Dasha Nosova was born in Kazakhstan in ’92, but she has been living in Moscow, Russia all her life. Though, people often get surprised that Moscow is still her home base because she spends most of her time around other places. She mostly shoots winter sports, but she enjoys taking photos of BMX, skateboarding, or surfing whenever she gets a chance. She loves everything that has to do with outdoor activities.

How did you get into action sports photography and why did you love it so much that you stayed in action sports?

I picked up photography as a hobby before Instagram was invented, it was back when I was a student at the university, and that was also around the same time that I started snowboarding. Eventually, I combined my two hobbies, and I guess that’s how I decided to try to shoot action sports.

I found lots of inspiration in international snowboard magazines and movies, and then all of a sudden, I just really wanted to become a part of this unknown world. You know, growing up in a city like Moscow is nothing similar to being raised in California or somewhere in the Alps. Back then, I played tennis for about 10 years, and I would never see anyone riding a skateboard, and I would never see anyone snowboarding. I had no idea these sports existed until I turned 14 or so.

Pretty quickly I realized that I needed to travel to learn more about the industry, gain new skills and experience, meet new people, and that’s when my Mom helped me to go on some of the trips in the beginning. I think those trips happened around 2011. Thankfully, I could speak English, and all I had to do is not give up and pay attention to the advice given by other guys in the industry.

The people I’ve met along the way and who I’ve become friends with, as well as the places I’ve seen and life lessons I’ve learned hold a special place in my heart. All of these moments are the reasons that made me fall in love with the world of action sports.

 

Anna Gasser

We see almost only male photographers shooting the big events, was it hard to get in as a female photographer and get hired?

I’d be lying if I said it was easy. And it’s as hard staying in the industry as getting into it. Sometimes the industry has this preconceived notion about you, sometimes the girls are just not patient and passionate enough. When I was just getting started, there sure were boys who tried to convince me that no one will ever take me seriously and that my dreams will stay dreams, but luckily there were also guys who could explain to me how the camera works and what editing is, or be like 'Hey, we found this crazy spot, let’s see if we can do anything there and make it look cool.'

I’ve done a lot of work for free before it finally began to pay off and brought me to where I am these days. As life happens, there are ups and downs, and when things don’t go my way, I ask myself, ‘why do I do what I do?’ and then I try to go back and remember why I started. I still have this feeling that makes me want to push harder and find new ways to keep my job as a photographer or a creator. There’s so much competition in today’s media world it’s not just about finding the right angle and capturing a photo, the bar has definitely been raised in the past years.

 

What gear do you use, camera, lenses, flash?

I’ve always shot with Canon cameras. These days I use 24-70mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70-200mm, a fisheye lens, and an extender 1.4x. As for my flashes - I used to shoot with a few small Sigma flashes when I just started doing photography, and later on, I switched to Elinchrom and PocketWizard systems when my ‘fun’ shoots turned into somewhat professional.

Also, if anyone wants to know how to pack a lighting kit in one bag and travel with it - Pelican case is the answer. And if you plan on flying with it, don’t forget to include a copy of the manual for it in the case where it says that the battery meets all the necessary standards for air travel. This can make your time at the airport easier.

 

What lens do you use the most and why?

I use 70-200mm a lot when shooting snowboarding, but my favorite lens is 50mm. It’s lightweight, it’s sharp, it’s great for beautiful bokeh and for low-light shooting, it’s good for pretty much everything. And I simply like fixed lenses.

 

What is one of your favorite photos you took from a female athlete and why it is one of your favorites?

Whoa, it’s tough to pick just one. Can I name a few, please? I really like my photo of Anna Gasser that we took in Mammoth, CA, last summer. A big jump, great style, epic backdrop, natural light, fun vibe, and it made it to the finals of the X-Games photo contest. Should I mention I didn’t plan this shoot at all? Girl power, yo!

Jamie Anderson

My other favorite photo is the one of Jamie Anderson that I shot on our trip to New Zealand in 2018. This one is a great reminder that you shouldn’t panic if it’s a ‘bad weather & crust on dust day’ scenario and that it’s not always about the trick or the feature. We went to Treble Cone for a day, and it was super windy there, so I decided to focus on what surrounded us. To me, this photograph looks like a painting. God defend New Zealand.

Jamie Anderson

And I want to share this one of Stefi Luxton keeping it fun riding down snowy stairs in Austria. This was shot on our last day at The Nine Queens in 2016, everyone was already packing and about to ride down when Stefi came to me and said something like ‘Damn Dasha, what a fun week, and this setup is so insane, but… I’ve been looking at these stairs all day today. Do you wanna snap a quick picture maybe?’. This is how we wrapped it up.

Stefi Luxton

Do you travel a lot and to which places/events?

I’ve been on the road pretty much all year round for the last few years. Simply because my job requires me to travel a lot and because my hometown can’t offer the lifestyle I want to live, and as I mentioned earlier, I love going places and doing things. I suppose one day I will slow down, but I don’t think it’s happening anytime soon. Or I’m writing this while the whole world is in quarantine… I’ll see how it goes after that.

Whenever I get asked about places I feel very lucky to have all these opportunities in my life that bring me to so many beautiful destinations around the world together with my friends. There were quite many countries that I got to visit and some of the memorable places are New Zealand, Norway, Japan, Jackson in Wyoming, Indonesia.

Some of the events that I shot at and that had an impact on my career in one way or another are X Games, Superpark, Burton European Open (Laax Open nowadays), Nine Knights & Nine Queens (which became The Audi Nines), Red Bull Illume, Burton US Open, New Star Camp, Dew Tour, Frontline Rail Jam, Street League, and Windells Camp that I miss having in my life.

 

What is the difference between shooting normal sports like football, basketball, or shooting action sports?

Action sports gives you more freedom and variety. Every location is unique and it’s pretty easy to get beautiful shots and be creative with them, especially when you think about snowboarding, surfing, or skiing, and all of the isolated places you might find yourself in. Of course, the choice of photo equipment would be different. And, I believe there are more women in normal sports photography.

Jamie Anderson

Which riders you always love to shoot, style?

I’m definitely used to traveling and shooting with certain riders, but it’s kind of like they are all number one for me, so it feels a bit wrong to name just a few of them. I could probably say that I appreciate easy-going people and those who know what they’re doing.

 

In the years you are active, what have you seen changing in women's action sports?

The increasing number of women in action sports, all-girl movies, level of riding, equal prize money, girls having pro model shoes or boards. Maria Thomsen being a Super Mom and becoming the first woman to film a video part for X Games Real Snow and compete against the men!?

Jamie Anderson

What would you advise starting photographers who want to go into the action sports business?

Buying the latest and greatest is not necessary to get professional results. Keep working and looking for opportunities and you’ll find them. Say no to the things that don’t bring you joy.

Jamie Anderson

Follow Dasha her beautiful adventures and photos on her Instagram @dashanosova

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