I shot this image around 10 a.m. in Missoula, Montana, during the Missoula Smokejumpers’ practice jump. Because the sun rises around 5 a.m. here in the summer, the sun was already high in the sky and the light was quite harsh. It was not an ideal time for taking pictures but oftentimes photographers have to shoot in tough light and make the best of it. I am always grateful when there are a few clouds in the sky to help create a soft box effect.
The wind was blowing this day so I could not precisely predict where the smokejumpers would land, but there were about eight of them so I had a few chances to try and get a shot that worked. My best advice for photographing action is to constantly move around, get close enough to capture interesting details, and don’t be afraid to use your continuous shooting mode while your subjects are in motion. I shot hundreds of images on this one morning just to get a couple that worked.