A ski or snowboard holiday in Japan is like nothing else in the world, so you’re probably going to want to capture, keep and share as many of your experiences as possible. These days there are loads of ways to record your finest (and not so finest!) moments on the mountain, so we spoke to the experts at Niseko Photography to find out their top tips on how to use your GoPro or smartphone in Japan’s unique winter conditions!
One of the most important parts of taking photos in the snow is keeping yourself and your gear warm. Smartphones are extremely sensitive to the cold. Batteries will die a lot faster in freezing environments and some smartphones, in particular iPhones, will shut off completely. So it in a pocket close to your body, or even stick a hand warmer in there and keep your telephone toasty. Reduce the time your phone is exposed to the cold, so plan your shot before you remove it from the warmth of your jacket. There is nothing worse than missing that perfect shot because your camera or phone died.
The early bird catches the shot! Getting up early is a simple way to get better photos thanks to the beautiful morning light: golden and diffused. If it’s not snowing that is… but for skiing and snowboarding shots you want to get up for the untracked pow anyway, it makes for much nicer freshie shots when you or your pal rips through it and those landscapes will be way nicer to ride/ski if it’s got a nice layer of fresh. There is a reason Japan is known as “the land of the rising sun”. So get up and out while everyone else nurses a hangover!
With the improvement of smartphone cameras, you can now take amazing shots with your phone. However to get an edge over your friends’ snaps, framing is one of the easiest ways to improve your photos.
- Rule of thirds
Instead of placing your subject in the center, play around with the composition and try placing your point of interest somewhere else. You may have heard about the rule of thirds? The basic principle is that a photo is broken down into thirds, horizontally and vertically. To create interesting shots, photographer’s place points of interest on these intersecting lines.
- Layer your photo
This means adding other elements to the foreground instead of only focusing on your subject. Try getting behind a tree to add that layer and, if done right, it will draw the viewer’s eye and lead them through the scene to the skier/snowboarder.
- Change perspective
Finally another way to create interesting shots is to change your perspective. Get down low or shoot from up high to get more interesting perspectives.
Remember photography is what you make it so get creative and see what works!
GRAB THE GOPRO
For you GoPro heros, try these tips to get some awesome footage:
Get steady (nobody likes watching shaky videos)
Wipe your lens every time you use it, a small amount of snow can ruin your entire video
Get closer. GoPro angles are very wide and most people tend to film too far away
Get creative. Put your camera in the snow/ in a tree/ on a rock and ride past it
GoPro Hero 5 is available at all our stores, Rhythm Niseko, Rhythm Hakuba and Rhythm Summit
Plan your Shot.
You’ve got up early, you’ve kept your gear warm, you have your spot and a friend to get rad in front of your lens. Now before you get your gear out, think, what is it you want to capture?
Is it the size of a jump? Then get a low angle. Is it a powder spray? Think what direction the powder is going to go and the best place to capture it without getting covered. Or is it a rail in the park? Know what trick your friend is going for and get in position so you’re not just taking a picture of their bum. Visualizing your shot beforehand will help execution. In your mind play through the live action and determine what point it will look best. Then it’s all about timing. Know your phone’s / GoPro’s shutter lag (from pressing the button to the picture being taken) and you’re good to go!
Leave it to the experts!
Remember, the very best way to preserve your memories is by having a professional do it for you! Book one of Niseko Photography’s epic backcountry trips or cat tours and you’ll be guided by one of their photographers, who will be there to shoot all the evidence you need to impress your mates!
Have fun and get shooting!
Add: 155-193 Aza Yamada, Kutchan Cho, Abuta Gun, Hokkaido, 044-0081
Tel: (+81) 0136 22 5764