Willi Nothers: Teddy Beer, Glacier Drop in Saas Fee, Switzerland

The Image

Photographer: Willi Nothers

Saas Fee / Switzerland

Time / Date:
14:36pm / February 2, 2012

The Technical

Camera Body: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 AF-D

Camera Settings:

Shutter Speed: 1/1250s
Aperture: f/8
ISO: 500
Focal Length: 35mm

The Story


I´m a self-taught sports and commercial photographer.

The photo with Teddy and the cliff was a remittance work. A Sponsor invited me to shoot the Rock Star Energy team meeting. That was in Saas Fee in February 2012. On these 5 days we had gloriously blue sky, but bitter cold days with temperatures between -15 and -20 degrees in the day. The mission was to take one action photo from each team members.

I’d never met or heard about Teddy before that week. There has been one story the tour manager told me, that there will be a teamrider who did a huge naked backflip on skis a couple of weeks before.

We met each other the evening before we had to get productive. Teddy arrived very late at the hut we all checkend into.

He was — no he is — a wild guy with a lot of stories to tell, and he has a soft spot for whisky. You could make a movie about the 4 days in Saas Fee, that time was insane. But what happend in Vegas stays in Vegas!

The Scene: 

I discovered the spot at Saas Fee´s glacier in 2010 the first time. For me this was the perfect spot for Teddy for this mission. The spot is not easy to hit. It has an icy, short inrun. If you slide away, you fall into the depths of the glacier. As Teddy is a professional free skier, he needs a challenge like this.

When we arrived there, the spot had changed. It was completely different than I kept it in mind. A big “Ice Bubble” at the bottom melted away and offered us a view into the glacier. I decided to sit down on the edge of the crevasse to have the perspective into the glacier, a little bit scared I looked down in to the depth. This perspective changed the whole scene and mad eit even more dramatic.


I shoot this image using Nikon´s D700 with a 24-85mm Lens. Take it light and simple in the mountains.

Making the Shot:

While I’d never photographed skiing until that day, it´s not that different to a cliffdrop that a snowboard does.

It´s a simple rule to follow:

To trigger the sweetshot, it´s much easier if you talk about the perfect moment beforehand.
Communication is a big thing and makes life easier — photography too. Because during the shooting, you are a team, and good teamwork means good communication.

On that sunny day we had -18 degrees in Saas Fee. So we didn´t want to be outside too long. During breakfast I told Teddy about the cliff. On the map I showed him exactly where the cliff was. It took us only a couple of minutes to get the shot.

When I arrived at the the cliff, Teddy was already on the top to check the inrun. There was one first angle down at the edge of the blue and green icehole. I fixed my camera settings, sat down on my very dangerous position and gave Teddy a sign. So he dropped, landed and everything was fine. We checked the shot and were very pleased with it. Well done, home run.

It was my first skiing photo ever!

Editing & Processing:

Quick and simple editing in Lightroom. A bit color correction , pushing darks and saving lights, pushing colors and a bit clarity.

Looking Back:

Coldest and quickest photo I ever took, also my first skiing photo.


Follow your passion. The best advice I can give is to create the photo in your mind and communicate concretely with your athletes about your ideas. At the same time, you have to be as professional as the guy in front of your lens.

Shooting action sports is like shooting advertising, it´s more scenic that you think.


Every day is an inspiration for me, I just live my passion.

Willi Nothers

About the Photographer

I grew up in mid west Germany and discovered my passion for photography at school during a photography-workshop. In the beginning I took skateboard photos. I documented the scene, where I came from. Later on, I learned snowboarding, and became addicted to it. I followed my passion. Therefore, I worked and lived for two winter seasons in the mountains. During that time I met a crew, who was producing a snowboard video. I joined them for two more years on their tour through Europe as their tour photographer.

I found what I was looking for. I turned my best skills and talents into a profession. Right now I still take action sports photos and work also for different clients as a freelance photographer. If I could pique your nosiness check out my website, blog and Instagram feed.

Website: www.willinothers.de
Blog: www.made-by-will.blogspot.com/
Facebook: Willi Nothers Photography
Instagram: @willinothers

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