Dennis Nadalin was born in Hollywood, California, and family and friends agreed from the beginning that he was destined to work “in the business.” An elementary school guidance counselor told him that he was best suited to become a fisherman, a photographer, or a stand-up comic. Dennis has spent a lifetime enjoying the outdoors, including mountain biking, hiking, and fishing. His interest in photography began when he was small as he watched his dad capture the world through a lens. The family moved from Culver City, CA, to the mountain resort town of Wrightwood when Dennis was 12. He made fast friends with the locals, but soon discovered that “there are no friends on a powder morning.” If you couldn’t keep up, you skied alone. Kids!
Dennis found willing subjects for his budding interest in ski photography while he was in high school. His little brother and many friends were all too willing to jump off of the nearest boulder or ski down a staircase if it meant “getting the shot.” Dennis planned on a career as a downhill ski racer, so he worked two summers washing dishes at the local diner to save enough money for a world-class ski race camp in Bariloche, Argentina. Once he arrived, however, he kept placing behind some kid whose dad could fund unlimited race camps and trainers, no dishwashing required. Meanwhile, he met another camp attendee who was on assignment from a magazine. This one could barely ski, yet he had all of his expenses covered, PLUS he was getting an assignment fee! Dennis mentioned his shots of the ski buddies back home, and his new friend suggested submitting for possible publication. The rest, as they say, was history.
The transition from shooting stills to motion was an easy one. A retired CBS newsman named Bill Southworth came to the mountain to pitch an idea to the owner: Film skiing each week, submit it free of charge to local news stations, and allow them to use the footage during their weekly ski reports. Free advertising! Bill’s demands: he wanted a free ski pass and he wanted someone to ski around with him and carry his gear. Dennis was the ski resort owner’s obvious choice, as he had already established himself as an expert skier with a strong work ethic, dedication, an excellent eye, positive energy, and a clear willingness to listen and learn. Before long, Dennis was put in charge of creating and running a new video division of the Mountain High Ski Resort Marketing Department, a role he continues to this day.
Southern California allows one to enjoy many pleasures, including a remarkable calendar of sunny days. This same feature means that one cannot snow ski year-round, but Dennis found that his ski footage was valuable year-round. Los Angeles filmmakers and directors worked with Dennis on ski commercials, which led to the inevitable question: “Do you shoot anything else?” In short order, he was asked to update and polish the look of a fledgling outdoor fishing show on ESPN. Hundreds of outdoor TV shows followed, including Fly Fishing America, Fly Fishing the World, American Photo Safari, Canon’s Photo Safari, and more.
Dennis has commented more than once that he loves a good challenge! Filming a plethora of outdoor shows has allowed him to walk into a brand-new environment, immediately determine the best possible portrayal of its local attractions, and capture the show’s host and guest celebrities during interior interviews and outdoor action sequences, interacting with nature and each other. Available light, mixed light and sound issues are always important aspects to control or conquer.
Today one can find Dennis in a variety of creative shooting tasks. His current list includes a number of BTS projects, music videos, TV demos, and staying true to his roots, skiing/snowboarding projects and the great outdoors.
…And regarding the advice of that elementary school guidance counselor? She got the fishing right, and the photography was spot-on. The stand-up comedy? Still a work in progress.
Please take a moment to look around and see some of his wonderful samples, and feel free to contact Dennis with any questions. All the best!