Mar 1, 2010

2010 Salt Lake City Ski Photography Shootout: Winner!

2010 Salt Lake Shootout Winning Photograph: "Best of Show" and first place in "Air" category
Equipment: Canon 7D, 10-22mm lens, beautiful morning sunlight

100% Crop of Jason just after lift-off

This last week is an absolute blur!  The annual Salt Lake Ski Photography shootout took place this past week and I was stoked to get a first time invite.  Anytime you take 10 professional photographers and mix in 20 pro skiers good things are bound to happen and this years contest was no different.  The guidelines were pretty straightforward:

A) 4 days of skiing and shooting at each of the Cottonwood canyon resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude)
B) Working with 2 different athletes per day
C) Submit 3 images per category (Air, Powder, Big Mountain, City Lifestyle, Mountain Lifestlye)
D) ALL submissions due by 10PM on Friday (4th day)! No exceptions!

I was expecting to do pretty well, get some publishable images and call it a solid week of work, but in all honesty was not necessarily expecting to win anything.   There was an extremely talented pool of photographers participating from as far away as Norway and Vancouver as well as some local talent.  So when the slide for first place rolled up during the awards ceremony with one of my images, I was pretty floored, to say the least.  The shot of Jason West (above) not only took first place in the"Air" category, but went on to win the "Best of Show", grand prize award.  What a feeling of both humility and extreme excitement!  It was awesome.  The conditions proved awesome, with each day bringing something a bit different to work with.  I've got to give a thank you to every athlete I worked with.  Thanks for hiking back up the mountain for "one more shot" assisting with lights and keeping things so positive the whole time.  You made my job easy (er).  And a course special shout-out to Jason West for his epic line off of the fantasy ridge cliff at Solitude Ski resort that won the thing.  Awesome work my friend!

We worked on some late afternoon/ early evening shots and this was one of my submissions in the Powder category.  Athlete Jason West making a turn just after dusk at Brighton Ski resort near Salt Lake City, Utah

Here's a behind the scenes look of one of our lighting set-ups: Equipment used: Elinchrom Ranger (2 packs, 3 heads), 580EX II x 1, Skyport Triggers, mixed with late ambient light.

Parting shot entered in the "Mountain Lifestyle" category.  Location: Snowbird Ski Resort - Athlete: Cody Barnhill with Leopard dude and Zebra lady

Utah Photographer


Foot said...

Brilliant stuff. The powder one is a jaw dropper.

Jase Stone said...

Awesome shot Kevin - a worthy win! :)

Frozen Forever Photography said...

Well done Kevin. I love the feeling of knowing you got the shot. Props to the guys going all out also.


Freddy said...


Shawn Chamberlin said...

great shots kevin, i was curious was gear you were using for strobes? did you have a pretty fast recycle time or just have to get lucky? i bet that was a great experience to be out in the snow, shooting with top-notch athletes. i wish i had that opportunity, hopefully in the future. thanks for sharing kevin.

Justin said...

Congratulations! A well deserved win!

Kevin Winzeler said...

Thanks everyone!

@ Shawn -We were shooting from half to close to full power with the Rangers, so recycle time was around 3 seconds or so. It was a one shot deal, but the athletes were kind enough to hike back up the hill for multiple attempts. We work out the timing and where the shot will take place in advance of the athlete dropping in, so they know the exact line and spot to ski and I'm ready to catch it the moment I see what I'm looking for. Some luck is involved at times, but we definitely try to mitigate the "luck" factor since each shot took from 20 minutes to an hour to set-up.

jdyall5 said...

Great shots. I was wondering what made you take the 7D to such a big shoot rather than your 5D. Is the 7D growing on you, where both camera bodies there, or another reason? Thanks, Jed

Sally said...

Wow Kevin! Those are fabulous! Congratulations. You have magic in that camera of yours.

Kevin Winzeler said...

Thanks Sally!

@Jed - I had both bodies. When I need better auto focus or want to capture action sequences, mulitple frames per second (i.e. winning "air" shot of Jason West), I grab the 7D. The exception is if I want to shoot a fisheye shot or if I'm setting up a lighting scenario or one shot, set-up.

The 5D II misses too many frames that might be nice during an ambient light, action sequence. For the shots where I have lights set-up however, I would typically grab the 5D II due to the fact that I'm taking a single frame and 5D II files are better across the board. However, I decided to use the 7D most of this week as it was indeed "growing on me" and presented a chance to really work the camera over. It also has superior weather sealing than the 5DII (which has been in the repair center already for moisture related problems). I was happy with the nearly all of the resulting files from the 7D. Autofocus with the 70-200 f/2.8 is still hit and miss, but need more time to work out the best combination of settings.

Kevin Winzeler said...

I recalled one more reason for using the 7D on this shoot. I can sync at 1/320th of a second instead of 1/200th on the 5D. For strobed mixed with ambient, every little bit helps. This is due to the fact that the 7D sensor is smaller than the 5D's and thus the shutter travels over it faster (120th of a second faster apparently).