Top Tips For Biathlon Photography
Fast action, frigid temperatures, agile athletes, mountain landscape all wrapped up into an event full of emotion. You can capture everything by planning in advance.
1 Dress Code – Have you ever been outside for hours probably without access to food, water and more important, warmth? Those are the conditions you will have, only you will also be wearing a long lens on a heavy camera.
2 Light – Where is it? Where is it headed? The sun is your main light source so you need to know what it is doing. Luckily, flash is usually forbidden at races so that keeps it simple. Work the light, prepare for shadows on faces and adjust to avoid. Watch mixy light, the combination of bright sun and dark shadows.
3 Creative – Try some outside of the box clicks. Atypical. Beyond predictable. Backlit warm-ups, athlete nervous chatter, post race relief, friendships nurtured over lunch in the bright sun, a spray of snow suggests action, quiet moments are all about anticipation and relief. Use these emotion mantras to capture your goal rather than just clicking an experience.
4 Speed – The nature of racing in changing light requires constant ISO manipulation. Perfect exposure (keep right, right, right) in the shady evergreens means gross overexposure in bright sunlight. Those athletes move fast and bright sunny conditions change quickly to shade or a combination that will have your meter going crazy. Think smarter than the meter.
5 Be Prepared – The athletes have been training for months for this event. Keep their preparedness motto in mind. Batteries fizzle in cold temperatures, fingers do not work well either. Keep checking the LCD screen for over and under exposure, freezing motion.
6 Mood – What is the feeling of this event? Competitive, young people enjoying the camaraderie of their peers, intense competition followed by a backslapping good job? Figure it out and capture it.
7 Shooting Position – Although you are featuring an athletic performance, background is critical. If the viewer cannot find the athlete for the crowd then your mission has failed. Clean or supportive backgrounds achieve your goal. Case the venue, figure out your capture spots and keep out of the race.
8 Smile at the officials.
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