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Winter sports can be a fantastic subject for photography. They are spectacular, dynamic, and knowing how to capture them will lead to some awesome photos in your portfolio. But before you go and hang out with extreme skiers and snowboarders, there are some things you need to check. Here they are.
First of all, you need to protect yourself from the cold. Most of the winter sports you will be photographing take place in pretty hostile temperatures. It is a challenge for both you and your gear. It doesn’t even have to be an extreme cold to make things difficult .Gloves are an absolute must, but it’s up to everyone when it comes to prefering thin gloves or bulky ones. One thing you need to look out for is your nose touching the camera’s body. The plastic or metal can become so cold that it is easy to frost nip the end of your nose. Hold your camera a few millimeters away from your face when framing or wear a protective mask.
Probably the most important thing to remember about focus when photographing winter sports is never to use all the focusing points. That goes for all cameras, so it doesn’t matter if you have 11 points or 51. If you are thinking about using all points, there is a good chance your camera will focus in the wrong area of the frame and you will miss your target. It’s also best to talk to your subject whenever possible so that you both know exactly what will happen. You can also ask your subject to cross a certain area that you will pre-focus in advance. In this case, all you have to do after focusing is switch to manual focus and use the camera’s continuous high drive to get the most speed and make sure you don’t miss the right frame.
Usually for sports photography, the ideal lens choice would be a long one. For winter sports however, a wide angle lens is a far better option. The reason for that is that you want to show the scene as well as the athlete. Besides making everything more spectacular, the wide angle’s lines will make your shots look even more dynamic. Try to stay in the 8-24mm range for best results.
First of all, no matter what light conditions you shoot in, you should never go under 1/125th of a second with your shutter speed. If you’re using one or more flashes, sync them at 1/200. Ideally, you should photograph when the sun is lower in the sky because you get a lot more contrast and texture. The depth will also be enhanced.
Since you will be using a wide angle lens, you will have multiple elements to use in the composition. Try and combine them together in a creative vision. For example, if you’re photographing a snowboarder in a half pipe, let him know how much of the setting you want to include in the frame and how high you want him to jump.
When you’re done
At the end of the day, one vital thing you need to remember in order to protect your gear is never take your camera inside if you plan on going shooting again later. The camera will condense and if you go outside before it dries, everything inside it will freeze. Also, when you go back in, leave your camera in the bag for a while so that it will adjust to the inside temperature again.