How do you get the best photos on the slopes? Expert photographer Zachary Flynn shares some helpful tips for getting the most out of your camera: "You donât need the latest equipment, in fact many people may just use phone cameras, but if like me you prefer something a bit more substantial, then a compact camera or SLR will do the job nicely". And here's what else he has to say...
Hints And Tips
If youâre using a digital SLR or a new style of compact camera, itâs best to take the camera off âfull autoâ and stick it to either a preset snow setting, or AV (aperture value) / TV (time value) mode. Once itâs on these, to get the brightest and most vibrant photos, look through the white balance settings and change it from âauto white balanceâ to âflashâ or âcustomâ. With the camera on âauto white balanceâ it can make the shots come out grey or sometimes too blue. With the setting on flash or custom it brings out the white in the pictures and gives them a slightly warmer look. If youâre looking to snap a skier in motion, adjust your camera's shutter speed to 250 (1/250 seconds) and above. This will keep the skier sharp in focus in the shot if theyâre travelling at speed.
Keep It Clean
Weâre not talking about the pictures you take, but the lens! Itâs always a good idea to keep a spare cloth in your ski jacket or bag so that you can give the lens a quick wipe. Most ski jackets have a goggle wipe hanging on the inside of the jacket, which is perfect to use. If the lens gets all clogged up with greasy finger marks and dirt, your pictures will come out hazy.
Keep It charged
There is nothing worse than getting your camera out at a perfect photo opportunity to find the flashing sign on your LCD screen saying âout of batteryâ. Always have a spare battery on you. Batteries get used up a lot quicker in lower temperatures, so you might think that you know how long your battery should last at home, but in the cold, the battery life will be a lot shorter.
Being creative can make some of the best shots. For example, if youâre in a group and you manage to come across a snow park, thereâs bound to be someone who says âI can do that! Looks easyâ, and âGet the camera ready for this oneâ. This is your opportunity to take the best photo of your mateâs trip, or the one where it all went wrong! In this situation the best place to stand for the money shot would be on the knuckle of the jump. Itâs always good to get down low so that when you snap away it makes the rider look a lot higher than they actually were.
Many new styles of goggles have a reflective coating, making them look like a colourful mirror. Taking a close-up photo of the goggle lens whilst it's on a friend's head and theyâre looking at the group behind, you can get a great shot. Or maybe youâre sitting having lunch and your goggles are on the table, this is also a great chance to get a reflective photo. It's all about being creative.
Take In The Views
With the vast mountainous range around you, itâs hard to stop taking photos of your surroundings. One of the most fascinating shots is the panoramic. It can show in a single image a 180 to a 360 degree view. If you donât have this panoramic setting, then just a nice landscape photo of your scenery will do. One great tip when taking a photo of scenery is to make sure the horizon is not dead center in the picture. It always looks a lot nicer with the horizon either above or below the middle of the picture. Personally when I take photos of the mountain, I prefer to get more mountain in than sky. It gives more to look at in the picture and makes the viewer realise the impressive size of them.
Itâs always nice to get a photo of the family on a chair lift. But when youâre sitting so close together it's really hard to get everyone in the picture whilst trying to include the scenery. A good trick is for you, the photographer, to go on the chair lift in front. Then all you have to do is turn around and you can get a front view of the rest of your party. Youâll also be able to get a great background of the surroundings, with the vast area to zoom out from.
Make It Fun
At some point during your day you will need to take a break. Your legs will be killing and youâll just need a rest. There are normally a few picnic benches at the top of the mountain and these are ideal for getting the next photo.
Youâll have to put your camera on 10 second self-timer for this one. Just set up your camera on the table and get yourself into position: hoping you have caught the time right, try and jump into the air when the photo is being taken. If it all goes well - and this may take a few goes - you should have a photo with the whole group in the air with a great mountainous background behind.
Don't Lose Your Gear In The Snow
You often hear of people dropping all the contents of their pockets off a chair lift. To avoid this happening to you, itâs best to attach your camera to yourself - that way it canât go very far. If you donât have a way of tying the camera to your jacket, itâs always a great idea to check that your pockets are zipped up before heading down the slope or about to get onto a chair lift.
Donât Pretend Youâre Action Man
We all think we can do it - ski backwards to take that perfect photo. So many injuries from people crashing because they werenât looking where they were going happen while they were taking a photo of family and friends. Itâs a whole lot safer to plan the shot ahead, tell them where youâre going to stand on the piste, and let them come to you. And because theyâre all coming to you, you can catch every one of them, saving yourself chasing your 10 year old son whoâs skiing at the speed of sound!
If you'd like to see more of Zach Flynn's photography, or get hold of him personally, check out his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/zachflynnphoto.
Last Updated: January 2014