Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune
Inside the Salt Lake City restaurant Vinto, Thursday, January 28, 2010.

Shaun White

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune
Shaun White took first place, US Snowboarding Grand Prix at Park City Mountain Resort, Saturday, January 23, 2010.

FIS World Cup Aerials Composite

I was bugged standing on the hill at Deer Valley for the World Cup Aerials finals last week. It wasn’t the cold conditions, or my weak batteries that were getting me down. It was the shooting conditions. Before I go further, it was nothing about Deer Valley. They organize a perfect event every time, and in the small world of winter sports they stand out as one of the best.

Here’s what was bugging me about the shooting conditions… Photographing world class skiers flipping through the air is very cool, but the finals are at night so you’ve got them against a black sky which takes away all context. The best shots of aerials are usually during the day from way up top behind the jumps looking down toward the crowd, and I hadn’t been able to make it to the earlier qualifying session with its dazzling blue sky. Winter sports photography tip: Shoot action during the qualifying and emotion during the finals.

Another annoyance is that a still photo never really captures the skill and technique of this sport. So what do you do when you end up with a thousand-plus photos of flipping skiers on a plain black background? I needed something different from last year. Here’s what came to mind…

1.15.2010 Olga Volkova.jpg

That is Olga Volkova’s jump, in nine frames from left to right. And that’s kind of a fun way to look at it, but why stop there?

Here are the lady skiers from the finals in order of their results, gold medal on top, down to twelfth place at the bottom…

aerials ladies final.jpg

It makes for an eye-catching poster. And check out the Chinese skiers in red taking five of the top six spots. Here are the men…

aerials mens final.jpg

With a little bit of thinking, the very thing that bugged me about the conditions— that boring black background— was turned into an asset and something cool was created. Stop by some day and see the 16×20 inch prints on my wall.


Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune
David Babic (USA), Moguls competition at the FIS Freestyle World Cup at Deer Valley, Thursday, January 14, 2010.

Moguls Iron Cross

Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune
Pavel Bykachev (Russia), Moguls competition at the FIS Freestyle World Cup at Deer Valley, Thursday, January 14, 2010.
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