In March of 2013, I travelled to Orlando to spend a week at WATERSKI Magazine HQ. At the time I was an intern. As part of my work week, I was setup with an opportunity to go out and take a set with Thomas at his ski school. It was a fun experience and I saw Thomas several times over the course of the year at different events.
Once I completed college and moved to Florida, I reached out to Thomas about getting together and shooting some photos.
So we got together and made it happen in early 2015.
I knew going out, I wanted something that showed how T-Gas looks coming into the buoy. If you've ever seen him ski in person, you know what I mean. He is very aware of what is going on when he is headed out to the buoy line and his movements are very precise. His style is totally his and can't really be replicated.
For this particular image, I wanted to get just a little bit above eye level with Thomas. Since he has two jump ramps on his lake, I decided to climb up and use one as a platform to shoot from.
With the ramp at a set position to the slalom course, I decided to use my 70-200mm Nikon VR-II in case I needed to have a little more distance to cover with the shot. I've never been the type of photographer that likes to zoom in so close on the subject that you can't see anything else, so I set up with my lens zoomed to about 140mm. Close enough to show the action, but still a good distance away to show what the background looks like.
As with most waterski slalom images that I produce, I made sure to keep the buoy in the shot. I stress having the buoy in my images because it tells a story. Is the skier late, or early? The buoy lets the viewer know.
At the time of this photograph, I didn't own any type of flashes, so I simply relied on natural light to be the best that it could be. Lucky for me, we started shooting at the peak of golden hour and came out with a pretty cool shot of a world champion.
Thanks for checking out the latest Story Behind the Shot featuring Thomas Degasperi.
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