Winter Groundhandling

Here is a little account how difficult it actually is to get some good outdoor pictures down here.

As mentioned the conditions had to be right, but there were a lot of other problems to overcome: When I tried it first even in moonlight I was very hard to sort the lines so after getting a big mess I had to sort everything inside and then keep the harness attached to the canopy. It was too cold for finger gloves so I had to use mittens with hand warmers inside but that didn't give you the best feel.
To see anything in the background at all it had to be a long time exposure and depending on the hight and the phase of the moon that was between 2.5 and 10 sec. Of course the canopy would move during that time and would be washed out on the picture, even if I would try to keep it as steady as possible. So I need a flash, the one on the camera illuminated the foreground and ice crystals in the air which leaves white dots on the picture - I had to think about something else - mount the flash on my headlamp and a control in my hand so with the right timing I could flash it once during the long time exposure. Of course the flash had to be heated as well otherwise it would die in no time at these temperatures
I built a switch which I duct taped to the outside of the glove, but that didn't work to well, the duct tape immediately froze and became stiff so I couldn't move my fingers any more and I couldn't really grab the breakline and the glider was controlling me instead the other way. So the second version was inside the glove which made it hard to get the glove on, especially if it had to go fast and that was the case if the auroras were out - they don't wait for you. For the first trials Allan, Brien and Denis took the part of the photographer, but for some trials and when the conditions were right I was by myself, so I had to prep the camera as well - a lot of hand warmers inside a balaclava wrapped around, the camera put into continuous mode and once auroras were starting, get dressed bring the camera out, set it up (for that the wind had to be pretty constant around 11 kts because I had to position myself with the paraglider in front of the camera), run back get the glider run back outside - auroras are gone - damn.
Well you get the pictures - it's not as easy :)

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