Snow Kite Masters takes place at high altitude after every Christmas. When most people are trying to shake off seasonal hang-overs and face up to the prospect of another year working at their desks, others gather to play high in the French Alps. The Snow Kite Masters is now seven years old. Like the mountain’s morning light, it creeps around the calendar to early January. Lifts are thumbed, bags are packed, flights are booked and baggage allowances weighed before the long journey to France.
Snowkiting is a capricious sport. The marriage of kite surfing and snowboarding, it has one huge difference. Here in the high mountain wind, a rider’s jump can drift well into double figures as the airborne second’s tick by. The ingredients are simple. Sun, snow and wind. And yet these elements rarely travel together. It teases you with the possibility of the moment when all three will come together to create an extreme sporting spectacle.
Shooting on a pre-production Canon EOS-1D X Mark I model and L series lenses (EF 14mm f2.8, 35mm f/1.4 and 50mm f1.2), the camera definitely had the speed but how would the batteries handle the sub-zero temperatures? As it turned out, remarkably well.
Shooting 1080p video with the exposure deliberately turned down to preserve the highlights on the snowy, white landscapes, the footage still had both texture and tonality.
Having under-exposed the video, there was plenty to mid-tones in each shot, particularly around the base camp for portraits and similar lifestyle shots. As a result, grading was straight forward with the footage offering lots of possibilities, even in the more extreme low lighting of the night time bar scenes.