I only follow the events of the winter olympics from home but I don’t envy those colleagues who work on site in Sochi. Well, of course I envy their photos, but the tiring hard work and lots of challenges they face there is something I’m not envy for. My blog surely would stop if I would be shooting there. It already happened some times when I had a more intense work at hand. Unfortunately in these cases I always have much more to do and write than I have time for.
Thankfully this is not the case with Jeff Cable who keeps posting from Sochi letting a sneak peek behind the scenes with it.
Shooting and blogging
Jeff Cable is one of the devoted photographer who not only photographs the events but even takes the time to blog about his work in Sochi as well. As he writes in his blog the days are long and he gets not too much sleep. As in any olympics competitions start early, they end late, distances are great between venues and competition among photographers is even larger so you have to be in your place early on or you don’t get into the right place. Days often end in the night shift of editing and sending photos. Yet he has the stamina to write his blog entries every day. He shared his trade secret, he does it on the bus ride from one venue to the other but it makes his task not much easier. I too tried writing blog posts on the media shuttle during EU presidency and other events, but it is not a dream working environment. We are only a few days into the Winter Olympics so I hope he will keep the energy until the games end.
In his posts Jeff mentions the sometimes harsh working conditions as well. He has to get to a venue hours earlier to find a good shooting position. And some times even going there hours earlier can prove to be too optimistic. Like when a media bus is held up for an unplanned extra security check for a while. In these cases he has to improvise to make the best possible photos from the less ideal positions left by other photographers.
In Sochi there are about 1200 photographers accredited, but the venues have much less space for them. The opening ceremony for example had only 500 seats for all photographers and those left without a ticket had to miss the great opening. He was lucky enough to get a seat, but as he tells the wrenches hardly held the seat in place in the whole new stadium. This was only one of the malfunctions he writes about – like the last olympic ring not opening or the torch that had to be lit from the outside.
The other hardship of photographing winter olympics comes from weather. However mild it becomes you need to wear boots and some times even spikes to help climbing on the hillside. Warm clothes are essential what doesn’t help carriing all of your gear all day long. Jeff mentions yet another challenge set by the lack of toilets on the hilltop. After you climb up about 500 stairs to your photo position you don’t climb back for a loo “Trust me, you just hold it!”