For a guy from Florida, shooting Shaun White in the 28 degree temperature of American Dream’s indoor snow park in New Jersey was quite the change-up. Did I mention it was 28 degrees?? The shoot focused on Shaun teaching Chris Como, a top golf instructor, how to snowboard and then Chris teaching Shaun how to swing and work on his stroke in golf. Yes, I love my job!
The best of both worlds with as much contrast as you can possibly imagine.
The locations for this shoot were wildly different. American Dream is a huge indoor mall and entertainment complex that features three different theme parks. We worked in Big Snow, the indoor year-round ski and snow resort. With chair lifts, a seated viewing area and a slope to ride, this place was a unique location. Although the whites and snow presented some challenges, having the control of the indoors without wind or other detriments to photography was a real bonus.
In contrast, the Chelsea Piers Golf Club is off the West Side Highway in New York City and looks out over the Hudson River. It offers a driving range plus heated and weather-protected stalls along with indoor golf simulators that let folks practice the sport no matter what time of year. Having the outdoor lighting and smaller shoot area made this part of the job work really well. And yes, although there is a driving cage fence set up, lots of golf balls swoop into the Hudson.
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Shaun started out skateboarding and made the transition to snowboarding as a child. He’s competed in the Olympics five times, took his first Olympic gold medal at age 19 and went on to win three Olympic golds by 2018. He’s also the first athlete who has competed in Summer and Winter X Games in two different sports: skateboarding and snowboarding. He’s taken medals and wins at the X Games, Olympics, U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, and the FIS Snowboard World Cup.
He retired from competition after the 2022 Winter Olympics. It’s not an exaggeration to say he was the world’s best snowboarder in the world.
THE TASK AT HAND
Shaun correctly stated that stance is a crucial part of success at both snowboarding and golf. The position of feet and shoulders help with balance and power in both sports. White thinks golf is harder because, he said, ”there are so many little nuances to a swing.” Snowboarding is very much about large muscle groups and shifting balance in your whole body. Golf is often much more about small muscle control in making short shots. They both said using rotational momentum to power up for a snowboard move or drive swing were similar techniques.
They also analyzed how backflips on a snowboard and extensions in golf have common elements. They both make use of the force of the body rotating. Both require the commitment to the movement; don’t change your mind halfway through!
The good-natured camaraderie between White and Como made this a delight to shoot. It was clear that the men understood each other’s perspectives on their sports, and they truly seemed to enjoy talking together.
I thought learning the similarities and differences between snowboarding and golf was really interesting. As a Florida photographer, I don’t shoot a whole lot of winter sports, so seeing Shaun at his level of skill on snow was fascinating. I’m more familiar with golf, and shooting at the Chelsea Piers site felt a little more everyday and low-key for me. Both Chris and Shaun did a great job in learning about each other’s sports and trying to put into practice the details and muscle control needed for specific movements.
This job included advertising, still, and editorial photography. The photos will be used online and in future promotions.
If you’re an athlete, brand or or event company that needs sports photography for social media, marketing, advertising editorial work or event promotion, I can help. I have years of experience making products, people, and places look good. Contact me today at 407-592-6990.