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Winter Sports Photography Tips – Flash Compensation

This guest post with a couple of tips on Winter Sports Photography is by Yves Garneau from G1Photo.com.

Conveying the mood of a particular setting with tricky lighting can be difficult. Most of my photography is done in the mountains during the winter months where light can vary from rich and deep to flat and blown out. Having the proper techniques to handle these varied lighting situations is a must.

Here you’ll find one of my favorite shots from last winter.

Winter-Sports-Photography-1

We’d just finished a heli ski run in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada and were waiting for the heli to pick us up. The sun was just about to set when I decided to grab these photos of my ski model.

I needed to keep my subject lit up with out over exposing the back drop. Most of you probably recognize the fill-flash but in this case it needed some tweaking to give the sun that starry effect. No filters were used….

I was shooting with a Nikon D200 and 10.5mm fisheye lens. Most of the time I keep my camera on shutter priority. With action I need to be assured my photos are crisp therefore I always have it set to a minimum shutter speed of 1/1250sec. When I pulled out my camera and popped up the built in flash it automatically dropped the shutter speed to 1/250sec and boost the aperture to F14.

Although this would light my subject appropriately I was concerned about getting the deep blue sky and starry sun. The burst of flash would also need tweaking based on how close he was standing. For the first shot I dropped my exposure by a third of a stop and upped my flash by a third of a stop. This would compensate for the distance between my subject and me while staying true to the setting.

Winter-Sports-Photography-2

For the second shot I kept my exposure dropped by a third but also dropped the flash by a third of a stop since he was much closer. The result is an evenly balanced shot with an incredible starry sun.

I love using fill flash while shooting against the sun but it isn’t always as straight forward as popping up the flash and shooting. Don’t be afraid to tweak the flash compensation settings to get that perfect balance… that’s what it’s there for.

Thanks to Yves for this post. He’s kindly offered to write a few more Winter Photography Tips for DPS. Don’t forget to check out more of his work at G1Photo.com. Subscribe today to get notified when he posts more.

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Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse

is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals.

He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

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