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Photos when skiing (SLR tips please)

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi there,

My ski skills have progressed and my camera has aged enough that I plan on finall taking it with me this week skiing in the French Alps. With luck, I won't smash it, but if I do I can a new one on ebay cheaply enough. Hoorah.

I was wondering whether anyone might have some tips for camera and particularly Auto-SLR use in the cold and white.

Any advice gratefully received.

Thanks
post #2 of 15
I avoid using auto mode when shooting snow. I never bring my camera directly from a warm room out into the snow. I will usually leave it in the car the night before and only take the battery inside. Anytime I am shooting outside I always wrap the strap once around my wrist when I pick my camera up. Know what lens you will need before you take the camera out of the bag, so if you need to change them you can do it with the camera mostly in the bag. I try and avoid swapping lenses mid roll. Glare, it will cause problems. Sometimes I will take the same shot with the same shutter speed but change the aperture.
post #3 of 15
Exposure can be tricky if the conditions are bright. A typical SLR meter will average the light and tell the camera how much light to let in. There is a huge amount of light reflected off the snow which can grossly underexpose people or other less reflective surfaces. You have seen the results - teh people are so dark you can not make them out. If you are taking landscapes with no foreground subject, it is often wise to add one to two stops to the reading (ie: the meter says shoot f16 @ 1000 - you will either shoot f8 at 1000 or f16 at 250). This will give you detail in the snow and bring it back to "white," rather than the 18% grey tone meters will give you. If you are taking a pic of a person, building or other item in a snowscape, it is critical that you take the exposure directly off your subject. You can walk up to the person, lock in the reading, then walk back, compose and shoot. Even if the background is overexposed, your subject should be dead on. In a pinch, hold your hand in front of the the lens so it fills the viewfinder, take the reading and then shoot your subject. This method will also give you good results because it replicates the light hitting your subject. Pick your film wisely as well. Many do not take kindly to high contrast gradations in light. I always shoot slide film. It will often be more faithful, finer grain, and you can now easily get prints from them. I suggest Fuji Provia 100 for outside, or 400 for inside. Kodak Ex100 is nice as well. For print, try Fuji Reala. You want to make sure that you have a slow ASA film for bright scenes. If you want more information, check out photo.net, the premier photo site. If you do a search for snow shooting you will find more than what you need. Happy shooting.
PS: Many fine photographers I know just use disposable cameras on the hill and save the real gear for later.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by james
I try and avoid swapping lenses mid roll. Glare, it will cause problems. .
BWAAAA Changing lenses mir roll will NOT affect the film at all, Hell, Ill probally change lenses at least 15 times per roll. My advice is to travel light, and take just an extremly good super wide zoom and a very good and fat 70-200mm zoom. Use low ASA films. I.E, 50-100 if shoting digi leave it on 100.

Here is a little trade "secret" @100 asa 1/1000 @ F5.6 is nearly dead on for a sunny day on the snow.

Have fun and post some pics when you get back.
post #5 of 15
In the for what it's worth category, I found this old article when I had the same questions.

http://www.nyip.com/tips/current/skiing.php
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbakerskier
BWAAAA Changing lenses mir roll will NOT affect the film at all, Hell, Ill probally change lenses at least 15 times per roll. My advice is to travel light, and take just an extremly good super wide zoom and a very good and fat 70-200mm zoom. Use low ASA films. I.E, 50-100 if shoting digi leave it on 100.

Here is a little trade "secret" @100 asa 1/1000 @ F5.6 is nearly dead on for a sunny day on the snow.

Have fun and post some pics when you get back.
Obviously, the film would not be affected. The poster mentioned dropping their camera. I saw a girl drop an f-100 into a mud puddle while awkwardly trying to swap out lenses.


As a suggestion you may want to try purchasing a cheap body that is compatable with your plethora of lenses. Changing lenses 15 times a roll is...well lets just call it risky.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by james
Obviously, the film would not be affected. The poster mentioned dropping their camera. I saw a girl drop an f-100 into a mud puddle while awkwardly trying to swap out lenses.


As a suggestion you may want to try purchasing a cheap body that is compatable with your plethora of lenses. Changing lenses 15 times a roll is...well lets just call it risky.
There is nothing risky about it. Ive changed lenses on 55 degre slopes while its puking snow, and have yet to have any issues at all. Why would you want to use a cheap body that isnt built half as well as a pro level slr? The cheap plastic crap is exactly what will wear out first, it is also the muc h more susceptable to moisture as the low and mid level consumer gear is not sealed anywhere near as well as the pro quality equipment.
post #8 of 15
You would do well to listen to Mtb skier. I've seen his work.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone

Thanks everyone for your advice - very helpful.

Will let you know how it turns out. I am pretty sure my camera has some tricks for exposure bracketing too - time to dig out than manual.

Let's hope I don't smash it into amusingly tiny pieces - am relatively new to skiing and this year my buddy wants to "start getting air". Let's hope the snow is soft... As I said, lucky the camera is cheap now
post #10 of 15
If your camera has a spot meter function, this would help you to get the main subject properly exposed.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skidmo
In the for what it's worth category, I found this old article when I had the same questions.

http://www.nyip.com/tips/current/skiing.php
Excellent article/site. Thanks man.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1
If your camera has a spot meter function, this would help you to get the main subject properly exposed.
Nope, that is about the worst thing that you can do when shooting on snow.
post #13 of 15
Just stick to what Mtbaker said. What I was talking about was taking one shot and then taking the same shot with a different aperture. He states the same thing and adds that you can change the shutter speed as well. This will ensure you get nicely exposed shots. Buy lots of film. His lense recomendations are spot on. I used to take a 28-70 and a 100-300 with me and this covers all the bases for vacation type photography. I do like slide film best as it stores easier as well.

edit: If your comfortable taking pictures on skis change out the lense as needed. My point on changing lenses on the hill is due to my own issues after seeing a camera I would love to own but could not afford probably ruined and the fact that the poster was worried about dropping the camera.
post #14 of 15
If it's a sunny day use a polorizer filter as it will increase the saturation of the blue sky and generally improve the light and reduce glare. Best time for shooting is early/mid morning and late afternoon except for obviously sunrises and sunsets. Use the best optics(lens) you can afford. As you mentioned bracket your shots as much as you can.
post #15 of 15
Hi Malcomtent--welcome to EpicSki! You've gotten some good advice already, but I'll add this.

First, if you have a newish SLR, especially one of the current digital SLR's, their meters are very sophisticated and will do a surprisingly good job even in automatic. You may want to play with the "backlight compensation" function, and some have a special "snow and sand" program that may work well.

But there is an ancient rule of thumb that still works great with any camera in full manual mode, called the "sunny 16 rule": on a bright, sunny day, when your subject is in full sunlight, the correct exposure is 1/film speed at f/16.

In other words, say you are using ASA-200 film (or a digital camera set to that equivalence) on said bright, sunny day. At an aperture of f16, the proper shutter speed would be 1/200 of a second. The closest speed to that on most cameras is 1/250, which would be fine.

Of course, you may want a faster shutter speed than that to stop high speed ski action. As you probably know, each full f-stop that you open the aperture doubles the amount of light entering the lens, so you would half the shutter speed. So 1/250 at f16 is the same exposure as 1/500 at f11, 1/1000 at f8, 1/2000 at f5.6, and so on. Any of these would give you a good exposure on 200-speed film in bright sun.

This "Sunny-16 Rule" is where MtBakerSkier's suggestion for 1/1000 at f5.6 on 100-speed film comes from, as you could calculate (1/125 at f16 is equivalent to 1/1000 at f5.6). It's a great guideline for any tricky lighting situation, including snow, whitewater, sand. . . even shooting telephoto photographs of a full moon in a black sky (which, of course, is illuminated by bright sun!).

Remember that clouds will change everything, as will filters (polarizers, etc.), haze, and shadows. You might want to trust that automatic light meter after all! Another useful trick for photographs with a lot of white snow in the background is simply to overexpose by two stops. You can trick your camera into doing this "automatically" by setting the film speed two speeds faster (1/4 the ASA number) than the actual film you're using (i.e. set your camera for 50 if you are using ASA-200 film, 100 with ASA-400 film, and so on). Then just shoot away on automatic. Especially if you're shooting print film, this usually works fine. (Print film exposure is not quite as critical as slide film.)

That should get you going. Now send us some pictures!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
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