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By: Awayn Media

INTRODUCTIONS

Gabe L’Heureux is not only one of the best action& lifestyle photographers around but also one of the busiest men within the business. Gabe carries a unique style of photography which showcases both the beauty to the cruel environments as well as endurance and athletisim his subjects.

Awayn had a chance for a quick chat with Gabe to talk action photography. 

What first drew you to action photography?

The same thing that drew me towards photography in general, making an image that speaks to you in some way; creating. It’s hard to properly describe the feeling when you create an image that you are pleased with. It’s a satisfaction that I love and the reason why photography does not seem like a job. Action photography is a bit different in the sense that you work with another person (athlete) to accomplish an image and you might only have one try to get it.

We are a huge fan of all your snowboarding photography. As a professional photographer when you’re presented with a less than ideal situation, how do you find your subjects and produce images you would be happy with?

Thank you. Shooting snowboarding can be challenging in many ways as a lot of uncontrolled variables play a part in getting the shot, such as weather conditions and snow quality. In an entire winter season, you may only have a few really good weather days. When shooting in the backcountry, safety comes into play big time. The entire crew has to be smart and focused when in certain situations. I’ve been so very lucky to shoot with snowboarders that were literally the best at what they do; total professionals in every sense. Working with a great crew and great talent makes it easier to produce images everyone is happy with and I count my blessings there. 

 

What makes the good picture stand out from the average?

I can’t really pinpoint what makes an image stand out from others. It’s so subjective, in a good way. That being said an image I feel that stands about above the average could be because of lighting, location, camera technique, talent, or a combination of all.  That’s why photography so inspiring. You are always evolving looking for the next shot, concept, or idea. In this day, where everyone has a camera in their pocket, it makes professional photographers have to distinguish themselves from the masses that much more and stay on their game, creating imagery and pushing creativity. 

 How has shooting action vs lifestyle changed for you over the years? 

As my career has developed my focus is now heavily directed towards lifestyle imagery both in and out of snowboarding, much more than action. I still really enjoy action focused trips here and there, but these days would rather be shooting focused lifestyle related material rather than chasing the snow, which I did for such a long time. Its so rewarding to create a total package of assets surrounding a single subject matter or product.

What is the most memorable trip you have had in recent memory?

I’ve been working as a staff photographer for Burton Snowboards for over nine years. I could not ask for a better company to shoot for and there have been countless memorable trips over the years. So thankful for the opportunities Burton has given me. These days my focus with Burton is on the campaign and lifestyle imagery side, rather than traditional action photography. The trips are different than the old days, but more rewarding in many ways. Last month we shot a campaign for the AK outerwear line in Baldface BC. Baldface is a backcountry lodge operation where you fly in via helicopter and access the endless terrain via snowcat. Usually in April in this area of BC its hot and sunny but this particular week we got 2 ft of snow per day. It was ridiculously deep. The constant heavy snowfall made shooting challenging, but the shots were strong and the camera gear survived. The weather, even though not sunny, really played into our hands and we got the desired look and feel we were hoping for. Then -- directly from Baldface, the crew flew to Europe for an eight-day campaign shoot in Italy and Austria-which was hot, sunny and beautiful. The dramatic difference between the two back-to-back shoots was so motivating and was really thankful to be a part of it. Its one I won’t forget and one of my favorite trips in years.

What kind of hidden places did you get to explore?

China is one of my favorite countries to explore, I love it there. I’ve been there five times and from the moment I arrive I’m fascinated by it. A couple of the times I’ve been there I’ve had guides extremely knowledgeable of the local cultural and areas and able to recommend really interesting and extraordinary places to check out. Having a local guide is priceless and you end up experiencing many things the average visitor probably wouldn’t get to. This leads to really good photo opportunities and forever lasting travel memories

Any nightmare stories?

Yea, there were some real nightmares mixed in but that’s the nature of spending that much time traveling and in the mountains. On a lighter note, I had two different times where I was stuck in Sydney for multiple days due to weather/ flight issues with a camera and a skateboard. Bad travel situations can get turned into positive and amazing experiences that produce some really cool content. I make sure to have my film camera on me at all times. 

What equipment do you use to captures your footage? What are some of the challenges of using them?

I use Canon products for still photography and Red Digital Cinema products for video. One of the most important things to me leading into a shoot is trust in your gear. If you aren’t confident your gear will perform in whatever situation you put it in - then it’s not the right gear. It is pretty crazy how soaked photo gear gets in some snow conditions and Canon’s equipment really seems to really hold up in my experiences. For personal projects and fine art I shoot a lot on the Canon A-1, which is a film camera from the 70’s. I really enjoying shooting on film. So much more unpredictable and leads to some of my favorite imagery.

 

Closing Thoughts … How do you think photography and traveling has changed your view of the world?

Traveling is a great way to understand and appreciate what we have and the different cultures that make up this wonderfully dynamic world. Traveling also keeps me on my toes- visually from different landscapes, architecture, cultures, it’s endless really. I’ve been known to make a two-hour car drive three+ because I keep pulling over to shoot the inspiring things I see, whether it be in the country roads of Texas or internationally. 

Follow Gabe:

@gabe_lheureux
www.gabriellheureux.com

Closing Thoughts … How do you think photography and traveling has changed your view of the world?

Interview with Gabriel L'heureux

Awayn


Gabe L’Heureux is not only one of the best action& lifestyle photographers around but also one of the busiest men within the business. Gabe carries a unique style of photography which showcases both the beauty to the cruel environments as well as endurance and athletisim his subjects.

Awayn had a chance for a quick chat with Gabe to talk action photography. 

What first drew you to action photography?

The same thing that drew me towards photography in general, making an image that speaks to you in some way; creating. It’s hard to properly describe the feeling when you create an image that you are pleased with. It’s a satisfaction that I love and the reason why photography does not seem like a job. Action photography is a bit different in the sense that you work with another person (athlete) to accomplish an image and you might only have one try to get it.


We are a huge fan of all your snowboarding photography. As a professional photographer when you’re presented with a less than ideal situation, how do you find your subjects and produce images you would be happy with?

I can’t really pinpoint what makes an image stand out from others. It’s so subjective, in a good way. That being said an image I feel that stands about above the average could be because of lighting, location, camera technique, talent, or a combination of all.  That’s why photography so inspiring. You are always evolving looking for the next shot, concept, or idea. In this day, where everyone has a camera in their pocket, it makes professional photographers have to distinguish themselves from the masses that much more and stay on their game, creating imagery and pushing creativity. 

 How has shooting action vs lifestyle changed for you over the years? 

As my career has developed my focus is now heavily directed towards lifestyle imagery both in and out of snowboarding, much more than action. I still really enjoy action focused trips here and there, but these days would rather be shooting focused lifestyle related material rather than chasing the snow, which I did for such a long time. Its so rewarding to create a total package of assets surrounding a single subject matter or product.


What makes the good picture stand out from the average?

I can’t really pinpoint what makes an image stand out from others. It’s so subjective, in a good way. That being said an image I feel that stands about above the average could be because of lighting, location, camera technique, talent, or a combination of all.  That’s why photography so inspiring. You are always evolving looking for the next shot, concept, or idea. In this day, where everyone has a camera in their pocket, it makes professional photographers have to distinguish themselves from the masses that much more and stay on their game, creating imagery and pushing creativity. 

 How has shooting action vs lifestyle changed for you over the years? 

As my career has developed my focus is now heavily directed towards lifestyle imagery both in and out of snowboarding, much more than action. I still really enjoy action focused trips here and there, but these days would rather be shooting focused lifestyle related material rather than chasing the snow, which I did for such a long time. Its so rewarding to create a total package of assets surrounding a single subject matter or product.

What is the most memorable trip you have had in recent memory?

I’ve been working as a staff photographer for Burton Snowboards for over nine years. I could not ask for a better company to shoot for and there have been countless memorable trips over the years. So thankful for the opportunities Burton has given me. These days my focus with Burton is on the campaign and lifestyle imagery side, rather than traditional action photography. The trips are different than the old days, but more rewarding in many ways. Last month we shot a campaign for the AK outerwear line in Baldface BC. Baldface is a backcountry lodge operation where you fly in via helicopter and access the endless terrain via snowcat. Usually in April in this area of BC its hot and sunny but this particular week we got 2 ft of snow per day. It was ridiculously deep. The constant heavy snowfall made shooting challenging, but the shots were strong and the camera gear survived. The weather, even though not sunny, really played into our hands and we got the desired look and feel we were hoping for. Then -- directly from Baldface, the crew flew to Europe for an eight-day campaign shoot in Italy and Austria-which was hot, sunny and beautiful. The dramatic difference between the two back-to-back shoots was so motivating and was really thankful to be a part of it. Its one I won’t forget and one of my favorite trips in years.

What kind of hidden places did you get to explore?

China is one of my favorite countries to explore, I love it there. I’ve been there five times and from the moment I arrive I’m fascinated by it. A couple of the times I’ve been there I’ve had guides extremely knowledgeable of the local cultural and areas and able to recommend really interesting and extraordinary places to check out. Having a local guide is priceless and you end up experiencing many things the average visitor probably wouldn’t get to. This leads to really good photo opportunities and forever lasting travel memories

Any nightmare stories?

Yea, there were some real nightmares mixed in but that’s the nature of spending that much time traveling and in the mountains. On a lighter note, I had two different times where I was stuck in Sydney for multiple days due to weather/ flight issues with a camera and a skateboard. Bad travel situations can get turned into positive and amazing experiences that produce some really cool content. I make sure to have my film camera on me at all times. 

What equipment do you use to captures your footage? What are some of the challenges of using them?

I use Canon products for still photography and Red Digital Cinema products for video. One of the most important things to me leading into a shoot is trust in your gear. If you aren’t confident your gear will perform in whatever situation you put it in - then it’s not the right gear. It is pretty crazy how soaked photo gear gets in some snow conditions and Canon’s equipment really seems to really hold up in my experiences. For personal projects and fine art I shoot a lot on the Canon A-1, which is a film camera from the 70’s. I really enjoying shooting on film. So much more unpredictable and leads to some of my favorite imagery.

 

Closing Thoughts … How do you think photography and traveling has changed your view of the world?

Traveling is a great way to understand and appreciate what we have and the different cultures that make up this wonderfully dynamic world. Traveling also keeps me on my toes- visually from different landscapes, architecture, cultures, it’s endless really. I’ve been known to make a two-hour car drive three+ because I keep pulling over to shoot the inspiring things I see, whether it be in the country roads of Texas or internationally. 

Follow Gabe:

@gabe_lheureux
www.gabriellheureux.com