Capturing Rendezvous

The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous is about to bless us with its annual appearance – a great opportunity for you to capture all the activities and events as digital images.

Are you up to the task? Is your equipment ready to meet the challenge?

You’ll need quick reflexes and an ability to anticipate the best moment to capture the action.

Shooting action shots can take hundreds of images to achieve the one perfect exposure that causes viewers to gasp, so have plenty of space on your memory card and shoot oodles.

Take some time now, before the events, to familiarize yourself with all the controls and features your camera has.

Practice makes perfect.

Here are some tips on how to prepare. Repeat drills changing shutter speed and focusing quickly so you don’t miss a great shot because you forgot how to change a setting.

Try shooting in continuous mode. This allows multiple shots without removing your finger from the shutter button; great for capturing the moment of peak interest in a movement.

Go to the event early so you can claim the best location for the shots you want.

For example, you are shooting the flour packing or one dog pull. Do you want a low angle front-on, full length shot of the participants or a view from the side and the option for a close-up showing the strain on the contestant’s face?

Overhead positions create a different angle, have less interference from others and often result in extraordinary, attention-grabbing images.

If necessary, use a higher ISO on overcast days to gain the shutter speed needed to stop the action. Be ready for a trade-off in order to create the best image possible in the given situation.

The action begins and you’re now confident that your capture will be precise and clear.

Perhaps you will want to slow the shutter speed down to show the motion in the shot; the choice is entirely yours.

Do some shooting at various speeds, check your LCD screen and choose the effect you like best.

Another way to attain higher shutter speeds is to have your aperture wide open. Remember, lower F-stop number equals larger aperture.

This allows more light to your sensor and gives an out of focus background, thus emphasizing your subject.

The problem is that your focus must be extremely accurate so, once again, get out there and practise now.

Choosing a vertical orientation rather than horizontal may give you a superior result.

And remember to consider your subject ahead of time.

A horizontal shot with the subject entering from one side and a bit of space on the other gives the viewer the feel of the motion taking place.

A vertical image may well be appropriate when a movement is upward or the subject is coming directly toward you,

The snow sculptures at Rendezvous are worthy of admiration both for their beauty and for the effort and skill required in creating them.

Creating a digital image that does them justice will require some forethought from you.

Remember they are made of snow. Snow is white.

Auto-exposure tries to balance everything to an 18 percent reflective gray, so that feature will underexpose the sculptures, giving your photo an overall muddy look.

Your job is to override that system, usually by overexposing the programmed settings your camera chooses. Too much and you blow out the highlights, too little and there’s not enough information in the shadows to show the intricate details.

Your best bet: practise.

Dog races are always a crowd favourite as well as an opportunity to get some great action shots.

If the day is bright and sunny in Whitehorse and you are shooting to capture all the excitement and action of the crowd and the dogs, you may be taking your shots almost directly into the sun.

This is another instance when overriding the auto setting is important as is guarding against lens flare; if you have lens hoods, use them.

Look further than the action. You may find something interesting in the crowd or a different kind of emotional tug.

Now, off you go. Head out with confidence to photograph the Rendezvous events. A schedule of events can be downloaded from their website at the Yukon Rendezvous Website.

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