At the Snowbowl

Back home in California now and watching these upcoming storms to see what develops. Here's video of my day skiing the Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff—the mountain, for all practical purposes, where I grew up and learned to ski. I still love skiing the Snowbowl, and conditions were excellent, if a bit chilly. The day started out around six degrees F.

This video isn't exactly scintillating, I know, but I'm continuing to play around with my two HD cams and trying to figure out how to cut together good ski footage. So, these are kind of little training flicks for me. At some point I'll probably do reviews of all the video gear I'm using, including my much hated but also indefensible indispensable Sony Vegas software. This time I was skiing with my Canon Vixia HF200. Image quality remains stunning with the 1080i Vixia, though it unfortunately only records interlaced video, which means we lose resolution when we create a progressive mp4 for the internet (this clip is mixed down to 720p).

The blue-jacketed skier is my brother, employing his typical bullish form. Red jacket is my dad. I asked him to get some shots of me skiing, but he ended up filming the sky for five minutes. Just a reminder that it's always a good idea to befriend a photographer. :)

As you see above, I was actually doing some hand-held shots to emulate helmet cam footage. This was of mixed success. Following my dad and snowplowing slowly, for example, you can see that I'm doing a reasonably good job of getting a stable image. But as soon as I point the boards downhill and start turning, the picture jumps around.

Exposure all in all is pretty good here. I am using Vegas to tweak the levels in real time, which is a slow process, but that way the snow stays white rather than gray when it dominates the frame. I may try setting a fixed exposure next time to see if I can get away with that approach. Anyhow, comments are welcome on all this.

— December 28, 2009

Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents

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