Stoked on my latest cover! Julian Carr shredding Solitude Mountain Resort on the January cover of SKI Magazine.
We’ve been busy creating the first of many episodes of AdamBarkerPhotography: Through the Eyes. Check out the teaser for the first below. Special thanks to Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort for the sick location! Huge shout out to Hammers Inc Photography and Nate Balli for the mad film/edit skills.
As always, I’m pleased to share with you some of my most recently published work.
1. Elevation Outdoors Magazine Feb/Mar 2010
2. Discrete Headwear Catalog 2010/11
3. Black Diamond 2010 Trekking Catalog
4. Outdoor Photographer Magazine Feb/Mar 2010
5. Backcountry Magazine Mar. 2010
6. Skiing Magazine Mar. 2010
7. Mountain Sports & Living Spring 2010
8. Outdoor Photographer Magazine Apr. 2010
For the last three years, I (with the help of Ski Salt Lake and the Cottonwood Canyons resorts) have hosted a ski-based photography competition called the Ski Salt Lake Shootout. It’s a frenetic mess of photographers, athletes, loads of equipment, inevitable cell phone exhaustion and always, exceptional photography. I know by now that, for five days, I am encased in a veritable bubble of shutter clicking, bro-brah-ing, thumbs-upping, and little, if any…sleep.
In the end, however, the visual and emotional rewards are extremely gratifying. It’s humbling to see what the photographers and athletes are able to produce within such a short window of time. It’s always great to see how other photographers see, and to talk shop with others in the biz. This year we were blessed with a mix of weather conditions and what seemed like consistently good (and at times exceptional) snow. The talent pool of athletes here across the Wasatch Front is staggering, and it’s always cool to see how many top level athletes call SLC home.
While I spend the majority of my time documenting the event for awards slideshows and the like, I do search for differing angles from which I can shoot some of my own imagery during the week. Check out the images in this post for a peek at the action, and I’ll be sure to post a link to the Shootout site as soon as we have the winning images uploaded.
For you antsy folks, there is a contest at the bottom, but you’ll have to have read the post to have a fighting chance!
Earlier this week we were blessed with a bounty of blower (read: ridiculously light Utah powder) here in the Wasatch. It was the first day of shooting skiing for me this season, and it did not disappoint. There are some days where most everything goes right, and this just happened to be one of those days.
Anyone that has ever attempted to shoot fast and unpredictable action knows well the challenges of coming away with a sharp image. It’s hard enough to frame it up exactly as you’d like, let alone focus. Any athlete that has ever shot with me knows my typical response when I see something I like on my camera LCD display–“that will be killer if it’s sharp”. IF IT’S SHARP….
Nowadays, the auto focus systems on pro (and even some prosumer) cameras are so advanced that it’s tough to screw things up. That said, it still happens, and it always seems to happen to the shot or frame that you wanted the most. There are a few things we can do as photographers to nail the shot every time. When shooting skiing, there are essentially two techniques I use to focus. I will use a focus tracking method where I’m utilizing the auto focus in my camera throughout the image sequence and at other times I may pre-focus on a specific spot where I’ve directed the athlete to go. Both techniques work well in certain situations–some better than others.
Focus tracking works well when:
a) the athlete is moving towards or away from you at a rapid pace
b) you’re not sure where the climactic action will occur OR there are a number of images throughout the action sequence that you may want as keepers
c) there could be confusion between you and the athlete as to where exactly it is you’d like them to turn, air, etc.
d) generally speaking, the athlete will not remain parallel to the focal plane throughout the sequence
*Note: As a Canon shooter, I focus with my AF-On button instead of my shutter button. This allows the camera to continue micro-adjusting focus as the shutter clicks away.
*Note #2: It is best to manually select a focus zone in your camera. Place that focus zone over the part of the athlete you’d like in focus (most often the face). I typically start “tracking” focus about two seconds or so before I start clicking the shutter.
Pre focus works well when:
a) you have a specific, mutually understood spot (between you and the athlete) where the climactic action will occur
b) the athlete is maintaining approximate equal distance from the focal plane throughout the action sequence
c) you’re shooting at infinity focus–in particular, this pertains to long lens, big line shots where the athlete is a great distance away OR wide angle shots where you’re shooting at infinity
d) there may be anything present (obstacles, weird lighting, atmospheric conditions) that would confuse your auto focus (there are ways to tweak your AF system so it doesn’t get thrown off as easily with things like this)
* Note that pre-focusing requires precise explanation and understanding on the part of the photographer and athlete as to where the action should occur. Generally speaking, the longer you have worked with an athlete, the better you will understand each other, and the more confident you will feel that the athlete can nail the spot on which you’ve pre-focused. Additionally, it’s wise to use larger apertures when possible, thus giving yourself and the athlete a margin for error across the focal plane if for some reason they are a bit closer or further away than the spot you mentioned.
So. Contest time. I’ve included images throughout this post from shooting at Alta Ski Area on New Year’s Eve Day. I have a super cool Clik Elite medium lens pouch (great for wide angle zooms or moderate primes) and t-shirt for the first person that can correctly state which focusing technique was used on each image in this post. The contest will end on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Good luck!
It’s been far too long since I’ve put up a new blog post, but it’s also been far too long since I’ve been in the country! I’m currently down in Chile, shooting skiing in various regions of the Chilean Andes. Conditions are spring-like, with beautiful sunny skies and colorful sunsets. It’s a bit strange to not be waking up super early to shoot sunrise, but the snow is so firm and frozen that you have to wait for it to soften up to even ski it reasonably well.
The landscape down here is enormous, and certainly overwhelms the senses at times. One thing I’ve fallen in love with is the intense calm that occurs in the mountains just as the sun sets. It’s an unbelievably serene feeling, and one that really brings you to communion with nature. I’m looking forward to posting several complete blog posts upon my return. Until then, I’ve sprinkled just a few teaser images in this post!