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Skiing and snowboarding, like most fast action sports, can be difficult to photograph – if you have ever asked how you can capture a sharply focused image of a snowboarder or skier that gives the illusion of speed, read these recommendations from the New York Institute of Photography.

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Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography is based on articles the author has written for "Outdoor Photographer" magazine. In the book he explains artful composition as well as offering technical advice on such things as pushing film to extremes; and when and how to use flash. Backed up with advice on such things as travelling light and packing your camera gear.

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How to Take Great Skiing and Snowboarding Pictures

Cold, snowy conditions are tough on photographers. Add a fast-moving object on skis or a snowboard, and it's going to be even harder to capture a well-exposed, sharply focused image.

When photographing skiers and snowboarders, timing means everything. In order to capture the action on the slopes effectively, the New York Institute of Photography, America’s oldest and largest photography school, suggests that the photographer consult with the subject and learn his or her route in advance. The photographer can then set up the camera in advance and prefocus on a mutually-agreed upon spot before the subject whizzes by.

In some cases, however, you may want to convey a sense of motion in your photos of the slopes. Chuck DeLaney, Dean of NYI, recommends panning with the subject to create this illusion of speed and motion in the image. 'Use a slow shutter speed, say, 1/30th,' he reminds his students, 'and follow the subject in your viewfinder as he approaches you, keep him there as you shoot, and keep following him after you shoot. You want to have a smooth motion, like a tennis player swinging and following through with the ball.'


To learn more about how to photograph skiers and snowboarders, see the article on the New York Institute of Photography’s Web site – Reference Shelf – Subjects area or by visiting:

You will also find articles on Cold Weather Photography:
and Photographing Olympic Sports:
These articles may also be of interest to you.

© New York Institute of Photography 2002
Reprinted with permission from the New York Institute of Photography Web site at