Mountain Skill: Second Hand Stoke


Take terrible touring photos. From a safe island, I recklessly abandon and photograph my friends, often ignoring some photographic tenets I know (looking at you, rule of thirds). Sometimes quantity outweighs quality and a decent image stands out, but generally it’s a matter of luck, not skill. It may be true for you, but according to professional photographers and athletes, it doesn’t have to be.

Emily Tidwell demonstrates how to frame shots, and Amie Engerbretson takes advantage of deep sunny paw laps at Mt. Rose Wilderness, California. [Photo] Emily Tidwelll

back side of the lens

Good photography begins with awareness of the avalanche. “One thing to always be aware of is snow safety for both you and your subject,” says photographer Emily Tidwell. Next is the plan. “When I’m climbing the skin track, I’m always thinking about image,” she continues. During the tour, look for features, snow surfaces, and scenery that you want to photograph, especially if you descend the same way. Once you’ve identified your spot and angle, make sure you and your subject are on the same page. “If you don’t effectively communicate what you’re envisioning to skiers, it’s not going to work,” says photographer Katie Cooney.

There are several ways to communicate your thoughts to athletes. Discussing shots along the way may be most effective, but if that’s not possible, a radio can be used to tell the subject the best place to place the carving. I also use a more analogue method when I’m down. “If you can throw a snowball and say ‘right there,’ that’s usually a very good way to communicate,” she says.

Once the position is decided, let’s play around with the angle. Get low or move around in your comfort zone to find the frame that appeals to you the most. Heights such as ridges and rock bands offer great vantage points. Tidwell suggests including parts of the landscape (branches, trees, rocks) in the foreground to provide depth and context. If you have an iPhone, you can turn on Burst Mode (called Burst Shot on Samsung), take several photos of your skier or rider, then choose the best one. “That’s why we say shoot anything. Just decide what looks cool to you,” says Cooney.

Finally, you don’t need a DSLR to customize your photos. New smartphone cameras allow users to change the exposure, adjust the warmth of the image to change the colors that are highlighted, and many other tools that real cameras have, so mobile Familiarize yourself with the options on your phone. They say it helps create correct framing and depth of field. “If someone is really into it, I encourage them to find editing software they like, too,” she says.

Caroline Gleich says it’s an art to speed up and “blow the snow” close to the camera. Here in Mount Superior, Utah, she gives masterclasses. [Photo] Louie Arevalo

ski for camera

Photographers are only half the equation for good photos. Being in front of the camera requires understanding where to look to get the best shots, but he can do one thing in particular to improve a photo. “My biggest concern is form,” he says Tidwell. “For those who have to ski for the cameras, an athletic stance is your lord and savior if you want to look good.”

Skier Caroline Gleich, who has spent a lot of time in front of and behind the camera, at least put her hands low and forward. If you’re a snowboarder, try to keep your hands low and conscious of where you place them, rather than raising them like a congregation speaking in tongues. Especially Blower he skis and rides aggressively as he approaches the spot, especially for powder her shots. “It’s definitely an art form of stopping in and trying to get as fast as you can so you can really blow the snow away,” she says.

Beyond just minding the P’s and Q’s, Gleich says zipping jackets, zipping backpack straps, and cinching jacket cuffs over gloves make shooting easier. say. “Start small and work your way up,” she says. “Start with the test slope.

don’t forget to have fun

According to one study, Americans spend an average of 1,300 hours each year on social media (where many recreational ski photos are posted). But photos can remind you of your favorite tours long after winter is over, and with a little self-awareness, photos can be the driving force behind your tours, says Gleich. “I think there’s nothing wrong with being motivated to do something for the ‘glam,'” she says. “If your motivation is to venture into social media, that’s fine as long as you’re aware of the human factor and how it works.”

One way to take the pressure off of getting the perfect ski shot and capture your entire trip or tour is to capture the moments in between as well. Peruse Gleich’s Instagram account, and you’ll see photos and videos of packing, traveling, and mundane care of expedition skiing. “It’s really fun trying to tell other parts of the story,” she says. For those who may not travel to Pakistan or other far-flung destinations on their ski trips, she still has photos of everything from lugging ski bags at the airport to debriefing over a beer at the trailhead. I suggest taking a picture.

Above all, these photographers encourage you to never lose sight of why you’re taking pictures in the first place: being in the mountains. Capturing good images can lead to what Cooney calls “second-hand stalks,” but when you stop planning and taking pictures, you change the rhythm of your tour, limiting the number of laps you take, and so on. , 1 lap his day is getting longer. Cooney and Tidwell say they sometimes leave their cameras at home to balance taking pictures and enjoying skiing. This isn’t a problem recreational athletes have, but it’s a reminder that you shouldn’t spend all day taking shots.

Cooney suggests snapping a photo in the middle of your run, then putting away your camera and phone and making some noise with your friends. Finally she says:

This article was originally published 2023 Photo AnnualFor more information, get a copy at backcountry again Subscribe.

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