Photographing snowboarders in action offers many opportunities for winter sports photographers. With some advanced preparation and planning, ordinary snowboard shots can become extraordinary.
Photo from: Flickr viaM Pincus
Key elements for capturing great shots include choosing the right equipment and incorporating a combination of exposure, shutter speed, compositional skills and environmental factors to your best advantage.
Preparing for Snowboard Photography
Before capturing exciting snowboard action, you will need to prepare essential equipment such as an SLR or DSLR camera, lenses and protective bags.Also, if you’re attending a competition, make sure to arrive early to establish points of reference for composition and lighting. Finally, be sure to dress warm and to wear touch sensitive gloves for operating your equipment, so you’ll be able to snap that perfect shot.
Tips for Creative Snowboarder Photo Composition
The classic winter shot of the blue sky with a snowboard guy can be boring without a point of reference. Get down low and angle your lens high with a point of reference such as a snow mound or trees in the lower third of the photograph. This helps make a big trick look even bigger. Remember the rule of thirds and look for interesting angles or ways to give your picture more depth. Make your snowboard rider pop by employing a shallow depth of field to your camera. Avoid centering your subject in the middle of the photo in favor of more dynamic positioning such as to one side.
Choosing a Camera for Snowboard Photography
Selecting the right SLR or DSLR camera for taking fast-action exciting snowboard photos. Choose a camera with a large ISO range, significant processing power and high frame capture. The Canon EOS-1D X is a top-of-the-line DSLR with the capability to capture crisp rider aerials.
High resolution image sensor
White balance color temperature compensation
Custom function shutter speed controls
Snowboard Photography Lenses
Using the appropriate lens makes all the difference in snowboard photography. Shooting sharp snowboard pics requires a fast lens with a wide aperture. It’s important to choose a lens intended for sports photography such as the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM.
Focal Length: 100-400mm
Maximum Aperture: 1:4.5-5.6
Lens construction: 17 elements in 14 groups
Rear focusing system with USM
Cold Weather Protection for Photography Gear
Protecting your gear from the elements helps prolong your equipment’s lifespan. You can safeguard your camera gear from possible damage that may be caused by below-freezing temperatures or melting snow conditions, by using a protective backpack such as the Lowepro DryZone 40L Backpack.
Protected against high pressure water streams
Roll-top closure for maximum protection
Tripod gear loops
Padded backpack straps for added comfort
Gloves for Snowboard Photography
Dressing warmly for the cold weather is imperative for snowboard photography; consider adding extra layers of clothing for comfort. Choose gloves that allow freedom of movement, ease of equipment operation and are touch sensitive.
For women, consider the Isotoner Women’s SmarTouch 2.0 Matrix Nylon Gloves, offering conductive thread technology on the index and middle fingers and thumbs.
For men, keep your hands warm with the Aquatech Sensory Gloves, featuring instant exposure of the thumb and index finger for fine control.
Waterproof breathable outer shell
Silicon palm for superior grip
Double fast drying breathable insulation layers
Adjustable wrist lanyards
By making critical choices in creative composition, dressing for the elements and having the right equipment, you greatly increase your chances for snowboard photography success.
Find out more about snowboarding and other winter sports photography at the Adorama Learning Center:
What is your favorite snowboard event to photograph?