On a weekly basis, I have been working towards completing an online photography course. Last week I was given my first assignment following a module on shutter speed. The assignment was to capture a ghosting or panning shot and submit it for review. I had an idea and went with it.
I contacted a nearby ski resort, Chicopee, and ended up speaking with the CEO to arrange a visit to take some photographs. He was completely open to me coming by, during a race at that! I played around with settings and practiced the night before, but shooting a rocking horse that’s only moving in two directions was apparently easier than shooting a skier moving in three.
When we (my ‘assistant’ tagged along) arrived early at Chicopee last Saturday, I checked in with Guest Services and we were given official green vests (so staff would know we were permitted to be there). We then headed out to the hill and scouted for a good spot. The hill itself was busy and the location that was suggested was not accessible due to ice (I tried, but it wasn’t worth going down or damaging my gear), so we opted to remain at the base of the hill and off to the right. Staff even drilled holes for my tripod so it wouldn’t slip on ice. This ended up being a good location, as we were close to where the race would take place, able to view the practice area and gondola, and in a spot where we luckily didn’t get sprayed by snow.
We got there at quarter to nine and had an hour before the race began to take some ‘practice’ shots, some of which turned out to be action shots that I am pretty proud of. I decided I would get my assignment shot first and then have the flexibility to take pictures using other techniques as I saw fit. Originally, I wanted to submit a ghosting image, but the skiers were just too fast. All of my shots just looked like blurs and the technique I was aiming for just wasn’t being produced and were not what I would call submission worthy. I then decide to try panning – this was also difficult because again, you need to focus accurately enough on a fast-moving object and use the appropriate shutter speed to get the desired effect. Add a cold wind, negative temperatures and a slippery footing into the mix and you get a real challenge.
Two hours later and I had taken nearly 400 pictures of skiers and seen two races. My fingers were numb, my footing slick, and my knee hurt from the awkward angle I had chosen (live and learn). However, it was worth it because I got the shot I needed, a few other great shots and another learning experience under my belt.
I’m working my way through life in Canada and traveling when I can afford to explore beyond the border. Sharing my tips, trips, opinions and rants on life and travel in the meantime.