Canon EF-S 10-22mm Lens Goes Skiing!

While the 1.6x crop factor of the Canon prosumer serious of DSLR's is great for telephoto shots, it works against you for wide-angle. Fortunately, there is a wonderful Canon 10-22mm lens that provides an equivalent field of view of 16-35mm ... with the former being over 90 degrees in the horizonal direction and makes for some fun pictures. In 2008, I did some skiing in Utah with my brothers - these shots were from the Snowbird Ski Resort and I had some fun fiddling with the image a bit; photohounds might enjoy the detailed analysis at the bottom.

Brother Kris at Snowbird - original image from the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens

Same image cropped and 2x actual pixels

First Photoshop from RAW image - playing with exposure/fill-light/etc.

More fiddling - rotate to level the mountains, adjust perspective, other misc.

Brother Kurt captured by the Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens

Much easier picture to take since it was repeatable

Photo Notes

EXPOSURE: I'm actually laying down in the snow shooting up into the sun. Exposure was manually set so that I had a blue sky; but I decide to over-expose slightly since the background can be more easily adjusted afterwards, but helps to get some image detail on the skier - not a shabby job at ISO 400, F/8.0, 1/1250s. Because I'm shooting right into the Sun, Kris will be totally shadowed (especially in his black outfit), so I have to light him up with a flash.

FLASH: I have an external flash that I set at full power, trying to "match" the daylight. I have to "high-speed" the flash since it will only sync to 1/250s - which would be too slow as Kris would be blurry given his supersonic speed! So my range drops from about 25 feet to 5 feet. I have the flash zoom setting at 24mm and pointed slightly up, since I need to light up the majority of the frame, but don't want to blow out the nearby snow. BTW, in contrast at a dimly lit area, the flash could "reach" 150+ feet by opening the aperture, increasing ISO, and zoom.

ZOOM: The Canon EF-S 10-22mm lens provides an (effective) 16mm field of view which is 96 degrees horizonally. I had told Kris that he should get as close as possible without running me over.

THE SHOT: You only have ONE chance with the flash, since it takes a couple of seconds to recharge when shooting full power ... plus the skier goes whipping by. So I have to just "hope" I press the button at a good time. In this case, I think I did ... but unfortunately, Kris is about ten feet away; I had hoped it would be about 5-6' and should have been specific to him ... but better than running me over at high speed! Plus Kris was getting ansy as some other dudes were looking at his powder line. Kurt came down shortly thereafter, but he made a right turn rather than left, so I don't think he was framed as well.

PHOTOSHOP: First picture is the original frame resized to 900x600. The second picture is that cropped down to about 1800x1200; and then re-sized to 900x600. As expected, a bit overexposed, but I got some detail on Kris's outfit. Note also the flash reflecting off the nearby snow ... but because I had it angled upward and did not cover the full 16mm, it didn't blow out the snow right in front of me. Third picture is a quick adjustment where I dropped the exposure to darken the sky and reduce the blowout on the Sun and snow .. with fill-light added back in since Kris would otherwise be almost black. In the fourth picture, I didn't drop the exposure as much; and saturated the colors a bit ... plus also rotated it to straighten out the mountains. I then played with perspective to make it look like Kris is more coming at me ... although it's starting to get a bit over-processed ... you can only do so much. For Kurt's picture, I dropped the exposure half a stop, and add some fill light, contrast, and saturation.

For comparison with a similar setup, the last picture is the one of my son Dirk sledding at Grand Lake. In this case, the exposure is about the same (not surprising - the Sun is a fairly constant source of light!) but I'm about four feet away ... although it sure feels like you are closer. Advantages to this shot is that I know where the jump is and where Dirk will be; plus we were able to repeat it several times ... so all I have to do is squeeze the shutter at the right time; although as noted, I could have done better with the composition.

So while fun (at least for me) to setup for shot like this, it's a bit of work (pls your bro's want to ski the pow-pow!) and you only have one chance ... but does provide an unusual perspective that is different that just firing away with the ching-ching-ching using the existing light.

I welcome any comments on all of this and more camera stuff.