Midnight Marauders

Advice from the master of night ski photography.
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Advice from the master of night ski photography.
John Strenio on a nighttime ninja mission.

Frozen fingers are just the beginning. Shooting ski photos at night can be hit-or-miss, you’ll need a heap of extra gear, and your social life will be kaput. But sometimes you take a perfect shot. Photographer Erik Seo, known for his night photography, told us why he likes shooting after dark and what it takes to get it done.

 “Shooting a jib at night is awesome. I’d really like to do more of it. But it can take a lot of work and resources. Sometimes the hardest part is motivating people, because a lot of the shots are total ninja missions to make sure we don’t get kicked out. We’ll show up to shoot anywhere between midnight and 4 a.m. Holidays are good too.

 “The main difference between shooting day and night is that you need a ton more equipment. During the day you have all the light you need. But at night all your gear has to work at the same time. I bring the kitchen sink. Last season I would bring everything, like hot lights for video shoots, strobes, and radio transceivers that set off flashes. And then I’d look at what I had and say, ‘Why did I bring all this shit?’ Most of the time I bring at least two cameras. One is on a remote so I can trigger it while I’m shooting the other one. And you need to have fresh batteries. The cold sucks the life out of batteries, so when it’s super-cold I put hand warmers on them. Usually there’s lots of swearing involved with the gear.

 “But what I like most is the control I have over the light. You get a clean slate because you’re not as constrained by weather conditions. You can come up with whatever you want.”