Many climbing enthusiasts will already have a bucket load of butt shots, so look for better angles than below. A side view of a climber is often overlooked but has merit. One of the best options is to set up a ﬁxed rope on another route. With a set of ascenders you could even take advantage of two or three diferent positions during a photo shoot.
Once you have settled in a steady position you will be ready to capture emotion on the climber's face and also some dramatic background. The most dramatic viewpoint is from above and the best way to shoot it is to lead the climb yourself. If you need more camera gear haul it up in a Pelican box with plenty of inside foam padding and then pull up your rope so it's out of the shot. A good zoom lens should enable you to shoot variations without constantly changing position. You will get so many facial expressions from above because climbers, constantly looking for footholds, rarely look up. Try to persuade your climbing friends to wear photo-friendly coloured clothing and perhaps a red helmet, so they don't get lost in the background. One simple piece of equipment will give viewers the impression you, as photographer, are hanging in space. It is the camera pole, which can be held away from the face or even lowered over an overhang. Great care is needed to ensure every piece of equipment is well secured. You don't want it falling on anyone.
Follow a few simple rules and you will get the most from your photo shoots on the mountain slopes. You can't take good photos if you are cold, so dress warmly and wear a hat. Fingerless gloves are better than none when handling the camera. You should not wear the camera dangling from your neck by its strap or under your jacket when skiing or snowboarding - if you fell, the camera could injure you. Snow, ice, water and cameras don't mix so keep your electronics dry in a good quality bag and try to avoid falls. A hip pack integrated with a daypack is a nice stable way to carry it. Be particularly careful to check all bag zips are in good condition and secured. You don't want to see your gear plummeting into depths of snow when you are riding the chair lifts. Battery life will always be shorter in cold conditions, so always carry a fully charged spare in a pocket close to your body to keep it warmer. It will then perform better. Murphy's Law says that the most outstanding photo opportunity will present itself at the moment that your battery runs out of power.
Watch out for other mountain users. Skiers and snowboarders move very fast and collisions can hurt. It is better not to stop under the crest of a hill or in fact anywhere where people coming from higher up the mountain cannot see you. It spoils the fun if you get injured or indeed injure someone else. If you absolutely must stop in a precarious spot to take a picture remove your skis or snowboard and stand them up in the snow to give other riders a clear indication of your whereabouts. 'lhat's got the rules out of the way, so let's look at technique. Shoot when the winter sun is low in the sky and use a UV ﬁlter to protect your lens and reduce blue discolouration in spectacular mountain scenes. Use slow shutter speeds (1/125th second) for landscape shots and fast shutter speeds (1/1000th second) to freeze the action. Most skiers wear bright colours which look great against the white backdrop.
Snow is highly reﬂective and tends to fool most cameras' metering systems. The camera will read from many different parts of your picture area and when they are all white and bright it thinks to itself "wow that's bright" and reduces exposure value, making the shot too dark. This is easily resolved by simply adjusting your exposure compensation setting to plus 1 stop. Keep reviewing your images to check exposure and don't forget to change the setting back to normal once you have ﬁnished on the mountain.
You may be able to capture some good action if you persuade your friends to build a jump and then photograph them as they do crazy tricks. Snow boarders are good at this so they may be keen for a photo shoot. Lying down in the snow and shooting as they go overhead makes everything look more dramatic.
Some ﬁll ﬂash can be useful to put in detail but don't overdo it. Tuning its power down by up to one stop looks natural and it's hard to tell that ﬂash has been used. If you have enthusiasm, dog-headed determination, work well with people and have an eye for a good picture, your patience will eventually be rewarded with a truly fantastic image.