Rockies Insider guide to outdoor sports photography with Raynor Czerwinski

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Monday, August 2nd, 2010

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Find unique angles for outdoor sports, photo by Raynor Czerwinski.

Colorado photographer Raynor Czerwinski moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, to blend his passion for the natural outdoors with his artistic skills behind the shutter.

Eight years later Czerwinski has a personal and defined style on display at his local gallery as a professional natural outdoor photographer, and is our latest insider to drop some tips on shooting outdoor sports in the Rockies.

Shooting outdoor sports

Colorado is a mountain sports hub in a landscape covered in tracks with ideal terrain. Czerwinski is a mountain biker who never forgets a camera. So while taking part in the many Rocky Mountain outdoor sports, Czerwinski says bringing a camera along encourages photographers to always search for composition and lighting.

“You don’t need something special. You can use an iPhone; seriously you can,” says Czerwinski. “You’re out there, reading the landscape and coming up with ideas. I consider that shooting.”

Get creative with flashes

Studying the landscape is just as important, though Czerwinski adds that when shooting sports it’s important to have good light. Playing with off-camera flash and strobes is a good way to snap a creative shot.

“I’m into off-camera flash. I underexpose the whole shot and then add the flashlight for contrast,” says Czerwinski. “With mountain biking you’re at mercy with the light. But use strobes and off-camera flashes to direct the light and the eye. Pop a flash and get contrast to make you super happy.”

Shooting at night is another fantastic way to capture outdoor sports with creative light. Czerwinski recommends a high ISO speed to pull the stars out in the background while a biker goes by with a head lamp and creates a streaking light.

Find new angles

Lastly, when it comes to shooting extreme outdoor sports be creative with angles.

“Whether it’s standing on a ladder or under a biker while he goes over a bridge, find a unique angle to keep it fresh,” says Czerwinski.

In the end balanced composition is key, and hopefully some good light to support it. To help with composition Czerwinski suggests dabbling in a drawing or painting class, as outdoor photography has many parallels to other art forms.

“Like in all art forms, you’re trying to get down to the bare essentials of what you’re trying to express. The simpler it becomes the more powerful it is.”

Find more of Raynor’s photography at

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