Giving My Best Shot

The West Coast Photo Group is located in St.  Petersburg.  I'm a charter member, but I'm away from St.  Petersburg for such a long period of time, that I try keep a presence by participating in the forums and member galleries.  So when the call came out for us to give it our best shot (of 2009, that is), I wasted no time.  The gallery should have been named, "The Best of the West," but, more prosaically, it's simply called Best Photo of 2009.

Click here for full-sized image

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My choice is this picture of David's Giant Slalom run at the Osler Club Championships, taken in March 2009.  I think it provides a neat dimension; although there are other shots that weren't taken in Florida, this is the only one taken on snow.

For this kind of shot, I like to find a spot where I can be quite low and catch the racer at the most energetic part of the turn.  Catching the bottom of the skis helps to emphasize the power.  In this case, the terrain was particularly good, since there was no distracting background to deal with.  What is behind the racer is uncluttered white snow.

Conditions for this shot were superb.  It was warm, windless and overcast.  The overcast conditions provided a light that is diffuse, almost, but not quite shadowless.  This means there is good detail in every important part of the shot; you can even see through the racer's goggles.

In Photoshop, I adjusted the white point so that the colour of the snow changed from a springtime gray to a midwinter white, and think that is pretty much all the post-processing that I did.  The colour-scheme is uncomplicated, and I think this helps the quality of the shot immensely.

Experienced skiers know that on overcast days it can be extremely difficult to pick out the nature of the terrain.  Without shadows, you can't see the dips and bumps.  That's why there is a very pale turquoise line following the direction of the course.  I think the line contributes a very nice dynamic quality.

Click here for full-sized image

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One photographer, who is a qualified judge, told me that the image would criticized in competition because the tip of the ski pole is not in the frame.  I have included a version of the photograph that has the tip.  You can click on both images and leave them open to compare them.  I'll let you be the judge.

Posted August 30, 2010 at 3:00 pm.