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How I Got the Photo - Snowboarding Jumps on Film


This has been a year of many first, including an introduction to snowboarding, and picking up a film camera! As with any new activity, I knew that I also wanted to photograph the action. But the thought of taking my mirrorless camera (the moneymaker on all my jobs!) felt like too big a risk. Instead, I opted for my recently acquired Olympus Infinity Stylus, a compact and weather-sealed point-and-shoot camera, to capture my snowboarding journey.


Location: A blue diamond slope with park jumps at Mammoth Mountain

After a few runs down this blue diamond, my friend Lily felt confident taking on a few jumps. After a couple laps, I started to see an opportunity for an awesome photo. I wanted to capture her jumping, but I needed to get the framing just right!


First attempt:

I initially tried to capture the jump from the bottom right of the slopes, hoping to get Lily framed in the sky. But once I got into place, I noticed that there wasn't enough open sky behind the slope. I snapped a photo anyways, hoping for the best, but I could already see the lack of contrast through the viewfinder. The framing didn't quite work out how I had hoped.





Second Attempt:

If I wanted this to work, I needed to rethink the angle. If the lower corners weren't going to work, then I needed to get up high. And thankfully the ski lift passed right above and past the jumps. We prepped by sitting off to the right of the slopes and planning out the right angles. I would be up on the ski lift above the jumps, and ideally I would be in the right position to capture the second jump. I prompted her to try and angle towards her upper right , in my direction. Head up as much as possible to avoid hunching. and right arm up and back to avoid covering her face. The rest was on me and timing was crucial!


Execution:

Thankfully, we had just enough cell service to be able to communicate. Lily took the ski lift up and text me when she was at the top of the jumps. Then I followed up the ski lift. As I was approaching the right angle, I called her and let her know it was time to start. As she approached the first jump. I took a photo half a second too early. And as she approached the second jump, I knew I couldn't miss it. Just as she started to catch air, I snapped the photo. The timing felt right, but I wouldn't know for sure until a week later


Attempt 1: half a second too early

Attempt 2: Perfect Execution!



The second I received a confirmation email that photos were prepped and ready to download - I couldn't contain my excitement. This was the only photo on the roll of film that I needed to see. And revealing our meticulously timed and planned photo worked out - what a sigh of relief! Since then, I've caught the film bug. And something about capturing action on film brings on a whole new level of excitement.


My journey into snowboarding and film photography brought forth unforgettable memories, proving that stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to remarkable adventures and creative discoveries.

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