This dude Kyle Beckmann is on another level. The guy’s got more layers than a sweet onion with all the different things he does, and places he’s adventured. He got his start in snowboarding, scroll down and you'll understand! His pictures might even bring a tear to your eye! Don’t want to spoil anything…so without further ado, here he is!
The man himself...photo courtesy of Keith Rutherford
Tell me a bit about yourself..
Well, my name is Kyle Beckmann, I’m 32 years old from Jupiter, Fl. Jumped from there to San Clemente when I was younger, and then took an opportunity to live in Lake Tahoe with my good friend Tim Humphreys. I just recently moved back from Lake Tahoe, CA to Beech Mountain, NC.
Honestly had to stop him from zooming past the fact he called Tahoe home (Just a little bit jealous of that). Glad it came up because he shared some golden advice about where you can catch surf on the lake when the southwest winds are right!
As Kyle says - Howling!
How’s Beech Mountain treating you?
Well, it’s where my family has a home, so being back is great. It’s got the mountains of North West North Carolina, close to some racetracks (Bristol TN and Charlotte, NC) for my work in NASCAR, plus it boasts some pretty amazing fishing spots. With that kind of location trifecta, I’d say it’s a win win!
Blown away by the fly fishing vision you share, Would love to hear more…
Absolutely! Tahoe was where I got my start in fly fishing. A couple of other snowboarders coaxed me into buying a fly rod and come out to take some photos. I instantly fell in love. The aesthetics of flowing water and wild fish had me (pardon the pun) hooked. I can go fish the same spot 100 times and never get bored. The fish move around. Fly hatches are different from hour to hour, let alone day to day. It always keeps you guessing. That’s one reason I love it so much, I never get bored. Catch me in pouring rain, begging for the smallest fish to give me a bite.
Photographing the scene has also always taken a backseat to the activity itself. Mostly because it’s my escape from work. It’s always an internal struggle to bring the camera to the river. If I do bring it, ends up I won’t shoot anything that I like, or I'll feel too attached. But if I don’t bring it, the coolest hatch happens, or the lighting is so right, and I miss the moments. Then I hate myself for a few hours.
Just a small taste of his eye in this arena, plenty more on his insta @Kyle_Beckmann
Slopes or coasts?
There are days in wish my toes were in sand, but I’d rather have them in wading boots or snowboard boots any day of the week. As they say, the mountains are always calling.
Music you've been jamming to most as of late?
I haven’t listened to a single Pandora station aside from Joe Cocker radio in about 5 months.
Have a favorite dish?
My moms’ pot roast is seriously too good for words…
Is there a certain trip you're dying to take?
Any trip that I’m not contractually obligated to - I’m game for. Most trips are work related, so I never fully get to enjoy them. So Surf trip down baja, driving 100s of miles down logging roads to get to a remote river, COUNT ME IN! I love adventure, and the ups and downs of them.
How’d you get your start in photography?
During and after college I worked every job I could that supported me being able to acquire more gear, go on trips to shoot. Bartending, delivering pizza, you name it! Whatever it took to make ends meet. I’ve getting paid for my shots for about 9 or 10 years now, but would I call that professional? Hell no! It wasn’t until about 4 years ago i was able to step away from all that and live off my income pushing a button.
What does photography mean to you?
To me, it’s really just about using your camera to evoke a feeling or emotion. That’s the purest definition of art. Evoking an aesthetic of emotional experience. I love the process of trying to achieve that.
Is there anything you won’t shoot?
Weddings….I’ve had my fill! The mother of the bride is the worst thing to deal with, ever.
Do you ever have to step back and take a different outlook on a project or shot?
Constantly. But the fact that I shoot so many different things means I’m always taking a fresh look. Going from chasing back country snowboarders on a snowmobile at 20 mph, to a racetrack shooting cars doing 150+ mph, then in a studio shooting product keeps me on my toes. I learn something from every venue I’m at, and each benefits me in the other areas. But sometimes i just need to get away from it all. Go get on the river or go snowboarding for myself. Whatever it is that keeps me wanting to go back and do it again, and keep it fun.
I look for motivation from my peers. Also, right now photography is going through a relapse of sorts. We're using modern equipment to portray an old feel. Its becoming less and less about the grandiose and more about the point again. I like this move, and finding ways to accomplish with less.
I also have a series of questions I tend to ask myself before taking on a project. How can your steal someone’s soul with a portrait? How can I show an image of product that makes you want to be in that persons shoes, and live that life? How can I make a race car that is captured in a still frame look like its going a million miles an hour? Questions like these keep me on my toes, and don’t let me get lazy. Keep exploring what you are shooting!
No matter your craft or occupation, asking ourselves similar questions to the ones Kyle does in his line of work is worthwhile. Cheers to the pursuit of exploring all things new, and never being lazy! Hope the river runs full of fish to catch, Kyle! Happy Memorial Day, and Stay Barreled!