Lodge Photography, Dan Sparagna
What kind of equipment do you use?
Sony A 6000 mirrorless body with an assortment of lenses. I have an Rokinon 8mm fisheye 2.8, Rokinon 10mm wide angle 2.8, Sony 16mm 2.8, Sigma 19mm 2.8, Sony 18-55 3.5, Sigma 30mm 1.4, Sony 50mm 1.8, Sony 55-210 4.0. I use Flashpoint flashes with Flashpoint triggers and Phottix Odin triggers, Lee filter systems.
What do you prefer?
My go to lens for skating is my 8mm fish and a bunch of flashes. I have been told I use too many flashes, but I believe you can never have enough light…
How much do you spend on equipment?
Not too much a few thousand dollars I guess..
Do you only shoot skateboarding? Or other? If other please list?
I shoot yachts for sale for a Yacht broker, for their website. I have to shoot the interiors of these 4 or 5 bedroom yachts that can cost up to and over a $1,000,000 dollars. Some of them are pretty dark inside so it takes a lot of light, so some of them are pretty challenging but it’s good practice. I also like to use my Lee filter system and shoot long exposure stuff. I just got my filters a little over a year ago and have only used them a few times, but I love the results I have achieved, it’s still a work in process. I also love a good sunset.
How long have you been shooting photos?
I have been shooting since I was a little kid. My stepdad gave me a Rolliflex in about 6th or 7th grade and I was hooked, that was around 1975. After that I got an Canon AE-1 and started shooting my brother and friends skating our 1/4 pipe on the driveway. Then I moved on to a Canon AE-1 Program with a motor drive. I shot slide film for years because it was cheaper than film. I have 5 shoeboxes full of slides from the 80’s that I have been carrying around with me since I was a teenager. I need to get a good scanner and convert some of those vintage shots to JPEG’s.
What is your best photo mission?
I don’t have one in particular, I did go up to Orange County and shoot an old deserted backyarder with some of the old Dogtown skaters and got a centerfold with Charlie Blair in an Australian magazine. I’ve been to Australia twice to shoot events. I’ve been to the east coast of the US a few times to shoot backyard and Dew tour events. One day I will make it to Vert Attack to skate in it and shoot it, maybe even this year. When I was younger we use to jump fences and skate backyard pools, some of my favorite shots are from those sessions…I used to always bring my camera to sessions back in the day to capture some of the action, I never really went just to shoot. I do that now also but, when I am shooting an ad for somebody it’s too hard to do both, so I just bring my camera gear. Most of the time I skate first, and then shoot when I’m done skating.
Who do you preferred to shot photos with?
I am lucky to live where I do to have so many good skaters to shoot with. Some of my favorites are Darren Navarette, Bucky Lasek, Peter Hewitt, Packy Fancher, Kevin Staab, Steve Caballero, Amelia Brodka, Josh Rodriguez, Mimi Knoop, Dave Allen, Jeff (Ffej) Hedges, Matt Dove, Pedro Delfino, Mike McGill, Shark Dog, Jimmy Wilkins, and the list goes on and on…
Can you make a living out of shooting photos ?
I can’t, but if you hustled enough I think you can get by, but not enough to support a family unless you are salaried employee from a magazine.
What’s your best photo ?
I’m not sure, I have a handful that are my favorites. The problem being a photographer is sometimes you will like a certain photo more than the skater does just because of the lighting or angle or motion but they aren’t satisfied with how the trick came out. Or visa versa they like one that you don’t because of the lighting etc.
Any photo advises?
If you are just starting out, shoot as much as you can so you can figure camera settings and what they do. Shooting with a digital camera is certainly easier than a film camera because the learning curve is instant compared to waiting to see if your pictures turned out. The correct lighting will make all the difference in the world between a good shot and a bad shot. I believe that it really helps with knowing what angle to shoot a trick from if you have some “skaters knowledge.” Be courteous to skaters when you are shooting with them. Let them warm up a little before you start shooting. Discuss the shots you are looking for and only shoot tricks that they are comfortable with. Be patient, if it takes 20 takes to get a shot don’t be impatient, shoot it 20 times. If a skater doesn’t like a shot don’t publish it, it will piss them off and you will lose the ability to shoot with them again. Don’t be pushy, if a skater just wants to skate and not shoot that day, don’t shoot that day. If you are shooting in a contest situation, be courteous to the other photographers. Don’t be a “flamingo” and be pushing your camera into other people’s shots. Compose your shots (look through your viewfinder) and remember you don’t have to shoot every skater every time they come by, pick and choose what tricks you want to shoot. Above all, just have fun with it, remember that there are no rules in skateboarding, so you can do what you want to do.
Thanks DAN for supporting the lodge, this was great !