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Toyota One Hit Wonder at Thredbo Resort

Colin
September 28, 2015

Sunny warm weather, slushy spring conditions, world class athletes and one HUGE jump. A few weeks back, that’s exactly what the Toyota One Hit Wonder Down Under had on offer.

Incase you missed it, for a full recap of the event, check out my coverage for Freeskier Magazine

Providing just over three seconds of airtime, the Thredbo Park Crew built an 85-foot behemoth that attracted some of the world’s best skiers to throw down, and that’s exactly what they did.

With more triples than you could shake a stick at, Oscar Wester won the AFP Big Air, stomping a perfect triple cork 1620, with Jesper Tjäder and Jackson Wells rounding out the podium.

While the APF event was an important part of the competition for the athletes, the Game Show is what they really came for. This unique format encourages the athletes to be creative, and get away from the spin to win mentality that competition skiing has adopted.

In the Game Show, ‘contestants’ are put into teams at random, and must plan tricks so their total degrees of rotation add up to the round total—the round totals were 1080, 1260 and 1440. The team with the best score at the end of three rounds wins the competition.

While all the athletes put on quite a show, from the first round it was clear that HEAD athletes, Jesper Tjäder and Evan McEachran (team F.K.N. Sent It) were going to take the prize. With synchronized knuckle tricks and transfer gaps the pair were truly thinking outside the box.

Although throughout the week, we experienced weather delays, the organizes put on a fantastic competition, one that will no doubt continue to attract the high caliber athletes.

Beyond just work, I got to do a bit of skiing myself. Despite the the top of Thredbo being just a few feet higher in altitude than roof of my house in Colorado, the skiing wasn’t half bad. I didn’t have a chance to really explore much of of the mountain, but I’ll be back.

Shot of the week

I’ve never had so much trouble choosing just one photo to talk about, so instead of picking my favourite I picked one that a quite a few people have asked me about. Sequences are in my opinion some of the coolest photos out there, particularly when it comes to skiing.  Quite a few people have asked me on social media how I go about making sequences so I thought it best to do a quick crash course.

20150909-6902-Clevitch-OneHitWonder-Edit

Gear:

There is one piece of absolutely essential gear missing from my list, a tripod. I brought one with me, unfortunately for this shot it was on the other side of the jump, attached to my camera pack. Doh! If you’ve ready my post from Thompson Creek Dam, you’ll know I seem to be making a habit of forgetting my tripod.

Snow is a hard thing to shoot, and any sort of contrast can be hard to come by if you’re standing in the wrong spot. The only real way to gain any contrast is to follow the sun, so the you get the shadow of the jump down its side. If you don’t the blinding amount of white takes away from the scale of the jump and confuses the eye a bit.

This was one of the last photos of the day, most of which was spent on the other. In the late afternoon just as everyone is getting ready the go home the sun just begins to cast shadows on this side of the jump.

Russ Henshaw had been throwing down all day so I decided I would attempt a sequence without a tripod on his next hit. All up, this is a 15-image composite.

There are two ways to tackle a sequence like this, but first things first; I did basic corrections in Lightroom on the first image and then synchronized them through across the set. This means that in each photo, Russ and the sky around him will all look the same tonally speaking.

Next, I took the image into Photoshop ran the Auto Align  function. This is an extremely powerful feature and it works unbelievably well.

Now that all the photos have the same exposure and color corrections, and are lined up there are two ways to tackle the next step, the easiest being the Auto Blend function. Basically this function tells photoshop to look at each layer and mask anything thing that is not present in the layer above it to the top i.e the skier in each frame of the jump. While Auto-Blend works 90-percent of the time, occasionally it gives you these weird psychedelic terrible looking results.

When this happens, you have to mask by hand, slowing painting in the action from each frame into the shot. It’s not a difficult task, though sometimes it can be time consuming and infuriating.

Lucky for me Auto-Blend nailed this shot, all I had to do was fix up the Salomon flag and the branches in the tree. I have found in most cases, the easiest way to do this is to just paint white on the top layer, hiding all the layers below.

For more images from the week check out the gallery below as well as my coverage on Freeskier.com. Also check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

[envira-gallery id=”1562″]

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