I am about to head off to St Anton next week for the winter ski season. Armed with my Nikon D50 and a shiny new Sigma 18-200mm lens + polariser filter I hope to get some stunning shots to post to the TP photo section
Anyone have any tips on getting the best results?
I've read about spot-metering based on a non-snow subject, and over exposing the shot by 1-2 stops.
I've also tried some sequence shots and these have worked really well so far.
One particular problem I have is capturing big air shots. They never look as big or look like I'm in the wrong place/angle.
Just try to shoot from as low down as YOU can get, with the lens at the wide end, trying to still be reasonably close to the subject. That way the lens should distort the edges of the image adding a bit more drama.
Try incident light metering, reading the light that's falling on the subject, not what's reflected off it.
Get a grey card from a photo store or in a book or something and use it to find something on your person (a glove, your skin tone, etc) with the same reading and use it to read the light. Just read the card or whatever you have that gives the same reading, then either set that exposure or use the shutter to freeze it then shoot.
Or use a cheap variation on the white domes used on incident meters... a white foam cup. Put if over the lens, point at the sun and take the reading. Try it a few times before to find out if you need to compensate.
Incident reading, not affected by the color of clothes, background, etc, is how pros handle this stuff...you see them using meters with little white domes on them.
Give it a shot. As far as your composition problems, I'd say shoot big, then crop in to the shot you want. As far as position, remember the basic composition rule of thirds. Divide your view into thirds horizontally and verticaly, and place subjects (or the salient part of the subject, like face) at the places where the "lines cross" in those trisection. You'll find it gives a much better look than having the skier hanging in the middle of frame.
Take an incident reading as has been suggested (I tend just to aim at my hand instead of a grey card, but I'm lazy). Then auto bracket by +/- 1 (maybe more or less if needed) stops and shoot continuously. If you're shooting action I recommend shooting in shutter priority (1/500 or faster) and continuous mode anyway. The initial meter reading will give you the exposure for that one scene. But by then bracketing you will hopefully get your exposure correct in one of the shots. The problem with exposing for snow and shooting "big air" action is that your background, subject and foreground exposure will continuously change. I personally can't think of a way to deal with all of that in milliseconds. It's about as tough a shot as you can get IMHO. Just bracket continuously and hope the Gods and your buffer are with you that day.....Good luck.