Stephanie Dickerson takes baby Riley out nordic skiing near Homer, Alaska on a sunny winter day.

It’s been a particularly strange winter here in Southcentral Alaska. January in Homer was the warmest on record according to NOAA. Our yard at home was green grass for the month and there wasn’t a piece of ice or snow in the neighborhood. It seems like winter is back with a few days with fresh snow adding up and more coming down right now. Just perfect if you ask me, we had a little mini summer vacation in the middle of winter. Now the days are getting noticeable longer and the bright sun reflecting off this fresh snow is magical.

So beautiful in fact, that I couldn’t resist Stephanie’s invitation yesterday to join her and baby Riley on a ski on the local trails. Of course, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity for some stock photos with the picturesque conditions either. I chased mom and baby around the trails without poles holding my camera and panting away. I love this kind of shoot where I am fully engaged in the subject that I’m shooting – Having to ski myself to keep up, or get ahead for the shot. Exercise is so much more fun when it’s combined with some creativity!

Stephanie Dickerson takes baby Riley out nordic skiing near Homer, Alaska on a sunny winter day. (Scott Dickerson)

For this subject of mom and baby skiing I was trying to communicate a few things in one shot – the beautiful conditions, some sense of action and motion, all while being able to see the mom and baby. This turns out to be a fairly tricky recipe of items to include in a single frame, especially while moving. In the last few minutes of our shoot I settled on the following setup. We found a gentle downhill so there wouldn’t be too much skiing action required to show motion, I positioned myself just ahead and next to Stephanie so I could look back at both her and Riley. To impart the motion I used a slow shutter speed between 1/40 and 1/60 so that parts of the frame would be motion blurred but I still had a fighting chance of achieving some sharpness on Riley’s face. It was a fun challenge to stay on my feet while skiing downhill around corners looking behind me trying to hold the camera steady and focus on Riley’s face. We managed a few frames that I’m happy with.  You can see an edit from the shoot in my online archive – Nordic skiing with baby,  or the slideshow below.