Behind The Shot: Lucas Nilsson

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Behind The Shot: Lucas Nilsson


Jonathan Nilsson’s Handplant in Riks. © Lucas Nilsson.

Behind the Shot is a new regular on this site, and will bring you every week or so a sick shot from a rad photographer, where they explain the context of the photo session, as well as all the technical aspects you might want to know about. If you’re a snowboard photo geek, this is for you!

After we focussed on our senior photographer Matt Georges last week, we continue this serie with Scandiland’s very own up and coming talent, Lucas Nilsson.

Here’s his breakdown:

“I shot this picture of Jonathan Nilsson up in Riks in 2011 while working with a Swedish movie that the Riksgränsen locals produce” – which you can watch again here.


Mamiya 6
mamiya 75mm F3.5 lens
APX100 rated at iso80 film
Orange filter

“As it’s an old medium format camera with a built-in shutter in the lens, I can only have a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second. This combined with the light up in Riks made me use an orange filter that takes away two stops of light and develop my film for a shorter amount of time just to get some better tones in the highlights. Usually you need a faster shutter speed than 1/500th to freeze motion, but with a quarterpipe you get a good peak in the airs and slow handplants so the shutter speed would not be a problem this time.”


“It was at the end of May and we’d had a few sunny days in a row so the ice on the lakes around Riks had opened up. We had to tow after the sleds over a bit of open water to get to this natural quarterpipe that Viktor Björnström found earlier in the season. Knowing this, I decided to leave my big camera backpack at the cabin and only bring my Mamiya 6 in a waterproof bag along with two rolls of film. We got there without sinking any sleds – unlike a unnamed French filmer managed to. The quarterpipe was so good from the beginning that we only needed a few minutes to give the lip a bit of love and clear up the in-run before we were able to hit it. It’s really nice after spending several weeks up in Riks building big kickers to find small natural spots where you don’t have to spend a full day shaping before you can hit it, and then waiting for the weather to allow a session. I must admit that this is one of the best things with Riks, you can find so many good natural transitions around the mountain if you know where to look!

You also need to think about your composition: since the sun was a little bit behind thin clouds which created a very soft light I knew that contrast in this photo would be very low, I tend to aim at rather minimalistic compositions, removing as much as possible and let the viewer look at a few strong elements of the picture instead. I wanted to have the Riks mountains in the background to show where we were – everyone that has spent some time up there recognizes that mountain. I wanted to show the natural quarter pipe and how good it looked. Usually I would have tried to shoot it from a little bit lower, getting more of the snow and get the rider a bit higher up in the frame as it makes the whole thing look a bit bigger, but I chose to place the rider a little bit more centered as it makes the picture a bit more static and lets the eye wander a bit more. For me this picture is not about the rad action and going the biggest, but about how good snowboarding can look!”

Check some of Lucas’ work on his blog-ish page.



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