I went to the Leavenworth Ski Hill late last month to photograph a memorial ski run to honor the three men who were caught up and killed in an avalanche on Stevens Pass. I wasn't sure what to expect but I had read that at the end of the memorial, skiers would be coming down the hill with lights of some kind. I had photographed a similar scene at Mission Ridge on a New Years Eve celebration but it had been about 20 years ago. I looked up some lens and camera setting information and headed to Leavenworth.
First, I tried making pictures of the memorial around the lodge but the lighting was just terrible as you can see so I looked for some other type of light source - candles and fire.
Then scoped out a location to photograph the ski run. I wanted to concentrate on an overall photograph, using a tripod, with a long exposure. There was a little panic at first as the ski hill lights remained on but eventually they were turned off. I tried getting people in the foreground but having to make a 45 second or so exposure meant they were generally moving around too much and I'd just have an indistinguishable black blob of a silhouette. So I moved my setup off to the side of the lodge with a tree hiding a large light that was producing lens flare. Then I made about a dozen exposures, waiting for some of the lights to make the entire journey down the hill.
The next morning, the Associated Press picked up the photograph that I just learned won the Washington State AP photo of the month for February.