Posts Tagged ‘alta’

POWDER cover

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Every ski photographer/athlete always dreams of getting the cover of Powder magazine. Powder is the most prestigious magazine in the ski industry. When I had my first photo published, it was a 2-page spread in the gallery of  the September Powder back in 1999. I was lucky because it was my first year of shooting. For some photographers it takes years just to get into the gallery. Since 1999 I have had many gallery shots in Powder, some years I would have up to three. I thought I would get a cover within a few years. Well the years kept on slipping by and no cover; I have had photos that I thought were strong contenders, but no luck. Covers in foreign magazines did come over the years, even two this year, but no Powder cover.

Earlier last season I met Kalen Thorien. I heard from other athletes that Kalen could lay it down. I saw some of her photos, and I could tell that she had great style and was very photogenic. Throughout last season we would play phone tag but never hooked up until March 20th.

Last year was a piss-poor year for snow in Utah. Then came a classic Wasatch storm cycle that laid down 50 inches in 3 days. The last 14 inches of the storm had a water content of 4.71% with no wind. That morning I met Kalen at Alta with Alex Taran; we got early ups and shot on the back side of Alta. The snow is what every skier dreams of, absolutely perfect blower pow.

My first shot of Kalen ever. After seeing this 8am love in my camera, I knew she had it.

We shot this area for a couple of hours, other photographers started to show up and we knew it was time to beat it. I was thinking about going to Patsy Marley, but I knew there were many photographers and people ahead of us. I decided to gamble and hit lower Grizzly Gulch before anyone got it. Grizzly is a gamble, because many backcountry skiers, jibbers and photographers frequent it. It also was late March so I was worried it might be too warm and the snow would be shit. What I did know was the sun would be just hitting it and the light would be magical. When we got to the gulch I was very surprised to find the place completely pristine, not one track, no roller balls and zero people. I knew we had to move fast to beat the people and the radiant heating of the snow from the sun. Alex went first and the snow was billowing over her, sometimes too deep is not good because you lose your subject. I told Kalen to not go as fast and make more turns.

This is the cover shot uncropped. It was the third turn of the sequence.

My first Powder cover in its full glory.

We continue to track up the whole area. I got many great shots that day, but I knew this was the shot of the day. This time I was right.  :)

Powder photo editor Dave Reddick let me know I had the cover in late August and not to let Kalen know. Here’s how we surprised her.

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Full moon, big dipper and lightning.

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

The weather in Utah for the summer of 2011 has been unusual. It has been cooler, wetter, stormier. People are still skiing in mid-August on a few select north-facing slopes. What this all adds up to is more flora with vivid colors. I decided to go shoot the entrance of Prince of Whales mine. At the entrance there is an Ames Iron Works 40-hp steam boiler and winch. It sits at 10,000 feet, has been there since 1875 and is in excellent shape. These photos are from 3 consecutive nights with  3 different results.

Night one.

This photo is from night one. I like everything about it but the composition. I felt there was too much blank space on the left side. This can be a good thing if you are doing gallery wrap canvas print, but I wanted to get the shot better.

So here is night two.

On this shot, the colors are remarkable. The sky with the red gel on the boiler is a perfect match. I also like the foreground with parts of the winch shown. The only thing missing was the big dipper. I had to move the boiler candles to a different area because they were blowing out. That is whole other story …

Night three, two different shots.

On night three it was breezy with a full moon behind me and a lightning storm in front. I shot this photo as soon as I got to the site. I knew the storm was coming and wanted to capture the big dipper before it was gone.

I knew the lightning was firing on the left side of the boiler so I left some room for  it. After about 15 shots I captured a bolt and a lightning-lit sky. I kept on shooting until I felt it was unsafe. Lots of cloud lightning but another bolt never materialized. When I got home that night I knew I got the shot when I saw this image in its raw form on the screen. I feel now that all three nights produced excellent shots each with a different personality.

“Beauty of Decay,” a slideshow of my dark side.

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

So much work went into these photos. 100s of hours were spent looking and shooting these locations. In abandoned mine photography, it is super hard to find open mines, and finding equipment left in them is like hitting the lottery. When I do find something I want to shoot, it is crucial to look around what you are shooting. I always check for back/foreground, unwanted litter, footprints, etc. This is usually very hard because it is pitch-black, so I take the extra time and really look. I do all my lighting during the shoot. My lighting techniques can vary from LED/incandescent light, flashes with or without gels, a Coleman lantern or a combination of any. I try to not use photoshop except for some minor cropping and maybe clone out that unwanted piece of litter I missed. Ha.

Prison Sex gap

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Through the years I have shot many gaps. Each year they’re getting harder and harder to find. I’m constantly searching year-round for places to shoot. I drive the backroads, hike and just go out and explore. A lot of things have to come together for a jump, such as a good in-run, landing and does the place get enough snow.  Here are some photos of  the gap we did a month ago.