#SGIAfeature with Christoph Oberschneider

27 October 2017

Each week we feature a new photographer using Sony. Whether just starting out or long time enthusiasts, we want to discover those who dedicate themselves to the craft. Could you be our next feature?

For this week's #SGIAfeature we spoke to adventure photographer Christoph Oberschneider

How did you first get into photography?
I blame it on my love for skiing and sports in general! As an Austrian, I'm coming from a strong skiing background, especially backcountry skiing. I wanted to capture the dynamics and the "soul" of the sport, not just freeze the action like most photographers do. My main motivation to get started with this kind of photography was that I wanted to show what I love about skiing and to infect other people with my enthusiasm, and maybe get more people off the couch and on the slopes. That was about 5 years ago...I started with a Sony Alpha 65 and some vintage Minolta lenses from my Dad. 
I didn't attend any photography course, instead I found everything I needed to know by searching on the internet. I started competing in photography competitions and was lucky to be quite successful right from the start, that definitely helped keeping up the motivation and investing more time and efforts to get more spectacular shots in beautiful alpine locations around Austria. I was still studying at medical university during that time, so it wasn't easy to combine my time consuming passion for photography and concentrating on learning for the exams, but somehow I managed both. 
My breakthrough came during Winter 2013/14, when I was invited to compete in the Pro Photographer Showdown at the Whistler Ski and Snowboard Festival. That's a live event in front of a huge audience, where 5 of the world's best action sports photographers show off their work in a slideshow, set to music and compete for winning $10.000! I didn't win, but needless to say that my work gained lots of exposure. 
Fast forward to today: I'm currently working on combining my work as a professional photographer with my career as a medical doctor, not an easy task, but I am confident to find a way. In addition to working on shootings for e.g. my Sponsor Tamron (testing new lenses before release, like the 15-30 2.8, etc), producing advertising content for ski areas, magazines and outdoor equipment companies, I'm generating a part of my income by selling prints on my website and image usage licenses through various stock photo agencies. Of course I'm also working for private clients as a wedding photographer, and sometimes people book me for a private ski shooting during their holiday in the Alps. 


Christoph Oberschneider
© Christoph Oberschneider. Shot on Sony a99


Who is your favourite ambassador and why?

That's easy - Chris Burkard! Apart from obviously being a fantastic photographer, he seems to have found the perfect combination of going on adventures and combining it with his job. Also I know from my own experience how much time and efforts it can take to wait for the best light conditions to capture the image like Chris does, as can be seen in his movie "Under an Arctic Sky". I'd love to shoot some backcountry skiing images together with him some day!

Christoph Oberschneider
© Christoph Oberschneider. Shot on Sony a99

Christoph Oberschneider
© Christoph Oberschneider. Shot on Sony a99


What equipment do you normally use?
For skiing and mountain biking photography, I'm normally using an Alpha 99 II with a Sony Vario Sonnar T* 24-70mm F2.8 ZA SSM Carl Zeiss, a Sony 70-200 2.8 G SSM II and a Tamron SP 15-30 2.8 Di USD wide angle lens, together with a Sony A6300 with a Rokinon 8mm 2.8 Fisheye lens for capturing some extreme angles when it's needed, e.g. skiing in a steep and narrow couloir in the Alps.
The challenge with backcountry skiing photography is that I'm also carrying a lot of safety equipment with me, like an avalanche probe, a shovel, a first aid kit, and all this stuff has to fit into an avalanche airbag backpack - not an easy task! 

Christoph Oberschneider© Christoph Oberschneider. Shot on Sony a99

What's the process when shooting for a client?
I love having as much creative freedom as possible, and the clients I have been working with lately know that and trust me. E.g. for my latest shooting (mountain biking photos for a Tourism organization in Austria), I received a moodboard with a couple of creative ideas, two riders and a timeframe - that's all I need to start working, and that way has always worked best. When I was still new in the business a few years back, clients sometimes wanted to supervise a shooting, and I just can't work that way with someone look over my shoulder and maybe even giving advise every now and then, that kills creativity. 
But after making myself a name in the industry, clients have accepted that I'm doing things my way and that they will get the images they want by giving me as much freedom as possible

Christoph Oberschneider

© Christoph Oberschneider. Shot on Sony a99

Where would be your dream location to shoot?
My dream shooting location would be on the Lofoten islands in Norway, both for skiing and mountain biking shootings.

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