January 31


Snow Biking Action Photography, Alaska

By Dan

January 31, 2012

action, adventure photography, Alaska, Anchorage, biking, outdoor photography, Photoflex, photography, snow biking, TritonFlash, WhiteDome

The other night, I trudged into the cold and dark with with my friend Tim to do some snow biking action photography. My idea was to try and get a deep blue background of cold, dimming Alaska winter sky and then light Tim up with the Photoflex TritonFlash.

I’d just gotten my WhiteDome softbox the day before, which throws out a big blast of omnidirectional light. I wanted to light the biker as well as the snow covered trees around him and figured that the WhiteDome would be perfect for that. And as with other recent shoots, using the TritonFlash would allow me to keep firing with fast recycle times in the zero degree temperatures.

The sun was already down when we reached our location, so we quickly got down to business; Tim built the jump and I set up the light. In just a few minutes, I found a vantage point, did some test shots for exposure and then gave him the go.

Here’s the setup showing the WhiteDome in action and light placement in relation to the subject. Also, the shot below shows just how portable the WhiteDome is. For being a 24″ x 32″ box, it rolls up surprisingly small an stuffs into a skinny stuff sac that I can strap the side of my photo pack. Another very useful tool to help me go fast with light.

Exposure was 1/10 sec at f/2.8 ISO 2000, which let me hold onto as much ambient as possible. Lens choice was my Nikon 14mm f/2.8, which allowed me to get in close and still show environment. I got so close on a few occasions that Tim and I actually made contact as he flew past me. I swear, that had nothing to do with the times he ended up crashing into the trees!

Below are three more shots from the series. I like them all, especially the “big air” photo. It has a more dynamic jump, but it doesn’t have any trees in close. The last one was shot much later, well after the all light was gone from the sky. It’s cool, but it lacks the vivid contrast of the green and purple (complimentary colors) that the other shots have.

What do you think?

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUIJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.

As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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  • I like this series, I especially like the Big Air one myself as well. Once again thanks for sharing your tips on how to create such spectacular photographs..

  • Nice ! I love posts like this that show the setup and the thinking behind the shot. That WhiteDome looks pretty sweet. Does it setup pretty easily? Love that it is so compact.

  • Thanks, Matt. Yes, the WhiteDome sets up very quickly. Like all the Photoflex softboxes, you just pull it out of the bag, lay it out on the ground and stick the rods into the speedring to give it it’s shape. A few minutes, tops. Even when it’s cold. You can also use the WhiteDome with a regular speedlight, you just need the Shoe Mount Clamp, which actually comes with some of the softbox kits.

  • Thanks Dan! If I am understanding it correctly in addition to the WhiteDome I would also need the speedring and the shoe mount clamp to utilize this with say my 580EXII? In looking at the link at BH I couldn’t tell if the speedring was included or not. It looked like it wasn’t.

    I actually do like the last image in this series. Even without the cool sky it offers up a great action shot. I’m heading up into the snow tomorrow for some snowshoeing so hope to come back with some interesting adventure shots of my own.

  • Yes, you need the basic speedring and the shoe mount clamp, which would then allow you to use any Photoflex box with your 580EXII. Some of the soft boxes come as kits, like the Octodome NXT kit, which include the ring and shoe mount.

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