Monday, 23 January 2017

Skiing Photoshoot | Leogang, Austria

I was in Leogang, Austria on the weekend getting some shots for goggle company SunGod, check them out below:

1/1000s, f/6.3, ISO 100

1/1000s, f/6.3, ISO 100

1/4000s, f/9.0, ISO 1250

1/1000s, f/6.3, ISO 100

Friday, 20 January 2017

Ice Climbing Shoot in the Tirol

This week I joined IFMGA Mountain Guide, Tal Niv, ice climbing in the Tyrollean mountains.

Tal runs exclusive outdoor courses through his mountaineering school Harim Mountains and as well as ice climbing, he teaches freeride skiing, ski touring and other mountaineering courses.

I was very grateful to be shooting with the lightweight a6300, as I was also carrying plenty of heavy ice-climbing equipment. To be able to shoot all day in bitterly cold temperatures, I kept my batteries in my inside jacket pocket with a hand warmer and this worked a treat. My LCD loupe hack also helped a great deal.

Other tips:
  • Organise your gear: this is crucial not only for your safety but your convenience. On top of your camera gear, when ice climbing you will have a tonne of equipment; ice tools, harness, ice screws, crampons, helmet, ropes, slings... 
  • Go lightweight: when you're freezing cold, half way up a waterfall and you can't feel your hands or face, a large, heavy DSLR will be a nightmare. The new breed of small but high-quality mirrorless cameras are ideal.
  • Layer up: I wore three pairs of socks, and two layers of thermals, and I still got cold. Hand warmers are also a life-saver for your hands and batteries.

Thanks to Tal for the excellent course and setting everything up, as well as climbers Shaul Oron, Elad Sandovski and Avi Horowitz for being great models!

Tal Niv in action

Climber Shaul Oron, belayed by Tal Niv

The team: (from left to right) Elad Sandovski, Shaul Oron, Avi Horowitz and Tal Niv 

Day 1 - Shaul belaying Tal; Tal ascending; and a demo on ice screw techniques

Tal leads the way on our second day

A demo on climbing techniques

Avi and Sando watching Tal  

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Sony A6300 LCD Screen Loupe Hack

As I mainly shoot in the outdoors, I was having real problems seeing the LCD screen on my Sony A6300. The daylight renders it pretty much useless, meaning shooting with it or reviewing your photos just doesn't work.

The only other option is to use the viewfinder but for me this means holding the camera right up to my face, giving me less control over the buttons and dials. It's also a smaller screen to be looking at, which over the course of a few hours can give you a headache.

So I got to work trying to resolve this with a cheap viewfinder loupe that I'd bought a few years ago for my Nikon D7000.

By flipping the viewfinder upside down and screwing a hole through the bottom, I was able to attach it to the back end of my Manfrotto BeFree Live tripod mount. 

I could then attach the tripod mount as normal to the bottom of the Sony. And voila! It's not perfect but it's pretty solid and now makes shooting and reviewing both photos and videos outdoors actually possible!

Skitour & Avalanche at Ponten, Tirol

Earlier this week we ski-toured up Ponten in the Austrian Tirol. There'd only been about 10cm of fresh snow overnight but the avvy warning was still a three above the treeline, so we proceeded with caution. 

It was the afternoon, so we were following the skin-track and it took us about 2.5 hours to do the 800m from the car park to the top of the ridge just below the summit. There wasn't much snow around and many rocks and trees were still visible.

As we approached the top, we came across a avalanche that must have happened earlier that day. You can see in the photos that it was triggered by a skier on the far left side. The fracture was pretty big though, going about half way across the bowl to the right.
Although we could see the skier had a clear run out to the left and away from the avalanche, we still got our beacons out and checked for a signal.
After checking our surroundings we continued up to the ridge-line away from the dangerous area of the avalanche.

Our first sighting of the avalanche 

Carsten approaching the debris  

Very long fracture across half of the bowl 

Here you can see the skier's tracks that triggered it with their run out to the left

Some photos below from the top of the ridge-line and skiing down.

HDR shot of Carsten on the ridge
(three photos combined using continuous bracket mode)

 HDR shot of Carsten on the ridge
(three photos combined using continuous bracket mode)

HDR shot of Carsten on the ridge
(three photos combined using continuous bracket mode) 

Carsten heading down
1/1000, f/7.1, ISO 320 (two photo composite)

Skitour & Photoshoot | Ornach, Bavaria

Some shots below from last week's sunrise and sunset ski-tour up to Ornach near Oberjoch in Bavaria. In the morning we were the first heading up, so it was pretty slow going through the fresh snow. It took us just over an hour to do the 400m from the car park to the top. In the afternoon on the skin track it was a bit quicker, getting it done in under an hour.

From the top, around 1550m, there's a wide open meadow which is amazing to ski when there's been a fresh dump, like on this day. 

Pretty happy with the shots. Always impressed with the Sony A6300's continuous autofocus speed.  Not impressed with the LCD screen and battery life though. 

Tip: use handwarmers not only to defrost your hands but also to keep your spare batteries alive!

Carsten, sunrise, Ornach - 1/2500, f/4.5, ISO 2500

Carsten, sunrise, Ornach - 1/2500, f/4.5, ISO 1600
(two photo panorama composite)

Tanja, sunset, Ornach - 1/800, f/7.1, ISO 160 
(three photo panorama composite)

Tanja, sunset, Ornach - 1/1250, f/9.0, ISO 320

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