This photo was taken during my first ever photo shoot in Alaska. Before leaving for the trip I had of course seen the amazing movies and photos from up there, but tried not to hype it too much in my head.
As soon as the helicopter lifts of the ground for the first time, however, and you get up close and personal with the mountains there, you realise that every cliché used to describe the place is true.
Terrible weather was an on-going problem during our trip, and ten days in a row without skiing was not uncommon. This also meant the snow conditions when it did clear were all time.
In this image, with sluff billowing all around him on another early ‘zero to hero’ morning in Haines, German freseskier Tom Leitner was a vision of style and calm in the face of the wall of snow chasing him down the mountain. It was an absolute pleasure to watch and photograph him gracefully surfing spines and sluff from my shooting position in the helicopter. I decided to photograph the final air in this line somewhat more cropped in to show to some extent the intensity and energy forces all around the skier.
The image was shot with the Nikon D4 blazing away at 10 frames per second with the 70-200mm 2.8 giving me a good option of focal lengths which I was able to change at will and refocus throughout the action. Settings were 1/1600 at f/10.