On this Behind the Photo, I am going back to literally the first time I shot outside of a resort and in the streets. A huge snowstorm dumped snow all over the Northeast. That was back in December 2009 and East Coast Snowboarding Magazine was holding a photo contest. The contest consisted of the photographers getting their crew together and going out and getting shots from the storm that came through.
I called up Nick Sappio who lived in the Poconos and told him to get a good crew together and filled him in on the contest. At the time, I worked at a snowboard shop (Danzeisen & Quigley) in Cherry Hill, NJ. It was a Friday and I had work until 9pm, so I had to book out of there as soon as I could to start my two-hour drive up to the Poconos. Once I got out of work, I gave Nick a call and they headed out to a few spots to check them out. Once they found a spot, they gave me a call and told me directions. I met them around midnight at the spot and it was a flat rail into a bank. The only person I knew at the time was Nick Sappio. Nick introduced me to everyone, which was Fabrice Toussaint, Dom Luza, Kyle Luza, Adolfo Massari, Dan Biundo, Adam Schutt, and Marc Iannazzo.
The night didn’t go well because one of my flashes fell over and shattered (rookie move). I didn’t put snow or anything around the light stand to keep it from getting blown over from the wind. We still tried to get some photos but it wasn’t working out with one flash and the group decided to end the night around 2am. The plan was to get up early and head to this abandoned factory that had a nice down rail. We all went home for the night and met up the next morning at the factory around 10am. Once we were all there, we checked out the rail and it wasn’t what we expected. So we walked around the factory and found a loading dock with a flat rail that dropped off at the end. Everyone started shoveling and building a lip. The parking lot around the loading dock had 2inch thick ice with 3-4inches of snow on top of it. It wasn’t fun trying to walk around. We brought over more snow so when these guys land they wouldn’t slip out on the ice.
After about 3 hours of trying to get a shot and messing with multiple angles, I found an angle that worked for Adolfo’s front board. Everyone was leaving and Adolfo couldn’t stick the landing because of the thick ice or he just couldn’t do a proper front board. Time was running out and everyone had to be somewhere. Adolfo and I kept shooting for a little longer and it wasn’t looking good. He was getting tired, then Dan and Nick were getting worn out from pulling the bungee back non-stop. It came down to the last try Adolfo was going for. I remember thinking, “Shit! I took off these two days and they were a bust and I’m not going to get anything for this photo contest.” Then the sun came out from behind a cloud and Adolfo nailed the trick. Once he landed it, he unstrapped and ran over to me to check out the photo. I had a big smile and was hyped that after the two days of work, we finally got a photo that at the time, I thought was the best photo I have taken. Nick, Dan, Adolfo and I all headed to Big Boulder to upload the photo. Once I uploaded the photo, I sent it over to Aaron Blatt who worked at ECS, and a couple of weeks later, I got an email saying that I won. I called up Adolfo and told him that we won and the photo was going to be in the next ECS issue. It made the two days of shooting worth it. My first photo published and to this day it is still one of my favorite photos I have taken.