The basics…name, age, locations, affiliates, crews, gangs, whatever…
Jeff Zielinski, 33, Long Beach, CA. I rep RideBMX magazine, Animal, Skavenger, Odyssey, Lotek, and Neighborhood BMX Shop.
The first camera I ever bought was a Canon EOS 1N RS 35mm—that camera has been in my bag for the last 12 years. I also have two digital Canon bodies, a 1D Mark II and 1DS Mark III, and Canon 15mm, 24-70, and 70-200 f2.8 lenses. The Hasselblad tally is an X Pan with 45mm lens, a 501CM body with a 30, 80, and 120 lenses. I also usually have a Yashica T4 or an Olympus Epic Stylus somewhere on me as well. Lighting is covered with a 200 WS Lumedyne Action Pack, a 400 WS Quantum Q Flash X2, a Sunpack 622 powered by a Lumedyne Megacycler, and a Canon 580EX powered by a Quantum Turbo Z battery. I use a Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 transmitter when I shoot digital, and a Pocket Wizard Transceiver for all my film exposures. Light metering is handled with a Minolta IV F meter—same one for 12 years. That’s the guts of it all…
What got you into photography?
I took a photography class in high school. Everyone in the class got a Pentax K1000 and we shot on Kodak Tri-X. We processed our own film and made prints in the darkroom. I loved it. It was honestly the first and only thing I actually cared about in high school—I even stayed after school to use the darkroom more. I’ve pretty much been shooting photos ever since then.
What inspires you to create?
There are so many talented photographers that it’s hard to go a day without seeing something that inspires me. Some non-photo sources of inspiration include warm weather, new spots, and a good crew.
What are your ideal conditions for shooting?
As long as it’s warm outside I can roll with the punches.
What problems do you often come across as a photographer?
Airports, security guards, fences, and having too much gear to carry by myself when pedaling around. And sensor dust! That’s probably the worst thing right now.
Any favorite spots to shoot at, people to shoot with?
It’s kind of hard to narrow down specific spots, although, every time I got to the Sepulveda in Los Angeles I always say how much I like shooting there. The spot is really simple, so it’s pretty challenging to shot a different photo each time I go there.
As for favorite cities…Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City, and Barcelona. As for people to shoot with…Matt Beringer, The Gonz, Josh Heino, Jim Cielencki, and Grimaldo Duran are some of my all time favorites. And as for more recently, I’d say Tom White, Dakota Roche, Eric Lichtenberger, Drew Bezanson, Garrett Reeves, and Drew Hosselton.
Is there a particular photo that you’ve seen that you always think about?
No, I feel like I’m constantly bombarded by great photos in print and online. So to remember a single photo is pretty difficult.
Any tips or advice to beginners?
Pay attention to what you’re doing. Learn from your mistakes. And even if a photo doesn’t turn out how you planned that doesn’t make it a bad photo.