Published the 13 January 2014
Have you already read the first article on how to take great ski holiday photos? Did you find it useful but want to go more in-depth? Then these 2 new photography techniques are for you!
Motion blur technique (speed effect)
Widely used for action photos, "motion blur" consists of keeping the subject sharp and the background out of focus. This lets you isolate the subject from the background and reinforce the sense of speed of a moving subject. It's a technique that will be particularly useful to you for taking photos of skiing, snow scootering or motor sports such as the Andros Trophy.
To take a motion blur photograph, the technique is fairly simple but requires a bit of practise.
First of all, you will need a camera on which you can adjust the shutter speed (generally known as Tv or S mode). Once in this mode, you have to apply a simple formula:
Shutter speed < focal length.
For example, using a 200mm telephoto lens, your shutter speed should be 1/125s or less.
Next, you have to position yourself at a right angle to your subject. Once the camera is in place and above all, stable, you should follow the skier/snowboarder, synchronising your movement to theirs. You need to press the shutter release while continuing your movement. If everything has worked, you should end up with an image like this:
There's always an element of luck involved in this technique, above all with very slow speeds. It's about achieving a mix between stability, regularity in the speed of movement from right to left (or vice versa), and above all continuity of movement before and after shooting.
Trick: As snow is a highly reflective surface for light, it might be necessary to use a neutral filter (ND) to avoid over-exposing the image too much.
Night-time photography (long-exposure)
The second photography technique we are going to try today is the chance to take some unusual shots such as photos of snow ploughs at work on the pistes or stars above the mountains.
At night, there is less light, so you need longer to allow the light to hit the sensor when taking a photograph. For this, you need one essential bit of kit: a tripod. Your camera has to be stable to avoid taking blurry photos.
Once the camera is set up and stable, the simplest technique is as follows:
Choose the Aperture Priority Mode (usually Av or A on the mode dial) and adjust it to your desired depth of field, then let the camera automatically select the shutter speed.
We recommend that you turn off image stabilisation, turn on mirror lock mode and use a remote control to reduce the risk of blurring.
The majority of cameras won't exceed 30 seconds of exposure time.
If you need longer, you need to switch to bulb mode in which you can open the shutter yourself at the beginning and end of the shot using the remote control.
Trick: If you want to shoot the stars without seeing them move (leaving trails due to the earth's rotation), you need to divide the number 600 by your focal length.
Example: 600 / 24mm = 25sec
There are many other ways to achieve the same results, which is why I encourage you to try out other techniques and come and share your tricks or ask questions in the comments below!