How to Capture Steepness?

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Tony S

Tony S

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Mostly people are posting examples of successful attempts at conveying steepness, which is one great way to answer my question. Thanks.

@Philpug, your illustrations of horizon and vertical points of reference (trees, towers) are great. (Not to mention that photos from you guys always feature very well dressed skiers.) I think I'm more or less on top of that one, in an amateur sort of way. And I will keep in mind @DoryBreaux's reminder:

Note, don't use towers that aren't vertical.

That cracked me up at first because I thought it was a joke. Then I thought about it more and realized that not all lift towers are vertical. So. Good point.

@James I think in a couple of your pics from the Alps what really brings out the steepness is the way you can see the CHANGE in the pitch of the liftline. You know that on the "flat" part it must already be going "up," so when it takes a sharp turn for the steeper your brain kind of says, "Oooh, that must be REALLY steep."

@SBrown 's pics are awesome and use a variety of angles. I recognize several of the spots, which is extra helpful. (I took more or less that exact pic at Deep Temerity.) What I take away from those, mostly, is that it really pays to have terrain that's ACTUALLY steep if you want it to LOOK steep. Doh!
@Jim Kenney , good tips. Thanks. But you need to stop posting that picture of me at Whistler where I'm demonstrating a textbook sequential edge change. :facepalm: (On borrowed skis that I hated, no less.) I always love that photo of Vince levitating!

Anyway, even if I don't learn anything more from it than I already have, I'm psyched to have so many great shots to look at.
 

Scruffy

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That is probably Upper Crossover

Yup Upper X-over. See the ( at the time ) quad? If there was any lift at all in the back ground for K27 it'd be the F-lift triple, and K27 is steeper than X-over.
 

mdf

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...really brings out the steepness is the way you can see the CHANGE in the pitch ...
The edge of the blind roll-over makes it look steep.
it really pays to have terrain that's ACTUALLY steep if you want it to LOOK steep.
Part of the problem is that really steep ski slopes are not all that steep relative to urban ordinary life.

A standard set of stairs is 37 degrees, (with up to 50 degrees considered acceptable)!

So it is hard to make something look steep when viewed in your living room.
 

Don in Morrison

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At Berthoud about 1978.

offTheDeepEnd.jpg
 

Andy Mink

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Of course the best way is to have someone comment on the photo and say, "OH MAN! That's a steep run"!
 

Seahaven

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Turning the camera works. Best example here.

Street climbing

In all seriousness, thanks for all the advice here. Steepness is hard to get across in images or video. I watch a lot of road cycling, and it is only in certain shots that you really grasp how steep some of the climbs are.
 
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slowrider

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View attachment 146172
@SBrown , great shot. I remember that “traverse” or whatever it is behind them when I went to Taos in 2000. Scary with the drop off, I had to question whether I really could do a wedge turn. Best prep for that is skiing the top of a half pipe where the outside falls off too. I get kids who are good skiers that refuse.
So people ski off this Cornice?
 

SBrown

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So people ski off this Cornice?

A couple things: that's the top of Stauffenberg, and the entrance depends greatly on the amount of snow (base) they have. It's not always that steep; other times it's worse. All of those skiers there, I think, were prepping for a freeride comp, so they just hopped right in. Possibly with some spinny things going on, too, I can't totally remember. I, however, skied around where there was a bit of a ramp to get in. You can't see it very well, I'm not even totally sure where it was; my arrow is just an approximation. It was still hairy, but not straight down.

IMG_9698.jpeg
 

LiquidFeet

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Vertical references help, but keep the horizon horizontal. Also, seems a low camera viewpoint can help.
View attachment 146095
Here’s 3 from the same spot I think. Very close if not.
View attachment 146097
View attachment 146098
View attachment 146099
The line of the chairlift really helps. The last low from down near the ski helps but prob could’ve used more chairlift. The rocks on the right help also.
Below is a fragment taken from the top image, the least steep of James' three images. Notice the snow on this side of the two pyramidal shapes. That snow has two side-by-side horizontal looking divots in it. Those divots appear in front of the two pyramids in this image, with some space between them and the pyramids. That configuration changes as the images start looking steeper; the space between them gets smaller and then disappears in the more steep looking photo.
Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 3.34.41 PM.png

Below is the third image that shows the steepness clearly. The two divots have disappeared because the mound of snow in front of them, closer to us, covers them up. The mound of snow overlaps the divots and also overlaps the bottoms of the two pyramids. Overlaps are clear indications of receding distance, of one thing being in front of another. Holding the camera low enough to capture overlaps like this can strengthen the indication of steepness when the veiw doesn't function as a profile of the pitch. Overlaps can also work when you can't rely on the verticality of nearby trees.
Screen Shot 2021-10-27 at 3.35.06 PM.png
 
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dbostedo

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A couple things: that's the top of Stauffenberg, and the entrance depends greatly on the amount of snow (base) they have. It's not always that steep; other times it's worse. All of those skiers there, I think, were prepping for a freeride comp, so they just hopped right in. Possibly with some spinny things going on, too, I can't totally remember. I, however, skied around where there was a bit of a ramp to get in. You can't see it very well, I'm not even totally sure where it was; my arrow is just an approximation. It was still hairy, but not straight down.

View attachment 146482
For further reference, the highlight/circle below is about where they are standing I think... though it might be a bit more to the right or left. Maybe someone who's skied it knows for sure - I've never been up there. :) The people all over the open slope (Stauffenberg) in the middle are checking out the terrain for a freeride competition.

1635377356691.png
 

KingGrump

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So people ski off this Cornice?

That is not a cornice. That is a pretty standard entry to most of the runs off the West Basin Ridge. There are many that are worse.

My standard spiel to the folks at the Taos gathering is "Do not go exploring on your own. Do not go exploring with people you don't know well. There are many dark places at Taos. Many do not require hiking."
 

KingGrump

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For further reference, the highlight/circle below is about where they are standing I think... though it might be a bit more to the right or left. Maybe someone who's skied it knows for sure - I've never been up there. :) The people all over the open slope (Stauffenberg) in the middle are checking out the terrain for a freeride competition.

View attachment 146531

More to the skier's right.
 

mdf

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Stauffenberg is on my bucket list for next year. My instructor last year and Grump claim we've skied other stuff that is just as hard, but Stauffy stares at you on every ride up lift 2.
 

James

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For further reference, the highlight/circle below is about where they are standing I think... though it might be a bit more to the right or left. Maybe someone who's skied it knows for sure - I've never been up there. :) The people all over the open slope (Stauffenberg) in the middle are checking out the terrain for a freeride competition.
C93EBC44-8EE5-4733-9CCC-FED164069C01.png

Making it look like a molehill!
Stauffenberg is where I was thankful for crappy ill fitting boots. I got the tip of my ski jammed into a mogul, and could feel leg and knee twisting. There was enough play in the boot to absorb everything before it stopped.
 

KingGrump

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Stauffenberg is on my bucket list for next year. My instructor last year and Grump claim we've skied other stuff that is just as hard, but Stauffy stares at you on every ride up lift 2.

My favorites up there is St. B. Spitfire and Zdarsky are really nice too. Stauffy is usually too tracked up.

ETA: This is turning into a recruitment thread for the Taos mini-gathering. :ogbiggrin:
 
Thread Starter
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Tony S

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
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Stauffenberg is on my bucket list for next year. My instructor last year and Grump claim we've skied other stuff that is just as hard, but Stauffy stares at you on every ride up lift 2.
I'm in.
 
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