Rocky Mountain High Life

Spotlight / Shoot Spotlight
Thomas Barwick
Amy Lehfeldt
Jan 12, 2021
Winter visuals are often so idealized, with pristine snow and sunny skies, but it rarely falls into place that way on the day of the shoot. Not only can it be difficult to find a perfect winter location and willing talent, but it’s also hard to pre‑plan your shoots because of shorter days, unpredictable weather patterns and smaller windows of opportunity. To capture good light and falling snow, you and your cast must be flexible and ready at a moment’s notice. Shooting in weather is always challenging, winter adds snow on lenses and extreme temperatures.  That might be one of the reasons why we see less content shot during the winter season. I mean, who wants to stand in the wind and cold for hours?  Photographers tend to go south and follow the sun and the more consistent warm weather. As a result, our Creative Insights team, along with our data analytics department, found that our winter sports and recreation imagery needed more depth and breadth in regards to both subject matter and diverse casting.
Enter photographer Thomas Barwick, an avid skier with no aversion to the cold.  He set out for central Colorado with the aim of doing a range of unique shoots around this subject.  The Rocky Mountain state turned out to be a perfect location: gorgeous and varied landscapes, reliable mountain snow, and an eager outdoor community ‑ Coloradoans are never deterred by weather!  While Thomas was getting situated, I spent time researching the area online and helping him with cast ideas and locations.  He managed to plan a string of shoots and waited to see how the weather would play out while also watching the rising COVID‑19 numbers in the area.  Shooting atmospheric weather scenes is one thing but having to keep in mind the safety of the cast and crew made everything much more complicated.  Though some shoots fell through at the last moment,  others came together with a little scrambling and made for some incredibly unique blizzard scenes and beautiful snowy locations that look idyllic but are not only challenging to photograph but visually difficult to reproduce.
The Art of Impossible