Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Backcountry Ski Shoot in the Cascades


A few weeks ago I went out to do a shoot with skiers Bryce Phillips in the North Cascade Backcountry. I've worked with Bryce for years and it was great getting a chance to go shooting with him again. On this occasion, we were headed out into a zone I've grown to love recently. Beautiful scenery, steep terrain, lots of features... it's perfect. And things looked great on this day. It had snowed about a foot the night before, we had a few great friends along with us for the day and it was completely clear and blue as we left the car.

However, three things that we hadn't counted.
1: the snow was far deeper than we had anticipated. It took us a full two hours to get to the zone, when under normal conditions, it's about a half hour.
2: the snowpack was a little on the unstable size. The spines would be relatively safe, but anything in the open was going to be out of the question. We'd triggered a couple of sympathetic slides (avalanches that occur at a point away from your location, but that are caused by your weight on the snowpack) on the hike out. So, we'd have to be extra careful.
And 3: as we continued our trudge out to the zone, the clouds were beginning to roll in... fast.

However, after all the work, it totally paid off. The resulting shot of Bryce dropping in on spine is one of my favorite shots of the year. While I can't currently share that image with you, I am at liberty to share the video clip from Bryce's Contour POV camera that he was wearing. I'll post the image on the blog as soon as the embargo has lapsed... but I'm sure you'll like it.

A side note, you may ask why we were skiing on a day where we knew the avalanche conditions were less than favorable. To answer that question... because you occasionally have to deal with less than favorable conditions when shooting. That's not to say we were being reckless or taking unnecessary risks. Far from it. On this day, we checked the avy forecast, we hiked along ridge lines and along tree groves, we had all of our backcountry gear with us and we stationed 2 people running safety from protected vantage points to watch over the others at any time skiing was taking place. While you can't take all the risk out of traveling in the backcountry, there are steps you can take to minimize that risk. Be safe out there.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shooting with Nimbus Independent


Last week I was out shooting with production company Nimbus Independent at Crystal Mountain. With skiers Eric Pollard and Bryce Phillips, we spent 3 days compiling footage for their next years movie.


All in all the shoot went great... although the weather wasn't super cooperative. While we had a few tiny windows of blue, most all of our time was spent in grey, stormy weather. Not a big problem though, as we were able to hug to the trees and pillow zones and still come out with some great footage.


Here are a few of the out-takes from those days. Enjoy!




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Supermoon in Seattle


With all the talk of the "Supermoon" last night, I decided I had to stay home and shoot some photos of this meteorological event.

According to Accuweather blogger Mark Paquette, a supermoon is a new or full moon at 90% or more of it's perigee (or closest approach to earth). This event doesn't occur often, as the next supermoon isn't slated until November 14th, 2016.

But science aside, last night's supermoon provided a great opportunity to photograph it. As anyone that's visited the Pacific Northwest knows, we don't often get clear nights here. And fortunately for everyone watching the sky, last night was incredibly clear over Seattle.

So, with my camera pack, tripod and beer in hand, I ducked out the door to the neighborhood park overlooking the skyline several times over the course of the evening. My patient wife, Karlee was a true sport and cooked dinner for me, while I dorked out with my camera. It was fun to see the huge number of people out trying to catch a glimpe of the moon.

Enjoy the pics!


And for my fellow photo-dorks of the world out there who may be wondering what these photos were shot with... I shot these images with a Nikon D7000 with an 80-200mm f/2.8 lens with a TC-20E III AF-S 2x teleconvertor. I shot with the D7000 instead of my trusted D3 for 2 reasons: 1. to test out it's low light capabilities (which I was pleased with) and 2. because the 1.5 crop on the sensor got me a little tighter on the moon than I would have with the D3.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Neighbors in Breck


Last week when we were up in Breckenridge for a park shoot, Dustin (MSP's cinematographer) spotted this little guy napping in the backyard of our rental house. Couldn't help myself and had to snag a few shots of him before he ran off down the road. Amazing how comfortable he was around humans.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Breckenridge: Park Shoot with Matchstick Productions


This week I'm in Breckenridge, Colorado on a terrain park shoot with Matchstick Productions (MSP). We're here shooting with athletes Bobby Brown, Jacob Wester, Russ Henshaw and Gus Kenworthy. After 2 days of shooting, we've been able to nail some really solid shots. However, as with any shoot outdoors, success is heavily dictated by the weather. While the last 2 days were sunny and amazing, a front rolled in last night and it started snowing. It hasn't shut down production, but it has definitely slowed the pace a bit. But, it's this weather delay that's giving me a few minutes to post this to the blog, along with these 2 shots.

The shot above shows Booby Brown airing a transfer gap with me in the bottom left frame shooting (photo courtesy: Austyn Williams). Shot below shows the cannon rail with a cherry picker positioned overhead.


Will try and post a few more shots (not from an iPhone) when I get a little more free time. But for now... enjoy!