Last february we went to British Columbia to shoot Approach&Attack project. These photos are snapshots I took with my pocket camera, LOMO LC-A. Excellent little camera that does its own magic with the available light. There is something going on in the exposure meter of this little thing, most of the times it just works in a way that never stops amaze me. Super easy to shoot and I really enjoy it with black&white film, this time it was Fomapan 400asa. British Columbia itself was awesome, despite we had some bad luck with the weather and warm fronts coming in couple of times during the trip. We visited resorts around Nelson, did some hiking and splitboarding in mountain passes and had few days of awesome powder in Valhalla Powdercats. From there we had the opportunity to visit Monashee Powder Snowcats.
Nelson has excellent location and a lot of options to do and you can find much cheaper accommodation than from the resorts or lodges. Highly recommended!
Latest video from our Approach&Attack project focuses on, as the name implies, riding in the trees. This type of snowboarding usually means a lot of snow and since you are riding amidst the trees the visibility and contrast are better than higher altitudes and alpine terrain. We shot many days while it was snowing and actually I like it very much. Snowboarding in deep powder is possibly best thing there is and it looks really nice too, many times you can really see and feel the joy of riding in snowy forests.
In Japan there was too much of snow at times so positioning cameras and keeping them running was harder than usual. Getting from place to place takes time and splitboard or snowshoes are a must! Snow causes all kinds of problems with electronics and optics, it keeps on melting on the warm surfaces and handling with warm hands is melting snow even more. Moisture and condensation might turn out to be a big problem, especially if the sun comes out and starts to warm the lens optics causing condensation to form inside lenses.
Bag and camera after slash seen on video 2`42, never leave you bag open!
Best piece of extra equipment in these kind of conditions is towel. Not just lens wipe but actual hand towel, and many lens wipes, tissue and whatever you can imagine to keep your stuff clean and dry. Plastic bags are great for the worst snowstorms. I´m not a big fan of rain covers that are made for cameras, they are usually too tight and get in the way of basic handling, just an average sized clear plastic bag does the job if needed.
Zip lock bag with an opening for lens teared on its corner covering my B angle cam in Canada
Choosing cameras with proper weather sealing is essential. I am not overprotective when it comes to gear. They are just tools and most of the time goes for planning, thinking and actual shooting, not covering cameras and keeping them sparkling clean all the time. Wipe it with towel and clean lens with cloth as needed. Covering yourself is also important if not even more important than covering your gear. You don´t want to quit your day in short just because you got soaked. Investing in good clothing with Gore-tex fabrics pays back for sure!
Playing the waiting game inside a huge glide crack. Photo: Ed Blomfield from Whitelines
Time to get it all dry. On the Onsen floor with electronic heater of course! Bag and half of the stuff belongs to monsieur Matt Georges
We are starting the new season in few days. First off to snowy paradise called Japan, more on that later!
Here is something I have been working on for quite some time now.
Ad was shot in early May at Tamok, northern Norway. Not much powder around anymore but we managed to find good locations to shoot the whole thing in just couple of days. Crew got seriously lucky with two days of clear skies and no wind which was crucial for using the drone helicopter in aerial shots. Choosing locations was easier than usual since Antti, guide Jarkko Henttonen and me already had knowledge of the terrain and light around Tamok area. Sure we had some hiking to do but eventually everyone was feeling fine doing it. Two hours to get up there, no big deal!
There is a lot of light around in early may and that helped a lot to get all the shots in just two days. We could start up at 6am, hike up, shoot, be back for lunch and then start making driving shots in the valley until it got dark around 8pm. Tamok is quiet valley with superb scenery and there is no need to worry about cablecars, buildings or other people getting in the shot.
And here is the final ad, good work Pablo and Skypixel!
Our latest movie project Approach&Attack is halfway through and its time to release first real teaser.
Project itself is going smoothly at the moment but as always some troubles occur in post-production. Even with a short video like this there is lots of data to transfer, convert and encode so something usually goes wrong. I have roughly 1,5TB of raw footage so there is obviously lots of things to go wrong. Converting them all is not reasonable nor necessary but still a lot of files needs to be treated for editing process. Some go through Compressor but mostly I convert with MPEG streamclip.
Even this 3 minute teaser had enough problems to make my editing software Final Cut Pro choke at times. Random crashes have taught me to Cmd-S often enough. All this is making me of thinking about switching my preferred NLE to something else than Final Cut. Maybe FCP X or back to old days with Premiere which I have heard only good things lately … Any suggestions? Maybe I need to try them out and see myself!
“General Error” What kind of explanatory pop-up is that? I have learned what causes this but I hate the solution so I just go around it…
I have been privileged to come to New Zealand for three years in a row now and this country never stops amazing me! Sceneries are jaw-dropping, people are friendly and there is always things to do even when the weather is not on your side. Wanaka, Queenstown and Arrowtown are fun to chill out on a day off the slopes or when backcountry is inaccessible. There is always an option to go cruising quality park and pipes shaped to perfection in Cardrona or longer runs in Treblecone. And yes, there is sweet mini-pipe or more like an old school pipe in Cardies!
Filming in NZ requires good planning and good group to work with. Big thanks to Southern Lakes Heliski, Alpine Helicopters and Triple Point Expeditions! Everything has to work when you try to get things done in the right way. Scouting for locations is expensive if you have to go out finding spots with a helicopter. Guides make our life a lot easier with their knowledge about terrain and the conditions. Being here for third time also helps out since we have some knowledge of what is out there. Having a map or two will not hurt either.
Dealing with the weather takes a lot of patience and willpower to get you through those grey days. And not only grey days, day after snowstorm in the mountains usually means dealing with high risk of avalanches. It is not just glory and endless powder, mostly time goes by just wishing it was, but then comes those days that just makes it all worth to come filming in NZ. It would be such a bummer to leave without the shots that you came here for, so playing the waiting game is essential. We have had five days of heli in three weeks now and we consider ourselves lucky!
Antti slashing through small avalanches
We have still one more week to make this trip even better, if the weather allows we might be flying but after two full days its time to relax and recharge batteries. Take a beer or two, chill out in the city and then what? Shotover jet on the river? Bungee or cliffjump? Skating the pools or Dream ramp? Frisbee golf in superb sceneries? Kayaking again? As one snowboarder once said there is infinite potential and that is so true in New Zealand. If we have time we go for everything!
Down days with Rami Hanafi on a kayak.
Tailsliding the Dream ramp. Antti behind the lens this time!
Kiwi Style is common phrase down here but last year fellow snowboarder, the Frenchie Sylvain Bourbousson gave it a new meaning; People are driving their cars like crazy in here. If you are pedestrian on crosswalk they will not stop to wait for you, they try to run over, it´s crazy and Kiwi style!