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THE DARK SIDE THE SKIER GUIDE TO SHOOTING URBAN BY PENNY BUSWELL Black art from the grimy world of city back-alleys. It has texture—way cooler than the pure, white, homogenous fields of untracked powder big-mountain skiers go on about. Shooting urban skiing is perfect for those too lazy to ski, too poor to buy a lift ticket, or too both to drive to the mountain. It’s also the only way to shoot skiing and not have to think about changing up your party schedule.


The basics. Search out some budget-aware 1980s architecture, a few French Canadian punks… er, tweens (with rubbery young knee ligaments), and up to 0.5 centimetres of snow (deeper and you risk moments of real skiing). Be sure to pack a couple extra kids in case you break a few. Purchase plenty of buzz-inducing, sugar-water, chemically enhanced energy drinks to motivate your crew. The setup. Approximate where your tweens will land. Use snow or brown, salt-laced slush to build a small triangular lump (a.k.a. “landing” in jib lingo) several metres short of this area so it looks like they’re overshooting. Flat landings make shit look huuuuuuuge, yo! Winches and younger ligaments have totally eliminated the need for gradient in urban skiing. Speaking of winches. You’ll need one. And $4 K nets something that makes you look way more legit than those with only a car tow, ramp, bungee cord or bomb-drop from the roof of their 1992 Dodge Caravan. A good winch can take skiers from nada to bradda in less time than it takes to crack a fresh one. First aid. Smacking concrete, steel, iron and asphalt from various heights with myriad body parts is bound to cause carnage. But don’t let that stop you from encouraging skiers to go farther, faster and higher on every hit. To protect yourself from


Whoooa broseph! There is just way too much snow here! Mousseau photo

lawsuits (in the States) and having to buy a round at Tim Hortons (in Canada), insist that everyone has proper health and emergency insurance, body armour, and wears a hockey cup. Stay mobile. Though most city residents are stoked to have a bunch of liquored kids shooting mega-flash photos outside their house at 4 a.m. on a weekday, the occasional testy one might call the cops. As the photographer in practical footwear, you have a better chance of escaping than those in ski boots. Grab your camera and run—don’t worry, your flash gear is insured and the others can only be prosecuted as juveniles. Just in case, also carry a good fake ID. Defend copyright. Many urban shooting zones are no longer trade secrets, but your skiers will also try to Instagram top secret, super original setups for peer approval. Too many “Likes” and your shoot is old news months before publication. Confiscate smartphones before the shoot, or be prepared to use a boot/tripod/winch to smash a phone if you catch a skier trying to decide between Hudson and X-Pro II filters. Violate copyright. It can take years to build up a strong portfolio of work, so why not just fake it with screen shots of all your favourite SKIER photos? Make sure you apply an extra-large watermark logo to the image so no one beats you at your own game. Print a few artsy business cards on something quirky like 35mm film to add credibility. Live in the moment. Photography blogs make urban shooting sound like a skilled vocation filled with test shots, f-stop angst, ambient exposure and technical lighting concerns. But really, just find something cool and start snapping. You can always Photoshop glitches into perfection.


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The Skier Guide to Shooting Urban  
The Skier Guide to Shooting Urban  

Ducttape 12.4