Preparing to Photograph a Polar Bear Dip

March 13, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Event photography is a fun task and I will share three tips on how to succeed at an outdoor event.  First (this isn't one of the three tips), the participants are expecting cameras and viewers.  So taking photos is not a problem.

In previous years I photographed our local Polar Bear dip at Hidden Valley Lake Indiana.  If I were to guess, there have been over 200 crazy (I mean participants) at the previous years' dips.  This year, however, we are dealing with COVID, and the original date for the dip was delayed to 3/6/21.  In the past, my vantage point has been near or in the crowd around the beach.  So, the first tip is location, location, location.

Tip 1:  Location

This year I decided to get a new vantage point and go out in the lake in my Kayak to get a different perspective I have not seen yet for the Polar Bear Dip.  Mixing in the crowd or being near them is fine and not wrong, but just doing something different this year.   In years past, I got a lot of backsides running in the water, but also got great expressions as they were running right back at me.  So, the land view is just as good as the lake view.

Tip 2:  Lenses

Decide what lenses you want to use.  I may take more than one lens but may only use the 70-200mm Tamron lens.  I will not be far from the dippers, so the 70-200 should be good for all my shots.

The day of the shoot went as planned for this trip.  I used just one lens (70-200).

Tip 3:  Decide if you want to freeze (sorry for the pun) the water or show some motion with some blur in the splashing water.

Whichever you want, do some practice shots and in this case, I will be shooting in manual.  The time of day will be about 11:30 AM with plenty of light with a sunny sky.  I will start my settings at 100 ISO, F5.6 aperture, and adjust my shutter speed to get the proper exposure.  I want a 5.6 or better aperture to ensure I have a decent depth of field.

If you want anything to be on auto, I would put ISO on auto and set the aperture to 5.6 or 8.0, and again adjust the shutter speed that I want.  In this setup with auto ISO I can opt for faster shutter speeds knowing that the ISO will compensate to provide enough light.

Comments are welcome.  Here are a few of the pics from the shoot.

PolarBearDip-4095-20210306PolarBearDip-4095-20210306 PolarBearDip-4048-20210306PolarBearDip-4048-20210306
PolarBearDip-4059-20210306PolarBearDip-4059-20210306 PolarBearDip-4026-20210306PolarBearDip-4026-20210306



No comments posted.

I am glad you found my blog.  I am a photographer with a passion for awesome shots.  I go to great lengths to capture many of my photos.  I will re-visit a location over and over knowing there is a spectacular photo just waiting to be had if I am there at the right time.   I also enjoy finding how to do some abstract projects (check out my time-lapse post) and will be writing about them.

Send me a note via my contact page for some projects you would like to see me try and write about.  I am not afraid to try almost any project.  Doing the obscure forces me to do things that I don't do with the typical photo shoot and helps me learn even more.