Setting up for winter sports photography
While there may not currently be much snow about in the UK, many extreme sports photographers will be dusting off their kit and getting ready for the winter action.
As a keen amateur myself, capturing shots of winter sport strikes me as a great challenge to open the New Year with.
The team from Jessops Academy has provided a handy guide to making sure you’re prepared for the season’s changing light conditions and temperatures.
Look for sports settings when hitting the slopes
If you’re planning on purchasing a compact for the trip, then look for tough models that won’t slow down in the freezing conditions. Make sure the model you choose has modes for shooting action like a dedicated sports setting. If you’re taking an interchangeable lens camera, then make sure you select a model with a fast shutter speed – and try out your camera’s tracking mode to keep your speedy subject in shot.
Get the correct shutter speeds
Use fast shutter speeds when trying to capture a sharp and focused action shot. However, if you want to solely focus on one element of your picture, while blurring the background, try following the action as you simultaneously use a slow shutter speed of about 1/15 sec (panning). The Canon 760D, for example, has an incredible extra fast shutter speed.
Keep your whites white
Winter sports are not only a great opportunity to practice shooting fast-paced action shots, but they also provide a chance to capture scenic portraits. For idyllic snowy pictures you’ll want the snow to look clear, bright and white. Modern cameras are pretty good when it comes to auto modes, but snow can often play havoc with the white-balance (WB). To avoid your scene looking too blue, select the daylight or sunny WB mode and see how it settles out the tones. It may also be a good idea to purchase a UV filter for your camera lens, in order to prevent your photographs looking excessively blue.
Keep your focus
If you’re using the wintry season as an excuse to visit one of the many pop-up ice skating rinks, make sure you get some fun shots of friends and family enjoying them. The rink will be busy, so select a wide aperture on your interchangeable lens camera to make sure your subjects are in focus and the cluttered background blurs out – ensuring all the focus is kept on your skating stars!
Not a winter sports fan? Try capturing still-life
If you’re not joining in the sports yourself, don’t get cold and bored waiting on the sidelines. Instead see what kind of creative still-life or macro opportunities you can find in your surroundings. Perhaps this might be some skates hanging up, frost on the ground, or a steaming mug of hot chocolate – any of your unique ideas will make great subjects, and give you time to experiment with the right mode for the shot.
Keeping your camera alive
Remember that it is important to keep your camera and camera batteries warm and up against your body in the chilly season, as at very low temperatures battery life can decrease.