Southern Migration: Shooting with Zepplin in Argentina By: Ben Girardi
For most people July and August are about finding the best swimming holes, staying cool and drinking beers on the back porch. For me, it’s about tracking down a pair of snowboard boots, making sure my board is waxed, transitioning from summer to winter mode and hopping on a plane to Argentina.
Argentina is the land of summertime powder and the best steak, slow cooked Asado-style—pretty much exactly what dreams are made of.
For the past ten years I’ve been working as the staff photographer at SASS Global Travel. I’m very fortunate to have this be my summer ritual. It also hugely benefits my shooting, as it gives me an additional 35+ days a season shooting on snow, mostly at Cerro Catedral.
While Catedral is a big mountain, we find ourselves going back to the same features year after year. I often visit previous angles cause I know the shot will work out, but I have to challenge myself to think outside the box. I try new angles I passed on earlier and am always shooting, even if I feel like it’s something I’ve previously shot. As photographer Corey Rich said, “Never give up on a scenario, even when you are in the most familiar situation. You can always look for new opportunities.”
One feature I have shot many times before, from a multitude of angles, is a large moss covered rock ride. I have always imagined and talked with others about having someone air into the rock ride, but I’ve never had the opportunity to make it happen.
Year after year I tell my friends they should make the trip to South America. One person in particular being Zeppelin Zeerip. While riding in Utah during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter, I would mention to him that he should make it happen. Finally this year, Zeppelin pulled some strings and booked a trip south.
When I heard Zeppelin was coming, I was stoked. I know his riding style and his diligent work ethic. He’s always willing to do what it takes to get the shot. At first, foggy conditions made it tough to get out and shoot anything. Finally, on his second week in Argentina, we got some sun and were able to starting getting some photos.
I had suggested to Zeppelin earlier in the trip that he should try airing into the rock ride, and every time he walked by I could see the idea was brewing. On his last day out he decided to give it a try. After a little encouragement he stepped up and kicked out a textbook method. Landing and riding out the 50 feet of rock. Definitely a one and done type feature. Even as I watched him ride through the viewfinder I knew this was the shot I had imagined getting on this feature after looking at it for years.