Whitetail After Dark: A Pictorial 7
Author thumbnail By M. Scott Smith, DCSki Editor

On the afternoon of January 21, 2010, I tossed my skis in the car and headed for the slopes of Whitetail. After the sun set, I pulled out my camera and took the following shots. As dusk fades away, Mid-Atlantic ski resorts take on a level of quiet beauty.

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About M. Scott Smith

M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.

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Reader Comments

January 23, 2010
... the other being first tracks at sunrise. Great photos, Scott, from some unusual perspectives. The beauty we too often miss....
January 25, 2010
Scott - outstanding photos. I never knew you were so multi-talented.
January 26, 2010
first off your pictures are amazing. what type of camera do you use? ive tried hard to find a good way to capture night photos without the lights being too bright while everything else standing out. im trying to make the photo see exactly what i see and you sure are good at that.
January 26, 2010
I shot all of these photos with a Nikon D3. (The day after I shot these, my new Nikon D3S arrived... I wish I had the D3S a day before!) Both the D3 and D3S have excellent low-light performance, so that helped out a lot. Many of these were shot with an ISO ranging from 800 to 1250. They were all handheld except for the second one; for that one I placed the camera on top of my backpack on the ground, and used the self-timer to get a 0.5 second shot, with the background sharp but the chair blurred.

In these conditions, most cameras are going to have trouble metering and getting a proper exposure. If you have bright lights in the frame, or lots of white snow reflecting towards the lens, the camera will have a tendency to underexpose the shadows. So it's best to switch to manual control and then experiment with different exposure settings. (I took plenty of bad pictures to get the small number of good ones you see on this page.) Bracketing can be useful.

I have to give a whole lot of credit to the Nikon D3, though -- it's an incredible camera and, other than being large and heavy, is great for getting these kinds of natural light night shots.
January 27, 2010
thank you for that infromaton. a type of camera like that is out of my price range but i got a nikon coolpix. nothing special but ill fool around with the exposure a little bit and see what i get. but than you.
February 1, 2010
These are some beautiful pics. I just went to Whitetail last Friday around 12 noon. Much busier.
It was my first time skiing so I never left the bunny slopes but hope to make it back soon to get to the top of at least Sidewinder.
What sort of camera bag do you use to protect your very nice camera? I have a Nikon D40, but would love to take some decent pics when I get better.
Also how much more steep is Sidewinder than the lower greens.
Thanks again.
February 1, 2010
I don't normally ski with my SLR camera. After skiing a couple hours, I stopped by my car and got my camera, and then skied very carefully with it. I wrap the camera in a towel and then place it into a regular backpack. (That makes lift rides more of a challenge -- the backpack comes off before I board the chair.) So there isn't too much padding, but the Nikon D3 is practically indestructible -- it's a heavy metal body, intended for photojournalism in war zones. I'm quite certain it could be used to ward off a grizzly bear attack. My main concern is falling and landing on the camera, and having the camera break my ribs (or worse) -- so I'm super cautious when skiing with it.

For regular skiing, I'll often take a point and shoot (such as a Canon G9), wrap that in a towel, and have that in the backpack. I can then focus more on the skiing.

Sidewinder is a little bit steeper than the lowest greens, but it's not too bad. It's a gentle cruising trail, and is nice and wide. It's a nice transition from the bunny slopes, and not as steep as the slopes right under the Easy Rider quad.

I'm glad you had fun on your first day of skiing! That's a good test, I think. After the first day, people either love it or hate it. And if they love it, they're hooked for life.

Ski and Tell

Speak truth to powder.

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