SS: Whats up man, how's California treating you?
MS: Dude, California is pretty sick. I had a financial stumble. Getting laid off kinda left me in a pretty dark spot the past few months. I've finally bounced back, I'm skating and shooting every chance I get. Got some pretty cool stuff I'm sitting on.
SS: Im excited to see it! Would you say there is a lot of different obstacles shooting in California, as compared to Texas?
MS: Yeah, the colors here are more vibrant. It also gets dark here a lot earlier. Like sunset is usually at 4:30-4:40 in the "winter" time. It's kind of hard to get homies to night skate. In Texas thats what I mainly did in the winter, is night skate. So transitioning from shooting skateboarding at night, to high noon with not a cloud in the sky was kind of tricky at first. Texas usually has more clouds that block some of the sunlight. Now that I'm used to it, I don't think I'd rather be shooting in Texas weather regardless of sunlight or overcast situations. Now, if it's something solid, and whoever I'm with is on a mission, I kind of have to plan accordingly to light situations instead of just winging it.
SS: I bet its tight to see some of the Texas dawgs out there. Who have you been getting out with since the move?
MS: When I first got here I was introduced to Ray Sargent through Sean Salt, Cody Jacobson, Carsten Boyer, Kechaud Johnson, and Kyle Stone. He's a solid cinematographer, and is always down to drive where ever, and make shit possible for people. He just filmed and edited Kechaud's new "Darkstar" part that was on "The Berrics" and did a solid job. Also, I get out with the younger homie I was introduced to who fucking rips his name is Santana. Love that kid. Usually, it's all of those dudes piled into a car, or two cars every weekend. Here's a link to Kechuad's amazing part, along with some photos I shot for it.
SS: His part is nuts man! If you haven't seen it, it's worth the watch. Always a super humble guy. I've actually seen some clips of that dude Santana, he's a ripper. Do you have any project in the works at the moment with him, or any of the other homies?
MS: Well, haha he's a very hard person to shoot. I really don't know why. His style is amazing but for some reason I cant get a good photo, that i'm actually satisfied with. It's kind of the same problem I had with Derek Stanko for while back in Texas. I'm pretty sure he's working on a part. We're going to a pretty descent sized gap tomorrow around six. Hopefully it works out in my favor. He always puts it the fuck down. But yes!! I have a lot of goals to achieve in 2017. Working on a little something with Cody Jacobson, but thats kind of sealed at the moment, but you will see it soon.
SS: Cody always amazes me. You had an art show In California recently, correct?
MS: It was actually my friend Andy Wissmans zine release party called "Struggle City". I had some photos up along with Andy, Buddy Bleckley, Alex Papke, and art from Ariel Wilson. It was pretty dope. Super solid zine, and over all fun night. I was surprised Buddy, and Andy hit me up to have photos. Haha the first thing Andy said to me when I showed up was, " Holy shit, you exist!" They are all internet buddies that helped me progress in shooting. It was really cool finally meeting everyone, I had been conversing with via internet for the past 3 or 4 years.
SS: Damn! Good start to the move. As a photographer and skater do you feel like its easier to pursue your goals in California? Like you said, it's rad to finally meet these people you knew over the internet for years. Do you think its helping being out there?
MS: Yeah, I'd say so, because the whole industry is out here and/or in New York. It's harder as a photographer out here though, because everyone that shoots photos of whatever it may be.. not just skateboarding lives here. But yeah, pretty much everyone that's relevant in the skateboarding world or even people that are semi-relevant, live here... so it can be a lot easier. People are a hundred times more motivated to actually skate here compared to Texas. Im talking.. driving two hours away for just one spot, motivated. The spots are also a hundred times better, and a lot more photogenic. Sometimes in Texas, it was hard to get someone away from the skateparks for five minutes to go and shoot. I know for a fact you can relate to that.
SS: Yeah. Unfortunately, it's the truth sometimes. Everyone seems to hype up getting out to shoot, but when it comes time every one has an excuse. I need to throw a book together of different excuses I've heard. There are the really motivated dawgs out here as well. Have you made it out to LA much, or were do you guys usually get out when the chance comes?
MS: Yeah, I could probably write a book of excuses as well. That's funny you said that. Plans always fall through in Texas. The difference here is if it's a plan, its happening. If you don't show up on time, people usually aren't waiting around. Dude, I've been to downtown LA once since I've been here, and that was for that zine release/art show. We usually venture out pretty far east to Riverside or up north a little east of LA, Pasadena. So many spots in Pasadena, and out towards Riverside. A lot of the surrounding city's spots are blow out or capped. We kind of just go wherever, depending on what spot everyones down for, or if someone wants to go to get a single trick, then brainstorm for more spots after. Only bad thing is, it takes forever to go like 20 miles so it seems like everything is a lot further than it really is.
SS: I can't even imagine the traffic out there! I think I-20 is bad. What gear have you been working with since you got out there?
MS: I-20 is nothing compared to the 405 or any interstate in California.
Canon 5d mark ii, Fuji x100t, one Einstein e640 I'm trying to sell super cheap, Yn560, Godox ad360, Minitt1, X2 plus ii, X1 plus x, Canon 70-200mm f4, Tokina 10-17mm fisheye, Canon 40mm pancake, Canon 28-135, and one ladder (if needed), and the roof of my car is very convenient. I've been trying to not really use my flashes as much, so really the gear I'm mainly using out of that whole pile, is basically the pancake and the 70-200.
SS: That pancake lens is crazy good for the price. What advise would you give the beginner's when trying to get a gear bag put together?
MS: If their just starting out I don't know. Best advise I could give, would be learn how to use your camera and don't buy flashes. A fish eye is probably a must. A lot of people go with the 50mm 1.8 because its super cheap. I really have no idea though.
SS: Ive had some younger guys ask me at the park before, and its definately a hard question. I got my 60d because you told me about the Cons payment plan. I always just tell them to get a 35mm camera, and have a lot of fun with it. I wish I would have. So, even though California has treated you somewhat good, getting there wasn't so easy. You and your girlfriend broke down in the dessert right?
MS: Dude yes, worst travel experience ever. We broke down like twice. I got a ticket for operating a vehicle with an open container. I got lucky on that one, they could have taken me to jail. Then the 4th of July came, and we were stuck another day because no where was open. I think it took us 4 or 5 days to actually make it from Fort Worth, to Huntington Beach. It was insane.
SS: Looking back on it, I'm sure it was a rad time though. Hope everything continues to be rad for you, and hope your year is as you want it to be! Look forward to seeing you back here in Texas soon.
MS: Trips for the book. Peace big dawg, hold it down for Texas.