A Frame At A Time is a new editorial series produced by Jonathan Labez, where we assign a rollerblader a 35mm disposable camera and ask them to document the important aspects of their day to day lives. This installment focuses on Abdiel Colberg.
When Jonathan hit me up to do this project, I was pumped. He didn’t had to explain much in order to “sell it” to me. I used to travel with these type of cameras everywhere. They are so simple, fun, and quite good, though it’s been a while since I used this kind of camera especially nowadays that it’s all digital. I was looking forward to using it. For a few years, I’ve been fully involved with photography. That is my 100% focus right now. I grew up with my father, now a 30-plus year of experience director, cinematographer, and editor, though I never got into that business back then because blading was my life and passion. That was the only thing I thought about. Then, I was surrounded by the best photographers in California like Brian Bowen Smith, Brian Konoske, Dan Busta, Keith Wilson, Jess Dyrenforth. Still, blading was my soul purpose. After moving back to Puerto Rico in 2006, all that changed and my photography spark came to life. Fast forward to now and photography is my soul purpose to make a living. I love it as much I love blading. So with that being said, here are the bits and pieces of my life in NY. Much love to everyone!
For the past year, I’ve committed myself on working 100% only on photography-related jobs. Since I moved to NY, I’ve been “hustling” non-stop to make this happen, from freelance portrait work, to BTS for corporate events in the city. However, my main gig was the creation of a photo-walk/class experience for tourists in downtown Manhattan were I would take them on a 2 and a half hour walk — from the financial district, to the One World Trade Center, Chinatown, Brooklyn Bridge and/or the Manhattan Bridge. As we go along, I teach them the fundamentals of photography —the different types of compositions, right exposure, perspective. All this while we practice street, architecture, portraits, and landscape photography. Other than skating, this is the best job I’ve had, hands down.
First place I cruise every day to go work
I had to take the Long Island railroad to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan, a 1-hour train ride to get to work. Here, I will watch skating videos or listen to the Jump Street podcast or I would watch all kinds of photography tutorials.
After a short or long meditation (depending on my time) and some inspirational reading to get the positive vibes flowing, I can’t leave the house if I don’t drink a cup of hot espresso coffee (from the mountains of Puerto Rico) with soy milk. Love my coffee.
What’s In My Bag And Can’t Leave The House Without
I can’t leave the house without my camera. This is my life now. Even if I’m not working I bring it with me. It’s a part of me now. As for now, I’m using a Nikon D750, with a 50mm, a 85mm and a 24-105mm f4. I also bring my Nikon speedlight with some orange gels, a portable softbox and a transmitter and a receiver when I do the photo-walks. I do have more photography equipment for my portrait work but this is what I carry with me on a daily basis.
Something I Support
THEM Skates and Eulogy Wheels are two companies I support 100%. I will forever be a Eulogy rider. It was my first sponsor and it will be my last. I will be forever grateful to Isaac Oltmans at Eulogy Wheels. Best Wheels ever. Since 1998, I’ve only riden Eulogy wheels on my skates. Jon Julio, shit, what is not to love about Jon. He is the man — El Presidente. Jon has dedicated his life, literally, to blading. Always creating and giving all he can to the community. His skating is timeless. Faithful to the game since the 90’s. So my support to Jon and THEM is 100%, for sure. However, these are definitely not the only 2 companies I support. We need to support each other in order to grow a strong industry that is owned by skaters. So like mi amigo Erick Rodriguez said: Support Something.
Movement of the City
Tourists, workers, locals, concrete, history, city developments all in one place. NYC can be hectic; chaotic in times. It is definitely fun though and a perfect playground for photographers.
What I Do To Unwind
I love to end my days walking along the shore. Coming from a tropical Island in the Caribbean, listening to the calm ocean water gives me peace and a place for introspection. I cannot always do this, yet when I have the time, I don’t think about it twice. Definitely, one of my favorite places to be – the beach.
Something I Came Across
I love coming a across flowers that grew through the concrete. Life is tough, sometimes it feels unbearable. No doubt about it. These types of plants and flowers show me, in a way, that one can do the same. Use the good soil buried underneath all the bullshit and negativity, then use it to grow above all that. We can overcome anything in life – we just have to focus and feed only on the positive things.
By the time you guys are reading this, I will have moved back to my island of Puerto Rico. I decided to come back and settle there for good. I will continue my photography business there and expand from there. I flew to PR for a week to start the process for the move and one of those days, I met up with 2 of my good friends, Alejandro Velez (090) and Paul Moulier (don’t mind the finger on the pic .) It was great catching up with them and get a nice morning sesh going.
Being able to still put on my skates and have fun as I always did makes me happy. Best feeling in the world. A nice top soul on a perfect ledge. Ha! Love it. Like my brother Miguel Ramos said: a couple of grinds for the soul!
What I cherish the most in life…
And probably some of you rarely see? My family. My wife, Angela, who is from Cali Colombia; I met her in Puerto Rico 10 years ago. Now we have 2 beautiful sons – Khalil and Niko. Like some people say, family life is beautifully chaotic. It’s true. Hardest thing in the world, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
War Against All Puerto Ricans. This book is about our history as a colony of USA. It is a sad story. Yet it is a very important one in order to overcome the tyranny and corruption that comes with the oppressor. I really hope one day to see my island as an independent democratic country.
Abdiel Colberg lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. You can follow him on Instagram here.