The Curse Of The Camera?

Taking photos and video of your snowboarding can be a lot of fun. It’s something that you’ll do with your friends and you can get a lot of satisfaction when you look back at the results.


Frame a good photo, post it on Facebook or just keep it around on your phone, handy. Just glancing at them brings back the fun of the snowboarding.

And with video there’s often the additional step of editing the footage, which can itself be part of the enjoyment or challenge. Add some music, post it on YouTube, show your friends; making your own snowboard edit is something that appeals to a lot of snowboarders.

But can the camera steal your focus?

The thing is, there’s a cost to taking a photo or shooting some film. While you’re doing that – you’re not snowboarding. Does it sometimes shift our focus from having fun shredding, to making sure we get a good photo?

It becomes a mission. So you’ve decided you’re taking a camera with you on the next trip. You’re going to make a video of your snowboarding. You want to get good shots; you want to capture your best snowboarding.

How is it that when the camera is out, you don’t land the tricks so well? The day you stomped it you didn’t have the camera with you. Or you’ve been exploring the mountain and you found this great hit – now you feel you’ve got to go back there with the camera. There’s this strong desire to get something good on film. It’s a mission.


Pictures, pictures, pictures… There are so many pictures out there, millions of them on the Internet. Digital cameras make it so easy to take as many as you want. But it can become really addictive, or maybe, automatic.

If you have a camera with you and you’re somewhere new, somewhere nice or doing something a bit special – sometimes we feel a need to photograph everything.

We went to Italy recently and visited a bunch of places in Tuscany, like Pisa, Volterra, San Gimignano, the Chianti region… We took over 500 photos – and that’s probably not a lot to some people. Leave the camera in the room and just get out there…

Practical concerns. Especially with something like snowboarding, there’s a practical cost to taking a camera – you’ve got to carry it it. Maybe it’s in your backpack, or just being bulky in your pocket. It can be a restriction.

And have you been in a medium/large group where everyone is waiting for the camera? It can really slow things down. Is he ready yet? Everyone waits so that everyone is on film. The camera can interfere with your snowboarding.

Just ride…

It can be refreshing to just ride. Lap the park without stopping. Take the run from top to bottom. If your friend saw that sick trick while they were riding – that’s awesome. If they didn’t, you can tell them about it on the chair, or over a beer.

Immersed. Just focusing on the riding, your friends, the mountain, the environment. Is there a fear that if we don’t stop to take a photo we’ll somehow forget it? Or not be able to show others that we did it? Sometimes it’s good to just let that go and just live the experience.

It’s a balance thing, right?

It’s always going to be a trade off. If you want good shots, it takes some effort, some time. And it’s not like a lot of people don’t enjoy the experience through the lens.

But it’s worth considering: do we sometimes get too drawn in? The lure of getting a great photo, or something awesome on video, to show where we’ve been or what we’ve done. Can that get in the way of enjoying the moment? The snowboarding.

Have your say. Is it worth it? Is it just a matter of getting the balance right? Are you getting the balance right?


  • Reply November 25, 2011


    Interesting one this, I was only discussing with someone today about how keen photographers run the risk of “living life through a lense” rather than truly enjoying and experiencing what they are photographing.

    Many moons ago i used to skate, a lot, and we’d routinely film, but it was really difficult to get good shots in the bag unless you or someone else was pretty much constantly filming…Much the same with snowboarding really… I’ve always taken the personal view that i’d rather ride than be a filmer.

    I used to get chronic camera pressure as a skateboarder, it was pretty much guaranteed that as soon as someone hit record i’d start bailing everything….I think in 7 years of skateboarding I only got about 3 decent tricks on film.

    I go away for a week a year to the alps with my gf, we take an olympus miu tough digital cam (drop proof,water proof etc etc) and between us we take a ton of “holiday snaps” but it’s rare I can convince her to stand by a rail whilst i hit it 10-15 times.

    It’s really nice to have pics of yourself snowboarding, but i’d never take that over all the faff it takes to get quality shots, a few holiday snaps is fine, and if I get the odd video clip or good rail shot then more the better.

  • Reply December 1, 2011


    Hey James,

    I definitely got sucked into “trying to make an edit” each year that I went away. As that progressed, the group was sometimes a little bigger, people want to get a good clip of something they were doing… and I started thinking about all the time spent waiting around, dealing with the camera, not being in good flow.

    It’s tough once you get it in your head that you want to see what you’re doing, see yourself doing it well, and also have the shots look good.

    Some crews/groups are definitely better equipped than others and will strike a better balance of riding and filming at the same time.

    Right now – I just want to ride 😉 I really like the thought of something like the GoPro – as it takes away a bunch of the hassle associated with taking a camera up on the hill.


  • Reply December 2, 2011


    Yeah go-pros look ideal, although I think i’d worry about shelling out then not getting enough use out of it…tbh I’m more focused on improving my riding atm, don’t think many of my tricks deserve film time yet, maybe at the end of the season!!!

    This post reminds me of a guy I went to school with (skier), he set up his own business in the alps where he basically gets holiday makers to pay him to follow them around for a week filming video/stills, then he edits it together and sends them a dvd as part of the package… Pretty good snow job i thought.

  • Reply December 2, 2011


    Hey James,

    yeah – my focus at the moment in on the riding. Kind of got a little challenge with myself – improve before Breck, improve while I’m there, and hopefully build up to some stuff I’d like to film…

    Go-Pro? I’m assuming I’m going to buy one before Breck. In doing that, I’m getting rid of my regular camcorder – I don’t want two. Hopefully I’ll get the use from it. It’s defo better than the iPhone for filming, but still convenient enough for a pocket. We’ll see.

    Yeah, I’ve heard about those filming companies – I always wonder who their customers are? Average skiers and snowboarders with too much money? Or people who are more serious about it, and realise that having someone dedicated to filming them will give them freedom. As for a snow job – yeah it sounds pretty sweet 😉

  • Reply December 20, 2011


    Have to recommend the GoPro cameras footage wise.

    I’ve got one and I take it out for lots of the activities I get up to. Shot a ton of footage last winter and still haven’t got round to editing it – I have taken lots of screen shots though which has meant I easily got a great set of photos from the week without having to keep taking off gloves, find the camera in the bag etc because the gopro is always on.

    I use the camera a lot with other things as well though and need to do that to be able to continue to justify the expense. It wouldn’t be worth it if all I used it for was one or two weeks of boarding a year.

    gopro is fully waterproof so it comes kayaking, paintballing, mountainboarding, land yachting, everything really! I’ve stuck it on the car, I’ve even recorded some of my squash lessons to be able to watch them back later.

  • Reply December 27, 2011


    Hey Phill,

    good to hear another thumbs up for the GoPro. I’ll probably use it for snowboarding only, which like you said, does make it expensive. Gonna sell the old camera to shave the cost a little 😉


  • Reply January 21, 2012


    Took some snaps with a DSLR in the Sierra Nevada recently, they were good but could be better. I’m going to work on it next year for sure!

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