Tommy Penick Photo

Commercial and Outdoor Adventure Photographer

Post Ski Season Post

If anyone cared enough to look through the amount my shutter actuated throughout a year, they would see a sharp decline in the months of December, January, and February. It almost comes to a screeching halt. That's because for 3 months, I get to exercise my passion for skiing, and more specifically ski racing. This year my goal was to ski for 70 days, and I'm very happy to say that I met that goal, making this my best season in terms of days.

However, skiing 70 days out of a 90 day window puts a lot of things on the back burner, such as school, friends, and my photography. I am a member and an officer of the Appalachian State Alpine Ski Racing Team, so for those three months, I only see people from the team and only train and race. Luckily, that window coincides with a slow period in freelancing, but I still try to shoot a little bit. Ross Taylor of the Virginian-Pilot told me how I cannot miss this opportunity to document what my teammates and I do in the winters. Although I find it mundane and average, Ross told me how much he regrets not doing the same thing with his friends in college--an opportunity he would never get back.

As a freshman on the team I shot a lot of racing photos, but after a while, I realized I didn't care about them whatsoever. It's a guy hitting a gate, or something. They all look the same. They say nothing about what my friends are like or how we interact. Sure, racing photos are pretty to look at, but eventually (to the dismay of my team) I decided that shooting races wasn't worth it. Instead I started shooting the road trips, the parties, the goofing around that to me, is the essence of the team. I have folders upon folders of these photos to sit on my hard drive and rot, but after looking through them, I noticed they play an important part in my photography. These photos are totally restriction-less. I don't care what a client thinks, I don't care what the subject thinks. There are no deadlines and there is no subject matter I have to grab. I have the luxury of just slinging a camera around my shoulder and waiting for some nice light or a silly moment.

These photos mean things to me sentimentally, but also as development as a photographer. While they might be failures in the eyes of viewers, editors, peers, etc., they make me push myself in other places.

I hope you get the same enjoyment of these photos as I do, or as much enjoyment as I had shooting the photos.

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