Cameras for Backcountry Skiing


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 10, 2005      
Photography issues for backcountry skiers.
Sunset at Shadow Lake, Wind River Mountains, Wyoming. This was shot with a Canon Digital Rebel in manual mode, with manual focus.

It’s always fun in September to see the excitement about winter’s debut. Web forum traffic drivel ratios change for the better, and we’re all starting to think about that gear we trashed last winter and still have not replaced. Or we simply want more quality and less weight.

To that end, it seems like we’re always playing around with camera options. So I was thinking a bit of camera blogging would be fun. If you’re in the market for a new cam’ here is what myself and many shooters I know look for in a digital camera:

Wide range zoom (otherwise all your shots start looking the same).

Large LCD that’s at least semi-visible in bright sunlight.

Easily invoked and used manual mode (sometimes the camera just can’t think well enough for you)

Battery system that works for your style. Proprietary rechargeables are fine for short trips. For longer expeditions you may want the simple option of AA batteries such as the Canon A series cameras provides.

If you’re truly serious, consider a lighter weight digital SLR such as the Canon Rebel. An SLR allows free flowing creativity as the view finder looks through the lens and sees exactly what the camera will shoot, thus allowing you to nail focus in difficult situations, adjust zoom exactly, etc. More, digital SLRs always have a vast variety of control that point-and-shots may not allow.

Figure out a way to carry your camera. Smaller ones can go in any pocket. For larger rigs mount a padded pouch on your pack straps for instant access.

While the digital SLRs are tempting, many of the smaller digicams do have an amazing variety of settings. If you go that route, make sure the camera has a manual mode, and that manual focus is easy to set. Also be sure it has a “TV” mode, meaning “time value” (allows you to force a higher shutter speed for shooting action such as skiing). Once you get serious, you’ll need at least those features.

Above all, once you get a new digicam memorize all the settings by going through he manual several times. Then practice practice practice. “Film” is cheap.



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