Steve Lloyd has a family to support, including an already-athletic toddler, by selling skiing and biking photos. Risking equipment and sometimes his life doesn’t falter the Utah-based photographer. Molly Baker, a friend, photography subject, and camera destroyer, spoke with Steve about his tactics for dealing with the consequences of ski photography.
What’s the difference you’ve found shooting male athletes versus female athletes?
I think guys tend to go bigger and take more punishment. They are more willing to go out and try my crazy ideas. The females who I work with are always much more patient and usually willing to put the time in to help get shots. Also, I feel like my opportunities to publish increase when working with female athletes.
I remember your patience when I broke your only camera last year trying to get a shot at Alta. Did I ruin the appeal of shooting with females?
I remember you almost started crying. With the set-up we worked with (the athlete wears a backpack rigged with a camera on an extension) I was aware that smashing the camera into a tree was plausible. At the time I just didn’t have a back up, so I wasn’t prepared to be camera-less. As we stood out in Westward Ho, huge, fat flakes covering us, (and covering the sensors inside that were exposed because the casing looked like an exploded bomb) I told you most accidents are trivial. Compared to being buried in an avalanche or an athlete getting hurt while shooting, a broken camera doesn’t matter.
So the avalanche experience got me off the hook. What are the details?
I was under about five feet of debris when my best friend, Jason West, found me. I was life flighted to the University of Utah Hospital and released that day.It was a great experience for learning lessons about being naïve in the backcountry.I am just glad that Jason was with me; he is the guy who really helped me learn about backcountry skiing and definitely the person I would want to have searching for me in this situation.
Jason sounds like the perfect backcountry ski buddy. I bet he’s never late to meet you for sunrise shoots, right?
I am usually the first person up and ready to go.Most of my athletes run late.This year I am trying new tactics.I’m going to tell them all that they need to be there a half hour earlier than needed; I need to trick them.Getting the early morning light is really important for me.It’s just a much better chance to get good shots.I don’t think enough athletes really realize this.
I know you like the early morning light, but what about photos at night?
I have been putting a lot of work into night shots as the industry has started to accept them more.Last season I worked with athletes in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyon on multiple evening shoots. We would ride the last chair up at 4:30 and finish around 9:30 just for one shot.I did this multiple nights last season. I think that the work payed off.