Alessandro Belluscio is an action sports photographer based in Engadin, Switzerland. He has traveled far and wide across the world over the past decade. Often found near huge jumps shooting freeski athletes in snowparks, or on mountainsides around the world, this project was a bit different for Alessandro. His goal here was to shoot the a new capsule collection of ski wear in an usual way, using a night skiing setting as his studio. Delivering the essential shots no matter the conditions or brief is the mark of a true professional, and here Alessandro talks us through the steps of getting these shots. We'll hand you over to Allessandro from here on:
Words and photos: Allessandro Belluscio
The location and athletes
The location was Prato Nevoso, a nice resort by the sea in the South Piedmont Region, Italy, and I had the honor to work with big names that made the history of Ski Racing like Giorgio Rocca, Kristian Ghedina, Daniela Ceccarelli and Paolo Dechiesa.
The setup and lighting for the shoot
To light the set I opted for the Siros 800L Outdoor Kit, one RFS 2.2, one Para 88 and a standard reflector. A very basic and simple setup. To make the shooting spicy, we received a snowstorm. Real cold powder at -8°C. And I have to say I was able to complete the shooting with a single Siros battery.
After deciding the track and the angle of the turn I placed two lights: one on the back right and one on the back left. The para 88 was on my left, inside the turn while I used the Siros with a normal reflector on the right as back light
Shooting on the snow is like shooting in a “white room”. The snow can reflect light better than a panel. The difficult aspect of this shooting was to keep the bouncing under check to avoid drops in intensity.
Executing the shoot
The decision to work basically in backlight, was taken because the outfit were perfect for this light.
A dark blue jacket at night on the snow can really be valorized by a backlight flash.
With only one front flash there will be probably an uneven light, this will result in an overexposed area in the front (on the ground), right light on the subject (a little bit flat) and a dark - but not too much - background. Plus the white room of the spray of snow.
The skiers had to ski through the “Bron gate” like a racing track, and the first lap were perfect to take the right line. The HS mode was essential for this shooting. Modern ski got a big acceleration during the turn, and the speed was at least 60km/h where I was shooting. On icy slopes the acceleration was higher than fresh snow, then I was probably lucky!
The slopes had the night ski illumination, but to be clear and safe I used also the continuous LED light of the SIROS, and I have to say it was a very useful plus to the shooting.
The effect of the snow flakes with a backlight was amazing, something like a “magic word”, and the skiers were super professional. They didn’t make mistakes during their runs, this mean focus 100% on the shoots in a very safety mode. With few runs I was able to say “GOT IT!”.
Then after few portraits we finally celebrate the shooting with some beers at the White House, I hope you enjoy the backstage, cheers!
The story was originally posted on Broncolor's web site.