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March 30, 2011

Armin Popp talks extreme photography: Push Snowboarding style

“It’s not technology it’s what you do with it”. True in many respects but especially so for one of the guys from the Push Snowboarding project.

Meet Armin Popp. Armin is an Austrian based freelance snowboard photographer and filmer, who’s been working with the Push Snowboarding crew providing his local knowledge and understanding of snowboard filming. Armin was a friend of one of the team behind the films that documented the first snow tests out in Austria and after capturing some breathtaking footage, he’s quickly become an integral part of the team. There’s not many people that are able to keep up with the Burton team-riders as they test out the kit, whilst filming a moving target in those snowy conditions. With Armin’s helping hand and precious tips, the Push Snowboarding team have managed to capture some great footage though.”

We managed to grab some time to sit down with Armin and find out more about the man behind the camera.


Tell us a little bit of your background in photographing and filming?

After I finished my business-school when I was 16, I wanted to work more on a artistic job. I chose to go to a foto-specialized school in Salzburg when I was 17. The same year I started snowboarding, and yes, fell in love with it. When I was 19 I did a small slide show in my school, about skating, mountainbiking and of course snowboarding. Fotos I did for the prior 2 years, primarily so that the parents of the riders could see the pictures. 200 people showed up including JUNIOR from Burton who at that time needed help on publishing the national team. So I had a job for the 93/94 season. The rest is history.

How do you think the Nokia N8 works for filming and photographing?

This tool is incredible. Nowadays you could do a travel blog on a camel trough out Arabia and all you need is this resistant little utility that does it all. Pictures that give you an incredible impression and videos that blow your mind. It lies well in the hand as well. On fast foto action you have to go along with the object a little to catch the high speed movements, but it works if you practice.


What kind of things do you like to film?

My film-projects started from 1999 on. First we tried on a small base with one sponsor to push snowboarding. On the beginning I was more in Production and  fotos were on the side.  It was hard times till then. Analogue Foto and more or less, if you compare it to now, analogue filming. I had all young gangsters on my film crew and it was their learning time. From 2003 till now I film if necessary. For instance,  follow-cam on downhill-projects  at the Inferno in Ischgl, or follow the pros on their promo-tour as well as filming legends behind the scene. I try to do it all as it’s life and it’s natural.


How did you come up with your home made N8 phone holder and what materials did you use for it?

In 2003 we worked for a project in Serbia. It was then for Eurosport and we tried to adjust the Canon Xsomething, big one, on a one foot tripod. So with a wide angle you could see yourself snowboarding the powder. I tried it and it worked out very nice.

I had this shower-curtain-stick laying around at home, it was a leftover since my shower is very small, and I used it to teach my daughter push-ups on it, by holding it. After all it is very light, but still resistance. The last adjustment we did during a birthday-party of a Bulgarian friend of mine. Now it works better.

Then one came to the other and the stick is now my tripod. Now with the new project for filming also your friends. In case big video data can be transferred easy, then the push snowboarding project Nokia does now, could work on a 2 telephone base, and nobody needs a big or extra camera.

You could work the body and board data together with the video data and get one quick overall info.

How does it help your filming?

It keeps it more stable, kind of. When you are riding and filming at the same time, there is a lot of things you have to keep focused on, especially at high speed. Your arm is sometimes moving but with the stick you have one more angle through the hand and you can learn how to balance that out. I have to mention I am sill hardcore learning how it  best works, but we are getting there!

A big thanks for Armin for giving us his time (and photos) for this interview!