In a good way, mind you. The last couple of days have been full of deep snow, cold hands and big grins. Where else for all of this to take place but Solitude Mtn. Resort?
I love Little Cottowood Canyon and it’s associated resorts as much as any powder-crazed skier/photographer, but man Solitude can hold it down when it comes to snow, features, and no crowds to battle when shooting. With a sketchy snowpack, I have been forced to shoot inbounds much more than years past. While frustrating at times, it definitely pushes me to see things in a different way. With so much in the periphery when shooting in-resort, you have to pay attention to anything that can distract the viewer from the good stuff in the image. Whether that be ski tracks, another skier, resort signage, rope lines or any number of other distractions, it really causes me to shoot in a more stringent manner. It also serves as a great opportunity to push creative boundaries in terrain that many ski right past without so much as a nod.
Tuesday was full-on storm shooting at Solitude. You can’t help but notice the towering, scraggly limber pines. These trees make for awesome shooting on storm days. Bare, dead branches claw the blank sky while orange-hued trunks shelter waist-deep powder turns. I find it helpful to move slowly through zones that may hold great photo opportunities. Take your time and search for that image that will have an impact. Be careful not to ski through fresh snow that could be your next great powder shot. These trees are perfect for wide angle shooting. The skier is merely a part of the landscape in many of these images as opposed to being the one and only focal point.
Yesterday dawned with (mostly) bluebird skies. I was so happy to have light! I’ve said it before, and I will likely say it a million more times before I die–light is the great maker or breaker of a memorable image. There couldn’t have been greater contrast between Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday I was forced to dig deep to find images that would sing, despite the entire lack of light. On Wednesday, there were images begging to be made around every corner, and under every cliff.
Do yourself a favor and head up “that other canyon” some time soon. The skiing is crazy good, and if, like me, you find yourself with camera in hand–you won’t be disappointed in that regard either.