Snapping stellar shots of powder spray and memorializing perfect turns on film takes practice and know-how, both of which OR athlete and pro photographer Jason Hummel has in spades. At Vertfest, he guided a small group of amateur backcountry shutterflies—and OR skier Tom Murphy as ski model—at Alpental Valley on a photography clinic, benefitting the Northwest Avalanche Center. Verticulture caught up with him to get the scoop on how he gets the shots that land on the pages of Skiing, Powder, and Backcountry.
First lesson of photography: Every time before I leave my car, I take an image. It’s easy to forget batteries, memory cards, etc. If you take an image, then you know you can. There’s nothing like going on a trip and finding out you can’t take images at all. It’s easy to do and even the best of us forget something.
The hardest lesson to teach: Communication. The best way to teach a photographer how to communicate with a model is to make the photographer an athlete and have another photographer tell them what to do.
My go-to setup: The 17-35 Nikon 2.8 lens. It’s a beautiful wide angle. If I could only take one lens, this would be it.
My recommended camera setup for newbies in the backcountry: When I look at the new mirrorless cameras, I’m impressed. They’re lightweight and have incredible quality. There are many of them out there. Check out dpreview.com for quality reviews.
My favorite part of teaching ski photography clinics: When someone wrecks in great snow. Whether a photo clinic or just skiing, that never gets old.
You can check out Hummel’s work at www.alpinestateofmind.com and cascadecrusades.org.