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Living Life through a Fish Eye

Living Life Through a Fish Eye.

One of the best things about being in the ski industry is the people you meet on the way.  Everyone has got a story to tell about the profession they have chosen to be in and how they got there. Some people are only around for a season, some stay around for a while, and others are in it for life……..or as my old man says “until I get a proper job!”.

So with this in mind we have been out and about talking to as many people as possible, about why they love the snow, how they got here, and at the same time getting you some top tips from the professionals.

To kick off (not a world cup reference, honest…) this week we spoke to a good friend of ours and ace photographer Tommy Pyatt. Tommy has had photos published in national ski/snowboard magazines, local/national newspapers, and a number of ski fields have used his images in brochure and website advertising, so I guess he knows a little bit about pointing a camera???

So Tom how did you get into the industry?

Well I have skied since I was a kid, but I suppose it all really started when I did a rookie training course up at Ruapehu (North Island ski resort, New Zealand).  After the course I became qualified to teach skiing (and then snowboarding), I was then able to travel between NZ, USA, and Canada teaching people to ski.

So you still teach?

Yeh a little, but not really for a whole season anymore and mainly park and freestyle type lessons.   I quickly found out that there are lots of different avenues I could take and stay within the industry. Over the last few years I have worked in events (organising ski races/freestyle comps), building parks, and grooming.

And now photography?

Its always been something that I have been interested in, and then when I'd go out skiing with mates I started to take my camera with me and get a few shots.  Then I would spend more time taking shots than actually skiing so I guess it progressed from there

So I guess you then did loads of formal training?

Well if you call YouTube formal training then yeh, I spent lots of time reading up and watching tutorials and I was lucky enough to be able to spend time with established professional photographers who gave me tips on all aspects of the industry.  Over the last few years I have been spending more time on my photography and hopefully improving so the finished product is so much cooler. (Looking at these photo's I would say he's cracked it..Si)

So where are you based?

Between Wanaka, New Zealand and Colorado, USA…..nice.

Who would you most like to shoot?

Jossi Wells

And finally who’s gonna win the World Cup?

Well I got England in the house sweep, so I’ll go with them.

We asked Tommy to give us some top photography tips, to help you get some more professional looking photos this year.  So here goes, just don’t blame us if you chop your wife’s head off (in the picture we mean).

  1. Try to get a 'still' shot:  One of the big problems with many photographs is that they are blurry.  Avoid ‘camera shake’ by using both hands, resting your elbows on your chest, or use a wall if there’s one around.
  2. Get the lighting right: Don’t shoot straight  into the sun, (pretty sure that makes you go blind)  the best bet is to have the sun behind and to one side of you.  The front lighting gives you colour and shade and the slight angle gives you  some shadow to indicate texture and form.
  3. Get the timing right: Ski photography is all about timing, as the saying goes  “If you see the action you missed it”  This will take experience and practice.
  4. Position your subject well: One of the basic principles of photography is the rule of thirds.  When composing your shot, imagine dividing your picture into a grid pattern (like a noughts and crosses board) and instead of having your subject in the middle of the frame, have them by one of the 4 intersecting points. This will usually produce a more pleasing result.

I will take over 200 shots in a shoot, with maybe 2-5 of them the ‘money shots”, so unless you want to spend all day behind the lens the best piece of advice I can give you is...go out with some mates and have some fun, take some shots, apply the basics and you never know!

So there you go…. Big thanks to Tom for the tips and also for letting us use his photos in the blog and on our website.  I’m sure we will see more of his stunning photos in the seasons to come. Check out some more of his photos taken at beginning of June at Cardrona and Treble Cone to get a glimpse of what this season holds!

Til Next Time


Posted By: Simon Slater, @ Sat, 12th Jun 2010

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