In Vail, CO, the Teva Mountain Games generally mark the start of summer.  No year is this truer than now, with temperatures rising just a day before and no snow currently in the forecast… we hope this stays true….  It also marks our first event of the summer for photography.It's still not too late to compete in the photography competition, by the way.  More details on that here.Day one this year involved the Steep Creek Kayaking challenge, where professional and amateur kayakers take on a creek that falls 468 vertical feet per mile (very intense water).  There are several waterfalls with the final fall located in a tight area between two massive boulders and landing in a narrow location 12 feet below.  All in all it's very exciting to watch and hard to believe that people can even do this!

While shooting the event, we figured a few things out, and wanted to offer a few tips for anyone shooting kayaking.  If you have a powerful flash and are shooting midday, bring it along.  It will make a huge difference since kayakers have helmets that block their faces from sunlight.Look for a close-up vantage point and try to go wide.If you can get to a location where the creek or river bends, shoot up the creek with a telephoto for great head-on shots and to compress the water falls.Your gear will get splashed, keep a cloth in your pocket at all times.The shots are ALWAYS better from the other side… but stay where you are and work on the shot until you have it perfectly. (grass is always greener…)Timing can be tough with kayaking and different kayakers will paddle in different ways.  Learn your kayaker's positioning on a feature first, then shoot it from an angle where their paddle isn't blocking their face.One flash can do the job as long as you (or if off-camera flash, the flash) are in very close to the athlete.  Shoot in hypersync mode for the most power,  or high-speed sync if you don't have a pocketwizard.  You can learn about these modes here.Wear a life vest.  Water is high this time of year and you don't want to get sucked in.Bring an ND filter and a tripod if you want to drag the shutter and get blurred water with a flash-lit athlete.  (Wish we had thought of this before leaving..)
That's all we have for now.  Now it's time to get back out there and shoot rock-climbing, and slopestyle biking today!