01

By: Awayn Media

INTRODUCTIONS

It could be said justly that Dave Lehl lives excitingly. A passionate and inspired photographer since he was young, Dave has been working hard on his craft for and loves what he does.  Dave photos are printed in quite every snowboard magazine of the world. We used the chance to speak to the successful photographer Vernon Deck about his passion for winter sports and his fulfilled life.

Why action photography Dave? What first drew you to it ?

Growing up my parents always had my brother and I doing outdoors activities.  Skiing, motorcycles, camping, swimming, riding bicycles, fishing…. If it was outdoors and fun, we were getting after it.  As I got into my teenage years my focus turned to skateboarding and snowboarding and it was all I thought about from sunup until sundown. During college I got serious about photography and interned for a local fashion photographer which led to assisting for several national fashion and catalog photographers.  I had plans to move to New York to become a fashion photographer but first made a pit stop in Frisco, Colorado for one last season of snowboarding before heading East to the Big Apple.  I photographed a little snowboarding for fun and quickly found that I was better at shooting brats on boards than babes in bikinis.  I always say ‘shoot what you know’ and I just knew snowboarding inside and out, so it only made sense that my action photography was much better.  

Looking at your shots I always wondered HOW HE DOES IT?! Specially photographer when you’re presented with a less than ideal situation?

It’s true, the environment is never ideal, especially when you’re always shooting in new locations and are usually trying to do it while not getting arrested by the cops.  Half the battle is just being with people doing things worth taking a photo of.  If your subject’s best trick is a 6” kick flip off of a curb, you’re going to have a pretty tough time getting a shot worth publishing.  So I try my best to shoot with people who are extremely good at what they do.  Whenever I roll up to a new place I always take a long walk around the area to get an idea of how many different potential angles there are and try to find one where the subject will stand out from the background.  Then I decide whether or not I want to set up flashes or use natural light.  Hopefully it all comes together and you get a shot that both you and your subject are stoked on.

 

Lately I’ve really been trying my best to think of different ways to shoot things that have been shot a zillion times.  An unexpected angle, a strange lighting scenario, shooting the candid in-between moments as opposed to only the peak of the action.  If I can get something that isn’t just the stock “bottom of the stairs with a fisheye and two flashes” shot, then I’m happy.

Any nightmare stories?

Oh plenty.  One that comes to mind was when I was shooting for Rome Snowboards.  We were in Minneapolis, Minnesota on New Year’s Eve shooting a handrail in a park.  We wrapped up shooting around 10, packed up all of our camera gear, and loaded up the drop-in ramp (which I borrowed from Dan Brisse) on top of Bjorn Leines’ Land Rover.  When I went to reach for the key, I realized that my pocket wasn’t zipped and the key was gone.  We searched and searched but never found it.  One of Bjorn’s relatives drove about an hour to pick us up but we had to leave the Land Rover in the parking lot over night.  The next day we came back with a metal detector from Wal Mart to try to find the key again, but had no luck.  We talked to someone from the business whose parking lot we were in and told them that we’d be back the next day with a locksmith to get the vehicle and not to tow it.  Sure enough we come back the next day and they’d had the car towed.  So we go to the place where it’d been towed to and they’ve got the car but the drop in ramp was gone.  It’d fallen off the top of the Land Rover onto the highway somewhere between the parking lot and the tow business.  It was my fault I lost the key so I payed the towing fees, the locksmith, and then had to tell Dan I’d lost his drop in.  Let’s just say that my pockets are ALWAYS zipped now.

Can you name one of your most satisfying & funnest projects/clients?

Over the past 6 months I’ve been hired by Intel to shoot two of their Guiness World Record breaking drone flights and they’re amazing!  Before I ever shot a drone show I had a general idea of what it was going to be like but when I saw it in person it was way better than I’d imagined!  If you’ve never seen one, I highly recommend you Google “Intel Drone Show”.  

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

I recently switched from Canon to Sony and I honestly wish I’d done it earlier.  Sony is really listening to what the people are wanting and giving it to them.  I shoot with two Sony bodies and have multiple Sony and Sigma lenses ranging from 15mm-400mm.  For flashes I’ve used Elinchrom for over 10 years and couldn’t be happier with them.  Their wireless transceivers are amazing as well and almost never misfire.  I just ordered a waterproof housing last week and am anxiously waiting for it to get here.  I’m super excited to start playing around with it!!

What are some of the challenges of “nomadic” lifestyle? How can you keep up with work and just being free?

By far the hardest part of living on the road is having to sit down to edit photos and do office work when you’re in a new place with a hundred different things to go see and do.  It certainly wasn’t anything I’d thought of before I hit the road and it’s a struggle I deal with every day.  Luckily a big part of my job IS getting out and seeing new things, so a lot of times I can justify a motorcycle ride as location scouting.  

Another thing that’s been super hard is finding reliable people to meet up with and shoot when you’ve only been in a place for a day or two.  Lately I’ve been finding potential subjects by doing Instagram searches, but it’s surprisingly hard to get them to write you back or to commit to a couple hours of being in front of the camera.  It drives me crazy.  

But we’re trying to be better about setting work aside and making plans to go do fun things and that seems to be working, so that’s good!  

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

It’s definitely given me the chance to meet people from cultures and areas that most people don’t have the opportunities to visit, and it’s showed me that people are basically all very friendly, curious, and eager to meet someone new.  One time we’d just flown into an airport in northern China where the security were all heavily armed with very large guns.  One young guard was very excited to try out his very limited English, so he nervously approached me, welcomed me to his country, and we engaged in some basic small talk for a minute or two.  When I had to go I reached out to shake his hand and instead he gave me a hug.  I thought that was one of the sweetest gestures I’ve ever experienced.  

The Dave Lehl Interview

Awayn


It could be said justly that Dave Lehl lives excitingly. A passionate and inspired photographer since he was young, Dave has been working hard on his craft for and loves what he does.  Dave photos are printed in quite every snowboard magazine of the world. We used the chance to speak to the successful photographer Vernon Deck about his passion for winter sports and his fulfilled life.

Why action photography Dave? What first drew you to it ?

Growing up my parents always had my brother and I doing outdoors activities.  Skiing, motorcycles, camping, swimming, riding bicycles, fishing…. If it was outdoors and fun, we were getting after it.  As I got into my teenage years my focus turned to skateboarding and snowboarding and it was all I thought about from sunup until sundown. During college I got serious about photography and interned for a local fashion photographer which led to assisting for several national fashion and catalog photographers.  I had plans to move to New York to become a fashion photographer but first made a pit stop in Frisco, Colorado for one last season of snowboarding before heading East to the Big Apple.  I photographed a little snowboarding for fun and quickly found that I was better at shooting brats on boards than babes in bikinis.  I always say ‘shoot what you know’ and I just knew snowboarding inside and out, so it only made sense that my action photography was much better.  


Looking at your shots I always wondered HOW HE DOES IT?! Specially photographer when you’re presented with a less than ideal situation?

Oh plenty.  One that comes to mind was when I was shooting for Rome Snowboards.  We were in Minneapolis, Minnesota on New Year’s Eve shooting a handrail in a park.  We wrapped up shooting around 10, packed up all of our camera gear, and loaded up the drop-in ramp (which I borrowed from Dan Brisse) on top of Bjorn Leines’ Land Rover.  When I went to reach for the key, I realized that my pocket wasn’t zipped and the key was gone.  We searched and searched but never found it.  One of Bjorn’s relatives drove about an hour to pick us up but we had to leave the Land Rover in the parking lot over night.  The next day we came back with a metal detector from Wal Mart to try to find the key again, but had no luck.  We talked to someone from the business whose parking lot we were in and told them that we’d be back the next day with a locksmith to get the vehicle and not to tow it.  Sure enough we come back the next day and they’d had the car towed.  So we go to the place where it’d been towed to and they’ve got the car but the drop in ramp was gone.  It’d fallen off the top of the Land Rover onto the highway somewhere between the parking lot and the tow business.  It was my fault I lost the key so I payed the towing fees, the locksmith, and then had to tell Dan I’d lost his drop in.  Let’s just say that my pockets are ALWAYS zipped now.


Any nightmare stories?

Oh plenty.  One that comes to mind was when I was shooting for Rome Snowboards.  We were in Minneapolis, Minnesota on New Year’s Eve shooting a handrail in a park.  We wrapped up shooting around 10, packed up all of our camera gear, and loaded up the drop-in ramp (which I borrowed from Dan Brisse) on top of Bjorn Leines’ Land Rover.  When I went to reach for the key, I realized that my pocket wasn’t zipped and the key was gone.  We searched and searched but never found it.  One of Bjorn’s relatives drove about an hour to pick us up but we had to leave the Land Rover in the parking lot over night.  The next day we came back with a metal detector from Wal Mart to try to find the key again, but had no luck.  We talked to someone from the business whose parking lot we were in and told them that we’d be back the next day with a locksmith to get the vehicle and not to tow it.  Sure enough we come back the next day and they’d had the car towed.  So we go to the place where it’d been towed to and they’ve got the car but the drop in ramp was gone.  It’d fallen off the top of the Land Rover onto the highway somewhere between the parking lot and the tow business.  It was my fault I lost the key so I payed the towing fees, the locksmith, and then had to tell Dan I’d lost his drop in.  Let’s just say that my pockets are ALWAYS zipped now.

Can you name one of your most satisfying & funnest projects/clients?

Over the past 6 months I’ve been hired by Intel to shoot two of their Guiness World Record breaking drone flights and they’re amazing!  Before I ever shot a drone show I had a general idea of what it was going to be like but when I saw it in person it was way better than I’d imagined!  If you’ve never seen one, I highly recommend you Google “Intel Drone Show”.  

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

I recently switched from Canon to Sony and I honestly wish I’d done it earlier.  Sony is really listening to what the people are wanting and giving it to them.  I shoot with two Sony bodies and have multiple Sony and Sigma lenses ranging from 15mm-400mm.  For flashes I’ve used Elinchrom for over 10 years and couldn’t be happier with them.  Their wireless transceivers are amazing as well and almost never misfire.  I just ordered a waterproof housing last week and am anxiously waiting for it to get here.  I’m super excited to start playing around with it!!

What are some of the challenges of “nomadic” lifestyle? How can you keep up with work and just being free?

By far the hardest part of living on the road is having to sit down to edit photos and do office work when you’re in a new place with a hundred different things to go see and do.  It certainly wasn’t anything I’d thought of before I hit the road and it’s a struggle I deal with every day.  Luckily a big part of my job IS getting out and seeing new things, so a lot of times I can justify a motorcycle ride as location scouting.  

Another thing that’s been super hard is finding reliable people to meet up with and shoot when you’ve only been in a place for a day or two.  Lately I’ve been finding potential subjects by doing Instagram searches, but it’s surprisingly hard to get them to write you back or to commit to a couple hours of being in front of the camera.  It drives me crazy.  

But we’re trying to be better about setting work aside and making plans to go do fun things and that seems to be working, so that’s good!  

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

It’s definitely given me the chance to meet people from cultures and areas that most people don’t have the opportunities to visit, and it’s showed me that people are basically all very friendly, curious, and eager to meet someone new.  One time we’d just flown into an airport in northern China where the security were all heavily armed with very large guns.  One young guard was very excited to try out his very limited English, so he nervously approached me, welcomed me to his country, and we engaged in some basic small talk for a minute or two.  When I had to go I reached out to shake his hand and instead he gave me a hug.  I thought that was one of the sweetest gestures I’ve ever experienced.