by Cindi Fears
Some might wonder what it is like to be an Action Sports Photographer. It is hard to describe how wonderful it feels when you have a passion for something and it drives you.
Starting out two years ago I remember the advice a pro photographer gave me, he told me to learn and stick with only one genre of photography. I'm glad I am the type who loves to learn as many new things as I can because I did not take his advice and if I had I would have never discovered my love of MX. I decided I wanted to mainly shoot action sports, and the first day I stepped foot onto a local MX track I was hooked on dirt bikes and the industry.
Of course the job comes with some challenges and downsides. The first one was learning names to plate numbers. I found out the hard way a rider can have a different plate number at different races. More than once on Facebook I have tagged the wrong person in a photo! I also had to learn about sponsors, keep up with when races are and learn about the classes. Things change all the time so I am constantly learning.
In the beginning I felt like I was proving myself. All of a sudden I was a new girl at the races with a camera in hand. I noticed a lot of riders had their male friends with them to photograph and film. How would I get them to notice my work and trust that I was there to support the industry and not just be another photographer? I heard more than once after posting photos online, "I thought you were just some girl with a camera, but you are actually really talented." Now that my photos have been used in race reports, magazines and all over social media, people are more familiar with me, I have riders calling me up to photograph them and people coming up to me at races introducing themselves. It’s a great feeling when someone comes up to me, introduces their self to me, and with a smile on their face says, “thank you for taking a great picture of my son.”
I have been shooting desert races a lot lately. Desert races have me running through the desert, up hills and mountains and trying to get from one place to another as fast as I can. I thought it was a downside to not have a bike or quad to get around on, but now I see it as a blessing. I always try to think outside of the box as a photographer, but being without a bike or quad has me doing it even more. I have learned to look around at my surroundings to find something that will help make my photo special. I also go out of my way to try to get to an amazing shooting spot another photographer on a bike or quad wouldn’t attempt to get to. Being not the most coordinated person and carrying a few pounds of gear with me makes doing this tricky. I have learned the best and safest way down a hill for me is to butt surf it!
There are so many wonderful people I have been fortunate to meet! I have seen firsthand how intense races are, I have so much respect for the sport and all the riders who truly are athletes.
Every time I hear engines revving up at the start of a race my adrenaline kicks in and I am the happiest girl in the world! I am so grateful to love what I do and to be able to do it! I hope I can inspire others to find their passion and what drives them. Don't ever give up or lose sight of your goals. If you want something bad enough, you can obtain it. Don't waste time waiting for it to happen, go out there and make it happen!