Life in Focus: Scott Serfas on Capturing The Essence of Snowboarding

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Scott Serfas is a man that chases adventure on a daily basis in the form of documenting the world of action sports. His main focus involves the realm of snowboarding (a natural fit given his Vancouver, BC roots), but his lens has captured pretty much every boardsport out there. Since the late 1990’s Serfas has worked as Transworld SNOWboarding’s senior photographer; a job he still holds to this day. As one of F-Stop Gear’s Pro Team members, Scott puts their bags through the ringer on just about every shoot and is the feature for the third episode of the Life in Focus series. We had the opportunity to have a quick chat with Scott about his travels and inspirations as a photographer, head on past the break for our interview and a peek at F-Stop’s latest video.

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Phoblographer: What has been the best part of your journey as an (action sports) photographer so far? What motivated you to pursue it as a career?

 Scott: It seems every year gets better and better but if I had to pick just one I would have to say it was the Alaska trip of the Art of Flight movie. It just couldnt have been any better. The best riders plus the best terrain and weather equals the best snowboarding photos of my career, hands down. I didn’t really pursue it as a career. I was just shooting my friends out riding and it evolved into what it is today. As they got better so did I. Before I knew it I was a professional photographer.

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Phoblographer: When preparing your gear for a shoot, how do you decide what to bring and what to leave at home?

 Scott: I just pack everything, that way I don’t have any excuses! Haha. Actually I am packing less and less these days. I try to have only one body and a hand full of lenses. I find if you don’t have what you would normally use you try new angles. With new perspectives, you create new and interesting photos.

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Phoblographer: Tell us a bit about the gear you use, and how it helps you create your vision.

 Scott: I don’t think the gear I use will ultimately change the way I create photos. I use Canon cameras and lenses, profoto lighting and f stop packs. Together they all make it easier for me to work but I don’t think that is why my photography looks the way it does.

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Phoblographer: Do you scout locations to shoot in advance, or work with whatever spot the athletes choose to ride?

 Scott: No, I rarely scout locations. It’s too hard to plan places to shoot when the weather is constantly changing. I am held at the helm of Mother Nature.

Life in Focus E03 – Scott Serfas from f-stop || Gear on Vimeo.

Phoblographer: In working on “The Art of Flight” you got to see some incredible locations, any favorites?

 Scott: Every trip with that crew was epic. Even the trips to chile where we didn’t get one day of good snow. But for sure, the best trip was Alaska.

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Phoblographer: Your black and white images are incredibly powerful and dynamic, do you find that the absence of color allows you to be more creative in the images you produce? Do you prefer black and white to color photography?

 Scott: I’ve actually never thought about it like that. I find that when I’m out shooting everything just comes naturally. I try to find an angle that does the riding justice and then incorporate the beautiful landscape around me after. Some situations work better in color and some better in black and white. I try not to ever say “Ok, today I’m only going to shoot backlit black and white with a 50mm lens”. I need to be versatile out there and adapt to where we are.


  

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