Eye Candy – Backcountry Skiing

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 1, 2011      

The boy is back in town…

Colorado backcountry skiing

I don't know, perhaps we like this one better... click to enlarge.

Colorado backcountry skiing.

WildSnow progeny visiting for 5 Point Film Festival, a bit of glisse had to ensue of course. Canon PowerShot A720 and cottage cheese results in a face shot that almost knocked the guy out, evidence of which can be seen on the man's visage. Click to enlarge.

Some of you guys have been asking about my ski photo routine. I’m no pro and my stuff is only a bit above average if that, but I do have a process I’m happy to share. For a while now, though I could afford a better camera, I’ve been into a minimalist approach, equipped with a cheapo point&shoot camera (albeit one that has an optical viewfinder and a variety of user settings). Thus, I’m still using the Canon A720 as mentioned above. I could keep using this camera, but I’m seeing that a better lens would improve photo quality with no user intervention, so I’m shopping for another camera that might be a bit more on the high end, but still in the pro-sumer range. We’ll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, for those of you curious how I got the shots above. First, Louie is a good ski model who’s been both skiing for the camera and shooting for most of his life, so he knows what the photog can probably use. Next, backlight is the standard in ski photography currency. We were on our second lap on east facing terrain, so the afternoon sun was beginning to provide good lighting (though it would have been even better a bit later). After all that, our radios failed so we were skiing at pre-discussed intervals of only a minute or so.

Result is I got to a position and had to whip out the camera with only a few seconds to prepare. My prep process went something like this:

“I’ve only got a few seconds here, I’ll set zoom to a moderate wide angle so I can catch a somewhat tight shot when he gets close, ok, no time to prep manual settings, so set ‘Scene’ mode to snow, which I know yields good color balance and better snow exposure. Shoot test shot and look at histogram. Whoops, overexposed because of back lighting. Ok, punch exposure compensation and knock exposure back two notches (about a stop in old time photo language). Another quickie exposure test shot. Great, histogram shows exposure shifted to left, thus compensating for Canon A series tendency to do crumby tonal separation in the highlights. Whoa, here he comes, push the button!”

What’s interesting about my approach (interesting to myself, anyway), from an artistic standpoint, is I’m not using “machine gun” shooting because my camera doesn’t have a fast enough multi-shot mode to make it work that way for action shooting. Thus, I’m back to the old-school “decisive moment” style of shooting. One might not get as many good shots that way, but the process itself is quite satisfying to the artist in you — and art should be an evocative process for both the maker and the viewer, shouldn’t it?


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


4 Responses to “Eye Candy – Backcountry Skiing”

  1. Lee Lau May 1st, 2011 10:10 pm

    Louie is a well-trained photoslut … the photog and the subject are a team.

  2. Lou May 2nd, 2011 6:01 am

    Yeah, raising up right (grin).

  3. Jay May 2nd, 2011 7:02 am

    I met a Louie in Cordova last month. Same kid?

  4. Lou May 2nd, 2011 8:09 am

    Jay, I don’t think this guy was in Cordova, but then, perhaps he did a trip his parents won’t know about till they see the plane ticket on the college credit card?

  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube

WildSnow Twitter Feed


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version