Behind the Photo Annual: T.J. Greenwood


Skiingmag.com shoots the, um, photos with SKIING photog T.J. Greenwood.

T.J. Greenwood
Fayston, VT
Age 31

Are you a good skier?
I get lots of practice skiing 100-plus days a year. It allows me to be able to ski in and out of some gnarly spots that we choose to shoot — while carrying camera gear. Does that answer your question?

What kind of skiing do you most like to do?
On the East Coast, some of the best skiing is in the trees — usually some good powder stashes, even a few days after a storm.

Who’s your favorite skier to shoot?
I can’t pick just one. I have a group of bros that I shoot with during the season. They are part of WreckingCrewProductions.com. They’re sponsored athletes that I’ve been working with for years and we work well together. It shows in the amount of usable images per roll of film.

What’s your favorite resort to shoot at?
I would have to say my two hometown mountains, Mad River Glen and Sugarbush. Having passes at both areas, you know where all the good stashes are and when the light is good in those areas. I do photo work for both areas, and living only 10 minutes from the lifts makes it easier to get to the hill early on the bluebird powder days. How many times have you traveled to shoot somewhere and got completely shut out?

How did you get into photography?
I’m pretty much self taught. I took a black and white course in college, which got me into it initially. I started shooting landscapes and other things around me. Back in the day, I asked a professional photographer for some pointers. He said “If you want to get better, keep shooting. It’s got to be a passion.” So that’s what I did. I shot a lot of film of a lot of different things. It’s a constant learning process. You figure out what works and what doesn’t, what looks good and what doesn’t. It can be an expensive hobby, or you can try to make it pay for itself — and more. Your photos will make great Christmas gifts for friends and family laughs.

Talk about your photo shown above in SKIING’s 2001 Photo Annual.
That shot is one of my favorites from last season. It was a bluebird January morning and we caught a 6:30 a.m. lift ride to get the good light. We had done a bunch of shooting on the upper part of the mountain and were working our way down. We entered this spot which is called the “ICE PALACE” and I got in position and captured Chris Parkinson going off the big ice flow with Nate Merrill going off another hit in the background. I tried to capture the dual-skiers-in-the-same-image thing. I was pleased with the outcome.

What do you look for in shooting skiing action shots?
Explosive action with some background to add to it. There are plenty of tight “stocky” looking shots out there. I try to use what’s around me, whether it’s a jagged rock face or a funky looking tree. I also try not to pose up the shot too much. I’m all about, “You ski the line, I’ll shoot the photos.” It seems to work out pretty well and the skiers like it because it feels natural.

Do you shoot photos with the intent of capturing something in particular or do you go through your slides afterwards and try to fit what you’ve done into the parameter of a magazine?
I pretty much shoot what I see and go through them later and decide what would work for what outlet. I try to experiment a lot when shooting. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

What is your most memorable experience in your photo career?
There are a lot of them; every powder day is memorable. If I had to choose one? Last season, four of us went on a backcountry day trip to an abandoned talc mine in northern Vermont. We pretty much had to stealth in and out. We brought a snowmobile that two guys rode on and towed the other two with the rest of the gear. It was an amazing day of skiing and shooting on some super-steep pitches, getting fresh ttracks with every turn. We sessioned it five times and then headed out. You could see our tracks from miles away, laid down on this huge slag pile. A good backcountry day sure makes the beer taste good at the end of the day. Perhaps we’ll see some of those images in a future issue…

Describe your craziest photography experience.
I guess that would have to be shooting bungee jumping at this place in Ottawa, Canada. The bungee operation is set up at an old mining quarry. They have a construction crane set up above a 200-foot drop into the quarry, which is filled with water. I was shooting the boys going off the crane from above them. The bungee operators had me harnessed and roped in so I wouldn’t fall. It was pretty wild when the wind would pick up and the crane would start to sway back and forth. It was all worth it when I got the film back and saw the shots.

What type of camera do you use?
I shoot Canon, EOS 3 and EOS 1N.

What other equipment do you bring with you?
A couple of different lenses, a fresh battery, a light meter, film, and Red Bull.

What’s your favorite type of film?
Fuji Provia.

Do you have any advice for photo enthusiasts?
If you want to get better, keep shooting…it’s got to be a passion. Also, enjoy it. Don’t ever let it feel like a job.

What do you see yourself shooting in the future? Is there anything else you’d like to do?
I would like to travel some more and shoot, perhaps some backcountry skiing adventure in Alaska or something like that. Nah, everybody’s doing that. I don’t know, I’m just going to keep shooting what makes me smile…