With a name like Melody Sky you can’t help expecting someone special. Concert pianist? Ballerina? Ski champion?
Well you’d be right about the skiing. The Sky has no limits!
“It all started in the early ‘90s when I decided to visit Tignes and I fell in love with the mountains” she says.
She’s far too modest to say so herself, but I can vouch for the fact that Melody skis like a dream. So how come she lingers on the slopes taking photos of other people on skis when she could be skiing herself?
“I took my first photo when I was four, and got my first camera when I was nine” she says.
“As a child, I’d spend my pocket money on developing film” she says. “In my teens, I’d take night classes. My mother gave me her Nikon SLR. It was always a passion and now it’s my profession. So I’ve had a lot of years to practise!”
I ask Melody about her key tips for taking good photos.
“Shoot what you love” she says. “I am constantly framing and composing things I love. I see the world through a rectangle! When I see something interesting or beautiful or something I want to share, I capture that moment. It’s likely you’ll shoot it over and over – at different times of the day and various angles – until you get the perfect shot.”
“It’s important to be in the right place at the right time. Often something catches my attention and I wish it was earlier in the day. The light is key! The lower the sun, the better light it casts, hence shooting in the ‘golden hour’!”
“The snow can be tricky, but it can also be fun when you get it right. The trick is to avoid shooting when the sun is at its highest. I see a lot of skiers stopping to get their shots when the sky is deep blue and the sun is high and then wondering why the shot doesn’t turn out like ones they see in brochures or magazines. It’s beautiful to experience this time of day, but the snow just looks flat. It’s best to shoot early or late when the low light creates definition and shadows. Then you also get lovely that sparkling snow.”
I asked Melody how tough it was to stand around with her cameras while other people gallivanted down the slopes.
“Yes, this used to really frustrate me!” she admitted “Especially when the snow was really good. I’ve had to avoid nice untracked powder and leave it for the skiers so many times. But actually I think my love of a good shot just slightly outdoes my love of skiing powder.”
And what about getting cold while you’re filming – standing around with no gloves?
“I’m Scottish…ha ha!” she says. “Often the use of gloves annoys me when I just want to feel the camera buttons. I often shoot without gloves. Occasionally my hands do get unbearably cold to the point I can’t feel them. I really need to get myself some of those really clever gloves that you can quickly and temporarily remove the finger tips from!”
I mention that in Canada, heliskiers who spend a week in a heliskiing lodge doing little else but ski are pandered to with terrific cuisine.
“Oh my gosh” says Melody. “I love relaxing accommodation and good food!”
It completes the picture and also makes it possible to ski all day long for days on end and not feel exhausted.
“And as editing is almost as enjoyable as filming, I have my computer set up at home with the big windows and mountain-view. I love coming home from a day on the mountain and being cosy and warm and still have that view!”
Arnie Wilson interviewed Melody for Savills Ski Property Portfolio magazine.