GoPro Hero3 slideshow during Deep Winter.
(photo geek talk warning. non geeks can just scroll to the photos.)
Update: the slideshow is now up. Click here.
A little while back I got a call from GoPro to put together a slide show during the Deep Winter photo challenge in Whistler using nothing but the Hero3. By now most people are familiar with the Hero3 for video, but less has been said about its ability to take high quality still photos. I have a little experience with the Deep Winter contest having competed twice (first runner up and "best interpretation of theme" in the first year) and judged once, so I was intrigued about going back with nothing but the Hero3. I said yes.
The plan was to shoot and edit myself, no assistants, no editors, just like the old days; me and some athletes and the mountains. GoPro supplied the cameras, the music, and a sweet place to stay, and I was left with three days to see what I could put together. Ironically I had previously committed to helping Russell Dalby in his bid to be crowned "King of Storms", and had to pull out. We still managed to do some pre-collaboration though.
Because of the last minute nature of the job and the success and subsequent sales of the Hero3, cameras were in short supply so I received my equipment about 72 hours before the beginning of the shooting period! So there wasn't much time to get familiar but I did my best. I was still figuring out the ins and outs on the first of three shooting days and as the days went on I became more and more comfortable using them. I actually started to come up with some breakthrough ideas by day three, just as we were running out of light.
In three days I managed to put together a nice little group of photos and a short slideshow that was presented in the intermission at the Deep Winter show. The conditions were challenging to say the least. An inversion brought warm temperatures and high winds that rendered the alpine all but useless. Playing to the strengths of the Hero3, I wanted to spend as much time in direct light as possible and stay out of the shadows. Of course the best snow available was mid mountain and lower, mostly in the shade.
More than trying to compete on the same level as some of the best photographers around, I simply wanted to showcase what the tiny GoPro cameras are capable of, so I spent some time shooting park as well as searching out pockets of decent snow that had somehow been spared by the weather.
My camera bag for the event was casually thrown over a single shoulder and all in, weighed less than my Nikkor 70-200, not to mention the rest of a DSLR kit. Even though Treadway made fun of my "murse." I found that triggering multiple cameras with a single remote allowed me to put cameras in places I would never risk placing a DSLR. Of course the waterproof housing helps when you want to lay it in the snow. In the past when I ran multiple remote angles it took thousands of dollars of equipment. It's pretty fun to do something similar for a tenth of the cost.
The remote is the easiest and (in my opinion) best way to trigger the cameras. There is a noticeable lag when you hit the shutter release, but the remote's button is easier to activate and when you use multiple cameras, the only option anyway. It's really handy to use the iPhone app to change settings, anyone who has used the menu system on any generation of Hero's knows about the multiple button pressing. The app streamlines all that.
I also found the LCD back to be really useful for shots where framing is crucial, although you'll need to have spare batteries if you want to use it all day. A Hero3 with the battery backpac is enough power to make it through the day, but adding the screen changes that equation.
All in all I had a really good time rising to the challenge of shoot with essentially one lens, in tricky snow conditions, with a bunch of great athletes. I'll keep you up to date as I dial in the Hero3 further. Thanks sincerely to Rob Picard from the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club and his riders Aaron Santos and Jesse Hill. Thanks to Robyn Taylor who I snuck a shot of while he lapped the park. My day with Smiley and Ian Morrison were hilarious and amazing and I thank them not just for inspired ideas but for constant laughs. Thanks to Jaymo at GoPro and Lindsay at Whistler/Blackcomb for putting up with my incessant questions, and to the Aava Hotel in Whistler which was a great spot to be based. And to Sushi Village. Always.
Also, Dalby won, with a really well conceived and executed slide show. I also thought Andrew Strain did really good work, and he ended up third. Congrats to everyone who participated, it's a tough gig and always impressive to see the amazing images that come out of it. Speaking of which, here are some of mine. Feel free to ask questions in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter or whatever. I'll post a link there when GoPro decides if/where they're going to post the full show.
Interesting 50/50 angle of Jesse Hill with drops as filters.
Robbie Picard. Shot of the week.
Wouldn't be a GoPro shoot without a selfie! Yes Blue, I still ride my board...
update: some folks asked to see more photos, including the beer pitcher shot. here you go:
Robyn Taylor in the park
Santos surveys his domain.
This shot is actually amazing. The hand, the face, the taps and the shape of the lip; all awesome.