Sunday, February 15, 2009

Legendary Pro Photographer Dean 'Blotto' Gray is Searching for the Perfect Shot

1. Hometown?

Burlington, Vermont. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, started snowboarding in Flagstaff, Arizona.
2. Describe your relationship with snow and snowboarding?

Since the first time I set my feet in the bindings and the board on the snow, I knew this was the life for me. Snowboarding has brought me to far reaches of the globe, both as a sponsored rider, company owner and photographer…I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a sponsored rider from Arizona, I quickly realized my snowboarding talent would never measure up to other riders once I moved to Colorado and Utah. It was then I decided to become involved in snowboarding on a different level; that as a company owner first, then photographer after that.

3. How long have you been a professional photographer?

I officially took the title as Burton Principal Photographer in 2003 (alongside Jeff Curtes). I was a Road Manager, Photo Editor and Women’s Global Team Manager for Burton and Analog Marketing Director from 1999 to 2003. I was shooting during these times, but only when I had time.

4. Use 3 words to describe your last snowboarding trip/ photo shoot:

Snow, Wind and Searching.

5. How has 'moment capturing' of snowboarding changed over the last decade, in your opinion?

No doubt the biggest change has been from film to digital, an exciting process for sure. In my opinion, when the first professional digital SLR’s were released, they were inefficient in many ways.
I wasn’t comfortable (at that time) trading in my 35mm SLR and film processing techniques for these new cameras that would be outdated within six months time. I held out until the digital SLR bodies could capture the photos as good or better than my previous tools and techniques.
Nowadays I’m really satisfied using the Canon 1Ds Mark III, Canon G9 and Leica M8. Of course there are still some improvements these models could use, but for now it’s all good.

6. What has it been like working with some of the world's best snowboarding athletes?

It’s been very rewarding helping the team riders achieve their goals in snowboarding as a professional. I lend a hand wherever I can with my knowledge of snowboarding and the industry, and of course take the best photos possible of them.

7. We hear you have a new website? Give BSA the lowdown.

I launched my newest website on July 15th, 2008 with many improvements over my previous design. I needed an outlet for my interviews, portfolios, galleries and general information about my photography.
On top of that I added a blog section called ‘The Daily’ which updates my travels six days a week. The Daily also features weekly and monthly columns ranging from Feature Bikes, Picture Wednesday, Flashback Friday, Foto Folios and Scrapbook Sundays.
I’ve been shooting photos for close to ten years now, 5 of those full-time with the Burton squad. It’s been quite the journey that I’ve documented as much as possible through photography and scrapbooking as we traveled, did photo shoots, contests, promo tours, etc. Over this time I’ve built up an extensive library of the life and times of snowboarding and the personalities that make it so special. Flashback Fridays and Scrapbook Sundays are a perfect way to show what went on during these missions and also how I keep track of the million plus airline miles flown.
I welcome all emails about photos, my techniques, my equipment or anything else someone may be curious about. Oh yeah, hit me up for free stickers, I’ll send ‘em out to anywhere in the world at no charge.
8. What words of advice would you give to aspiring snowboarding photographers wishing to carve a successful pro photography career?

The absolute best thing to do is get with the local crew of sponsored riders and start shooting them full time. As they push their riding skills, you’ll learn the craft of snowboard photography.
It’s a great way to build life long friendships, get good at capturing photos and learn that hard work and dedication is extremely rewarding. From there you’ll make the connection with magazines, travel more and more to find good snow/terrain and possibly get an assignment here and there.

9. What part of the world is your favourite place to work and play?

Alaska, Washington State and the Swiss Alps.

10. Today, Dean Blotto Gray is shooting a photo I haven’t captured before.

BSA thanks Dean Blotto Gray for taking the time to do this interview

No comments: