Vancouver Olympics, day 22: How did I do?

Time to go home. Time to ask: Did I do ok? What do I want to remember? What do I take home with me? What remains?

To summarize: c.  13 000 images, panoramas, videos, multimedias… Lots of friends, old and new, great conversations with some of the best photographers in the world,  good times… great images by colleagues which remind you how much harder you have to try next time… occasional moments when you yourself felt you had done something worth showing… more often moments of desperation when you thought you had nothing…

Too much coffee, too little sleep. Back aching from sitting too long in front of the computer… Light coke from the vending machines, pizza on the hotel room floor.

Learning new things, the best part of as assignment like this. This was my fifth olympics and I think I learned (again) more than ever before.

The first feedback I got (third day, I guess): “I just had a look at your galleries. You suck and your images suck. And the same in English!” A fan back home, obviously.

The latest feedback I got (yesterday morning): “You’re the guy doing those 360°s? Awesome work, everybody has the action shots, but when somebody makes something different…” Rick Etkin, the venue photo manager at WMC took the trouble of finding out who I was yesterday  morning just to tell me this.

For this and all the support I have had during these three weeks – all the mail, FB  and commentary I have received – my sincerest thanks. When working this kind of assignment, you need that. It is appreciated more  than you probably can imagine.

The image starting this post is from 7th heaven on Whistler. Shot with an iPhone. Yes, I am a true professional, I shoot with an iPhone. Mrk4’s are just to keep up the image of a professional…  On sunday, after the womens GS training I took couple of hours off and went skiing. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. The skiing area lived totally up to its name. A cup of coffee in the late afternoon, a good conversation with somebody I met on top of the mountain (a nice girl from Hawaii), then the last decent slowly to the valley.

A total contrast to the rain and fog which has been the dominant weather in the venues I have covered. Luckily I got my not-so-official hat – thanks to the guys from Reuters for pointing me to the right shop to get it.

Somebody asked me where are my images of hockey… Sorry, no hockey, no snowboard, no freestyle, no figure skating. I did not cover them. I did  Whistler only and only the sports where we had Finnish athletes competing. I do this professionally: I cover what my client asks me to do – not necesarily what maybe I would like to do or what would make great portfolio shots. If they want me in X-country, that’s what’ll I do. Even though it is so much “easier” to make the WOW-image for the portfolio in – say – moguls or aerials.

Finland losing 6-1 to USA in hockey. Saw it in the press center between the rounds of women’s slalom competition. Then winning the bronze last night – awesome moments.

Lots of thanks – don’t even try to list them all here, just a few which come to mind: JC, Porter, Rick (both of you), Tom (both of you), Rob, Clive, Bruce, Joosep, Michael, Eriika, Timo, Sami, Antti, CPS, etc… all the volunteers, always happy to help, never giving you the attitude… Santtu, my journalist, twenty years younger than me, doing his first games and doing them well. We shared an apartment for three weeks and not once raised voices to each other (well, there still remains the trip home… ;-))

Equipment (Canon&Apple): everything worked and worked flawlessly.  The only thing broken was my glasses (just dropped them one day in the press center) – we’ll see what the insurance company says about that as the last time I did the same thing was the Beijing Olympics… and one totally jammed Multimax Pocket Wizard remote.

My work is on the sidebar – and on the papers of the past couple of weeks. I feel I am just too tired to push any further. I promise to be back this blog later next week, discussing what to do and especially what NOT to do when covering an event like this, taking maybe  a bit more in-depth look into our media and our  coverage on these games – maybe some thoughts on the future of the printed media and the individual photographer working  in a venue like this. We’ll see.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to share the Vancouver 2010 and the Whistler experience with you. I close with the – literally – last image I shot today. I share the feeling…

Petter Northug of Norway after winning the 50km.

5 Comments

  1. Frédéric
    March 1, 2010

    Thanks for sharing these Olympics with us.
    It was very interresting to read you and watch your pictures and your 360°s

    Reply
  2. Valentin Jacobs
    March 1, 2010

    Kari, thanx for covering the Winter Olympics 3 weeks, I enjoyed it very much just like I did with your coverage of Berlin!
    grtz from Belgium

    Reply
  3. Hans-Martin
    March 1, 2010

    Great stuff. Thanks a lot for your insight on the Olympics in your blog. Made me lusting for a 400mm lens. And now I just ordered one.
    Nice work with the panos too. Did you try Autopano Pro as stitching software yet? Works faster for me than PT Gui.
    Keep up the good work and have a relaxed rest,

    HM

    Reply
  4. Lorna Rande
    March 19, 2010

    Your comment, from Rick Etkin regarding the Vancouver Olympics:
    “You’re the guy doing those 360°s? Awesome work, everybody has the action shots, but when somebody makes something different…” are profound words. I was in a seminar with him some years back and he works hard, gives great information and is very focused.

    Reply
  5. Rick Etkin
    April 16, 2010

    Kari, so great to see your shots of the Whistler Olympic Venues. After 18 months of planning , I spent far too much time inside at the Media Centre and the Medals Plaza so you have really given me the ” I was there” feeling of the places I could not get back to during the Games! I repeat what I said at Whistler, you have the images that are different and worth shooting. As a photographer, it was hard for me not to have a camera in hand but I am really thrilled to see what the photographers were able to capture. Yours are now bookmarked and I will share with people looking for something special!

    If you have more of the panorama images let me know where to look.
    Cheers from Vancouver
    Rick

    Reply

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