Ski and Snowboard Photography at Marmot Basin, Jasper
The other day, we got the chance to make our way up Marmot Basin for a second day of skiing. It was funny to see how different the conditions were just two days apart. On the first day we skied at Marmot, which is just outside of the Jasper townsite and up the side of the mountain, we had powder up to our knees and the snow was falling extremely heavily. On this day, we had perfect blue skies, almost infrared looking snow on the trees, and perfectly groomed tracks. So, well on the first day on the mountain we really just spent our time enjoying the fresh pow, we got down to a bit more business this time. I took the opportunity of blue skies to do some ski and snowboard photography. Thus, this video is a bit of a tutorial on how to shoot these ski and snowboard type situations.
Check out the video, and then more information and photos below.
Tips for Shooting Ski and Snowboard Photography
The tips for shooting ski photography has a lot of similarities to the tips for shooting winter photography that I explained last article. But there are a couple differences, so I’ll run through it again here.
Get the Exposure: As is the case with all photography with a lot of snow, the exposures can get all out of whack when shooting skiers and snowboarders. And, depending on how full your frame is with your subject, simply overexposing a couple stops wont do the trick. Instead, you’ll need to do a couple test shots and shoot in manual. If you shoot in aperture priority mode, your exposures will be all over the place. So, shoot in manual and make minor adjustments from there.
Get Wide: A lot of action photography looks best when shot really close to the subject and wide. It makes the subject’s moves look much more dramatic and intense. Of course, to get close to the subject, you have to get a little bit personal with the subject. On Marmot Basin, I just hung out near a jump and hoped people would hit it. If they were people I knew, I could have gotten more personal with them and set up shots more specifically.
Get Low: The lower you get to a subject hitting a jump, the higher it looks like they are jumping. So, if you’re photographing a snowboarder going off a jump, get right to the ground and shoot up at them.
Don’t Crop too Tight: If you’re using a telephoto lens, be sure not to crop too tightly. You want to leave a bit of room in front of the skier in the frame. This gives the subject somewhere to move and emphasizes their motion.
Watch your Background: I didn’t do this well in the video, nor did I mention it. But, that was because I only had one jump to work with. In the video, you can see that snow fence is a bit of a distraction. A cleaner background would have been much more visually appealing. Moreover, when you’re not going really cropped, use the background to emphasize the location: the slopes, the mountains, and the trees. Don’t get overly focused on the main subject.
Watch your Batteries: Batteries drop about 50% faster when it’s really cold out. It was -20 when we were skiing in Jasper, so the batteries die quick. If you’re shooting action sports on the ski hill, be sure to pack extra batteries.
About the Location
Marmot Basin is pretty awesome. It might not be a massive set of chairs like Whistler is, but it’s so much more of a calm and free ski or snowboard experience. In the two days we skied, not once did we have to wait in a line to catch a chair lift. And, I’m not exaggerating. We literally never once had someone in front of us at the lifts. Moreover, you don’t have to dodge those giant groups of ski school skiers like you do in more touristy places like Lake Louise.
It’s one of the things I really like about Jasper, in general. In Banff, the town, the hill, and the attractions really feel like they are partly over-taken by foreign tourists, which is fine. However, in Jasper it feels like it’s almost entirely Canadian visitors, which is really nice. It’s not to say that I have a problem with foreign tourism, I don’t. It’s just really nice to have a place that still feels much more “local”.
In general, the sheer beauty of Marmot Basin is worth noting as well. Constantly we were on the chair lifts looking out at the scene of snow and Rockies in complete awe. It’s absolutely stunning there.
More Photos from Marmot Basin
Anyways, since we had a really long drive back to Calgary after skiing, we had to cut our day pretty short. Also, the park wasn’t open yet at Marmot Basin. As a result, most of the images we got on this trip are fairly basic ski images, rather than intense photos. However, I did what I could given the time restrictions, limitations, and extreme cold. Check ’em out.
What’s next on the Travel Photography Blog?
In the next couple weeks I have a couple videos from our road trip with Enterprise Rent-a-Car to Drumheller which was lots of fun. There’s some cool images from the prairies on that trip too. Also, Tiffany is picking up a new camera body this week, and I have a new lens coming. Thus, there will be a couple unboxings. Then, we’re off to Whistler, on a big US Roadtrip, and then heading down to South America. So, stay tuned.