Skiing with camera


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Feb 17, 2007
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I was wondering if anyone has gone skiing with their DSLR. I wanted to bring my 30D, 70-200mm f/2.8, and maybe a small tripod on the mountain with me.

Is there a way to do it without the potential of damaging the equipment?

Go skiing!!! Well, I don't have an SLR yet, but I have gone skiing with my point and shoot before, which is built worse than an SLR obviously. I would think that as long as you have a decent camera bag, then you should be fine. As long as you don't ski in -30.
you might also want to take some precautionary measures to make sure your camera is well protected from the dangers it's prone to whilst skiing, i.e. impact, moisture, cold, and with my luck: theft.
i fell on my camera while skiing once... luckily it was with my p&s but it was a 12X zoom one so not really a SMALL camera, but there was no damage, just try and not put your weight on the camera when you fall! haha
Sounds like you have already made up your mind about the gear. Personally I would not suggest it. That is fair amount of weight and it is going to be swinging around like mad. The main problem is that amount of gear is going to hurt you. Not the other way around. A point and shoot works fine in situations like this.

Love & Bass
One thing you may not know is that under great conditions (like sunny, bright, ISO100, f/16 type conditions a DSLR doesn't take much better quality photos than a P&S camera. Ultimately do whatever the hell you want, but you can rule out methods of totally preventing damage. All it takes is a slip or another skiier losing control and your equipment is cactus.

My sister's $150 P&S worked beautifully in the alps though :)
I would suggest a backpack style bags with a waist belt to prevent swinging side-to-side. JMO.
I'll join in with the suggestion of a P&S. I use a Nikon Action Touch, which is a robust, snag-free, no-sticky-out-lensed, totally weatherproof camera. It doesn't need any protection, and so it is always ready for use, slung diagonally across my chest. I've been out in -40 (actual, not taking wind chill into account because cameras don't care about wind chill), and it has kept working. Did I forget to mention that it is a film camera? Presumably there is an equivalent digital P&S.

I only carry a larger cameras in a backpack, but I'm used to skiing with a fairly heavy backpack anyway. As John says, the backpack needs to be a snug fit, with a waist belt and preferably a chest strap and compression straps. I avoid exposed zips that will let spindrift in.

There are alternatives to a tripod, if you just want to steady your camera. My skis have holes in the tips - this means that I can screw a small ballhead onto the ski. You can even use it to mount a camera while you are skiing or riding in an airy chair lift, but that is something that needs judgment, of course.

Also, your biggest danger is coming in from the cold into a warm and humid lunch place. The condensation could settle all over your camera, esp. your sensor. You'll have codensation spots and will really need to clean it later.

P&S it is, babe.
Needless to say I have taken both film and digital cameras skiing all over the place, both downhill and cross country in temperatures that have gone as low as minus 40 with a strong wind.

I have often carried a light soft foam insulated somewhat protected camera bag: Targus, with the lens on that I am planning to shoot with, although I have also carried camera and lens around my neck too.

I only fell once wiping out where a downhill fell away into a steeper area. I had a film camera with a 200mm prime on the end, around my neck. I managed to avoid both injury to myself and damage to either camera or lens. The Minolta camera continued to operate and the moisture dried off it as I continued to shoot.

By the way, I have not had a problem with digital batteries in the cold either, and any lens moisture or ice has been temperary and did not cause any damage either.

As for shooting, bracketting for exposure is necessary since your camera meter will read the white snow as grey and underexpose making the skiers into dark shadows. Exposure compensation should be at least +1 stop or more depending on the cloudy or sunny weather.

However dark trees in the background can fool the camera meter as well causing overexposure.

Cloudy days are best because of the lack of harsh shadows and the ability to get the faces in the shot properly lit. Getting scenic or still type shots is much easier of course than trying to get skiers. The speed of the skier, your reaction time, camera movement, the restrictions of available light all conspire against super sharp shots of moving skiers. Location and predicting where the movement is going to take place as well as shooting at several frames per second is the ideal approach for shooting skiers.

This is kind of a stupid question you either take it and risk breaking it or you leave it at home. The othr choice is to carry a well lined Pelican case that will protect everthing from the elements and most impact but I imgine a large plastic case will somewhat hinder your ability to enjoy your skiing.
I ditto the pelican case.

I took my larger P&S with it's fragile protruding lens snowboarding. I put it in a pelican case and then the case in my boarding backpack. Fell hard on it several times and it was fine. It will of course take a much larger case for your SLR so you'd have to figure out the dimensions and if it will fit a backpack. Only problems I had going from different temps was the fogging up issue, but that didn't take long to clear up. Most places on the slopes aren't that warm to begin with. They are kept cooler cause everyone's heart is still racing and they are in full gear. They want to keep you around to buy the $10 beer.

Ditch the goober sticks & learn to board. It's much better for photo taking ops. You're on your butt with your board planted in the snow in front of you and knees propped up perfectly for keeping your camera steady. You can also twist & turn easy to capture about anything around you without taking off your gear.
The pelican case is only useful if you are going to ski to a location such as under a jump or a hill and do most of your shooting from that location.

If you are going to spend a lot of time on skis, it is difficult and heavy to ski with, if it is loaded, and it is much too slow for quickly extracting a camera and lens.

Plan ahead and have exactly what you need in camera equipment and no more and be able to get at it qucikly to get the shot. Otherwise you are wasting your time.

I am new to the forum, but I wanted to comment on this.
I was heli skiing in Alaska with some guy who had a giant SLR and zoom lens and all the gadgets in a large backpack designed for the camera. One time getting our gear out of the helicopter on top of a ridge, his camera bag was knocked down the side of the moutain. It fell like 3000 vertical feet down a steep chute. It was found by the pilot as we skiied down and we were able to recover the bag. The camera and everyting in the bag was fine. I was shocked.

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