Gear Feature

Through The Lens – Snowboard Photography & Prizm Technology

Where optical science meets the art of image making

“Photography is about seeing the world in different ways,” says French lensman Matt Georges. “There’s potential beauty everywhere, in the things that most people pass straight by – you just have to look for it.”

For snowboard photographers, though, shooting in the mountains presents a particular challenge. In such an unpredictable environment, explains Matt, “you have to be able to adapt to changing conditions and use them as a chance to create something unique.” So, while most of us look forward to bluebird powder days, Matt is actually more stoked to ride during snowstorms, when clouds obscure all the usual background distractions and “the whole mountain becomes like a studio”.

But whether midwinter or spring, capturing images is a job that requires the right kit. Matt Georges’ achieves his signature style using a mixture of analogue cameras and cutting edge digital bodies, and his bag is usually loaded with a variety of lenses for both his camera and eyewear, providing him with the perfect field of view for every situation.

Matt George’s lifestyle shots – like this portrait of Oakley team rider Eero Ettala – have the classic feel of film.

The latest addition to Matt’s arsenal is Prizm™ technology. Oakley’s engineers have spent over a decade perfecting this new kind of lens, which tailors the available light to increase contrast. By taking measurements of the natural spectral range found in different environments ­­– including the mountains – they were able to develop specific tints that don’t just darken your surroundings but prioritize those wavelengths that provide definition in the snow.

If this sounds geeky, that’s because it is! But the result is simpler to describe: improved vision. And for someone like Matt, vision is everything.

“When I’m scoping for spots with a rider, I can actually see more contrast through my goggles now than I can on the back of my camera – it’s pretty sick. Cliffs and shadows really pop.”

Eero and Matt, on the hunt for the perfect image.

In a way then, Prizm brings the real world closer to the kind of sharpened images we’re used to seeing in videos and photos.

“With digital photography, if you’re shooting RAW then the image starts off looking pretty flat when you take it off the camera,” explains Matt. “So you usually do some work in post-production, tweaking the file to get it looking exactly as you imagined when you pushed the shutter. Prizm gives me a better idea how much fine detail there is in the scene, which I can bring out later using software.”

“I can see more contrast through my goggles now than I can on the back of my camera. Cliffs and shadows really pop”

The view through Matt’s Prizm™ lens – increased definition helps reveal potential shots.

Still, whatever your camera or goggle lens, aspiring snowboard photographers should realize that there is no substitute for the most important tool of all: imagination. And as these pictures from a recent trip with Finish legend Eero Ettala show, Matt has that in spades.

Find out more about how Prizm™ can help you see more clearly here.

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