There are so few female photographers in the action sports industry… so we decided to catch up with Svetlana Romantsova and find out what it’s really like to be shooting actions sports day in and day out!
Hi Svetlana, where are you from and how did you get into photography?
I’m from Moscow, Russia. But now I spend just few months per year there.
12 years ago when I started snowboarding after few trips to the mountains I wanted to buy a camera and learn how to use it to show my friends and parents how beautiful it is. I loved taking pictures of snowboarding as well, so step by step I start to work on some snowboarding events. Then I spent more time on different kitesurf spots, meet some riders and moved to kitesurf photography.
When did you start kiting? Where is your home spot?
First time I tried kitesurfing in the summer 2007 on Black Sea spot near Anapa it’s a huge lagoon with the flat water and good wind. It was my vocation and I was so impressed. When I come back to the office I realised that I have to change my life right now, and after 10 days I took a hard decision and left the office work. In couple month after I comeback to that spot on the sea for a big windsurf and kite event Black Sea Cup and meet there people with who I’m still the best friends. Now if I’m in Russia I usually spent time on my home spot – Plescheevo lake (140 km from Moscow) with that people. It’s not the best conditions for kitesurfing in the summer it’s windy just in May and August but it’s really good for snowkiting in the winter time and of course it’s also about good vibes of this place.
What was your first “real” photo job? How was it like?
So after working in the office I started as a freelance photographer, shooting snowboard camps and also I was building up my own photostudio. I was also shooting a lot of another things like weddings, events, architecture, food, families and etc. I tried myself in the different types of photography but extreme sports and travel photography was always my favourite just to have some good money from this industry was really hard.
You were the WKL tour photographer. What differences are there in shooting girls or boys? What do you like better?
I’m very happy to work with World Kiteboarding League and I respect how WKL was growing up less then in one year.
Take a pictures of action with guys it’s a bit more easy then with the girls but anyway I like to work with all of them. Lifestyle it’s also super important part of reportage from competition and usually pictures of girls are more popular.
You travel a lot with Kari Schibevaag (Pro Kiteboarder) What was the craziest thing you’ve ever experienced with Kari ?
haha)) I think the most sick experience was a boat trip to the North of Norway in October last year. I’ve been filming a documentary there. We passed by boat so many unbelievable places, we’ve been hiking in the wild islands, kiting, watching incredible northern light, and in my last day there we came to the orcas place. It was shame that I haven’t time to stay there longer but next year I definitely want to comeback to the North again.
I’ve never seen so beautiful nature in the world and now I know why she is in love with her home spot Lofoten islands.
Why do you get along so well?
Kari is very good friend of mine and really nice person. It’s always a lot of fun to traveling with her. And you never know what new idea she can come with.
There are many russian clichés. What habit/part of you is “typical” russian?
Ahaha it’s really hard for me to tell about myself 🙂 Maybe my accent can show that I’m Russian. I love snow but I don’t like to be in the cold places for a long time.
And I don’t drink vodka ahaah 🙂
What photo gear is the most important for your work? What do you use the most?
I think its the Canon 100-400mm lens that i use the most. Also using my water housing with wild angle or with fisheye for water shots because closeup shots with splashes looks always interesting and different.
What photo do you wish you had taken but you couldn’t either because you had no camera with you or because you were too late to catch the action?
If I see something incredible and I haven’t camera with me I just enjoy it and trying to remember each small details of it. I remember one amazing night on the boat in the North sea it was million stars on the sky, few shooting stars, super strong northern light that even sometimes getting pink, huge red half moon on horizon and luminance plankton flying with splashes, and our big white sail. I was looking on it and can’t believe that it’s true and happening in the same time. But it was impossible to take this picture (it was dark and super shaky on the moving through the big waves boat) I will remember it all my life and maybe I paint it when I will retired haha!
What makes a good kite photo?
I could tell that good light (sunset or sunrise) have a great importance, but sometimes I have a good shot even with midd day light or when it’s super cloudy so I think it’s all a bout right moment, interesting angle and/or idea and a bit luck 😉 But if you even think that conditions are not right for the great shot you have to try anyway and you can be suddenly surprised.
Follow more of her work here:
Facebook: Svetlana Romantsova Photography