11 Dec. 2017
Sierra Nevada, Spain
Qi Guangpu of China performs an aerial as he trains during the Snowboarding and Freestyle Skiing World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, March 9, 2017. Paul Hanna: "Photographing sports involves patience, timing, positioning, perseverance - and sheer luck. Knowing how a sport unfolds and how to position oneself to capture the key action moment or emotion is essential. When it comes to winter sports, the job usually involves skiing into position with a heavy backpack carrying all the day's camera gear. A photographer also needs crampons to stop them sliding down into the course from their shooting position. The key to capturing the beauty of freestyle skiing is about getting the images of competitors flipping and twisting their way through the evening sky. The amount of time the competitors spend in the air is impressive. This photo was taken as the sun was setting over the mountains. Capturing the aerial as well as the fading sunset was difficult as there was no vantage point to get the two elements in the same frame. Cables blocked the view to the jumps and my position was too low to capture very high jumps. A small scaffolding tower holding a few cables up became my best bet. Without waiting to see if anyone would object and laden with cameras, I managed to scale the tower and photograph a handful of athletes before the light disappeared. It was not the most comfortable shooting position with one foot wedged between a bar and the other leg wrapped around another bar for support, but it was just for a few minutes. At times, I was also allowed underneath the ramp to shoot pointing straight up as the athletes shot off into the night sky in a spray of snow like stars." REUTERS/Paul Hanna/File photo SEARCH "POY STORY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.