Behind the Lens: Spencer Smith
Nick Di Vona
Welcome to “Behind the Lens” a series that will profile some top notch photographers in the sport. Hope you enjoy the eye candy!
Name: Spencer Smith
Location: Seattle, WA
Years Skating: 5 and 1/2
Years Shooting: 4
Lluc “Lucci Mane” Vladis
How did you get into photography?: I took a yearbook class at school back in ’08. There I was able to use an DSLR to shoot soccer games, and other events. This opened my eyes to what you could really be done with a camera. I kept shooting for the class and got my own camera for Christmas that year. I’ve been taking pictures ever since.
What inspires you?: Mr. Perreten; my extremely nice and talented yearbook teacher who helped me get my start. Jon Huey and Nate Lang; these two have been around forever and continue to take incredible pictures that showcase downhill skateboarding in the most amazing ways. Ansel Adams; to this day his work is jaw dropping and it pushes me try and take in every element in a photograph, especially in larger vistas and landscapes.
What kind of gear do you like to shoot with?: Canon 60d and a Canon Speedlite 320EX. I usually prefer a shorter (17-50) lens with a wider angle.
Any advice for fellow photographers?: Learn the settings of your camera, and shoot as much as you can. Once you know how to adjust Manual, Av, and Tv, you can really play around with your photos to get the exposures and effects you are looking for. Sticking to the presets works sometimes, but the other adjustable modes allow you to get your photos one step further. Also, I heard this at school and I think it rings pretty true: “The only difference between a professional photographer and an amateur is the amount of pictures that they shoot.” The more you shoot, the more experience you gain and the more pictures you have to choose from; this allows you to really get the “cream of the crop” with the photos that you choose to share.
Nate Lang, followed by Billy Meiners
Favorite story behind a photo: Back in ’08, I was at Attack of Danger Bay 7 (my first race). I had made it through couple rounds and then was eliminated. So I grabbed my camera and went to go shoot. I didn’t have too many ideas for what I was looking to photograph, so I walked up the course and sat down on the inside of the first corner. From there I just started shooting when people would fly by. Looking back on it, I sat just about at the apex and leaned into the road. I could feel the wind off the racers when the came by. Back then I didn’t know any better or think too much about it; sometimes a sketchier position like that yields a great capture. The photo I got there of Nate Lang and Dennis “The Seattle Mennis,” was my first published photo. I was so stoked when I got it on the computer the next day, because I had never thought I could take a photo that was that good. This gave me confidence to keep shooting and to try new angles and locations in and around race course.
Flickr: Sb Smith Photography
Facebook: Spencer Smith