I am not a real photographer; I think I should start by saying that. Yes, I take photos, and sometimes they even come out well, but when people ask me what I do, photography is usually somewhere near the bottom of the list. Yet somehow, I found myself up to my neck in snow in QuÃ©bec last winter as the official photographer on a snowboard video shoot. Well…let me classify “official”: I was the only photographer, and I was invited for that purpose.
So how, you might ask, did I end up in this predicament? It all started at Killington. I was there for the Grand Prix (mainly as an excuse to visit my family and write it off my taxes), and ran into Josh Sherman. I’d met Josh a couple of times, and he seemed nice enough, but I hadn’t been following his career closely enough to know anything about his riding. Anyway, at the event, I was shooting photos, so Josh must have assumed I was pro. The day before I was supposed to leave to head back to the West Coast, I got this e-mail:
Hey, I’m sure your busy shooting the Open but figured I’d ask you if you’d like to join myself and Mike Casanova while we film rails or urban stuff up in Montreal, Canada. We will be doing this for the next week. Lodging paid, you’d just have to drive up the 2.5 hours. Let me know if you want to shoot or can’t asap so I can figure it out….I like your photos though and this could be a really good trip.
Immediately, the wheels started turning. Yeah, I wasn’t a real photographer, and my flight was the next day, but this could be really cool–maybe I could make some money. I’d just have to drive up there–simple, really. I mean, hey, this could be my big break into snowboard photography, or something…
So, I called the airline and changed my ticket. Having never been on a rail trip before, I didn’t know what to expect, and I almost didn’t pack all my snowboard gear. Luckily I thought better of that, since QuÃ©bec, where we would end up, had more snow than I’ve ever seen on the East Coast. It would have sucked to shoot in jeans…not that it didn’t suck to shoot, anyway.
I got to the Burlington airport at our allotted meeting time, and sat there waiting for the guys to come pick me up. After what seemed like a few hours, I finally took a cab to meet them, as it turned out they’d decided to go to a sit-down meal before they picked me up. Awesome…and there goes $18. At the restaurant, I met the crew. Two filmers, (both named Justin), Josh, and Mike Casanova. They said we were picking up one more–a Euro–at the airport in MontrÃ©al.
The meal was awkward, since they’d already finished eating by the time I got there, and they were stressing because apparently they hadn’t checked out of their hotel yet (right next to the airport, mind you) and wanted to make sure they weren’t charged for an extra day. At this point I was still trying to be cool, so I ate quickly and we hurried back.
We dropped one of the Justins off at the hotel to check out and babysit the luggage while we went back to the airport to pick up a rental van. This went okay, and soon we were back at the Burlington Holiday Inn loading everything up. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but the keys got locked in the car. No, wait; I do remember–one of the Justins left them in there. When I got out to go into the hotel, leaving the van with all our gear alone outside, I locked it. Of course, the rental car place had no spare key for this particular vehicle, and no one bothered to offer up an AAA card until it was too late. Still trying to be cool, I called a locksmith and paid to have the car opened. Another $45, and no one offered to chip in.
Once we were finally on the way to Canada (after one more stop at the hippie store so Justin could get some nuts and berries), the stressing about the border began. As I have crossed the Canadian border a lot, I never worry. You just answer their questions, don’t be stupid, and they let you go–they want you in their country spending money. I offered to drive when we crossed the border, and everyone seemed okay with it. Once that was decided, the ride was again awkward. Casanova sulked in the back. Josh talked a lot. And oh yeah–and we only had two CDs: The Fugees and Eric Clapton. (Eventually Nova would buy a Thrice CD, but we never got an iPod connector or any other modern convenience.) And we weren’t even to Canada yet.
Stay tuned to YoBeat for Part 2 of the trip. Will we be strip searched at the border? Will will ever go snowboarding? Will I get the shot? All your questions will be answered next Monday.