So my understanding is that you work as a pro photographer in ski-land? Can you show us some of your work. Do you havea professional site? Can you tell us what's in your bag?
Primoz show us the goods!
Yeah your understanding is quite right :) Most of stuff is here: http://www.photosi.eu/news.php and now to question which takes a bit more to answer :) What is in my bag? It depends on situation. For speed events (DH and SG) and in 99% of cases also for GS, I use 500/4. To be honest, nowadays more and more SL races are done with 500mm lens too. This is attached to 1dmk4 body (yeah I'm Canon guy :)). Next to that, I normally have in my backpack also 1.4x converter, 70-200/2.8 and 17-40/4, and sometimes some special lenses like 24 TS-E for example. Shorter lenses are used for some features when up on hill or for some remotes (with set of Pocket Wizard Multimax remotes), if there's chance, while I keep 70-200/2.8 for backup in case of bad weather. For DH or SG it doesn't really matter, since with so bad weather, they won't be running them, but for SL it can be so foggy or so much of snow storm, that you can't do anything with 300/2.8 or 500/4. So you revert to 70-200 and shoot gate next to you, just to get some photos, even though they are everything but great. For finish area I normally use 300/2.8 (with 1.4x converter) or 70-200/2.8 with 1.4x converter.
So basically that's all the gear I normally need. Of course there are also other things in backpack like pair of spare gloves, rain covers for camera/lens, great Halti rain coat for me, believe it or not, earplugs, which actually came handy once or twice when standing straight under loudspeakers, and set of hand warmers, which I used only once in my life, but.. And of course monopod, since I can't imagine my life without it :)
Things on WC are a bit different then on lower level races. Speed is different, there's more money involved, so security issues are bigger and everyone look more on this where you can be. So, especially for speed events, you have to be so far away, that anything shorter then 500 is really tricky.
For SL, I was normally shooting with 300/2.8, but nowadays, I'm slowly moving to 500 too. You don't need to be that far away on SL (and even sometimes on GS) races, but 500 gives you chance to be on different position then most others, which brings (at least a bit) different photos. Sometimes there's really not more then one or two good positions along the SL course, and then you have 20 photographers standing on same spot, everyone having virtually same photos. Considering nowadays 300/2.8 is more or less standard lens, using longer lens give you at least a bit different angle. And sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good :)
So for speed events, you are so far, that you need to have long lens, for SL races, you move further away, because you have long lens :)
In 90% of cases, remotes (with PWs) are used for downhill. There's rule about no tripod on course, no bags (and skis) are allowed inside of a or b-netting, so there's really not much chances for setting remotes on course. There are still chances behind air fences, but normally there's not much of a photo from these locations. So basically DH races are only option. There things can be arranged to set it under or on side of jump etc. But even then, it's pretty hard. So personally I don't use remotes all that often, even though I would love to do it more.
That's kind of what I figured about the 500. Why the 300 w 1.4x, that's very nearly 500, what does that combo give you?
Also, why PWs for DH? It sort of seems like that would be the hardest event in which to use them. If you can't place them anywhere inside the nets, it seems like the light would be pretty weak by the time it was hitting your skier.
I used my PWs and one SB-900 on this set - http://www.flickr.com/photos/53710006@N06/sets/72157629222994871/with/6838617641/
I don't think I really needed them, but wanted to try using them on snow as I've only been using them for mountain biking (they really help a lot for that!). I only took a few shots as I was also racing and had to pack up my stuff and go race.
Sorry if there was misunderstanding... PWs are used for remote cameras, not for triggering flashes. In my case of course. I never use flash(es) when shooting skiing. At least not when doing standard editorial stuff, and that's most of time :)
I use 300/2.8 for finish area, and depending on situation it's with 1.4x or without it (normally SL and GS are always without it, since finish area is much smaller). 420mm, what I get with converter is on a bit longer side already, and 500mm is definitely way too long for my taste, for finish area.
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Great photos (of course that is what you are known for). Three quick questions:
1) Do you find using the costly "extreme" SD cards makes much of a difference in cold weather?
2) Is there anything a photographer can do to help acclimate a lens when going into the cold out of a warm car or lodge? I rarely experience misting, but it is frustrating when it happens.
3) Do you place any kind of filter over your lenses?
1. I don't use SD cards :) Canon 1d has CF cards (ok it has also SD slot), so I find CF cards easier to handle (especially with gloves) and they are a lot faster. I use Sandisk Extreme cards, but not because of temperatures. I never heard of anyone having card problems due low temperatures. I use Extreme cards simply because they are faster. And even with this speed, only reason that I need speed is, when copying photos to computer. Almost every card is fast enough, even for cameras like 1dmk4 (I don't do video, so this might be different in case of video). But in today's business it matters whos photos are done first, so getting them off card minute faster it really matters, even if it sounds funny.
2. There's never problem going from warm to cold. Problem is when coming from cold to warm place. For this, I normally leave cameras and lenses in backpack and they slowly get to inside temperature. But sometimes there's no other way, and I come with camera hanging on shoulder straight into press center, and it doesn't look really good when everything is dripping wet from condensation. So if possible, try to avoid doing this. But for going from warm to cold, there's really no problem.
3. For short lenses (17-40/4, 70-200/2.8...) I use Hoya Pro-1 Skylight filter as protection. It happened few times already, that I crashed these filters, so in case I wouldn't have them, front glass of lens would get crashed. Another thing is, that in all those weird conditions I work, you get stuff on your lens. Sometimes gloves, t-shirts and all other non-ideal wiping materials come to hand. Scratching filter is cheap compared to scratching lens. So even if you might lose some quality with filter, I still rather use them. For 300/2.8 and 500/4 there's unfortunately no front filter option, so there I don't use anything.
I hope this answers your questions :)