Avalanche Alley PT II

Over the last couple of winters I’ve been slowly working away at a long form documentary film, documenting the effect that snowfall and the subsequent avalanches have on the mountain eco system. I’ve never worked on or been involved in any kind of nature production, except my own personal films, but ever since I first picked up a film camera and started shooting skiing and snowboarding, my fascination with this subject has grown more each year.

This winter was a big snow year and ideally I would have liked have filmed more sequences than I did. But anyway I still managed to shoot some material for the film and hopefully, given good conditions next winter, might be able to complete the film in 2010. I’ve made a short teaser from some of this winters shots, which I’ve posted on Exposureroom.



Shooting naturally triggered avalanches is not the easiest thing in the world to do, you need to be in the right place at the right time obviously, but having quick reactions and gear that will react as fast is probably equally important. The last couple of winters shooting for this project have really been a testing ground for me and I’m now realizing that I may need to go back to my 16mm shooting days. I’ve shot most of the material so far with my FX1, which is a notoriously slow starting camera, even by other tape based systems. I think any digital based system isn’t ideal in a situation where the camera has to stay in standby, in the cold for hours on end and then suddenly drop into instant record. So I’m considering the switch back to Super 16, purely for shooting these sequences next year, conditions allowing. Most film cameras that I’ve used don’t suffer from poor start up times, they either run or they don’t! I had been thinking of using the upcoming Scarlet, to complete the project, but as start up on the current Red One is a bit of an issue, I will just have to wait and see how this develops. In the meantime I’m keeping my eye on S16 prices, quite a few people seem to be offloading film gear at the moment, so it could be time to scoop a bargain.




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