Last week I participated in the Salt Lake Shootout; a Ski photography contest that took place over four insanely exhausting days. What made matters worse is that the snow conditions were in all honesty quite miserable. But we had a contest to compete in and still worked from before sunrise to after sunset just about every day trying multiple angles, lighting, lenses, etc. to take what are normally killer spots to shoot and create something unexpected.
About this shot: First, I wanted the athlete positioned against a sunset or dusk sky. Next, I added my first strobe; an Elinchrom Ranger pack with one S-head and my assistant (lg) positioned the the strobe just off camera right and down the hill toward where the skier would land. We quickly tested a few power settings and landed on roughly 300 watt/seconds (A channel - 2.5 power) to give enough light to the scene. We then threw on the High Performance 48 degree reflector to focus the light and push it out further. The whole set-up was triggered via Pocket wizard remotes and shot the full frame Canon 5D II with 16-35mm f/2.8 II @ 16mm focal length. One more trick: one of my concerns as soon as I saw the scene was how many footprints there were all around the jump. It was a mess. I knew if we lit the scene those footprints would be part of the composition and image. Because I wanted to create as clean of an image as possible, I quickly dug down into the snow a couple of feet and shot almost from a foxhole perspective with just a few feet of clean snow in front of me. This eliminated the clutter all around and helped finish the composition and frame.
Sports and Active Lifestyle photographer