This week’s “How I Got the Shot” takes us to Alta, Utah, where photographer and Altaholics Anonymous founder Lee Cohen reveals the value of repetition.


Alta’s side country. Photo courtesy of Lee Cohen

Name: Lee Cohen
Age: 56
Hometown: Sandy, Utah
Where: Just outside the boundary of Alta, Utah. Otherwise known as side country.
When: February 21, 2011
What the image was shot with: Nikon D3 with a 20-35mm 2.8 Nikon zoom set at 35mm 1/1000 F9 ISO 100
Who: Tyler Sterling
Why: All photographers have their go-to spots. One of mine is in the side country at Alta—just a little bit outside of the ski area. I have a go-to shot, for my go-to spot, too, one that I've shot many times, that comes out great almost every time. It may change a bit depending on the focal length of the lens; I either use my 70-200 zoom or fixed 300, but it's a big powder turn, with a lot of snow flying, featuring a sick down canyon view.

When I got to my spot, my instinct was to draw one of my usual longer lenses—I recalled having thought that I should try shooting it wide, from a distance. But the clouds spurred me on—they added something special to the scene that made the light better than if it had been a clear blue, Utah gem sky. So I switched to my short zoom and framed it up. It gave the shot I'd taken so many times before an entirely new and different look.

No matter how many times I nail this shot, I still think I can shoot it better. It’s surprising when all the crucial elements come together, but somehow they unite and give me something a little closer to perfection each time.

Magazine affiliation: This image ran in Powder. I am a freelancer for one and all.

Bio: Lee Cohen is a photographer, writer, and the founder of Altaholics Anonymous. He grew up in New York City. After two years of college, he took a break to investigate the skiing out west. The day he graduated, he moved to Utah to ski the deep, and he has been there ever since.

For additional Alta images, check out Cohen’s “Alta Magic.” 
Instagram: leecohen_pics

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