Want a chance to apply and showcase your creativity, passion and skill at shooting winter sports? 

The challenge is yours – can you apply Richard's suggestions and techniques as you capture your local winter sport action? We want to see your creativity, passion and skill to capture the essence, atmosphere and action – whether it's ice skating, skiing, curling or sledding -  anything that's a winter sport.

As the Sochi Winter Olympic Games commence, we want you to get out and shoot the winter sports taking place around you - Richard, and along with Clive Rose, another sports photographer for Getty Images, will review and select their top 5 favourites, and those photographers will receive an Amazon Gift Card to the value of US$500 each.

The competition run from 7 February 2014 to 7 March 2014 (till midnight GMT). For more details, to enter and to see all entries, visit the competition page. And don't forget to share using #gettymasterclass!


Richard Heathcote, Sports Photographer for Getty Images, is in Sochi to cover the Winter Olympic Games. He shares his expert insight on shooting winter sports.

"Capturing that moment, whether it’s the emotions of victory, tears of despair or a key split second of action is what good sport photographers strive for. We like to be able to tell the story of the event but also be able to create an image that can be considered a piece of artwork that stands the test of time.

Normally with winter sports you get lots of different colours, bright suits, colourful sleds and reflective goggles all contrasting with the white snow and ice that is part of a winter Olympiad. It’s these strong colours that help to make dynamic exciting pictures that get everyone’s attention.

The majority of my experience shooting winter sports lies between the Bobsleigh track and the Nordic Combined, having covered them at Winter Olympics and World Championships. For both there are key photographic techniques you want to consider to capture the best images.


WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 15: Shelley Rudman of Great Britain and Northern Ireland competes in the women's skeleton training on day 4 of the 2010 Winter Olympics at Whistler Sliding Centre on February 15, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The Skeleton makes for great pictures at the start as the athletes hurl themselves down the track head first, here you want to freeze them in that mid-air jump using a fast shutter speed 1/1000th sec or faster and a wide open aperture to throw the background out of focus.  In contrast to that you also want to show the speed they travel at as they descend the twists and turns to the finish line, using a slow shutter speed like 1/20thsec you can pan the subject creating a blur of colours while keeping the sliders sharp.

The important thing to remember is to find interesting colours and to keep the subject in the same part of the frame so they stay sharp. A good tip to achieve this is to pre-focus and then switch to MF and use one of the AF points as a reference place to keep the bobsleigh in.

WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 26: Pierre Lueders, Justin Kripps, Jesse Lumsden and Neville Wright of Canada compete in Canada 2 during the four-man bobsleigh heat 2 on day 15 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at the Whistler Sliding Centre on February 26, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Similar techniques can be applied to the Nordic athletes when they jump, the backgrounds can be quite distracting or boring like trees so the slower shutter speed helps them standout.

LIBEREC, CZECH REPUBLIC - FEBRUARY 28: Janne Ryynaenen of Finland jumps during the HS134 Ski Jumping of the Nordic Combined Individual Gundersen event at FIS Nordic World Ski Championships on February 28, 2009 in Liberec, Czech Republic. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The best bit of advice I can offer is to always look for something different, shafts of light through blinds used to keep the ice cool against the sun or a skier climbing up a hill silhouetted against a dark sky.

WHISTLER, BC - FEBRUARY 18: Switzerland 2 driven by Ivo Rueegg practices during Two-Man Bobsleigh training on day 7 of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics at The Whistler Sliding Centre on February 18, 2010 in Whistler, Canada. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

LIBEREC, CZECH REPUBLIC - FEBRUARY 27: A competitor rises over a crest during the Men's Cross Country Relay 4x10KM race at the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2009 on February 27, 2009 in LIberec, Czech Republic. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The more you practise the better you’ll get."

The 2014 Winter Olympics, will take place from 6 to 23 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Since 1988, Getty Images has been the Authorised Photo Agency for the IOC. Our coverage began with the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, while our archival Olympic imagery goes back over one hundred years.

Prepare for Sochi Winter Olympic Games with our coverage from all the venues, of all the athletes and from around Sochi & Russia via our Sochi Winter Olympic Games landing page.

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