WITH PHILIP VOLKERS
Snozone in Milton Keynes was the setting for February’s big Olympus event, which witnessed 20 lucky competition winners photographing eight snowboarders as they ‘busted out tricks’ on kickers, rails, boxes and a massive jump. On hand to offer expert advice on capturing the action was professional photographer and longtime Olympus user, Philip Volkers, an expert in extreme sports alongside reportage, portraiture and commercial imagery.
As always, Olympus’s ISS team was on hand with expert technical advice and a plethora of equipment for attendees to get their hands on, including the brand new OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
The Snozone’s ambient temperature of around -5ºC was the perfect environment to test the reliability of both the OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II cameras – as both have been designed to be dust, weather-resistant and freeze proof. However even the more affordable the OM-D E-M10, without the same degree of weatherproofing, didn’t miss a beat in such challenging conditions.
After a brief introduction at ‘base camp’ Philip and the enthusiastic attendees suited up and set off up the slope to discover the amazing Snozone staff had built a mini snow park to showcase their snowboarders.
This did not disappoint. There was the opportunity to spread out up the slope across three trick ‘stations’ and hunker down from various angles to capture some amazing action shots.
Though lighting was as challenging as the sub zero temperatures, equipping the Olympus cameras with super bright prime and pro lenses ensured they were able to perform as deftly as the snowboarders themselves.
For a respite from the cold, the ability to return to ‘base camp’ for coffee and a Danish pastry was much appreciated. Here Philip Volkers talked the group through his work and shared some tips for shooting in the testing environment back out on the slopes.
Now properly warmed up – both literally and creatively – a second session involved getting a much closer to the action, concentrating on the more technical aspects of snowboarders’ tricks. For this, a lightning fast shutter speed, continuous auto focus and up to 10 frames per second continuous capture on the OM-D E-M1, courtesy of its new firmware upgrade, proved a winning combination.
With temperatures falling further, the session wound up, cold but happy attendees grabbing an Olympus goodie bag containing, among other things, a £50 discount voucher plus an amazing book of Philip Volker’s ski photography. Naturally in the shots they had captured, all in attendance came away with some very special souvenirs of a very thrilling day.