My coverage of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl FCA Breakfast

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 2800, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

My morning started off early with the annual Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s breakfast.

They had surprise guest of Heisman Trophy Winner Hershel Walker being interviewed by Ernie Johnson Jr. at the end of the event.

This year the event was moved to the College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

For many this is a fun place to come in Atlanta. Seeing all the memorabilia was just an added bonus that the football fans loved in addition to hearing from the football legends.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 2800, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

The emcee for the event was Ernest Thorwald “Ernie” Johnson Jr. is a sportscaster for Turner Sports and CBS Sports. He also interviewed Dan Reeves.

Dan Reeves spent  23 years coaching for the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons. He played or coached in a record nine Super Bowls – five with the Dallas Cowboys, three with Denver and one with Atlanta. Prior to coaching, he also spent 16 years in the Cowboys organization – five as a player, three as a player/coach and eight as an assistant coach.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 4000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

The keynote speaker was Benjamin Watson. In the 2005 AFC Divisional Game against the Denver Broncos, he made perhaps one of the most notable plays in NFL history, when he tackled Denver cornerback Champ Bailey one yard short of what would be a 101-yard interception off Tom Brady. Bailey intercepted the pass one yard inside of the Patriot end zone and proceeded 100 yards before Watson, the only Patriot within ten yards of Bailey, hit Bailey violently, knocking both the ball and Bailey out at the Denver 1-yard line. This play is of note due to the fact that Watson was on the other side of the field when Bailey made the play. He had to sprint an estimated 120-yards, run through a referee and never gave up in the chase.

My job this morning was to document the event. I got some overall shots to establish the location of the event and then also had tight shots of the speakers and everything in between.

I shot the event with what I use on the sidelines of the football field, because the distance to the speakers without standing right down in front of the lectern is a good distance away.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

My tip for covering an event as this is to plan ahead. Which lenses will you need? Will you need a tripod or monopod? I used the monopod.

Take the time and think all through the event. If you can go early and scout the location.

Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make!

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 200, ƒ/4, 1/150

I like to think of still photography as capturing the emotional moments of a story. They are moments however and need a good storyteller to help weave these moments with text/words into a compelling story.

Photographers need to remember it isn’t just about the moments that will get them hired. In other words just having images will lack the most important part of getting jobs.

For photographers marketing ourselves is no longer about the photos we make, but the stories we tell that will help us seal those deals.

This is a great insight by John Steinbeck about a great story, “If a story is not about the hearer he [or she] will not listen . . . A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar.”

The Five Essential Elements Of A Story – Katie Kazoo says, “A story has five basic but important elements. These five components are: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. These essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow.”

  1. Character – This needs to be developed so that we can feel like we know this person. We can picture them and how they would dress, walk and talk.
  2. The Setting – Great writers like Pat Conroy who does such a great job of writing that if you had never been to Charleston, SC you would recognize it from just reading some of his books.
  3. The Plot – This is how you sequence the events of a story to keep the reader on the edge.
  4. The Conflict – This can be internal or external and often is a little of both for the main character.
  5. The Resolution – offer a fitting conclusion, which can be a tragedy or a comedy
This is a great example here of creating a setting for the story by South Carolina’s famed writer Pat Conroy as he describes Charleston in his 2009 novel, South of Broad: “I carry the delicate porcelain beauty of Charleston like the hinged-shell of some soft-tissued mollusk. . . . In its shadows you can find metal work as delicate as lace . . . it’s not a high-kicking, glossy lipstick city.”
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 250, ƒ/4, 1/100
Photography can help in creating these five parts of the story. They can help show what often is difficult to tell without a lot of words.
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/10
To me I am looking for those moments where the expressions on people’s faces is what writers often spend pages trying to create using just the text. I often see photos as packing in even more information than the writer attempted.
When you go to see a movie that a writer’s book has been turned into, you will notice over and over where screenwriters, directors and producers must include so much more in the frame of the lens that isn’t even described in that type of detail that the camera is giving to the audience.
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/90
Throughout my family vacation I was capturing slices of the memories that will be part of the stories we tell as a family in the years ahead.
When you look at your images that you captured this holiday did you capture slices of the story?
Many will always say yes, but I want to challenge you. Take a moment and think of what the story was this Christmas for your family. Now without thinking of your photos can you just tell the story? Then after telling us the story how many photos do you have that will support this story?
You don’t start your storytelling by just clicking randomly. You start with the storyline in your mind.

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.”

– Brandon Sanderson

Marketing yourself with story is creating the questions for the client to realize they don’t have answers to and they need some help. That help is you!

This is the time of year for children

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/4.5, 1/100

This is the time of year we celebrate Jesus being born. This is the time of year we celebrate children.

At my church this Christmas eve there is a special service for families with small children that we enjoy going to each year.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 2500, ƒ/4.8, 1/100

This little boy decided to join our minister in the chair beside her. The minister said as long as you sit you can stay.

Well that was a fun thing to watch unfold.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 2000, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

I think the minister was enjoying the little boy as much as he liked being treated like an adult.

The more I travel the more I see that children are much more welcomed into services around the world than we do here.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 4500, ƒ/4, 1/100

Here all the kids are so well behaved here in Togo, West Africa. However they do walk around in the service to the mothers and family.

Children can bring you joy.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 4500, ƒ/4, 1/100

Take the time to enjoy moments and capture them to show others what you value and also to teach children what you value.

Photography has the power to help communicate our values. When it comes to faith capture those moments that shape your morals and values for your family.

1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 1250, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

 Children are paying attention to all we do and how we act.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 2500, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

John 1:12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

A photograph is a great gift for Christmas – Here some ideas for you

Søren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.

Kierkegaard sourly prophesied a banal fate for the newly popularized art of photography. “With the daguerreotype,” he observed, “everyone will be able to have their portrait taken—formerly it was only the prominent—and at the same time everything is being done to make us all look exactly the same, so we shall only need one portrait.”

As we get older it becomes more and more difficult for people to buy presents for us. We go out and buy what we need, so what would someone give you and what can you give others that they don’t already have this Christmas.

One of the best personal gifts people can give is a photograph. The reason for this is that photos have the power to keep all our precious moments alive. And giving the gift of an especially well-chosen photo is a way to preserve a fond memory with someone you treasure.

The gift of a photograph today has many ways for presentation. One way many use now is a greeting card. This photo however is typically an individual or family sharing one of their personal memories with their family and friends.

If you give a photo to an individual the photo of something that you shared cannot just show your friendship with them, but help remind them of a memory that the two of you share.

Besides giving a print of the photo, you can have the photo put on just about anything. Here is just a sample of the items you could put the photograph on for that special gift:

• Coffee cup
• Candy Tin
• Blanket
• T-Shirts
• Aprons
• Coasters
• Calendars
• Neck Tie
• Ornament
• Porcelain Plate
• Puzzle
• Digital Photo Frame
• Coffee Table Book

The photo book also shows you took the time to make their gift. It will help preserve those memories of a family trip you made or one with your friends.
If you have the time and enough variety of photos the photo book is one of my favorite things to come along. You can produce a very nice coffee table book for your friend for as low as $20 for a 20 page soft cover book.
If you choose to make a book, my favorite book publisher is
Go online to where you cannot only get prints, holiday cards, but have canvas prints made.
Have Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tis The Season for Group Photos

This is a photo taken at the mall near us where you could get your picture with Santa. They created an experience that with Po and his friends you can go on adventure to see Santa. Our son loves Po so we wanted the photo with Po even more than our photo with Santa.

They had created great backgrounds and over all experience to put families with Santa.

The key to group photos is planning — and how big you plan to use the photo can make a big difference in your planning. We don’t hang wristwatches on the wall, because their faces are so small you cannot tell time with them. In most family rooms, you could have a three-inch face clock and tell the time. In a classroom, you might need a 10-inch face. The clock face size is a good rule of thumb for determining whether someone will be recognized in a wall print at a normal viewing distance.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 900, ƒ/8, 1/100

The more you show in a photograph other than people’s faces, the larger the photo needs to be to recognize the people, because their face size will diminish. If your group photo is more for identification, then getting everyone close together where you can see their faces should be the primary goal. Then you can run the photo in a publication and people can tell what everyone looks like.

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 2000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200 – 2 Alienbees B1600 strobes in a balcony lighting the room

On the other hand, if your photo is more about creating a mood for a poster of, say, a hip-hop band, then you will shoot much looser and space the people out and let their body language help establish the mood. For these concept/mood photos, I like to spread people out and put people at different heights (relative to their faces). I like to think in triangles. If you were to connect the dots (faces) between people, do they make triangles? Create depth by having some people closer to the camera and others further away. This will give it a more three-dimensional feel.

Nikon D5, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, 4 – Alienbees B1600, 4 – PocketWizard Plus, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

If you go to the music store and look at CD covers of music groups, you can see some of the leading work done in the industry. Try copying some of these until you get the hang of it and can come up with your own concepts.

If you pre-plan and have a good idea and have taken into consideration people’s sizes, you will move pretty quickly through the process. If you don’t, it goes slowly and your photo may fall apart — because you will lose the attention and interest of the people in the photo.

Nikon D4, 14-24mm ƒ/8, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/200, Off camera Alienbees B1600

In scouting locations in advance, you are not only choosing a location because of the scenery; you are also ensuring you are there at the best time of day for a group photo. Having the sun right behind the group isn’t the best technical photo. Sometimes, a location won’t work simply because the group isn’t available at the right time of day to make the photo.

I have found that if you have done your homework, you can pretty much make any group photo in 10 to 15 minutes. You may get to the location earlier, but the people in the photo should be able to be placed into position immediately — and then you are just looking for good expressions.

Nikon D5, Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 100, ƒ/8, 1/125, Off camera Alienbees B1600

One last thing that can make a great impact on the quality of your photo: either have a laptop computer or TV on location to view the images as you shoot. Virtually all digital cameras will plug into a TV and let you see the image big enough to assess the smallest details — enabling you to move people only inches and improve the final product.

Do you find online social media and photo tutorials lacking something?

This photo just begs for information. What is ASMP president Theresa Carol Sicurezza doing here? What does this have to do with a professional photography association?

Last night the ASMP Atlanta/Southeast had their Holiday party at Kevin Ames Studio. There was no program, just a time to socialize.

Lifetime member Ron Sherman is talking here with Leah Overstreet who just moved to Atlanta in the last month. Leah mentioned how much she had enjoyed working in the past in a studio space where everyone was able to interact and bounce new ideas and old ones around with each other.

Now that Leah has gone freelance she has discovered the isolation that so many of us face. Staring at your computer for hours on end is not the healthiest thing one could be doing. Just getting together with anyone while this can be helpful it isn’t very productive for your professional advancement.

After all birds of a feather flock together and this is what was happening at the party.

Michael Schwarz talks with new members Anthony and his wife Stacey. First thing that Stacey said to me was I can see you too carry a camera everywhere. Guilty as charged was my response. I did tell them the story of my friend who didn’t have his camera and missed a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have also missed some photos by not having a camera with me in the past.

I think the cool thing last night was Anthony met other like him who have cameras around their shoulders when they are not working.

Kevin Ames had setup a photo booth and James Barker was helping take photos of members. Kevin commented that we didn’t setup a selfie booth but rather we wanted a photographer to take our photos.

Now are you reading this and wishing you were there? This is one of the many reasons photo associations exist. We need to socialize with one another. We also want to have some kind of a filter to be sure we have a lot in common with the others. So for ASMP you must make more than 51% of your income as a photographer. We are not a camera club. We talk business as much as photography.

We have about six or so events a year locally, but you can also go to the other chapters around the country and go to their events as well.

Where is your photography community? I would say that for all those who came last night that an online community and listening to tutorials isn’t satisfying the need for community. We like getting together and listening and sharing our concerns.

I invite you to join ASMP and be at our next event. Here is where you go to find out more Join ASMP.

Our London Vacation is done – Now a coffee table book

Book Cover – Buy the book on

I spent much of my weekend creating and designing a coffee table book to remember our trip to London, England this past Thanksgiving.

You see no one wants to sit at my computer going through all the photos of our trip. No one is that interested in me just taking all the photos and just projecting them and talking forever about our trip.

What people are interested in seeing is when I have taken the time to create a storyline and thought about what I want to communicate about our trip.

The exercise of creating a book will help you have something to help you remember your trip and also make it more intriguing for an audience to enjoy.

One of the page spreads

As I worked on laying out all the pages and trying to create some sense of order I had to include some text. I needed to include information that would help us remember what we saw to be sure I didn’t lose pertinent information.

When you put two or more photos together you get what we call the X-Factor. This is when the message of the combined photos communicates something totally different than the photos just by themselves.  They strengthen each other.

Adding text goes even further and helps fill in all the information that is left out in a photograph.

Funny thing about great photos is they ask questions.  Yes the best photos have your audience asking questions.  Who is that person?  The photo was strong enough to make you want to know.

Where is this place? This is what a successful travel photo will do because your audience will want to go there if it is successful.

I can picture myself in many years sitting drinking some coffee and sitting by a fireplace as I hold the book and flip through the pages to help jog my memory on such a wonderful time I had with my wife and daughter.

Call me sentimental, but I realized this might be the last time we have to do anything as a family for a while. My daughter will go off to college next year and who knows how our schedules will be going forward. I know we will do things in the future, but will we get this kind of time together?

Page spread on the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

While you can find some bargains on books about England they are not our photos and our specific memories. The book I put together is our trip and includes all the places we went to and enjoyed as a family.

This may just be the most archival way for our family to preserve the photos and memories of our trip. CD/DVDs tend to fade over time and hard drives can fail, but the printed page tends to last much longer than all these other formats.

I encourage you to take the time to put all those photos that you took on your latest trip into a book. Marry the images with text and not only will this preserve the memories, but it allows you now to share this with family and friends.

We all have friends who want to know about our trip because they are planning their own trip. Now we have something that can help them see what we did and help them determine if they want to see what we saw or maybe add some new locations that we didn’t go to for our trip.

I recommend using for your book project. These are beautiful books made by you. You can turn your ideas into professional-quality books, magazines, or ebooks for iPad and Kindle.

Wedding photography to me is about emotional moments

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, Nikon SB-900, ISO 400, ƒ/3.5, 1/6

I do not promote myself as a wedding photographer. I have shot many weddings in my career, but today I have been just doing weddings for close friends and family. There was a time I turned down any requests.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Alienbees B1600, ISO 100, ƒ/5.6, 1/60

The reason I am not as fond of shooting weddings is the amount of people posing. I can do an excellent job of getting great moments in posed shots, but my favorite thing to do in all of photography is capturing those moments that are not posed.

Nikon D750, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Alienbees B1600, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/200

I love a moment like this where the mother of the groom is dancing with her son and the grooms friends and family are caught up in the moment as well.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 11400, ƒ/4, 1/200

I love the moments where the Bride and Groom are in a moment where you see the love they have for each other and you can see why they are getting married.

Nikon D4, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 12800, ƒ/4.5, 1/50

Sometimes the moments are subtle or they are bold as here.

Nikon D4, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, Nikon SB-900, ISO 400, ƒ/3.5, 1/6

I love capturing the expressions of people where you can see on their faces their emotions. The other thing I notice is at weddings the guests are just as happy for the couple.

Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens, ISO 10000, ƒ/5.6, 1/8

The hard part about shooting weddings is you are doing so many styles of photography throughout the day. You are having to do studio lighting fashion shoots and then turn right around and just doing more of event photography as well as getting those moments.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art Lens, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/100

Capturing the moments is what I work on the most in my photography. I believe it is the expressions that are the most powerful thing in a photograph. I spend a great deal of time trying to be sure the technical parts of photography: Lighting, Composition, Depth-of-field and more are all ready for when the moment will happen.

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art Lens, ISO 6400, ƒ/3.2, 1/100

Sometimes those moments are posed, but you just wait for the moment when they are into it rather than stiff and just posing.

Nikon D4, Nikon 85mm ƒ/1.8G, ISO 2800, ƒ/1.8, 1/100

Some of my favorite Sports photos

Nikon D3, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 1000, ƒ/8, 1/2000

I just thought I would share some of my favorite sports images that I now have in my most recent “Sports Portfolio.”

This first photo is of Kerri Walsh spikes the volleyball against Jenny Krop & teammate Nancy Mason in the 3rd round of the Women’s $100,000 AVP Crocs Tour at Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 36000, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Georgia Bulldog’s #2 Defensive Back Maurice Smith breaks up the pass to North Carolina Tarheel’s #3 Ryan Switzer in their win over UNC 33 to 24 during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game at the Georgia Dome.

What I love about the photo is there is an anticipation of the big play and we see both the offense and defense in a very competitive and athletic moment. Both players appear to be giving it their all in the moment.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Georgia Bulldog’s Freshman Running Back #35 Brian Herrien Scores his very first collegiate touch down while UNC’s Safety #15 Donnie Miles was unable to stop him during tonights Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at the Georgia Dome.

I love the effort made by both the teams in the moment of competition. This is what the game is all about, getting a touchdown and defending all wrapped up in a split second.

Nikon D100, Sigma 120-300 mm f/2.8 DG EX APO IF HSM, ISO 1600, ƒ/2.8, 1/350

Jaron Nunnemaker attempts to ride Hot Rod during the 2004 RBR Atlanta Classic at the Georgia Dome.

Bull Riding is the wildest and most dangerous event in rodeo. In the American tradition the rider must stay atop the bucking bull for eight full seconds to count as a qualified ride. The rider tightly fastens one hand to the bull with a long braided rope. It is a risky sport and has been called “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.”

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 64000, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000

The bulls are rated and even more famous in many ways than the cowboys who ride them. This bull here had 27 consecutive buck offs, now that is 28. A cowboy must stay on the bull 8 seconds for the ride to count. Then they get a score which takes into account the bull they are riding.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 64000, ƒ/2.8, 1/2000
Every once in a while when a bull is determined unrideable the Professional Bull Riders Association has a million dollar ride. At $125,000 per second, this bonus ride is offering one of the largest payouts any athlete has ever received for the amount of time they are required to compete. In comparison, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo received roughly $12 million dollars to play in 15 NFL games in 2013.  At 54,000 seconds per season, it took Romo 4,500 seconds to make $1 million.
Nikon D100, Sigma 15-30mm, ISO 400, ƒ/6.7, 1/180
Georgia Tech’s #1 B. J. Elder lays up and passes Duke’s #2 Luol Deng during second half play at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia.
I love basketball and for those teams that take it to the net this is my favorite place to photograph. You get to see the effort in the face expressions and how close they are to either making the basket or defending it.
Nikon D100, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 400, ƒ/6.7, 1/180
Georgia Tech’s #2 Isma’il Muhammad slams one early over NC State’s #14 Engin Atsur during play at the Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia, February 13, 2005. Final score NC State 53 and Georgia Tech 51.
This is one of those photos most players either love or hate. Love that Isma’l flew over the NC State player Atsur for a slam. It made the ESPN highlights during that week and was played over and over. When Isma’l graduated the coach had a large print made and gave it to him.
Nikon D2X, Sigma 120-300 mm f/2.8 DG EX APO IF HSM, Sigma 2x, ISO 400, ƒ/5.6, 1/3000
Mike Trapani is chased down by Chris Campbell  and finally tagged out by Nick Chigges  of the College of Charleston during play at the Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
I love the steal in baseball and if I am in the right position as here can capture the effort of both offense and defense as they both are trying to advance a base or stop it.
Nikon D2X, Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/16, 1/200–[6] Alienbees B1600
Sometimes my favorite moments were when I made the team photo that would help sell tickets for the season. Seeing this photo on the side of buses around town to promote Calvin Johnson and the rest of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 2006 season was a pleasure.
Hope you enjoyed some of the moments in sports of mine through the years.

You ready for snow days?

Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 5600, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000

Here are just a couple tips that can help you in taking photos in snow. First you can use the scene mode of snow if it exists on your camera. Another option is the beach scene mode. Both of these will get you pretty close.

The downside to using scene mode is the camera doesn’t know if you are shooting landscape or action in the snow.

Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 12800, ƒ/5.6, 1/800

My suggestion is the use the exposure compensation on your camera as a way to compensate for all that white snow.

This is the location of the Exposure Compensation on the Nikon D3S. You push this and spin the dial on the back of the D3S to under or over expose the photo.

Now this is in different places on each camera, so get your manual out and look for exposure compensation in the index.

Exposure Compensation Dial on Nikon P7000

Most of today’s cameras also have different metering modes. On Nikon I recommend shooting with matrix metering.

Here is what camera settings I suggest for capturing action in the snow.
  1. Matrix Metering
  2. +1 Exposure Compensation – Take test shots and see if needing more or less. Each camera responds a little differently.
  3. Auto ISO
    1. Use the camera suggested latitude ISOs for your camera. I use 100 – 104,000 for my Nikon D5, but only 200-6400 for my Fuji X-E2
    2. Minimum shutter speed of 1/2000 for my Nikon D5 and 1/500 for Fuji X-E2
  4. Aperture Priority – Choosing depth-of-field that is appropriate for the photo. 
  5. Continuous Focus – Single focus mode will lock the focus but if they are sledding to you they will not be in focus. Need to be in continuous mode to track the subjects.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 6400, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000
For many of these photos I decided to shoot as fast as I could at 1/8000. It isn’t necessary to stop the motion, but I was just seeing what it looked like and really liked the results.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000

Action Shot Tips

  1. Place yourself to where the action is going. For most all these photos I captured the people at the bottom of the hill. this way I captured their expressions and not the backs of their heads.
  2. Don’t just shoot action, but reaction and things around the action.
  3. Use your motor drive to capture series of images.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 9000, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000
Here I was at the top of the hill and captured the brother and sister as they came back up the hill. You can still see the excitement. I also purposely composed to show someone at the bottom of the hill or you wouldn’t know it was a hill.
Nikon D3s, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 2000, ƒ/8, 1/500
For this photo I was panning with them as they got a push. The idea is to mix up as much as you can the photos so you have captured more of the memories for the years ahead to remind them how everyone was having fun together.
I think I am now ready for some snow.