MOUNTAIN LIFE MAGAZINE: 5 Tips for Better Slopeside Photography

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Originally posted by, Mountain Life Magazine.

I firmly believe the old adage that the best camera is the one you have with you. The trick to creating great images with your phone, whether it’s on the slopes, in the bike park or sightseeing with the family, is to take your time and follow some simple pointers. —Rory Tucker

CLEAN YOUR LENS
The first thing I do when I am shooting with my iPhone is wipe the lens. Every time. While mobile phone cameras sport many of the same features as traditional cameras, most don’t have lens caps. Your phone is always hanging out with the lint and dust in your pockets or bags. Plus, fingerprints, whether yours or those of your kids’ Angry Birds playing paws, will degrade image quality considerably. A cheap little lens cloth does wonders, but I find the inside corner of my T-shirt does the trick.

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CHECK THE FRAME
Use the lines on the screen as a guide to create interesting compositions. But before you get too concerned with the “Rule of Thirds”, use that big viewfinder and take time to pay attention to everything in the frame. Look at the edges, top, bottom and both sides. Make sure you see everything you want in the shot and more importantly look for things you don’t want in there. Moving your angle slightly can rid your shot of distracting items like that tree branch growing out of someone’s head.

 

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TRY NEW ANGLES
Seeing things we’re not used to can be very appealing. We’re drawn to images that differ from what we normally perceive. So try a new perspective. Look for a typical scene, then purposefully shoot it differently than you normally would. Crouch down or get up high and change your angle. Get in closer or play with cropping. Look for negative space, unique textures and experiment with filters. Also, use the low key nature of a camera phone to your advantage and catch your family acting naturally, not just the go-to “pose and say cheese” shots.

 

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FOCUS AND EXPOSURE
Camera phones are quite good at point and shoot. But there are times when you may want to help the camera choose the focal point or exposure. Every phone is different, so search ways you can override the auto settings. By selecting focus, you can create depth and a blurred effect typically reserved for larger professional cameras. And by adjusting exposures, you can lighten faces in shade, darken skies, and bring detail into bright spots like snow.

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GET A CASE
The right protective case for your camera is good insurance, especially on a trip that involves snow, water or dirt. There are a lot of options for cases that allow you to take your phone into the elements; some are even waterproof. A good option is HITCASE. It’s waterproof, durable and includes add-on lenses and an integrated connection that makes it easy to mount your iPhone in a number of different ways.

Rory Tucker is a mountain biker, skier, marathon runner, trails advocate, wicked campfire builder and a professional photographer based on the West Coast of Canada with a serious mobile photography habit. See more of his iPhone photos at instagram.com/rorytucker.

This article was originally published in the Mountain Life Resort Guide. You can search our resort database here.

FIRST EVER UNDERWATER PERISCOPE WITH GREAT WHITE SHARKS

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On Sunday, December 6, 2015, Australian Cinematographer and HITCASE Ambassador Mitch Oates hosted the world’s first ever underwater live-stream video broadcast while cage diving with Great White Sharks using only his HITCASE PRO, iPhone, and the popular mobile app ‘Periscope,’ off the coast of Port Lincoln, Australia.
The broadcast follows in the wake of Oates’ world record un-interrupted underwater Periscope on November 24 while snorkeling 15 meters below sea level in Gordon’s Bay Australia. “Snorkeling, surfing and swimming are daily activities for me,” comments Mitch Oates. “Now I get to bring the world along for the ride through advancements in live-stream technology and HITCASE.”

Watch the highlights

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HITCASE: SECRET CANADIAN SURF SHACK

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Even in the cold remote corners of Canada’s West Coast — where there are waves, there will be surfers.
How do you get to this slice of heaven? Professional skier and plane enthusiast, Rory Bushfield, has the keys. Is there anything better then landing a 1950’s prop plane on a remote beach to surf with friends? We don’t think so.
100% filmed with HITCASE for iPhone using the HITCASE PRO & FLOATR MOUNT

Pack plane, land on beach, surf empty waves. Check the additional footage.

CULT OF MAC: iPHONE ENCROACHES UPON GOPRO TERRITORY WITH DAZZLING ACTION FOOTAGE

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*A great article from David Pierini reposted from Cult of Mac

iPhone encroaches upon GoPro territory with dazzling action footage

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The fact that professional-level photos and videos can be made with the camera on the iPhone is old news. However, the amazement never gets old with professionals when they forgo conventional equipment to use iPhones on a shoot.

The cinematographers who capture breathtaking action sports for Freeride Entertainment were in awe of the results with the iPhone after filming some of the most daring skiers, wakeboarders and motocross athletes for a promotion for HITCASE.

Underwater filming with the iPhone 6 is possible with the waterproof HITCASE.

Underwater filming with the iPhone 6 is possible with the waterproof HITCASE.
Photo: Freeride Entertainment/Vimeo

The HITCASE is one of the most rugged, waterproof, drop-proof cases made for the iPhone and the company recently commissioned Freeride to shoot a promo for them using iPhone 6 handsets and HITCASE cases.

“Ten years ago, if someone would have told me I would have been able to shoot the quality of video that you are able to shoot with the iPhone 6 and the HITCASE, underwater, going anywhere you want to go, I would have told them they were crazy,” Freeride’s Director of Photography Cory Horton said in a behind-the-scenes video you can view below.

The quality of the camera inside the iPhone has been on the rise, but 2015 has proven to be a break-through year for Apple with the iPhone camera. This past spring, Apple was able to use photos shot with the iPhone 6 in a global advertising campaign, blowing up images to be featured on billboards and building-size banners.

A film at the Sundance Film Festival won praise and distribution for its story and cinematography, and stunned audiences when they realized the whole movie was shot using iPhones.

Apple recently released the iPhone 6s, raising picture quality to 12 megapixels and adding 4K video. According to Flickr’s Year in Review for 2015, the iPhone surpassed camera giants Canon and Nikon as the most popular camera among the millions of members on the popular photo sharing platform.

A skier used a mount to hold an iPhone 6 with a HITCASE for filming on a downhill run.

A skier used a mount to hold an iPhone 6 with a HITCASE for filming on a downhill run.
Photo: Freeride Entertainment/Vimeo

Much of the footage made by Freeride for HITCASE was made in places you would usually associate with a GoPro action camera. However, Freeride found no limits to the places they could mount an iPhone in a HITCASE. One shot is of a skier on a near-vertical line that could have killed him with one slip. Filmmakers used the iPhone to shoot from a helicopter but also had point-of-view footage from a handset mounted to the skier’s chest.

Source: ISO 1200

IAN WALSH: DANCING WITH SHARKS

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HITCASE big wave surfing legend, Ian Walsh, swims beside some massive Galapagos and Tiger Sharks off the coast of Hawaii. He described the scene as, “Super sketch, but the biggest rush ever!” All below was captured with the HITCASE PRO for iPhone. Follow professional surfer and HITCASE ambassador Ian Walsh @Ian.Walsh.

“It was like a courting dance with the sharks. They come to you. They can sense if you are nervous. I think the fact i’m so used to the water, lowering my heart rate and keeping myself as calm as possible was the main factor then the sharks were able to approach me. You have to read them.” – Ian Walsh

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UNDERWATER CRAZIES

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For over 40,000 years humans have been documenting each others actions. And yes, we’ve crawled our way from cave drawings to our couches to soak in the saturated world of over-documentation; where we’re constantly reminded that creating something original is almost impossible. Thankfully, Bryan “The Golden Bear” Soderlind isn’t fazed with what’s been done, he’s focused on what’s needed to bring his creativity to life.

Bryan paired the HITCASE PRO for iPhone with the crystal clear waters of an undisclosed Florida spring and the ambition of professional wakeskater Reed Hansen, Nick Taylor and wakeboarder Parks Bonifay. The result is a slice of vision that isn’t just unique to the wakeboarding world, it’s undeniable originality, and today that remains a rare commodity all together.

100% captured with HITCASE for iPhone 6.

Words with videographer, Bryan “The Golden Bear” Soderlind…

How did this project come together? 

Over the years I’ve done some wakeboard projects involving the springs around Florida. We have such a cool rare thing here, hundreds of clear flowing springs that are all really protected in National or State Parks, we’ve had to learn where we can take a boat, or go up river to ride really clear water which isn’t much of a possibility almost anywhere else in the world. That got me inspired to grab a few guys and get a winch in the boat, set up and explore a few miles up river. We got to these springs and it was so cool with the caves and it was just surreal being there without anybody bothering us. You could feel so comfortable swimming around in the middle of the night because you could see all of your soundings. I got inspired by trying to get some really unique wakeboarding stuff that most people don’t see.

What was the scene like in that off the beaten path area of Florida?

It’s a pretty rural and redneck part of Florida, all the locals were wearing full camouflage on their bass boats fishing and we stuck out like a sore thumb in a hundred thousand dollar wake boat blasting music. And they were pretty excited to see what we were doing, they hadn’t seen anyone wakeboarding or skiing in there before. It was this real unspoiled gem that no one really knew about. We rented a cool minimal log cabin, the conditions perfect for what we did. We stayed the night and had 2 full days.

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Image courtesy of @thegoldenbear Instagram

Your career has been primarily focused on photography, is it safe to say that this project got you fired up to shoot video again?

Absolutely, the last time I was shooting any kind of video was on a 16mm film camera, I had a water housing for it and it shot 64 frames pre-second, I shot something at the springs and made a little edit and that was almost 10 years ago. I had this really unique camera that could shoot under water, but film became rare and it felt like more of a hassle. I’d have to say, having the Hitcase and shooting at 240 frames per-second, to shoot that slo-mo, there wasn’t anything around back then capable of that. This really inspired me, so cool to have this juxtaposition from 10 years ago and a camera that was a couple thousand dollar set up to having everything in a phone.

How did you stumble upon HITCASE in the first place?

Reed Hansen, is a good friend of mine. I saw him getting these crazy angles and doing so much with it, when I saw that, it was really inspiring. A lot of different angles and things I hadn’t even thought of. Just watching and jamming with him really opened up my mind.

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Image courtesy of @thegoldenbear Instagram

Who was in the mix on this trip?

Myself, Reed Hansen, Parks Bonifay and Nick Taylor. I felt like that was a good crew, what we were doing was so out of the element of normal wakeboard trip. The goal was to get something really unique I felt that crew was perfect for that.

In the wake world you’re so limited by the necessities of your soundings, is it difficult coming up with new ways to document it?

100%. In the last year or so there’s been some cool new avenues for shooting photos, but before, because it’s such a boat limited sport, all you’d see is a picture on a lake with a tree line. And now with the capabilities of the winch you can ride wherever and with cable parks we can actually build some really unique obstacles to hit. That’s the direction I’ve tried to go ‘cause when you think of a wakeboarding photo that stuff ins’t the first thing that comes to mind. And the underwater stuff is a facet of our sport that’s never come to life, in surfing there’s a lot of crystal clear beautiful water, guys are swimming with their equipment a lot. In wake boarding it’s so fast paced someones going by you at 25 mph your chances of being in the right position are pretty rare.

TAGS:@HITCASE,@TheGoldenBear, @ReedHansen

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Image courtesy of @thegoldenbear Instagram

 

200 FOOT WEST COAST ROPE SWING

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On top of The Chief, the great granite mass overlooking the BC, Squamish Valley, our Slack Life BC crew turned rope swinging into a true leap of faith. Now, the question is: WOULD YOU JUMP?

SlackLifeBC embodies adventure on a level most of us will never experience, and proves that sometimes just because you can, is a sure sign that you should.

100% CAPTURED WITH HITCASE FOR IPHONE

Watch the behind the scenes bucket test that would make any sane human second guess their decision to take the leap.

SURVIVAL OF THE HITTEST: iPHONE FOUND IN RAGING RIVERBANK

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These are the fuzzy-feel-good stories that get us to work in the morning. Shout out to Cory for sharing this one with us; and to all the other HITCASE supporters using our product.

Aloha HITCASE,

Good news… 

As you may have seen through my IG feed, I lost my phone (and Hitcase) 2 months ago in a murky river while tubing in high water. I went back to look for it with my dive gear and dive light, but no success. Just the other day, someone found it washed up on the banks, after several flash floods (raging water heights up to 8 feet high… normal is < 2 feet). Not knowing how long it had been there, they took it home and charged it… it turned on! They were hoping I called it, but I had already replaced my phone within a couple weeks after losing it. However, when returned to me, the photos on it were priceless from that day (see attached photos). Aside from the case being a little banged up (see attached photo), my phone is bone dry and the case is still water tight! Thanks again for making such a great product and for turning great days into epic stories! 

Mahalo!

Cory

 

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