Santa Fe New Mexico Family and Children Photographer – David Moore» Blog Archive » ‘I probably won’t hit you, but just in case . . . ‘ – Photographing snowkiting for a magazine

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This is the photography blog for photographer and writer David Moore. He's based in Santa Fe, New Mexico but speaks with a funny accent.

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    November 18th, 2011

    ‘I probably won’t hit you, but just in case . . . ‘ – Photographing snowkiting for a magazine

    A piece I wrote and photographed for New Mexico Magazine has appeared in the December issue – and getting the shots was a bit more intrepid than the work I normally do.

    Back in March, I went up to a snowy field beside the Brazos Pass in northern New Mexico to talk to and photograph Stuart Penny, who teaches snowkiting – a fast-growing and exciting winter sport.

    The snow was really deep – one step the crust on top would support you, but the next you’d be post-holing up to your crotch in the white stuff.

    Stuart was teaching a class, and I hung out for a while watching him instruct his pupils on how to harness the wind to have them zooming across the the snow.

    When the class was over, we talked about the sort of shots I wanted and how to get them. I wanted some wide establishing shots to show what the sport was about (both in landscape and portrait formats to give the designers options when it came to layout), some close-up portraits and then some shots of him in the air.

    I’d not shot snowkiting before, so beforehand I’d checked online to see what other photographers were doing with it. This gave me a sense of some of the issues I’d face, and helped me visualize what I’d be looking for. One of the ideas I liked was getting the kiter in the air with the sun in the shot, too (shown here in the upper of my two beautiful sketches).

    One question was that for the activity to make sense to people who’d not seen it before (like most of the New Mexico Magazine readers), I needed to show the ground, Stuart and the kite – shown in the lower of the two sketches.

    Shots of him in the air without the ground or the kite would work well as supplementary images, but wouldn’t tell the whole story. I knew that this piece was likely to run only on one page (two if the images were good enough), so the establishing shots and portraits were the must-haves.

    So with all this preparation, Stuart and I quickly came up with a plan. Based on the direction of the winds, he showed me how he’d go aways a little, turn around and then come straight at me. He said he’d stay on the ground for a couple of passes, before going round again and getting airborne.

    ‘I aim to go straight over your head,’ he said calmly. ‘I probably won’t hit you, but just in case, be ready to get out of the way quickly.’

    This could be a problem, as running wasn’t an option. I figured if I had to, I could just fold myself over face down in the snow.

    Stuart nailed his passes, and as he flew over my head I racked my 24-105mm lens as wide as I could and kept shooting (click on any of following images for a larger versions).

    The snow acted as a great reflector throwing light up into his face, so even with the sun behind him, the images worked well.

    Not a normal day at the office for me, but one I greatly enjoyed.

    Here’s what that sketch of a snowkiter airborne with the sun turned into:

    And I like this one with Stuart looking at us with snow coming off the back of his board.

    And finally, the man on the ground:

    The text of the article is here.

    And you can learn more about Stuart on his site.


     

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    One Response to “‘I probably won’t hit you, but just in case . . . ‘ – Photographing snowkiting for a magazine”

    1. New Article and Photos for New Mexico Magazine | Moore Consulting Says:

      […] here’s more detail on how I got the shots (from my photography […]

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