took a few jumps, just to see if it was even possible to get up the ledge without losing momentum. And even though I told John it may not be worth it, he had set his mind as to how he wanted to shoot the fishbrain and gave me insight as to how he wanted me to place my grabbed foot to ensure it came out just right. John Haynes may be perhaps the only person who can really talk me into doing tricks with motivating words of how shooting the trick is worth it, because he will shoot it a certain way and it will look good. I have this faith in him because he has always lived up to his word and his photos have always made my skating look better than it actually is.
Skaters often apologize when a trick takes time to do and tell the filmer or photographer “sorry man, this is taking forever.” In this case I really was sorry because even though he kept insisting that I follow through and do the trick… when the person filming chooses to do it from the car, one can usually deduce that the conditions are not ideal.
Even though blog’s are all about words, I don’t think words can really give explanation as to how cold that night really was, nor can it really show the reader just how much more difficult everything in this process becomes when you choose to let snow and cold be an active part of your skating photos. The skater and the photographer commit themselves to a much more tedious process. That dedication to landing and documenting a trick, no matter what the condition or the danger, is what makes both the skaters and the photographers in our sport so ambitious and dedicated to their craft.
If you read through all that, applause to you. Perhaps you gained some insight about skating here in the midwest. Here are the photos of the simple tricks that inspired all those words. A topsoul and a fishbrain up a small ledge at a school in suburban Minnesota.