“…it’s all digital in the end”

Photographers that have been around for a while tend to get misty eyed with nostalgia whenever they talk about the ‘analogue’ warmth of film – but shooting digital has some huge advantages over film. How and when did you adapt to the whole digital thing? Was it an easy transition for you?

I think it was in 2002 and there was a Vans Triple Crown in Oceanside and I didn’t really want to go and burn film shooting sequences for two days, but I had no excuses since I lived right down the road. I was still at Transworld at the time and I borrowed a Canon 1D from the TWSnow guys and shot digi sequences all weekend. I was so stoked on not wasting film! I went in on Monday and was freaking out and telling Dave Swift that our godsend had arrived! Our film and processing bill started to dwindle from there on.

I am not one of those old codgers that is resistant to new tools. Digital is just another brush in the paintbox. You couldn’t do a magazine now without digital and no matter what the haters say, it’s all digital in the end. In the transition period of early digital I would get into debates about film vs. digital with guys half my age, I thought it was a bit backwards, shouldn’t I be the one hanging onto the past?

Lets go back to the beginning. I believe that you used to manage the legendary Del Mar Skate Ranch back in the early ‘80’s? Is this where you started to get interested in photography?

I started working at DMSR in 1978, the 2nd day they were open. I was just a worker bee and a skater and a surfer. After a couple of years there I started managing the pro shop and managed the skatepark.

I was taking art at Palomar College and in February of 1979 I borrowed my roommate, Rich Apple’s Canon AE1 and shot a roll of Kodachrome 64 of local amateur skater, Kyle Jensen.

I was pretty stoked on the results and ended up going with my photographer friend, Chris Ray to get a used Minolta SRT 201.В I started shooting all of the locals and pros that were coming through the park.

I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was just looking at photos in mags and trying to figure it out. I was pretty much lost.

In the very early 1980’s, the number of published skate photographers was miniscule compared to today, so you could only draw your inspiration from a relatively small pool (pardon the pun). Who were you early influences, and how did you develop your own style?

I was watching pro photogs coming through the park and I would run out and watch them shoot. Warren Bolster, Craig Stecyk, Ted Terrebonne, Jim Goodrich, Glen Friedman, James Cassimus were the hotshots that I was interested in.

Goodrich was really the only one I knew and I would ask him a couple of questions now and then, but I was pretty much on my own.

[Opposite: Steve Caballero | В Pic: Brittain]

Steve Caballero in the city

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