It has been pretty hectic two weeks. Long hours. I came here almost directly from Garmish (Alpine WC) and maybe the first time ever, I really felt tired couple of days to the extend that I think it affected my performance. Hopefully it was just a fleeting feeling – and nobody really noticed… ;-)
Agency Images vs. Working Alone
A friend asked why did a paper use agency picture for Matti crossing the line or Northug “stepping” over the line, instead of mine?
Very easy, obvious and abslutely a right choice from the paper. Heikkinen: I was not around. I was two kilometers away, doing a story on the spectators camping… His medal was such a surprise that none of us saw it coming. Northug: I followed him all the way to the finnish line with my 400mm – and then shifted the lens to Matti Heikkinen coming after him. Being a single photographer working alone in an event like this, one should concentrate on other stuff than the obvious “crossing the line, hands up, I’m the winner” -images. Sure, those are much needed. But genlemen known as AP, Getty, AFP and Reuters etc. do that anyway – they each have several guys doing this – and my clients all have some of those services. Why do duplicate work if you can use your time for something a bit different – at least try to do that.
So I shifted my lens to number four over the line – a totally conscious decision – and it was absolutely the right decision from the paper’s part to run agency images on that. And: I made the cover with my “number four” – i.e. Matti Heikkinen image from a couple of seconds later.
Working alone, there is only so much one person can do. One has to make choices, sometimes take risks – as I’ve said before. I think I did OK in these games – no WOW-images but that is not what one should be after in the first place. That results very easily into ego-tripping. Instead, it’s delivering the best you can do to your client and the readers. I think I did images for well over hundred pages , including about ten covers ( i.e.he covers of the sports section in the paper) – plus the web, naturally. So I really can’t complain.
In addition, there was the multimedia on the Norwegian Skiservicetruck – which I thought was pretty informative and fun to do. I did another multimedia – which never got published – on the spectators living in tents and following the games. But again, Matti Heikkinen’s gold medal sort of managed to rearrange my day that afternoon…
Fog, Fog and Fog…
Something which might be interesting for photographers – and what the TV has not managed to deliver – is the challenging lighting conditions. The visibility has on many of the days been between 20-40 meters. With shades of white and gray – and that’s about it. So no spectacular blue skies nor the city of Oslo in the images – I think yesterday was the first sunny day of the whole competition.
This is the ACR dialogue and histogram of Marit Björgen coming over the line. Shot head on, maybe 15 meters…? This is what you saw when looking thru your camera.
Not too much dynamic there even if the blacks are pushed to 100%, clarity is raised, etc. And still, the dynamic range used is like 10%.
But, naturally you can stretch the dynamics and make it presentable (as below). The quality degenerates badly when you do that but sometimes you just don’t have any options.
Credit where Credit is Due
A big thanks to Santtu, Miia and Pekka – it’s been a great pleasure working with you. We’ve had a good team. Guys back home: great work. Really. Mean it.
I’ve been working mainly for Iltalehti but the whole of Almamedia has been using my images. Some of you may not read Lapin Kansa on a regular basis ( ;-) ), but let me urge you to do so occasionally. Every day I have opened the paper during the past three weeks, I’ve just been one happy photographer. I wish we’d see more papers like this who really make an effort to do good visual impact. A special big hand to Risto Pyykkö in there – what a great guy to work with.
Let me finnish with three examples – two from Oslo and one from Garmish-Partenkirchen.
Three images of mine and three covers of Lapin Kansa – by Risto’s hand: