Story of a Firing Squad Champ: Jeff Hehlen


We have yet another black and white inductee to the Champions Gallery. Either black and white photos really better or are you guys just totally emo? Either way, Jeff Hehlen is the latest photographer to enter the champ’s circle. Hearty congrats are in order as his photo took down some worthy opponents. We caught up with Jeff to find out a little bit more about him and his shot.

When was this shot taken, where is it, and who is the stuntman?

The photo is of Brett Butcher in the Tahoe backcountry last February. Brett and I grew up shredding together. He used to look like Simba with braces, now he looks like Mufasa.

What set up did you use to make the magic happen?

Canon 5d with a 24-70 L-series lens.

What’s with the twig in the foreground?

People seemed really opinionated about that. I like shallow depth of field, and I framed the shot with the twig to add some some content to the foreground. And no, I did not place it there.

Was the jet stream planned or just dumb luck?

Smoke and mirrors.

If you took it again, would you do anything differently?

I shot a lot of different angles that day. I’m pretty happy with what I got.

What’s your story — where are you based and what do you usual shoot?

Portland Oregon, born and raised. I have a lot of pride for my hometown. I like shooting skating and snowboarding, and I’ve been carrying this old Nikon FM lately and shooting lots of black and whites of friends. I love working in the studio. I want to do a cross country motorcycle trip and shoot pics and put a book together. Maybe you could give me some advice, you’ve driven across the country like a million times.

Full disclosure: Do you feel like going to snowboard camp with me in the 90s helped you win the Firing Squad?

Yes. I knew when 15-year-old me met 16-year-old you, we’d both be famous on the Internet someday.

Do you have any insightful advice for people who want to get into
shooting snowboarding?

Learn your trade, go shoot film. Shoot as much as possible, and shoot everything. Have fun.

Check out more of Jeff’s work at