Popular Photography's 15th Annual Readers' Photo Contest
First Place Winner: Danny Podkowa
Pod (Danny Podkowa) has a singular passion: skateboarding. If he's not skateboarding, he's thinking about skateboarding. Perhaps the only thing that rivals this first love is photography. "I live and breathe skating," Pod says, who has been active in the sport since 1985, "and I shoot it as often as I can. I guess it comes easier to me than most folks, because I know when the climax of a trick is going to be."
Pod says that he always thought that skateboarding would be cool to shoot, but it wasn't until he was in college that he seriously picked up a camera. "I had to make a slide show for an art class, so I borrowed my dad's camera, a Minolta x-700 -- and kinda never gave it back," he recalls with a laugh. Since then he's found a way to juggle his full-time job as an offset printer, teach himself photography, and continue to board, even combining them all into a free zine called Sauce, which he publishes.
One day during a particularly brisk spring that, according to Pod, "we called Juneuary," a vanful of skaters, including Pod and rising star Chaz Pineda (pictured), made their way to a skate park in Donald, Oregon, a small town about 25 miles south of Portland. As Chaz skated, Pod shot. Using his Nikon D300, a fish-eye lens, as well as two Nikon sb800 flashes remotely triggered, and inching as close as possible to the tricks, Pod got this Phillips Air. He says, "The thing I love most about skateboarding is its expression of freedom and individuality." To view Pod's zine, check out www.sauceskateboardzine.com.