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News

Welcome to the CPN Sports Photo Blogs in which some of the world’s top sports photographers are blogging with the stories behind their latest winter action pictures.

Feb25

Good Games, Good Games

By Adrian Dennis, Tuesday February 25, 2014

Germany's Nelli Zhiganshina and Germany's Alexander Gazsi perform in the Figure Skating Team Ice Dance Short Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics on 8 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

I intended to blog while waiting at Sochi Airport. Alas, I fell asleep in my chair, head falling to my shoulders from time-to-time. I’m home now, laundry bin brimming, after a long day transiting through airports. No sooner had I sat on the plane in Sochi than I was asleep, only to wake two hours later to find…

I intended to blog while waiting at Sochi Airport. Alas, I fell asleep in my chair, head falling to my shoulders from time-to-time. I’m home now, laundry bin brimming, after a long day transiting through airports. No sooner had I sat on the plane in Sochi than I was asleep, only to wake two hours later to find we hadn’t taken off. After shooting the closing ceremony and team dinner, I had an hour to pack before leaving. No bed for me! My colleagues took pleasure photographing me semi-unconscious. Oh, they laughed! I didn’t laugh when I realised I had missed my next Frankfurt flight.

Which leads me to my favourite photograph from the Games. I like my picture of Germany's Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi during the Figure Skating Team Ice Dance. Several colleagues sent me messages and my 10-year-old daughter, Daisy, laughed too. Apparently quite a lot! So, in the heat of the battle of competition, the competitors and photographers, if I can make you smile then that makes me happy too.

One final note; while flying home the Russian air steward served us dinner. Delivered in broken English, in a very deep voice, he asked: “fish or chicken?” A Canadian athlete enquired: “What kind of fish?”... “Fish from the sea,” was the reply. Thank you and good night!

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Feb24

It’s a wrap

By Marc Aspland, Monday February 24, 2014

Shaun White (USA) gets his first run in the final spectacularly wrong as he crashes down on the lip during the Men's Halfpipe event at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 11 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

I have chosen this picture as my favourite from the Games! It is the picture of US Halfpipe legend Shaun White as he lands spectacularly badly from an incredible aerial and almost bends his board in half. This picture owes more to the superb Canon 1D X and 400mm f/2.8L mark II lens than it does to me…

I have chosen this picture as my favourite from the Games! It is the picture of US Halfpipe legend Shaun White as he lands spectacularly badly from an incredible aerial and almost bends his board in half. This picture owes more to the superb Canon 1D X and 400mm f/2.8L mark II lens than it does to me - I only chose a position away from the mass of photographers, which looked down the edge of the pipe, and chose a very high shutter speed.

We had waited all day for the final of the Men’s Halfpipe and, even during the practice runs, White was a utter joy to photograph, but sport has a habit of throwing a spanner in the works. This split second - actually 1/3200th of a second - was one of them. It was also one of those moments that, as a photographer, you don't actually 'see’. During a burst of 12 frames per second I did not actually see this frame until I viewed it on the back of the camera - I was just glad that the camera did all the work and I didn't chop his head off!

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Feb24

Packing up

By Barbara Walton, Monday February 24, 2014

Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia perform in the Pairs Free Skating of the Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 12 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

It's packing up time. The warp of Olympics coverage has come to an end and the exhaustion is about to hit hard, but in a good way... after a load of work and a successful outcome, capped by an all-night party with my great EPA team colleagues. Choosing one favourite image from these Games is a…

It's packing up time. The warp of Olympics coverage has come to an end and the exhaustion is about to hit hard, but in a good way... after a load of work and a successful outcome, capped by an all-night party with my great EPA team colleagues. Choosing one favourite image from these Games is a nightmare. There are so many images, and many with their own personal story for me, that it's nigh on impossible to do. But I guess, in this emotional end of Games state, I favour this one (above), shot with the 400mm [lens], capturing the very emotional side of the performance sport of Figure Skating... and the beauty of the throw, which is a classic Figure Skating move.

I am packing up my Canon kit and this is it (below) - minus the 600mm lens I had on loan from Canon. All the tools of the trade are shown on a Sochi floor: two EOS-1D Xs, an EOS 5D Mark III, a 16-35mm, a 24-70mm, a 70-200mm, a 300mm, a 400mm and a 200-400mm zoom. You have to be ready for all situations and have a good range of lenses for all angles and circumstances; from features to the main sports action.

The 1D X is great; it's the best sports camera I have ever had... with its AF menu options which you can tweak to your likes and needs. All my lenses have been well used with the exception of the 300mm... only once did I use that one.

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri of Italy perform in the Ice Dance Free Dance of the Figure Skating team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Barbara Walton's kitbag for covering the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb23

So Long Sochi...

By Ian MacNicol, Sunday February 23, 2014

Henrik Harlaut of Sweden competes in the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle Final during day six of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 13 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

As I write my last blog in Sochi Airport – I've been asked to post my favourite photo from the Games, but I would have to hold my hand up and say the best photographs I saw from Sochi weren’t taken by me!

Whilst my clients have been more than satisfied with my efforts out here and I’ve had…

As I write my last blog in Sochi Airport – I've been asked to post my favourite photo from the Games, but I would have to hold my hand up and say the best photographs I saw from Sochi weren’t taken by me!

Whilst my clients have been more than satisfied with my efforts out here and I’ve had a good bit of coverage online, and in the printed press, I don’t feel I got anywhere near that elusive *“Belter” of a portfolio shot.

Maybe it is partly to with the infrequency with which I have shot winter sports and the majority of them I don’t fully understand. I found it quite a challenge to rock up at a new venue and a new sport and just get busy – give me the position just where the 18-yard box meets the goal-line at Ibrox and I’ll acquit myself much better!

That being said I have enjoyed my Sochi experience and although us photographers can sometimes be partial to a moan – there was very little to moan about out here; [it was] a well-organised Winter Games that ran very smoothly indeed.

As I sign off I’m going to re-post my picture of the Swedish Freestyle skier Henrik Harlaut, just cos I’m very jealous of those locks!

*Belter – Scottish Slang - means, excellent, very good, really cool. As in: 'Whoa! That’s a real belter' or 'Heh. What a belter!'

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Feb23

My sports kitbag

By Sergei Ilnitsky, Sunday February 23, 2014

Sergei Ilnitsky's kitbag. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

I don’t consider myself a big sports photographer - I'm simply a photojournalist who works in a news agency [EPA] and shoots everything and everywhere. But sometimes I have the luck to participate in covering big sporting events. My kitbag for the Winter Olympic Games was only a little different from what I take…

I don’t consider myself a big sports photographer - I'm simply a photojournalist who works in a news agency [EPA] and shoots everything and everywhere. But sometimes I have the luck to participate in covering big sporting events. My kitbag for the Winter Olympic Games was only a little different from what I take on a normal business trip. For covering winter sports I normally add two long lenses - a Canon 400mm and 600mm - crampons, a Gitzo monopod and big Manfrotto 055 tripods.

My normal kitbag includes two Canon 1D X cameras, an EF16-35mm f/2.8, EF24-70mm f/2.8, EF70-200mm f/2.8, EF50mm f/1.4, an Extender 1.4x II, different filters (including a polariser, star and an ND), a Canon WFT-E6B Wireless Transmitter, a 4G modem, some SanDisk Extreme 16GB CompactFlash cards, batteries for cameras, a PocketWizard with small Manfrotto tripods for remote camera firing, kit for cleaning my lenses and cameras, a Lenovo x220 laptop and an external HD disk and ThinkTank bags to carry all this equipment.

To protect the equipment in unpredictable sub-tropical weather in Sochi I used ThinkTank rain covers: one for a long lens and another one for a camera with an EF70-200mm. Happily the press room in the Extreme Park, where I spent all the Olympic Games, had a storage locker where I could leave all this heavy “wealth”, so it wasn’t necessary to carry all of this equipment to the venue and back each day.

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Feb23

Final wrap-up

By Laci Perényi, Sunday February 23, 2014

Andreas Wank, Marinus Kraus, Andreas Weillinger and Severin Freund from the German Ski Jumping Team jump for joy to celebrate winning gold. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

The 2014 Winter Olympics are almost over. Already I can say that this (above) is my overall favourite image from the last weeks. It was taken during the award ceremony of the German ski jumpers with a Canon 70-200mm zoom lens and a Canon 1D X DSLR. Joy and happiness are captured in this photo and besides that…

The 2014 Winter Olympics are almost over. Already I can say that this (above) is my overall favourite image from the last weeks. It was taken during the award ceremony of the German ski jumpers with a Canon 70-200mm zoom lens and a Canon 1D X DSLR. Joy and happiness are captured in this photo and besides that it has such a symbolic meaning, as all four of them are in the air jumping!

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take a photo of my kitbag but let me give you a description of what I used: 2x Canon EOS-1D X DSLRs, a Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR, a 17-40mm zoom, a 70-200mm zoom, a 600mm f/4 lens and a 1.4x Extender.

A perfect package for the Olympics, which served me perfectly fine!

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Feb23

The decisive moments

By Sergei Ilnitsky, Sunday February 23, 2014

Alexandra Orlova of Russia during the Women's Aerials Qualification at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, on 14 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

During the Winter Olympic Games I have been shooting in the Extreme Park in Rosa Khutor where I was concentrating on the Freestyle and Snowboard competitions. Here there was everything: speed, flight, freedom, victory, light, falls, hopes, disappointment, fun. The mix of all this gave photographers the opportunity to…

During the Winter Olympic Games I have been shooting in the Extreme Park in Rosa Khutor where I was concentrating on the Freestyle and Snowboard competitions. Here there was everything: speed, flight, freedom, victory, light, falls, hopes, disappointment, fun. The mix of all this gave photographers the opportunity to catch a lot of amazing moments. Spectators perceive competition as an infinite tape of the frames, like a video. They don’t concentrate on the key and beautiful moments.

We - photographers - are equipped with the equipment and techniques which can stop the key moments that occur in a fraction of a second. We give people the opportunity to enjoy our 'frozen moments' after the competition when they will be seen in newspapers and magazines and viewed on the internet. And, for us, it's very important when our wishes and plans coincide with the opportunities that the cameras and lenses we use offer us. At this Olympic Games, with Canon, all [the images] turned out exactly like what was in my mind beforehand.

Thomas Krief of France in action during the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Halfpipe qualification at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 18 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Mid-air action from the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Extreme Park in Rosa Khutor in the Krasnodar region, Russia, on 14 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

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Feb22

Pan, blur, fast, slow...

By Marc Aspland, Saturday February 22, 2014

Speed Skating action shot creatively. © Marc Aspland/The Times

All photographers take inspiration from fellow photographers and as these Games draw to a close the variety and range of utterly superb images that have been produced has been remarkable. Each day the Mountain Cluster produces beautiful images and in the Olympic Park the indoor venues also have yielded…

All photographers take inspiration from fellow photographers and as these Games draw to a close the variety and range of utterly superb images that have been produced has been remarkable. Each day the Mountain Cluster produces beautiful images and in the Olympic Park the indoor venues also have yielded some exciting pictures. Shooting in beautiful light, blue skies with bright reflective snow, allied with deep shadows are always going to produce some portfolio pictures but shooting indoors the photographer has to use every technique to try and capture something a little out of the ordinary.

Photographers have tried everything at the rather sedate Curling Centre, from pan-blurs to using very long telephoto lenses to focus in on the details. Short Track Speed Skating also offers pictures with super-fast shutter speeds or incredibly slow ones, which results in a myriad of different pictures. Being in the company of some of my favourite sports photographers at these games has been an inspiration in itself.


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Feb22

Time To Look Back

By Bruce Bennett, Saturday February 22, 2014

Getty Images editors hard at work in the Main Media Centre in Sochi, Russia, February 2014. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

From the early days of February, when all the talk and images were about dogs and security, we have travelled full steam ahead with some great action... all sandwiched between Sochi’s beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The hockey action did not disappoint, and the editors back at our office in the…

From the early days of February, when all the talk and images were about dogs and security, we have travelled full steam ahead with some great action... all sandwiched between Sochi’s beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The hockey action did not disappoint, and the editors back at our office in the MMC toiled long into the night working on all the images from the final few hockey games. Our full staffing of four to five shooters in the arena, and between six and eight remote cameras, meant that image-pickers in the office had to be very selective on what they Photoshopped and captioned. At the end of the day, the images need to tell the entire story of celebration and dejection.

A stray dog walks through Olympic Park ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics on 3 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

From left to right: Gold medallists Meaghan Mikkelson, Caroline Oullette and Melodie Daoust of Canada celebrate during the flower ceremony for the Ice Hockey Women's gold medal game on day 13 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 20 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb22

Fast, furious and falls!

By Barbara Walton, Saturday February 22, 2014

Victor An (rear) of Russia competes in the Men's 500m final at the Short Track events in the Iceberg Skating Palace at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 21 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

It was my last night of Short Track Speed Skating, and I have enjoyed the balance between Figure Skating and then to the fast furious and aggressive sport of Short Track. Competition sessions seem to whizz by with spills and thrills on the ice. Again I have to make a decision: balance the prime lens…

It was my last night of Short Track Speed Skating, and I have enjoyed the balance between Figure Skating and then to the fast furious and aggressive sport of Short Track. Competition sessions seem to whizz by with spills and thrills on the ice. Again I have to make a decision: balance the prime lens against the relative all-purpose and safe bet of the 200-400mm where you can get everything. While I would love to stick with the prime, and go in super tight here and there, it's a risk you just can't take or you will miss, so I use the 200-400mm. It certainly has revolutionised coverage with its quality and versatility.

Elise Christie of Great Britain collides with Li Jianrou (on the floor) of China in the Women's 1000m semi-finals of the Short Track event in the Iceberg Skating Palace at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 21 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Victor An celebrates as Russia wins the Men's 5000m Relay at the Short Track events in the Iceberg Skating Palace at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 21 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb22

Foot Work

By Barbara Walton, Saturday February 22, 2014

Detail of the ice skates of the flower girls before the Pairs Short Programme of the Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 11 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Figure Skating has a lot to do with the feet. Yes, obvious, I know. So ,no wonder I developed a foot fetish. When you cover daily the one sport, each day is a new challenge for a new angle apart from the main action. These three shot images were shot with a 600mm…

Figure Skating has a lot to do with the feet. Yes, obvious, I know. So ,no wonder I developed a foot fetish. When you cover daily the one sport, each day is a new challenge for a new angle apart from the main action. These three shot images were shot with a 600mm, a 400mm and a 16-35mm zoom.

Elena Glebova of Estonia performs in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Programme at Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 19 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Detail of a pair of skates on a carpet off-rink at the Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 13 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb22

Scandal!

By Barbara Walton, Saturday February 22, 2014

Gold medallist Adelina Sotnikova of Russia celebrates during the flower ceremony after the Women's Free Skating Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 20 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

I'm doing the unthinkable. Most photographers and editors hate handshakes and who wants them in sports? But I'm posting it for 'World Figure Skating Peace', as predictably Figure Skating would not be Figure Skating without at least one drama. And on final night of the women's individual, the Olympic Queen…

I'm doing the unthinkable. Most photographers and editors hate handshakes and who wants them in sports? But I'm posting it for 'World Figure Skating Peace', as predictably Figure Skating would not be Figure Skating without at least one drama. And on final night of the women's individual, the Olympic Queen Kim Yuna lost her crown to Russia's Adelina Sotnikova. Adelina put her heart and soul into the performance; on the other hand Kim Yuna danced like the ultimate professional skater she is. It was close.

Silver medallist Kim Yuna (left) of South Korea shakes hands with gold medallist Adelina Sotnikova (right) of Russia during the flower ceremony of the Women's Free Skating Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 20 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia performs in the Women's Free Skating Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 20 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb22

How slow can you go?

By Adrian Dennis, Saturday February 22, 2014

From left to right: Japan's Misaki Oshigiri, Maki Tabata and Nana Takagi compete in the Women's Speed Skating Team Pursuit quarter-finals at the Adler Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 21 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Hello blog, I’ve missed you the last couple of days. I’m at the stage of extreme fatigue. I’m in “slow” mode. Not just me, but my shutter speeds too. After Curling, but before Short Track I made it to the Adler Arena for Speed Skating. The heats of the team relays. No medals were at stake, so I had…

Hello blog, I’ve missed you the last couple of days. I’m at the stage of extreme fatigue. I’m in “slow” mode. Not just me, but my shutter speeds too. After Curling, but before Short Track I made it to the Adler Arena for Speed Skating. The heats of the team relays. No medals were at stake, so I had licence to play.

It’s been a learning curve in Sochi! Listening to photographers chat, I’ve picked up a few new techniques. Multiple exposures last week, now I’m using a custom setting on the EOS-1D X that allows me to choose between two exposures at the press of a button. A “normal” exposure to freeze the action at 1/2000th of a second at f/4, ISO 2000. The other set to ¼ of a second at f/14, ISO 200. I can swap between the two at the touch of a button. Very clever these cameras you know.

Stabilizer on, the skaters looped the impressive arena and I had six laps to play with. I panned with them, seeing how slow I could go; firing bursts when the three skaters appeared symmetrical or when they passed a white background. If you’re going have a go... make sure your CCD sensor is clean or you’ll be seeing spots!

From left to right: Russia's Ivan Skobrev, Aleksandr Rumyantsev and Jan Szymanski compete in the Men's Speed Skating Team Pursuit quarter-finals at the Adler Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 21 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Russia's Yuliya Skokova competes in the Women's Speed Skating Team Pursuit quarter-finals at the Adler Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 21 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb22

Don't leave too soon

By Richard Heathcote, Saturday February 22, 2014

Gold medallists Magnus Hovdal Moan, Haavard Klemetsen, Magnus Krog and Joergen Graabak of Norway celebrate after the Nordic Combined Men's Team 4 x 5km during day 13 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre on 20 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

One of the things I've learnt over the years (mostly through trial and error) is don't leave too soon. The rush to transmit images to be the first has always been important, but not if you miss the best moment in the first place.

I covered the final day of the Nordic Combined, which entails Ski Jumping…

One of the things I've learnt over the years (mostly through trial and error) is don't leave too soon. The rush to transmit images to be the first has always been important, but not if you miss the best moment in the first place.

I covered the final day of the Nordic Combined, which entails Ski Jumping followed by a Cross-country race. The team event is good because you get more athletes to experiment with photographic techniques on in the jumping, while the relay part means we get the chance of a close sprint finish. Shooting directly into the sun I wanted to blow out the exposure with a very slow shutter speed to create the blur of a man flying through the air; it doesn't look like a ski jumper at first but then you realise it's a man mid-flight. The position of the sun also made for a silhouette, but the jumpers weren't getting high enough over a nasty cloth windbreak. I was forced to shoot through the side glass, to my surprise it produced a nice reflection of the floodlights, which with some manoeuvring I positioned on top of the jumper.

As for leaving too soon? Well, 10 minutes after the end of the flower ceremony when half the photographers had gone to transmit, the victorious Norwegians ran up the ski jump and dove head first in unison for one of my favourite celebrations of the games so far.

Haavard Klemetsen of Norway competes in the Nordic Combined Men's Team LH during day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre on 20 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Todd Lodwick of the United States competes in the Nordic Combined Men's Team LH during day 13 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre on 20 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The exposure was 1/20sec at f/16, ISO 50. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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Feb21

Silver Linings

By Ian MacNicol, Friday February 21, 2014

The Canadian team (from left to right): E.J. Harnden, Ryan Fry, Brad Jacobs and Ryan Harnden celebrate winning the Men's Curling gold medal match between Great Britain and Canada on day 14 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Ice Cube Curling Centre on 21 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

The chance of Great Britain (*Scotland) winning another gold medal here in Sochi tonight brought me from my mountain sanctuary down to the Sea Cluster for the first time in two weeks.

First played in Scotland during Medieval times Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice…

The chance of Great Britain (*Scotland) winning another gold medal here in Sochi tonight brought me from my mountain sanctuary down to the Sea Cluster for the first time in two weeks.

First played in Scotland during Medieval times Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric rings.

I would have to concede any photographers who were venue specific at the Ice Cube, where all the Curling happens, might have had their work cut out to make interesting pictures over the last two weeks – after only two hours in the venue I was losing the will to go on!

As tonight’s match was the gold medal decider the most important picture was always going to be winning team's reaction. Although I cannot say I really understood what was unfolding before me – by just reading the score board I could see Great Britain were being thrashed by Canada... and once again that old adage sprung to mind as how, as a nation, we invent a sport, give it to the world and they, in turn, learn to play it better than we can only dream of!

*Both the entire Great Britain Men’s & Women’s Curling teams are made up of boys and girls from Scotland... and congratulations must go to them both for their silver & bronze medals!

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Feb21

Shooting the Fans... With A Camera, Of Course

By Bruce Bennett, Friday February 21, 2014

Passion, love of country... and painted faces lead to great images. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Sporting events wouldn’t be much fun without fans. The Olympics bring out the nationalist spirit with flag waving, painted faces and sometimes all out craziness. During the pre-game skate and during play stoppages, I usually turn around and scan the crowd looking for subjects. It seems the ‘wave’…

Sporting events wouldn’t be much fun without fans. The Olympics bring out the nationalist spirit with flag waving, painted faces and sometimes all out craziness. During the pre-game skate and during play stoppages, I usually turn around and scan the crowd... looking for subjects. It seems the ‘wave’ is popular here so, when that starts, it is a good bet that great photos of fans will follow. Some images are posed and using hand signals, when language is a barrier, usually helps. The rule of thumb here seems to be to open up at between a half to one full f/stop as the stands are darker than the action on the ice. And then, oops… remember to set it back to shoot the game!!!

A wave leads to some great photos, including fans throwing their kids in the air. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A Canadian fan and a Canon 8-15mm lens worked for this shot. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb20

Beauty and the Beasts

By Marc Aspland, Thursday February 20, 2014

The 15-year-old Russian sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya lifts the roof off the Iceberg Palace during the Ladies' Short Programme Figure Skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia. © Marc Aspland/The Times

Last night I photographed the 'Ice Queen', World Champion Yuna Kim from South Korea, and the 'Ice Princess', the 15-year-old Russian sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya... and it seemed just a few hours later I was at the Sanki Sliding Centre for the Four-man Bobsleigh early this morning.

From the sublime and artistic to the brute…

Last night I photographed the 'Ice Queen', World Champion Yuna Kim from South Korea, and the 'Ice Princess', the 15-year-old Russian sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya... and it seemed just a few hours later I was at the Sanki Sliding Centre for the Four-man Bobsleigh early this morning.

From the sublime and artistic to the brute force, power and noise - the two sports could hardly be further apart.

Incredibly the two routines take about the same time; one being set to Tchaikovsky, the other to the thunderous roar of the Four-man Bob. One is joyous - being ballet on ice - the other jars and assaults your senses.

I thoroughly enjoyed covering the Ladies' Figure Skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace and the roof nearly came off the cavernous arena when the tiny Lipnitskaya took to the ice. The dim was soon shattered when she tripped and fell... and it seems the whole of Russia was silenced as it drew the biggest TV audience in the biggest country in the world last night.

The start of the Four-man is all about noise and explosive power, allied to the precision of a good entry into the Bobsleigh. The three guys behind the driver are built like [rugby] front row prop forwards whose sole job is to launch the Bob from a standing start in a short 30-metre sprint, then huddle down for the ride.

GB-2, piloted by Lamin Deen, wearing Union Flag helmets during a practice session at the Sanki Sliding Centre in Sochi, Russia, this morning. © Marc Aspland/The Times

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Feb20

Under The Hood

By Nic Bothma, Thursday February 20, 2014

Exposed! Under the hood of the flagship Canon EOS-1D X digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera body: in my opinion the world's most advanced DSLR and weapon of choice for most top sports photographers. © Nic Bothma/EPA

I love my camera. It's an extension of my soul.

I have always been with Canon, except when working for a newspaper for two years in the '90s when they gave me another brand. It was a wretched experience! The first camera I owned was the Canon T90 film camera. An amazing machine. I watched a colleague with the same…

I love my camera. It's an extension of my soul.

I have always been with Canon, except when working for a newspaper for two years in the '90s they gave me another brand. It was a wretched experience! The first camera I owned was the Canon T90 film camera. An amazing machine. I watched a colleague with the same camera drive off in pursuit of news with it on the roof of his car. It rolled off onto the ground, got scratched but kept on working.

Now it's Canon's flagship EOS-1D X DSLR. This body surpasses anything the world has ever seen and is the camera of choice for most top sports photographers. It's almost indestructible. Occasionally they need attention and it's always beneficial to have a clean and check.

CPS provides full-time support for photographers at the Olympic Games. Services include repair, cleaning and checking, equipment loans and general technical support.

Manned by 27 technicians for the duration of the Games the Canon family is well looked after here. I asked them what are the most common issues? Mostly it's just cleaning and checking and a few cases of impact damage from cameras being dropped.

One of the more interesting cases recounted by a technician was a Canon camera that was lost in a water housing under the ocean for three years. When it was retrieved by divers the owner was traced. The camera had some faded paint but it worked perfectly.

A photograph taken with a fisheye lens shows Canon Professional Services (CPS) technician Andre Esser, from Germany, working on a Canon EOS-1D X DSLR camera body in the CPS workshop at the Main Media Centre at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 19 February 2014. © Nic Bothma/EPA

At the heart of this great invention [the EOS-1D X] is the CMOS sensor. So advanced these days you can create great images in near dark conditions! Its capacity to shoot in low-light situations has taken photography into new realms. © Nic Bothma/EPA

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Feb20

Simply Serendipity

By Bruce Bennett, Thursday February 20, 2014

John Tavares of Canada leaps, but luckily not out of the frame. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

One of the joys of shooting at 10 frames a second is that some of the time you really don’t know what you’ve captured until you look at the back of the camera. So, when a player jumps, you can only hope you haven’t cut his head off. And of course, the question then is… is it in focus? The other…

One of the joys of shooting at 10 frames a second is that some of the time you really don’t know what you’ve captured until you look at the back of the camera. So, when a player jumps, you can only hope you haven’t cut his head off. And of course, the question then is… is it in focus? The other question mark is what you’ve captured on remote cameras, because you are shooting blindly. Anticipation with all sports photography, whether remote or hand-held, is of key importance. Bundle that with a thorough knowledge of the sport you are covering and your chances of success improve greatly.

A Russian player slides into the hockey Netcam. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Shooting at 10 frames a second helped me to capture the glass breaking and yielded four usable images. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The USA Women’s Ice Hockey team gets ready for its game, also courtesy of the Netcam. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb20

Falling Down

By Clive Rose, Thursday February 20, 2014

Last man not standing! Antonio Jose Pardo Andretta of Venezuela falls during the Alpine Skiing Men's Giant Slalom on day 12 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 19 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

The wonderful thing about the Olympics is that it's open to everyone. As a sports photographer you get used to photographing the elite of global sport, but the Olympics gives you a sort of reality check by exposing you to competitors from all walks of life who compete on an even playing field as the…

The wonderful thing about the Olympics is that it's open to everyone. As a sports photographer you get used to photographing the elite of global sport, but the Olympics gives you a sort of reality check by exposing you to competitors from all walks of life who compete on an even playing field as the best in the world. Never is that ‘Olympic Spirit’ more on show.

When you watch the best Alpine skiers in the world charge down a mountain at 100mph you almost miss the treacherousness of the slope in the blur. They skit over the ice, they bounce out of the ruts and they jump inch-perfect over the biggest of jumps. The course is built for speed and if you’re not going flat out, like the front runners, you get caught out.

Consider for a moment that you are skier number 109 out of 109 from a country with no Alpine Skiing programme, let alone its own mountain range to practice on, and that, in reality, most of the photographers on the course would be more accomplished skiers. You’re facing a run down the Olympic Giant Slalom course in the name of your country. The course has been shredded to pieces by all the other competitors to an almost un-skiable condition, knowing that at best you’ll be lucky to stay upright let alone make the finish area.

It's easy to laugh at these guys but, for me, that’s the Olympic spirit.

On the edge - Mathieu Faivre of France in action during the Alpine Skiing Men's Giant Slalom on day 12 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 19 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

Over the edge - Pol Carreras of Spain falls during the Alpine Skiing Men's Giant Slalom on day 12 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 19 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Feb19

Ted's Show

By Alessandro Trovati, Wednesday February 19, 2014

Ted Ligety (USA), gold medallist in the Men's Giant Slalom at the Winter Olympic Games, in action in Sochi, Russia, on 19 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

Today was a sunny day after a rainy and snowy Tuesday. It proved to be the ideal stage for Ted Ligety's show, which was unmistakably great... with his Giant Slalom skiing once again proving to be the best. These images were taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF600mm f/4 lens.

Ted Ligety (USA), gold medallist in the Men's Giant Slalom at the Winter Olympic Games, in action in Sochi, Russia, on 19 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

Ted Ligety (USA), gold medallist in the Men's Giant Slalom at the Winter Olympic Games, in action in Sochi, Russia, on 19 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

 

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Feb19

Alpine - Proper Winter Sport!

By Ian MacNicol, Wednesday February 19, 2014

Ted Ligety (USA) on his way to victory in the Men's Giant Slalom on Day 12 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 19 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

The day started with a request from a newspaper back home asking me to continue my quest to track down the Scotsman in the GB Bobsleigh team – his press team hadn’t been very helpful up till now; it may be naive but I kind of thought it was their job to get their athletes some press?

Anyway, I’m sure they…

The day started with a request from a newspaper back home asking me to continue my quest to track down the Scotsman in the GB Bobsleigh team – his press team hadn’t been very helpful up till now; it may be naive but I kind of thought it was their job to get their athletes some press?

Anyway, I’m sure they don’t need my help as you hardly need to avoid Bobsleigh pieces in the sports pages these days – readers of the Daily Record will be grateful that they don’t need to sift through all the Bobsleigh pictures to find their daily dose of football!

I then drove straight past the gates to the Extreme Park on my way to the Alpine Centre for the Men’s Giant Slalom – I was starting to feel a lot better about things today...

I donned my crampons and climbed up through the beautiful wooded mountainside till I found a suitable vantage point – when I discovered my fellow CPN blogger Clive Rose already there, I knew I needed go no further. I couldn’t help but notice he’d filed a couple of half decent images from this part the Mountains over the last couple of weeks. Maybe the change of scenery and a day away from the kids in the Extreme Park was what I needed... maybe I was just nearer my own age group up here at the Alpine events!

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Feb19

The Place Beyond the Pines

By Ryan Pierse, Wednesday February 19, 2014

Fresh Tracks. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

In a week that I have faced the harsh reality that is the coastal cluster of Sochi, I have often thought back to my final day spent at the mountains at the beautiful Cross-Country course. With our main positions already assigned, I was given licence to find somewhere fresh and untrodden. The venue photo…

In a week that I have faced the harsh reality that is the coastal cluster of Sochi, I have often thought back to my final day spent at the mountains at the beautiful Cross-Country course. With our main positions already assigned, I was given licence to find somewhere fresh and untrodden. The venue photo manager pointed out a section where he had never been, and he suggested I trek about 3kms into the wood to the southern part of the 15km long course.

Leaving a few hours before the start of the Men's Cross-Country 15km Classic, I worked my way through section of knee-deep snow and icy slopes; the country opened up into a nice tree-lined circuit where the athletes would pass me four times on different parts of the track. There was no noise, no signs, no security, no spectators and, most importantly, no other snappers! It was the first time in these Games where I had had a spot all to myself. Peace at last!

I set up two remote cameras low down inside the sweeping corners and had another two other bodies running for the tighter shots with the tall skinny pines as my backdrop. This gave me plenty of material from the brief chance I had to shoot the leaders.

Unfortunately the sun went in just before the start, which forced me to quickly reset the remotes, but I was still happy with a few frames for all the effort. Cheers... RP.

Dario Cologna of Switzerland competes during the Men's Cross-Country 15km Classic on day seven of the 2014 Winter Oympics at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre on 14 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Maciej Kreczmer of Poland competes during the Men's Cross-Country 15km Classic on day seven of the 2014 Winter Oympics at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre on 14 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Feb19

In Search of The Big Hit

By Bruce Bennett, Wednesday February 19, 2014

Sandis Ozolins (8) of Latvia collides with Milan Michalek (9) of the Czech Republic in the third period during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group C game on day seven of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 14 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The essence of sports photography is capturing the peak moment. In Ice Hockey, this could be a hard hit that changes the tempo of the game or it could be the deciding goal. In any case, our task is to capture the complete story of the game in still images. But the fact is that, all things being equal…

The essence of sports photography is capturing the peak moment. In Ice Hockey, this could be a hard hit that changes the tempo of the game or it could be the deciding goal. In any case, our task is to capture the complete story of the game in still images. But the fact is that, all things being equal, there’s nothing better that nailing that important hard hit. For most of our cameras, our shutter speed is set at 1/1000th or 1/1250th of a second to freeze the action. In the two hockey venues that are well lit (judging from my National Hockey League experience), we can shoot at ISO 1600 or 2000. Colour temperature in the buildings runs about 5200K and that [ISO setting] is preferable to us rather than setting ‘AWB’, even though that also provides a very usable image. So, two players skate together for the big hit and hopefully we’re on it… at 10 frames a second.

Alexander Ovechkin (left) of Russia and T. J. Oshie (right) of the United States collide during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 15 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb19

Rain and snow...

By Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin, Wednesday February 19, 2014

Matt Margetts (Canada) competes in the Freestyle Skiing Halfpipe event in Sochi, Russia. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

Bad weather has created intolerable working conditions in the mountains, but the photos turned out well with plenty of mood in the shots.


Feb18

Room at the Inn?

By Adrian Dennis, Tuesday February 18, 2014

Charlie White and Meryl Davis (USA) celebrate winning the gold medal during the Figure Skating Ice Dance Flower Ceremony at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, during the Winter Olympics on 17 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

When asked about my room in Sochi, I said: “I’d like to report the mini bar was empty and the hairdryer was useless.” Now of course, my associates know I don’t drink. ;-)

But indeed, I needed a stiff drink after last nights’ Ice Dance final. I was assigned a “special” position, room at the…

When asked about my room in Sochi, I said: “I’d like to report the mini bar was empty and the hairdryer was useless.” Now of course, my associates know I don’t drink. ;-)

But indeed, I needed a stiff drink after last nights’ Ice Dance final. I was assigned a “special” position, room at the inn for only two... photographers. Positioned at the gate where the skaters leave the ice, hug their coach, before sitting to get their score. Needless to say it was tight! Three TV cameramen trailed by their “cable guy” getting the up-the-nose shot. After years of doing this job, I’m afraid to say, lil' 'ol photographers never win a battle against TV. Especially when they’re working for behemoths like NBC who have gobbled up the broadcast rights for $millions. So, I shuffled around picking off the scraps.

I personally danced a samba with my Canon EOS-1D X and 400mm f/2.8 lens, picking the couples off when they skated through a “clean” background. Before I waltzed around with my wide angle in front of the kiss-and-cry bench. No time to edit before the next couple. Imagine that dance 24 times in a row. Ah, yes, I forgot to say, I needed to transmit the pictures – the poor AFP picture editor needed a stiff drink. She received in excess of 1000 frames from me. No kisses for me! Just a bit of crying.

Charlie White and Meryl Davis (USA) celebrate in the kiss and cry zone after the Figure Skating Ice Dance Free Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, during the Winter Olympics on 17 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Charlie White and US Meryl Davis (USA) compete in the Figure Skating Ice Dance Free Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, during the Winter Olympics on 17 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb18

An attempt at being Bruce Bennett

By Marc Aspland, Tuesday February 18, 2014

The Women's Team for Germany take final instructions from Jennifer Harrs who won 3-2 against Japan in the Shayba Arena. © Marc Aspland/The Times

I have always wanted the opportunity to be able to take this picture like the awesome Bruce Bennett at an ice hockey match.

My Canon EOS-1D X was installed early this morning for a 12 noon start between Japan and Germany. I was escorted onto the roof space catwalk by the Venue Photo Manager who stood…

I have always wanted the opportunity to be able to take this picture like the awesome Bruce Bennett at an ice hockey match.

My Canon EOS-1D X was installed early this morning for a 12 noon start between Japan and Germany. I was escorted onto the roof space catwalk by the Venue Photo Manager who stood guard over me and declined any attempt at small talk and humour. The camera body had to be clamped to the rail, the lens also needed a separate clamp, a security cable had to strap the whole device to a separate rail, the remote unit (receiver) had to be separate from the camera and had to be duck-taped to yet another rail. Venue Manager checked, checked again and checked it all over again, finally I received a non-smiling, "dah".

So, here are my attempts at being Bruce - I would like to invite Bruce to sit next to me pitchside in the pouring rain at a football (soccer) match on a freezing Tuesday night in the UK and I am sure he wouldn't want to be Marc Aspland...

Sara Seiler (17) from Germany scores the winning goal against Japan as keeper Nana Fujimoto fails to block. © Marc Aspland/The Times

Germany goalkeeper Viona Harrer makes a superb blocking save off the lunging strike from Rui Ukita from Japan as the puck rebounds off the post in the closing seconds of the match which Germany won 3-2. © Marc Aspland/The Times

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Feb18

Sunny Days

By How Hwee Young, Tuesday February 18, 2014

A woman wearing a ribbon and hair in the colours of the Russian flag is seen at the Olympic Park during the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 14 February, 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

It has been grey and raining the past few days which made me miss the few sunny days we had in Sochi where the weather was lovely and the light was perfect. I treasure all the days I have out in the sun... which is not many as I am shooting indoor sports like figure skating…

It has been grey and raining the past few days which made me miss the few sunny days we had in Sochi where the weather was lovely and the light was perfect. I treasure all the days I have out in the sun... which is not many as I am shooting indoor sports like Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating. Some of my favourite pictures are non-sports related and I love just being out there, talking to people and enjoying the buzz of the Olympic Park. Wishing for more sunny days!

Russian Capoeira dancers perform at the Olympic Park during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 14 February, 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

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Feb18

The Park of Extreme Misery

By Ian MacNicol, Tuesday February 18, 2014

Cameron Bolton of Australia (yellow bib), Luca Matteotti of Italy (green bib) and Tim Watter of Switzerland (white bib) compete in the Men's Snowboard Cross 1/8 Final on day 11 of the 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 18 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

As the rain drove into my face and I could hardly feel my fingers any more, I momentarily closed my eyes; was I really basking in the glory of attending the magnificent Winter Olympics or had I been transported back in time to a wet cold Wednesday night in Maryhill doing a Partick Thistle game?

No, I was back at The Extreme Park…

As the rain drove into my face and I could hardly feel my fingers any more, I momentarily closed my eyes, was I really basking in the glory of attending the magnificent Winter Olympics or had I been transported back in time to a wet cold Wednesday night in Maryhill doing a Partick Thistle game?

No, I was back at The Extreme Park and boy was I feeling extremely miserable, I had returned for the rescheduled running of the Men’s Snowboard Cross which was cancelled yesterday due to fog but apparently not affected by cold driving rain? – A sport which, as I said earlier, was way up on my 'to do' list is now on the verge of joining Golf on my 'sports to avoid' list. (I’m actually thinking of putting them both on a new list – a 'not really sports at all' list...).

I stayed up on the course at the second-to-last jump hoping to improve on my efforts at the Women’s event and maybe snap that multiple mid-air pile up that, up to this point, had only happened in my head. But alas again each race was a bit of a procession, and as I looked back down the course and watched Frenchman Pierre Vaulier take gold in the half-empty stadium it looked like they would have welcomed the average attendance of a Partick Thistle match... As I’ve said before, it ain't all glamour...

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Feb18

Polecam - The Complete View of The Ice

By Bruce Bennett, Tuesday February 18, 2014

A lonely remote sits atop a TV pole behind the net in Shayba Arena. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The great equaliser that helps us compete for the best images in hockey photography is the use of remote cameras. One of my favorite angles is from directly behind the net using a full frame camera - here using the EOS-1DX and an EF16-35mm f/2.8 lens. The wide view can take in the rush of players…

The great equaliser that helps us compete for the best images in hockey photography is the use of remote cameras. One of my favourite angles is from directly behind the net using a full frame camera - here using the EOS-1D X and an EF16-35mm f/2.8 lens. The wide view can take in the rush of players attacking the opposing net as well as capturing the celebration. It also gives a different perspective in that the whole ice surface can be seen in the background. The camera is clamped to a TV camera pole (with their permission) and is wired for electricity and internet FTP transmission. The shutter is tripped using PocketWizard radio remote units by the photographer anywhere in the building. At 10 frames a second, we rarely miss an image.

The vantage point from Polecam perfectly captures a team congratulating the winning goaltender. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the 16-35mm lens on the Polecam, celebratory images usually contain dejected players as well. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb17

Stars and Stripes

By Laci Perényi, Monday February 17, 2014

Sadie Bjornsen from Team USA competes in the Cross Country Relay Women's event on 15 February 2014. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

American Sadie Bjornsen from Team USA is supported by her team members. Due to the summery temperatures the athletes compete in sleeveless shirts! Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens; the exposure was 1/800sec at f/6.3, ISO 100.


Feb17

Colour Fascination

By Laci Perényi, Monday February 17, 2014

Ander Mirambell from Team Spain competes in the Men's Skeleton event on 14 February 2014. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

The Spanish Skeleton driver Ander Mirambell during the start of his run; the colours of his suit and his helmet are fascinating! Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF600mm f/4 lens.


Feb17

Dutch Speed

By Laci Perényi, Monday February 17, 2014

Marrit Leenstra from Team Netherlands competes in the Women's 1500m Speed Skating event on 16 February 2014. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

Women's 1500m speed skating... In order to capture the atmosphere and the speed of the Dutch speed skater I used quite a long shutter speed. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with an EF70-200mm lens; the exposure was 1/15sec at f/11, ISO 100.


Feb17

The Ice Queens

By Marc Aspland, Monday February 17, 2014

The pin-up girl of Russian Curling, Anna Sidorova (Skip), just about manages a smile during the tense match against GB at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia, on 17 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

Early this morning I found myself at the Ice Cube Curling Centre where Russia would meet our GB Ladies and I quite liked the idea of finding out what all the fuss is about with the skipper of Russia, Anna Sidorova, who had caused the ice to melt with some sexy pictures as she posed in black lingerie…

Early this morning I found myself at the Ice Cube Curling Centre where Russia would meet our GB Ladies and I quite liked the idea of finding out what all the fuss is about with the skipper of Russia, Anna Sidorova, who had caused the ice to melt with some sexy pictures as she posed in black lingerie and high heels ahead of the Games. Typically I could only manage to photograph her in a tracksuit top and black trousers!

After many years of photographing some of the most beautiful sportswomen, Miss Sidorova is certainly pleasing on the eye, but then again so are the beautifully icy eyes of our very own Skip, Eve Muirhead.

One small point of note though... these Games are very important to all athletes, and the quest for gold is rightly an extreme priority, but I always remember that when Jessica Ennis smiled it seemed the whole stadium smiled with her. If either Muirhead or Sidorova could crack the smallest, incy-wincy smile I am sure there would be lots more admirers, as photographers and fans would appreciate both skill and looks.

When Eve Muirhead shot me a glance midway through the match against Russia, I felt her cold stare chill me to the bones. I thought of sending her a smile back, but then thought better of it.

Eve Muirhead (Skip of Team GB) gives Times' photographer Marc Aspland an icy stare at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia, against Russia in a Women's Round Robin Session 11 on 17 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

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Feb17

USA v Russia - Worth Waiting For

By Bruce Bennett, Monday February 17, 2014

Cam Fowler (centre, top) of the United States celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Sergei Bobrovski (72) of Russia in the second period during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on 15 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. A remote camera in the rafters captured this USA goal on a Canon 1D X with a 70-200mm zoom lens. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The first really big Men’s game for the hockey shooters was the USA v Russia game on Saturday night. We had a full staff on hand with four game shooters. Four editors worked on the images, which meant pouring over almost 20,000 frames, of which 367 went to the site on game night. After the game ended in a…

The first really big Men’s game for the hockey shooters was the USA v Russia game on Saturday night. We had a full staff on hand with four game shooters. Four editors worked on the images, which meant pouring over almost 20,000 frames, of which 367 went to the site on game night. After the game ended in a shootout, many agreed that this would probably rate in the top 25 hockey games of all time. The game featured goals, celebrations, hard hits, disallowed goals, overtime and an extended shootout. Our ice level photographers used lens combinations that included the 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm and the 300mm f/2.8. The upstairs lens of choice was the 200-400mm. As great as the action was on ice, the images it produced were equally as great.

Ryan Callahan (24) of the United States pushes Evgeny Medvedev (82) of Russia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on 15 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Player intensity was evident as pushing and shoving followed many plays: this image was taken with a Canon 1D X with a 70-200mm zoom. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Phil Kessel (left) of the United States celebrates after teammate Cam Fowler had scored a goal past Sergei Bobrovski (right) of Russia in the second period during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day eight of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 15, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. As usual, the Netcam produced stellar images all night; this picture was taken on a Canon 1D X with a 15mm f/2.8 lens. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb17

What to do when there's nothing to do....

By Richard Heathcote, Monday February 17, 2014

A coach walks down a tunnel as the race is delayed due to fog and poor visibility at the Men's 15km Mass Start during day 10 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre on 17 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

I knew it was too good to be true.... clear blue skies, stunning sunsets and some good backgrounds. The fog rolled in last night and blanketed the mountains.

The Men's 15km Mass Start has been knocked back two days in a row now, so the wait continues for Martin Fourcade's charge to a third…

I knew it was too good to be true.... clear blue skies, stunning sunsets and some good backgrounds. The fog rolled in last night and blanketed the mountains.

The Men's 15km Mass Start has been knocked back two days in a row now, so the wait continues for Martin Fourcade's charge to a third biathon gold at these games. The Frenchman can 'give up' a good celebration so we are waiting, hoping for a good picture once the race actually gets underway.

In the meantime, back to the fog and the search for something different to what everyone else is shooting.

A competitor checks the visibility through his rifle sights before the competition was postponed due to fog before the Men's 15km Mass Start during day nine of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Laura Cross-Country Ski & Biathlon Centre on 16 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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Feb17

Inside Out!

By Adrian Dennis, Monday February 17, 2014

Great Britain's Claire Hamilton (right) throws a stone alongside teammates Anna Sloan (centre) and Vicki Adams (left) during the Women's Curling round robin session 11 match between Great Britain and Russia at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi on 17 February 2014 during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Great Britain won the game 9-6. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

I woke early and realised I’ve worn all my socks... I’ve turned them inside out, round and round! It’s official! I need to do laundry! So, from sweaty socks to Women’s Curling. The action is “heating up” at the Ice Cube. The ladies are yelling “harder” just that bit louder. It’s beginning to mean…

I woke early and realised I’ve worn all my socks... I’ve turned them inside out, round and round! It’s official! I need to do laundry! So, from sweaty socks to Women’s Curling. The action is “heating up” at the Ice Cube. The ladies are yelling “harder” just that bit louder. It’s beginning to mean something in the 11th session! The Brits needed a win this morning to ease their nerves and likely progress to the Ladies’ semi-finals. The British team losing would provide column inches in the papers - they would smell blood! Considering the fact that Britain has lavished £5 million of government and lottery funding on its curlers, making them full-time athletes and providing sports psychologists in a bid to secure gold medals.

I started “working” the arena up high, amongst the fans - using the circles on the ice for symmetry. Before moving downstairs for a closer inspection and a few “action” shots of the players throwing a stone. I managed a “trademark” pan shot, considering there’s not a lot of movement in this game I gave myself a pat on the back and a biscuit. I could do with a proper cup of tea, at Figure Skating yesterday we needed caffeine, instant coffee with tepid water was the only option – but welcome.

Great Britain's Skip Eve Muirhead shouts instructions at her sweepers during the Women's Curling round robin session 11 match between Great Britain and Russia at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia, on February 17, 2014 during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Great Britain won the game 9-6. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Great Britain's Skip Eve Muirhead (centre) shouts instructions at her sweepers beside Russia's Skip Anna Sidorova (right) during the Women's Curling round robin session 11 match between Great Britain and Russia at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi, Russia, on 17 February 2014 during the 2014 Winter Olympics. Great Britain won the game 9-6. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb17

The Olympic flame and sporting confrontation

By Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin, Monday February 17, 2014

The flame in the Olympic Park in Sochi, Russia. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

Only the Olympic flame is calm and quiet, but at all the event sites in Sochi the continued struggle for victory goes on. Sometimes competition is very hard and confrontational... like during the Russia v USA Ice Hockey match!

Confrontation during the Men's Ice Hockey: Russia v USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

 

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Feb17

The Melting Pot

By Nic Bothma, Monday February 17, 2014

Russian martial artists and a fisherman on the beach of the Black Sea in the warm and sunny Sochi weather. © Nic Bothma/EPA

This is the world's greatest melting pot... and I'm not talking about the vanishing snow from all the great weather we been having!

Here is a place like no other on earth. A place where kings and countrymen wander together bound by the common love of winter sports. It is rare to come across…

This is the world's greatest melting pot... and I'm not talking about the vanishing snow from all the great weather we been having!

Here is a place like no other on earth. A place where kings and countrymen wander together bound by the common love of winter sports. It is rare to come across gatherings of humans as diverse as the Olympic Games. Every day I am meeting and engaging people from every corner of this planet.

After rising above the melting snow via the cableway to the Laura Cross-Country Centre on Saturday I reached the top and walked passed Harald V, the King of Norway. Then I met spectator Kitaeva Nikolaevna from Moscow and chatted to US photographer Sara Brunson. On the way down Bart from Poland told me the ski runs there are no longer than one kilometre and at lunch I discussed a philosophy book with volunteer Tatyana Zhevak from St. Petersberg.

Back down at the coastal village I have been swimming in the Black Sea in good weather, as one does coming from Africa. At the beach I met some fishermen who were having a picnic and I ended up eating lunch; delicious smoked fish, olives and rye bread, washed down with some Champagne for good measure.

...back to work and a quick chat whilst buying coffee with Amanda Davies, the anchor of CNN's sports desk! She nearly made me melt! This place is crazy... there's nothing like it on this beautiful earth.

Russian spectator Kitaeva Nikolaevna from Moscow. © Nic Bothma/EPA

Russian performers from the Krasnodar region: Petr Stoykin and Valentina Tyurina. © Nic Bothma/EPA

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Feb16

SUPER BINOCULARS!

By How Hwee Young, Sunday February 16, 2014

Japanese photographer Kazushige Fujikake in action photographing the Team Figure Skating competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

It has been great shooting with the new Canon 200-400mm lens for figure skating... for me at least, but some photographers still prefer to use prime lenses. Japanese photographer Kazushige Fujikake (from Kyodo News) has gotten creative... setting up his Canon 400mm and 600mm lenses so the two telephoto…

It has been great shooting with the new Canon 200-400mm lens for figure skating... for me at least, but some photographers still prefer to use prime lenses. Japanese photographer Kazushige Fujikake (from Kyodo News) has gotten creative... setting up his Canon 400mm and 600mm lenses so the two telephoto lenses look like giant binoculars to view the action! He bought the support rod from B&H in New York and switches between the two lenses easily from the top press tribune of the Iceberg Skating Palace, only using one monopod! Now, that's the way to view Olympians...

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Feb16

Pain and hurt

By Marc Aspland, Sunday February 16, 2014

Charlotte Bankes from France (5, left) is knocked unconscious along with Isabel Clark Ribeiro from Brazil (12) as they crash out of the quarter-finals during the Ladies' Snowboard Cross at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 16 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

Unlike the Summer Olympic Games, the Winter Olympians can get hurt - seriously hurt.

Maria Komissarova, a Russian ski-crosser, lies in hospital with a broken spine; the risks on show had people cheering and cringing in equal measure. A chilled hush descended on the Iceberg Skating Palace on…

Unlike the Summer Olympic Games, the Winter Olympians can get hurt - seriously hurt.

Maria Komissarova, a Russian ski-crosser, lies in hospital with a broken spine; the risks on show had people cheering and cringing in equal measure. A chilled hush descended on the Iceberg Skating Palace on Saturday when three of the 1500m women piled into the protective padding during the last bend of the semi-finals in the Speed Skating. Almost every sport listed in the Winter Olympic programme carries a high risk of serious injury and it is perhaps easier to list those that probably do not: Men's and Women's Curling!

The Ladies' Snowboard Cross today at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park saw a terrifying crash on the penultimate corner, which resulted in Charlotte Bankes (left in the picture above) of France being knocked completely unconscious. It can be somewhat unpleasant photographing an athlete laying prone whilst the other competitors pick themselves up and carry on, but I guess each and every one knows the risks and will always go for gold.

I think I will stick to golf!

Women's 1500m Short Track Speed Skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia, on 15 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

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Feb16

Practice makes perfect

By Barbara Walton, Sunday February 16, 2014

South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna, the reigning Olympic champion in the Women's single event, performs during her practice session in the practise arena in the Olympic Park during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 14 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Competition is in full swing and most photographers I know, intelligent as they are, have lost track of which day it is. Me too. I have also managed to lose a lot of other very important things like our entry tickets and my photographer's sleeve, retrieved soon after by climbing down a five-metre scaffolding…

Competition is in full swing and most photographers I know, intelligent as they are, have lost track of which day it is. Me too. I have also managed to lose a lot of other very important things like our entry tickets and my photographer's sleeve, retrieved soon after by climbing down a five-metre scaffolding, all without which could land me in a Russian prison... but all is well now and I have safety-pinned everything important to me. Tiredness gets to you sooner or later.

Home Sweet Home has become the Iceberg Palace venue for Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating and life has settled into 3am to bed and back up and at it for the next day/night's competition.

But Figure Skating is not all about that breathtaking performance with the fancy costumes... it's the hard training behind it that interests me and how the athletes look behind the scenes. So I head to check out some practice sessions, and to catch the first glimpse of 'Queen Yuna', as her fans call her, the reigning Olympic gold medal winning South Korean ice skater Kim Yuna. She is a beautiful young skater with a hell of a pressure to win gold again on her shoulders. The 600mm f/4 is a lens I just love so I take that out for some multiple exposures, and the versatile 200-400mm and a wide-angle for the lovely light in the training venue.

A multiple exposure image of South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna, the reigning Olympic champion in the Women's single event, during an open practice session at the Iceberg Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 16 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Figure skater Natalia Popova from Ukraine during a training session in the practice arena next to the Olympic competition venue of the Iceberg Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, on 12 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb16

Very Cross at The Snowboard Cross

By Ian MacNicol, Sunday February 16, 2014

Michela Moioli of Italy (second right) with Alexandra Jekova of Bulgaria (right, falling), Faye Gulini of USA (left) and Chloe Trespeuch of France (second left) come off the second-to-last jump in the Final of the Ladies' Snowboard Cross during day 9 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 16 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

I had been looking forward to the Snowboard Cross since the Winter Games started; it’s quite rare in these games that competitors go head-to-head against each other rather than racing against the clock.

After the initial qualification runs the event would take the shape of heats of six competitors…

I had been looking forward to the Snowboard Cross since the Winter Games started; it’s quite rare in these games that competitors go head-to-head against each other rather than racing against the clock.

After the initial qualification runs the event would take the shape of heats of six competitors racing down the course with the first over the line progressing and ultimately winning all. As a photographer I always turn up with high hopes of capturing a great picture – the majority of the time it never comes to fruition, but I always hope...

I had fond memories of the Snowboard Cross in Vancouver, and the pictures it delivered, and this morning I hoped I’d photograph six snowboarders all shoulder-to-shoulder flying over a jump – maybe a small crash? Perhaps a mid-air collision? (Obviously no one being harmed in the making of my picture).

Alas, it wasn’t to be, circumstances conspired against us; we weren’t afforded the photographic positions we hoped and the Czech rider Eva Samkova led a procession down the course. Sometimes things are just beyond your control but hopefully it’ll be better tomorrow.

However I left the Extreme Park extremely disappointed.

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Feb16

Time To Get Creative

By Bruce Bennett, Sunday February 16, 2014

Another beautiful day in Sochi lends itself to great silhouette opportunities. Finland players walk from their dressing room in one arena to the practice ice close by. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Sometimes you just have to have an image that says a specific sport… without showing specific teams. Generic images are a great way to provide editorial and commercial clients with images that may not need clearances or releases, or images that simply give a graphic artist something special to…

Sometimes you just have to have an image that says a specific sport… without showing specific teams. Generic images are a great way to provide editorial and commercial clients with images that may not need clearances or releases, or images that simply give a graphic artist something special to work with. Silhouettes, close-ups of sports equipment, and blurs and zooms are a great way to spice up your imagery and create a general image that can be used as an artistic tool. For blurs, try 1/8th or 1/15th of a second. You can also try panning your camera with the action to create streaks and you can try slow shutter speeds while racking your lens to create a zoom effect with plenty of colour.

The combination of zooming while shooting at a slow shutter speed yields images that say 'hockey' without specifying individual teams. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb15

Panning Out

By How Hwee Young, Saturday February 15, 2014

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the USA perform in the Free Skating Programme of the Pairs competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, 12 February 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

It sometimes depends on luck for panning pictures but even more so for figure skating as the skaters' movements are so erratic. Thus I am always very happy when the pictures pan out (forgive the pun).

Also as a fellow South East Asian, from Singapore, it was great to see 17-year-old Michael…

It sometimes depends on luck for panning pictures but even more so for figure skating as the skaters' movements are so erratic. Thus I am always very happy when the pictures pan out (forgive the pun).

Also as a fellow South East Asian, from Singapore, it was great to see 17-year-old Michael Christian Martinez of the Philippines in action. He is the first skater from any tropical country to compete in the Olympics and I was very proud of his performance!

Michael Christian Martinez of Philippines performs during the Men's Free Skating of the Figure Skating event at the Iceberg Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 14 February 2014. 17-year-old Michael Christian Martinez is the first figure skater from the Philippines and the first skater from any tropical country to compete in the Olympics. © How Hwee Young/EPA

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Feb15

A gift for his country!

By Adrian Dennis, Saturday February 15, 2014

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu falls in the Men's Figure Skating Free Programme at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 14 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

After a world record score on Thursday, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu was up against Canadian veteran Patrick Chan in the Men’s Figure Skating. Despite falling twice in his final performance Hanyu, became the youngest skater for 66 years and the the first Japanese man to win Olympic Figure…

After a world record score on Thursday, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu was up against Canadian veteran Patrick Chan in the Men’s Figure Skating. Despite falling twice in his final performance Hanyu, became the youngest skater for 66 years and the the first Japanese man to win Olympic Figure Skating gold.

Semi-hysterical Japanese women rushed to the front to throw flowers onto the ice, standing rink-side last night I scored a couple of assists nodding a few bouquets on their way. FYI: the stems leave a mark! But, you know, women throwing flowers at me on Valentine’s Day... happens all the time!

To justify my existence, I photographed a bit of Short Track Speed Skating training earlier in the day. I didn’t have to, but I wanted to try a multiple-exposure. It’s all the rage these days. It seems everybody is doing them here. I pinched an idea from an AP colleague who was shooting multiple exposures at Figure Skating. “There’s no original photograph you know,” an old photographer friend Joe Walles used to tell me. Always take it as a compliment when another photographer copies your idea. His words echoed in my head as I fiddled with the settings, firing between seven to nine exposures onto the same frame using a low-speed motor drive setting.

Canada's Patrick Chan reacts in the kiss and cry zone during the Men's Figure Skating Free Programme at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 14 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

A multiple-exposure of Short Track Speed Skating training during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 14 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb15

Capturing Victory & Defeat

By Bruce Bennett, Saturday February 15, 2014

Meghan Agosta-Marciano (2) of Canada celebrates after scoring a goal with Natalie Spooner (24) in the third period against the United States during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day five of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” was the key line used by ABC Sports in hyping its Olympic coverage many years ago. And the fact is that telling that story in still imagery is the goal of every Olympic photographer. Of course, if you can tell all that story in the same photo, you definitely…

“The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat” was the key line used by ABC Sports in hyping its Olympic coverage many years ago. And the fact is that telling that story in still imagery is the goal of every Olympic photographer. Of course, if you can tell all that story in the same photo, you definitely have a winner. That is just one of the reasons that I prefer shooting hockey at ice level. It is not that body position and body language is not important, but the view is certainly more intimate and the story of the game simply said is in the eyes of the participants. Eyes and facial expressions which are more clearly defined with the ice level view will define that victory and agony in your images.

Sandis Ozolins (8) of Lativa looks on in the third period against the Czech Republic during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group C game on day seven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 14 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Latvia lost the game 4-2. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb14

The Barmy Yarny Army

By Ian MacNicol, Friday February 14, 2014

Lizzy Yarnold of Great Britain celebrates after winning the Women's Skeleton Final on Day 7 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Sanki Sliding Centre on 14 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

It was back to up to the Sanki Sliding Centre today for some more radges* going down the refrigerated concrete pipe or, to give it its official title - the final two runs of the Women’s Skeleton.

Skeleton involves a person riding a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down…

It was back to up to the Sanki Sliding Centre today for some more radges* going down the refrigerated concrete pipe or, to give it its official title - the final two runs of the Women’s Skeleton.

Skeleton involves a person riding a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down, during which the rider (or radge*) experiences forces up to 5G and can reach speeds over 130km/per hour. The sport was named from the bony appearance of the sled and was added back to the Olympics for the 2002 Winter Games, previously it had been in the Olympic programme only in St. Moritz, in 1928 & 1948.

However, getting back to my main point - six times in the Winter Olympics and six medals for Great Britain! The latest coming tonight with an outstanding golden display from Lizzy Yarnold.

It’s a great pleasure to be a sports photographer at events like these to capture the emotions of athletes realising dreams and life-long ambitions. Tonight I made a bit of a judgement call and hoped I could shoot shoot a cleanish image on my 400mm lens from farther up the track, rather than take the safer shot with a short lens looking across the track, it just about paid off... however, Lizzy, I still question your sanity!

*Radge – Scottish slang word - Adj. Crazy person, madman. Verb. To do something crazy.

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Feb14

Purple Spaghetti

By Bruce Bennett, Friday February 14, 2014

Oh, what a tangled web we weave... one camera tethered to ethernet is mildly manageable, two is rough! © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Shooting at most venues means negotiating many different obstacles. Amongst those are security stops and seeking the faster and easiest way from shooting positions to the press room. One photographic obstacle we face is managing the network wires. Most of our cameras are tethered to network wires as wireless…

Shooting at most venues means negotiating many different obstacles. Amongst those are security stops and seeking the faster and easiest way from shooting positions to the press room. One photographic obstacle we face is managing the network wires. Most of our cameras are tethered to network wires as wireless is slow and unreliable. Our images go directly from our cameras to the editors a kilometre or two away back at the Main Press Centre. Having one tethered body works OK, but with two you become a tangled mess of purple-coloured spaghetti that seems impossible to get out of. But, with this technology, clients can have images in as little as 180 seconds, so the trouble is well worth it. All remotes cameras are also tethered so we don't have to worry about pulling digital cards after periods or after games.

Charline Labonte (32) of Canada tends goal as Rebecca Johnston (6) and Tara Watchorn (27) of Canada defend against the United States in the second period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day five of the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb14

Romance is dead!

By Adrian Dennis, Friday February 14, 2014

Great Britain's Skip Eve Muirhead (centre) watches her stone during the Women's Curling round robin session 5 match between Great Britain and China at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi on 13 February 2014 during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Great Britain won the game 8-7. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Valentine’s Day has arrived, and not one of you reminded me! Well, that’s not entirely true, a French colleague did invite me on a date to help cover the early morning curling session. After a 15-hour day shooting yesterday, I declined his generous offer. Anyway, I’m not looking my best - all…

Valentine’s Day has arrived, and not one of you reminded me! Well, that’s not entirely true, a French colleague did invite me on a date to help cover the early morning curling session. After a 15-hour day shooting yesterday, I declined his generous offer. Anyway, I’m not looking my best - all unshaven!

I did the triple yesterday. A quick tot up and the conclusion is I shot just over 3,300 frames. I started with Curling to see the British women squeak a victory. Followed by Short Track Speed Skating, where British medal hope Elise Christie crashed and was controversially disqualified. My night finished with the Men’s Figure Skating where Russian skating legend Yevgeny Plushenko called it a night on his career and bid farewell to his adoring public. He injured himself during the warm-up, and later described the pain as "like a knife in my back". Good job really because Japanese teenager Yuzuru Hanyu would have provided the bladed article when he went on to a world record score of 101.45 to lead after the Short Programme.

From a photography point of view, it wasn’t a very pleasing day at the office. Photographers can torture themselves... today might be the day to shoot an unbelievable frame. Despite being at an amazing event I didn’t come away with anything I felt was particularly good. Maybe I’ll take another look – when I get a few hours spare!

Great Britain's Elise Christie (left) and Italy's Arianna Fontana fall as they compete in the Women's 500m Short Track Final at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on 13 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko gestures after withdrawing from the Men's Figure Skating Short Programme at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 13 February 2014. Two-time Olympic gold medallist Yevgeny Plushenko announced his retirement from the sport shortly afterwards. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb13

Skiing in B&W

By Alessandro Trovati, Thursday February 13, 2014

Action from training for the Men's Super Combined Alpine Skiing in Sochi, Russia, on 13 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

It was a quiet day today at Downhill Skiing with yet another training session for the Men's Super Combined event of tomorrow. Our photo editor left us free to do what we wanted and then with the gorgeous light and the shadows of the trees reflected on the snow I let myself go...

Alexis Pinturault training for the Super Combined Men's Alpine Skiing at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 13 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

Action from training for the Men's Super Combined Alpine Skiing in Sochi, Russia, on 13 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

 

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Feb13

Short Track Action

By Laci Perényi, Thursday February 13, 2014

Action from the Men's 5000m Team Short Track Speed Skating event at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, 2014. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

This shot of the Men's 5000m Team Short Track was taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon 300mm lens; the exposure was 1/15sec at f/8, ISO 100.


Feb13

Slippery Business

By Laci Perényi, Thursday February 13, 2014

The aftermath of the collision between and Elise Christie (GB, left) and Arianna Fontana (Italy, right) during the Women's 500m Short Track Speed Skating final on 13 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Christie finished in second place but was later penalised and demoted to eighth place by the judges. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

During the final of the Women's 500m Short Track Speed Skating competition I captured the crash of the Italian Arianna Fontana and the British skater Elise Christie on a Canon EOS-1D X with a Canon 600mm f/4 lens; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/4, ISO 2000.


Feb13

Another Hair Raising Day (and not only on the mountains!)

By Ian MacNicol, Thursday February 13, 2014

Henrik Harlaut of Sweden competes in the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle Final during day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 13 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

Myself and my room-mate had a very early wake-up call. I can’t be sure exactly what time it was but at some point through the night a large portion of our hotel room ceiling fell in – I think what is more astonishing, however, is the fact that due to severe sleep deprivation/accumulative tiredness…

Myself and my room-mate had a very early wake-up call. I can’t be sure exactly what time it was but at some point through the night a large portion of our hotel room ceiling fell in – I think what is more astonishing, however, is the fact that due to severe sleep deprivation/accumulative tiredness neither of us bothered to get up to investigate!

Seriously, I’ve been away from home for a week now, had some very short nights’ sleep and I have lost count of how many times I have trudged up the steep sides of the numerous courses at the Extreme Park… it’s beginning to take its toll.

So, another day at the park of many extremes indeed... and today it was the turn of some extreme Slopestyle skiers; it turned out to be a one, two, three for the USA but my personal highlight was the back-lit dreadlocked head of the Swedish skier Henrik Harlaut. I can’t help but be a little envious... not of his ability to sail through the air at great height and speed, twisting and turning with incredible agility, but to have the ability to grow a head of hair like that - awesome!

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Feb13

Netcam - The King of Hockey Remotes

By Bruce Bennett, Thursday February 13, 2014

Yevgeni Malkin (11, left) of Russia scores against Slovenia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 13 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The King of Hockey Remotes is the ‘Netcam’. At the Olympics (and at National Hockey League games) we use the full-frame Canon 1D X with a 15mm f/2.8 lens. The camera sits inside a protective housing and is triggered remotely at 10 frames a second. It takes some time to get this all in place as there…

The King of Hockey Remotes is the ‘Netcam’. At the Olympics (and at National Hockey League games) we use the full-frame Canon 1D X with a 15mm f/2.8 lens. The camera sits inside a protective housing and is triggered remotely at 10 frames a second. It takes some time to get this all in place as there is usually a TV camera in the net along with the TV battery pack. This makes the working space a bit tight, and it is always rough getting the correct positioning in the back on the net and keeping all the lines level. Exposure at the Olympics is 1/800th of a second at f/5.6, ISO 2000. The Netcam provides a unique view that fans and clients seem to love as it captures images that have impact.

Bruce Bennett (left) and Martin Rose (right) of Getty Images install the Netcam in the Shayba Arena in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Alexei Tereshchenko (27) of Russia crashes into the net in the first period against Slovenia during the Men's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day six of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on 13 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb13

Snow Kisses

By Laci Perényi, Thursday February 13, 2014

Tina Maze (Slovenia) kisses the snow after her joint gold medal winning run in the Women's Downhill Alpine Skiing at the Winter Olympic Games on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

Olympic gold medal winning skier Tina Maze (Slovenia) pictured after crossing the finish line: she then kissed the snow. This was taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 600mm f/4 lens; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f//6.3, ISO 100.


Feb13

An Artistic Pair

By Laci Perényi, Thursday February 13, 2014

Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres (France) compete in the Figure Skating Pairs at the Winter Olympic Games on 11 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

The French pair of Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres put on a very artistic performance during the Figure Skating Pairs Short Program event. This image was taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 600mm f/4 lens; the exposure was 1/1000sec at f/4, ISO 2000.


Feb13

Swoosh of a Moment

By Laci Perényi, Thursday February 13, 2014

Action from the Nordic Combined event at the Winter Olympic Games on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

This image from the Nordic Combined event was taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 70-200mm zoom lens; the exposure was 1/25sec at f/14, ISO 100. The dynamic movement of the athletes is captured in an artistic swoosh.


Feb13

The Engine Room

By Nic Bothma, Thursday February 13, 2014

Deep in the engine room of the image business editors work in the EPA office at the Main Media Centre till the early hours of the morning each day processing images and making sense of the photographers' work. © Nic Bothma/EPA

Photographers are stupid. We just press buttons. The real cleverness behind an Olympic photograph you view in the morning papers or online starts months and years before. Editorial, logistics, administration and technical teams set up infrastructure, plan shooting schedules, book accommodation…

Photographers are stupid. We just press buttons. The real cleverness behind an Olympic photograph you view in the morning papers or online starts months and years before. Editorial, logistics, administration and technical teams set up infrastructure, plan shooting schedules, book accommodation, design systems, buy equipment, meet with officials etc long before any buttons are pressed.

Once the button is pressed the picture travels directly from camera at 100mb/s through dedicated Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) cables, which have been laid out by our IT specialists weeks before the games from every photo position at every venue, to the EPA edit suite at the Main Media Centre.

Next, editors sift through the multiple angles from various photographers on each event, choosing the best images and compiling a diverse set that best represents that particular athlete. Live television feeds of the events are monitored to keep track of each event. The editors, at speed, move the most relevant images first after cropping, captioning and correcting exposures if necessary.

Once the picture is ready it is sent out and travels at 50mb/s to [EPA] Frankfurt HQ, where it is finally processed and then moved via partner Mainstreamdata through to clients - the papers, magazines, TV stations and websites worldwide.

The clients choose the image for print and Voila! The photographer's picture appears in print the following day or after a few minutes online.

Next time you admire a picture byline consider the hundreds of people behind that name that made it possible.


An editor's work-station showing an image by Jens Buettner from the sequence of Snowboard legend Shaun White from the USA crashing into the Halfpipe coping and thus crashing out of the medals in Sochi. An important image like this was moved within a matter of seconds after it landed on the Sochi sports desk and was delivered to the clients within a couple of minutes after it happened. © Nic Bothma/EPA

EPA photographer Tatyana Zenkovich works during a Curling training session in the Ice Cube Curling Centre at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © Nic Bothma/EPA

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Feb13

Hot, Cool, Shared....

By Richard Heathcote, Thursday February 13, 2014

Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway leads eventual winner Martin Fourcade of France in the Men's 12.5km Pursuit during day three of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Laura Cross-country Ski & Biathlon Centre on 10 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens; the exposure was 1/15sec at f/6.3, ISO 100. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The games are well and truly underway and we are pretty busy covering our own venues and popping off to shoot other sports when assigned. One of my own core sports, Biathlon, is mostly after dusk so it lends itself to some nice pans against the crowds in the stand. You have to time it right between…

The games are well and truly underway and we are pretty busy covering our own venues and popping off to shoot other sports when assigned. One of my own core sports, Biathlon, is mostly after dusk so it lends itself to some nice pans against the crowds in the stand. You have to time it right between the strides of the athletes so you get the sticks up and them mostly still, giving you the opportunity to drop the shutter speed as slow as you dare.

In a rare non-competition day at the Laura Centre I was asked to cover the finish line for the Women's Downhill and witnessed the extremely rare dead heat for the gold medal between Dominique Gisin and Tina Maze. Normally you want the single athlete celebrating victory but they made a really nice image as they climbed the podium together hand-in-hand, telling the story of the event perfectly.

This left me with just enough time for an evening session at the Sanki Sliding Centre where the Luge Doubles first run was timed perfectly with the setting sun. There was just a small 10-minute window where the sunset on the mountains and the floodlights balanced to create a nice scenic photograph.

Gold medallists Dominique Gisin of Switzerland (left) and Tina Maze of Slovenia (right) celebrate on the podium during the flower ceremony for the Alpine Skiing Women's Downhill on day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall of the United States make a run during the Men's Luge Doubles on Day 5 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Sanki Sliding Centre on February 12, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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Feb12

Sochi. Beautiful one day, perfect the next...

By Ryan Pierse, Wednesday February 12, 2014

Han Hendrik Piho of Estonia competes in the Nordic Combined Individual NH / 10km during day five of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

There has been quite a bit of coverage about the poor conditions that greeted the world’s media on their arrival in Sochi. While I’m sure not everything has gone to plan, I only have positive things to report back so far. Based up in the mountains in Rosa Khutor since my arrival, I checked into a clean…

There has been quite a bit of coverage about the poor conditions that greeted the world’s media on their arrival in Sochi. While I’m sure not everything has gone to plan, I only have positive things to report back so far. Based up in the mountains in Rosa Khutor since my arrival, I checked into a clean, modern hotel with everything you need when on the road. The surrounding township with its restaurants and cafés has a pleasant alpine feel. Our event management at Getty has made sure that our team is comfortable here and all the hard work and forward planning has paid off.

The weather has been outstanding, with blue skies to please photographers and editors, and mild-ish temperatures to make working much easier. The venues are photogenic, the media transport system runs to schedule and everything, somehow, just seems to work.

Event-wise, I have been lucky enough to cover eight different mountain events so far, most of which I was covering for the very first time. It’s a real buzz turning up to shoot a new event, and at new venue, for the first time. After the initial tension of finding your way around, you quickly become motivated and excited to find the best positions to shoot. At most venues, everywhere you look there are good pictures to be had. Here are a few I have snapped in the last week...

A general view during the Nordic Combined Individual NH / 10km during day five of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at RusSki Gorki Jumping Centre on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Scotty James of Australia reacts during the Snowboard Men's Slopestyle semi-finals on day 1 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 8 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Feb12

The fisheye as a real photographic tool

By Bruce Bennett, Wednesday February 12, 2014

A general view as the teams shake hands after the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game between Canada and the United States on day five of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena on 12 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Canada defeated the United States 3-2. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Photographers usually switch to a different lens when they are looking at being more 'creative'. The 'crutch' of choice seems to be the fisheye lens. Most images from these lenses are a cliché. But at the Olympics, the lens use at the Ice Hockey games is being taken to a new level. In all reality, who…

Photographers usually switch to a different lens when they are looking at being more 'creative'. The 'crutch' of choice seems to be the fisheye lens. Most images from these lenses are a cliche. But at the Olympics, the lens use at the Ice Hockey games is being taken to a new level. In all reality, who doesn't want an image of two guys or girls plastered against the glass? Many photographers use a 70-200mm on one camera and a fisheye on the other. Exposure is 1/800th of a second at f/5, ISO 1600. The fisheye is also used for some general stadium shots but is not preferred, because of the bowed lines.

Sarah Forster of Switzerland checks Monique Lamoureux (foreground) of the United States during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group A game on day three of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena on 10 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb12

All day for 1/3200th of a second

By Marc Aspland, Wednesday February 12, 2014

Shaun White (USA) gets his first run in the final spectacularly wrong as he crashes down on the lip in the Men's Halfpipe event at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park, Sochi, Russia, on 11 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

US superstar, multi-millionaire and 'King of the Snowboard Halfpipe' Shaun White was expected to just have to turn up to collect his gold medal. How sport can be a cruel mistress. During his practice runs you could tell White was heading down the course by his extravagant and breathtaking…

US superstar, multi-millionaire and 'King of the Snowboard Halfpipe' Shaun White was expected to just have to turn up to collect his gold medal. How sport can be a cruel mistress. During his practice runs you could tell White was heading down the course by his extravagant and breathtaking moves.

I had arrived early in day to shoot the prelim rounds and then the semi-finals. By the time the two runs in the final happened it was gone well past 10pm and most of the photographers were shivering with cold.

On the very first run of the final, White, typically, soared the highest but landed on the very edge of the pipe and after a whole day, and night, of waiting, this image was captured at 1/3200th of a second.

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Feb11

Halfpipes & Young Dudes

By Ian MacNicol, Tuesday February 11, 2014

Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland competes in the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 11 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

So far my Winter Olympics seem to have involved spending a huge amount of time in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. A colleague remarked to me that he didn’t think that what went on at the venue was really Olympic sport and maybe it should be kept to the Skate Park. I could see his point…

So far my Winter Olympics seem to have involved spending a huge amount of time in the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park. A colleague remarked to me that he didn’t think that what went on at the venue was really Olympic sport and maybe it should be kept to the Skate Park. I could see his point. It really is the sport of young dudes; I could imagine our local Skate Park in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow, covered in snow and there being a slight resemblance.

I don’t profess to be a winter sports buff by any stretch of the imagination but I know the name of Shaun White, the two-time Olympic Gold medal winner at Halfpipe… and I certainly didn’t expect to see him lose his crown to Iouri Podladtchikov, the Russia-born Swiss snowboarder.

Shooting the Halfpipe is not without its challenges. The new lightweight Canon 400mm lens really came into it own as using it without a monopod allowed greater control and speed to react when the boarders popped out of the Halfpipe, twisting and turning before disappearing again.

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Feb11

Spaghetti Western

By Adrian Dennis, Tuesday February 11, 2014

Great Britain's Michael Goodfellow (centre) throwing his stone during the Men's Curling round robin session 3 match between Germany and Great Britain at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi on 11 February 2014 during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Now you may raise an eyebrow when you read my 'day whatever it is' blog. But I’ll tell it like it is. Another day, another dollar. Spaghetti for breakfast; I'm talking food now - it was actually quite tasty but odd eating dinner in the morning. But, hey, you gotta eat and once you get going at the Olympic Park there’s…

Now you may raise an eyebrow when you read my 'day whatever it is' blog. But I’ll tell it like it is. Another day, another dollar. Spaghetti for breakfast; I'm talking food now - it was actually quite tasty but odd eating dinner in the morning. But, hey, you gotta eat and once you get going at the Olympic Park there’s no stopping. We have to keep concentrating, and be creative, and we eat when we can. Once you’re at a venue the options are nuts! Literally... although there are hotdogs and a bit of chocolate about. While at the Figure Skating, a colleague tips peanuts over the table and throws a packet of M&M's on top for good measure. In between each skater a few disappear. It gets you through the evening! Oh yeah, I forgot to say, I shot a bit of Curling today, then Figure Skating. Ate a few nuts!

Sweden's Niklas Edin (centre) reacts during the Men's Curling round robin session 3 match between Sweden and Canada at the Ice Cube Curling Centre in Sochi on 11 February 2014 during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli (USA) perform in the Figure Skating Pairs Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics on 11 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb11

Women's Hockey... For a Change of Pace

By Bruce Bennett, Tuesday February 11, 2014

Anna Shukina (21) of Russia celebrates with teammate Yulia Leskina (20) after defeating Germany 4-1 in their Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B Game on day two of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Shayba Arena on 9 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Usually, in North America, I am busy shooting National Hockey League games, so I rarely get to cover Women's hockey. With Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey, the pace of the game seems slower but, in reality, the flow of the game is smooth and fast. With less physical play, the skilled players are free to skate…

Usually, in North America, I am busy shooting National Hockey League games, so I rarely get to cover Women's hockey. With Women’s Olympic Ice Hockey, the pace of the game seems slower but, in reality, the flow of the game is smooth and fast. With less physical play, the skilled players are free to skate freely and that makes this a real challenge to shoot. Anticipation is at a different level than with NHL action... so my timing is off and it takes time to adjust. And usually the goal celebrations and the 'jubilation' of each and every goal makes for great photos. For the Women's matches we normally have two photographers - one at 'ice level' and one at 'centre ice', half-way up the arena. The 'ice level' shooter's main lens is the 70-200mm f/2.8 and upstairs our photographer uses a 200-400mm f/4. Those two photographers are supplemented with four remote cameras as well as the camera in the net. For medal round games, we add additional photographers.


Cecilia Osterberg (right) of Sweden celebrates scoring the second goal against goalminder Jennifer Harss (30) of Germany with her teammate Anna Borgqvist (18, foreground) in the third period during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B game on day four of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena on 11 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jessica Hammerl (4) of Germany and Olga Sosina (18) of Russia collide during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B Game on day two of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena on 9 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb11

Figure Skating Fun

By How Hwee Young, Tuesday February 11, 2014

A multiple exposure picture of Gracie Gold of the USA performing in the Ladies Free Program of the Figure Skating Team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

It was a great joy shooting figure skating with the Canon 1D X and the new 200-400mm lens, which I just got at the beginning of the games. I love the the sport and beauty of the movements of the skaters. There was a lot of experimenting and getting used to the 1D X but it allows one to be totally creative…

It was a great joy shooting figure skating with the Canon 1D X and the new 200-400mm lens, which I just got at the beginning of the games. I love the the sport and beauty of the movements of the skaters. There was a lot of experimenting and getting used to the 1D X but it allows one to be totally creative, producing sometimes very abstract images with multiple exposures and slow shutter speeds while maintaining high quality. Loving it!

Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia perform in the Ice Dance Free Dance of the Figure Skating Team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

A multiple exposure picture of Meryl Davis and Charlie White of USA performing during the Ice Dance Free Dance of the Figure Skating Team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © How Hwee Young/EPA

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Feb11

Olympic Elation!

By Laci Perényi, Tuesday February 11, 2014

Julia Mancuso (USA) celebrates her bronze medal in the Alpine Skiing Women's Super Combined event. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

During the award ceremony of the Alpine Skiing Women's Super Combined I captured this close up of the American Julia Mancuso. Her face mirrors the excitement and joy of the moment after she had won a bronze medal. It was taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 600mm f/4 lens.


Feb11

Russia's first gold medal of the games!

By Andrey Golovanov and Sergey Kivrin, Tuesday February 11, 2014

Team Russia celebrate winning the gold medal in the Figure Skating Team event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

The Russian national team won gold in the Olympics Figure Skating Team tournament!

Elena Ilinykh (right) and Nikita Katsalapov (centre, with scarf) of Russia pictured receiving the marks for their Figure Skating Team Ice Dance Free Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 9 February 2014. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

Team Russia during the gold medal ceremony of the Figure Skating Team event at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Pictured (from left to right): Yulia Lipnitskaya, Evgeny Plushenko, Ksenia Stolbova, Fedor Klimov, Tatiana Volosozhar, Maxim Trankov, Ekaterina Bobrova, Dmitri Soloviev, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

 

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Feb10

The Dutch are Schmokin!

By Adrian Dennis, Monday February 10, 2014

Michel Mulder (right) of the Netherlands competes during the Men's Speed Skating 500m at the Adler Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 10 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

On paper my Monday wasn’t going to be particularly hard. Speed Skating is on the agenda. But the most important thing to remember is... call my Mum and wish her Happy 85th Birthday. It’s all very well gallivanting around the world covering these sporting events but you do tend to miss out on…

On paper my Monday wasn’t going to be particularly hard. Speed Skating is on the agenda. But the most important thing to remember is... call my Mum and wish her Happy 85th Birthday. It’s all very well gallivanting around the world covering these sporting events but you do tend to miss out on a few milestones in life!

So, off to Short Track Speed Skating at the Adler Arena to see the Dutch take a clean sweep of the medals with Michel Mulder sprinting to gold in the Men’s 500 metres race. There's nothing clever about the picture, they only race one lap. And hence once chance as they go by. It’s a classic 1/2000th of a second, wide open on a 400mm f/2.8... and hope it’s sharp.

Now, remind me to wish my wife a Happy Valentine’s Day on Friday will ya!

The Netherlands' Sjinkie Knegt (left) and South Korea's Park Se Yeong (centre) fall as they compete in the Men's Short Track 1500m Final B at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 10 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb10

Let's go!

By Barbara Walton, Monday February 10, 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and IOC President Thomas Bach (left) wave during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia, on 7 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

It is opening night... I am in position under the VIPs and Russian President Putin - and I know the programme, because I have already done my cold night of homework sitting through the dress rehearsal. The first shot we want to get out fast is the exploding rings and then a quick 180 degrees turn for…

It is opening night... I am in position under the VIPs and Russian President Putin - and I know the programme, because I have already done my cold night of homework sitting through the dress rehearsal. The first shot we want to get out fast is the exploding rings and then a quick 180 degrees turn for Putin... well that is the plan.

I want a wide view with 35mm as the stars drift across the stadium and then form the Olympic rings and then burst into dazzling snow bursts but, OK, the best laid plans go wrong and, yep, filing direct from the camera is not working, and then the rings fail to burst like they did so nicely in the dress rehearsal, but Putin is there... that one I can get!

I've already had competition to cover with the Team Figure Skating event the night before the opening, and Italy's Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek's routine is my favourite - maybe not for the judges, but it was fun and full of leaps. I switch from the 400mm f/2.8 to the 200-400mm that's newly in my possession to benefit from the versatility of the zoom.

Then it's on to Short Track Speed Skating, again with the 200-400mm and a 600mm f/2.8 to capture the jostling sharp-cornered action of this sport, in which the first gold medal goes to Charles Hamelin of Canada.

Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy perform in the Pairs Short Programme of the Figure Skating Team event at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 6 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

Charles Hamelin (centre) of Canada celebrates winning gold in the Men's 1500m of the Short Track competitions in the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on 10 February 2014. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb10

Getting off to a flyer...

By Marc Aspland, Monday February 10, 2014

Yuri Danilochkin (Belarus) takes the final jump during the Men's Downhill event at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. © Marc Aspland/The Times

It would be easy to feel somewhat intimidated and uncomfortable looking around the massed ranks of photographers here at Sochi. Getty and Reuters, for example, have fielded massive teams of brilliant photographers, all backed up by photo editors and technicians. They are both trying desperately hard to…

It would be easy to feel somewhat intimidated and uncomfortable looking around the massed ranks of photographers here at Sochi. Getty and Reuters, for example, have fielded massive teams of brilliant photographers, all backed up by photo editors and technicians. They are both trying desperately hard to win photographic gold medals at each and every event. I now don't torture myself when looking at the pictures on the rolling screens at the Main Press Centre as they are all portfolio candidates.

On Sunday I attended the Men's Downhill at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre and decided I would hike from the finish line up the course, through the fir trees, to find a spot which would best illustrate how I need to find my own pictures. With sweat dripping from the end of my nose, I looked through the trees and thought a jump on a brutally steep section would be a clean view. With about three hours before the start of the race, I found a dozen photographers huddled in the trees with the same idea... Reuters, Getty, Sports Illustrated, New York Times and many others had seen the same!

But, for once, I had been given an open brief by the Sports Editor of The Times. So, on Saturday, I had a specific picture in mind. Knowing I cannot compete with the huge number of agency photographers has given me the freedom to relax, step back and find my own pictures. Happy hunting...

A multiple exposure shot of Billy Morgan (GB) competing in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle event during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 8 February 2014. © Marc Aspland/The Times

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Feb10

Faster than a speeding bullet

By Ian MacNicol, Monday February 10, 2014

Jo Alexander Koppang of Norway competes during the Men's Luge Singles on Day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Sanki Sliding Centre on 9 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

Last night I made my way to the Sanki Sliding Centre to witness the Men’s Luge Singles. They say: “The sport of luge requires an athlete to balance mental and physical fitness. To become an elite luger a competitor must begin training at an early age and spend decades honing their skills.” Personally, I think…

Last night I made my way to the Sanki Sliding Centre to witness the Men’s Luge Singles. They say: “The sport of luge requires an athlete to balance mental and physical fitness. To become an elite luger a competitor must begin training at an early age and spend decades honing their skills.” Personally, I think there must be an emphasis on the mental side of things; the more mental you are the better!

A Luge is a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleds supine (that’s face up) and feet-first whilst steering by flexing the sled's runners with the calf of each leg or exerting opposite shoulder pressure to the seat. Lugers can reach speeds of 140km per hour - but I still felt in this photo I would slow down my shutter speed to emphasise the speed, 1/50th of a second at f/8.

Earlier in the day I watched Jenny Jones win Great Britain’s first ever Olympic medal on snow during the Slopestyle – a great achievement by the former chalet maid who said: “I never thought it'd be in this position when I was cooking breakfasts and cleaning toilets.” Good effort, girl!

In both the photos I’ve posted today I have tried to make the location identifiable so in years to come there will always be a bit of context to them.

Sina Candrian of Switzerland competes during the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle Final during day 2 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 9 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

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Feb10

Filling The Days With Few Games

By Bruce Bennett, Monday February 10, 2014

Alex Ovechkin of Russia practices on day three of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Arena on 10 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

In the first few days of competition my schedule is light with just two games a day. In my spare time I walk around looking for scenic shots and other photo opportunities. So I left the Shayba Arena after a Women’s hockey game and almost got run over by the Finland Women’s Ice Hockey team as they…

In the first few days of competition my schedule is light with just two games a day. In my spare time I walk around looking for scenic shots and other photo opportunities. So I left the Shayba Arena after a Women’s hockey game and almost got run over by the Finland Women’s Ice Hockey team as they rode bicycles to the arena for their late afternoon game. Next up were sessions at the Bolshoy Arena where we looked to capture images of practice that also lets viewers know we are, in fact, at the Olympics. Of course that means squeezing some Olympic rings or logos into the scene.

The Russian Federation team practices on day three of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Bolshoy Arena on 10 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Finland Women's Ice Hockey Team rides their bicycles to the Shayba Arena for their game against Canada on 10 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb10

Into the blue

By Laci Perényi, Monday February 10, 2014

Ireen Wüst of the Netherlands competing in the Women's 3000m Speed Skating in Sochi, Russia, on 9 February 2014. Wüst won the gold medal in the event. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

I wanted to have an elevated position while shooting the Women's 3000m Speed Skating in order to capture an absolutely clean picture; just the icy surface and the athlete. Taken with a Canon EOS-1D X with a 300mm f/4 lens; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/4, ISO 200, to make it work.


Feb10

Cameras in the hands... crampons on the legs

By Sergei Ilnitsky, Monday February 10, 2014

A photographer with crampons on his legs shoots a Snowboard Slopestyle training session of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Extreme Park in Rosa Khutur, Krasnodar region, Russia, on 5 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

If you're going to shoot Snowboard or Freestyle disciplines at the Olympic Games, or somewhere else, you should remember about one important extra thing in your equipment - crampons. It sounds a little strange because every photographer thinks there is nothing more important than a fast camera…

If you're going to shoot Snowboard or Freestyle disciplines at the Olympic Games, or somewhere else, you should remember about one important extra thing in your equipment - crampons. It sounds a little strange because every photographer thinks there is nothing more important than a fast camera, professional long lenses and the latest memory cards... but I have to disappoint you. You may have the latest camera body and longest lenses, but all of this won’t help you to shoot something interesting or unusual without crampons. All of the slopes are covered with snow and ice and photographers must climb upwards more than 200 metres to their shooting positions. Other unpleasant things are as follows: you should stand on a slope with an inclination of 45 degrees during all competitions like Halfpipe or Freestyle. This is impossible without crampons. Some of our colleagues ignored this rule and tried to climb without crampons... now they haven't got their expensive and more important professional equipment any more.

Russian RIA news agency photographer Mikhail Mokrushin with crampons on his legs climbing up the hill during a Snowboard Halfpipe training session at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in the Extreme Park in Rosa Khutor, Krasnodar region, Russia, on 9 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

My boots with crampons as I shoot a Snowboard Slopestyle training session at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in the Extreme Park in Rosa Khutor, Krasnodar region, Russia, on 5 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

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Feb10

Figure Skating Champion in action

By Laci Perényi, Monday February 10, 2014

Figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia in action on 9 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

The 15-year-old Olympic champion Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia pictured during the Team Figure Skating event. Taken on a Canon EOS-1D X with a 600mm f/4 lens; the exposure was 1000sec at f/4, ISO 1600.


Feb10

Hunting for the Olympic fireworks

By Sergei Ilnitsky, Monday February 10, 2014

Fireworks go off over the Olympic Park at the end of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia, on 7 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

All press photographers know how important capturing a general view with fireworks is for covering the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. It gives an opportunity for people to appreciate the value of this event. Fortunately Sochi Olympic Park is located on lowlands, surrounded by hills with private…

All press photographers know how important capturing a general view with fireworks is for covering the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. It gives an opportunity for people to appreciate the value of this event. Fortunately Sochi Olympic Park is located on lowlands, surrounded by hills with private houses on them. This helped me to find a good position for photography; to check everything during the Opening Ceremony rehearsal; to fix any mistakes after this and to do everything better during the actual event. We spent three days finding and checking out different places on the streets of Veseloe village and, finally, we found a point on the earth-deposit with a clear view to the Sochi Olympic Park; the Olympic cauldron with Olympic Rings in the background and the seafront.

After practicing we took the decision to use two Canon 1D X bodies, an EF600mm lens, an EF70-200mm zoom lens, two tripods, two PocketWizards wireless triggering systems for firing all the bodies at the same time, a WFT-E6 Wireless File Transmitter and a 4G modem for sending pictures directly to editors. If you're planning on shooting with long exposures using a 600mm lens you need a really steady tripod. This is very important because this lens is huge and when the wind is blowing you need to avoid camera shake.

A Canon EF600mm lens stands on a Manfrotto 055 tripod in front of the lights of the Sochi Olympic Park, during the practice session of the Opening Ceremony, on 1 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Testing the 4G internet connection for sending pictures from a Canon camera body directly to the EPA picture editors. In the foreground is a Canon EF600mm lens on a Manfrotto 055 tripod facing the Sochi Olympic Park, during the practice session of the Opening Ceremony, on 1 February 2014. © Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

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Feb09

Capturing the afterglow

By Laci Perényi, Sunday February 9, 2014

Action from the Men's 10km Biathlon Sprint in Sochi, Russia, 8 February 2014. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

In this photo of the Men's 10km Biathlon Sprint I tried to capture the beautiful evening atmosphere. It was an interplay of light and darkness, still life and action. To capture this moment I used a Canon EOS-1D X and a Canon 17-40mm f/4 zoom lens.


Feb09

Flying High

By Laci Perényi, Sunday February 9, 2014

Action from the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle Final on 8 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Laci Perényi/SportPhoto by Laci Perényi

The exotic new sport of Snowboard Slopestyle is so refreshing! The wonderful weather and a slight backlight helped to show the entire dynamic of the athletes in the Snowboard Slopestyle final. Just like the competitor, the sun was at its highest point and created a spectacular image. I shot this picture with a Canon EOS-1D X and an EF17-40mm f/4 zoom lens.


Feb09

The Joker!

By Adrian Dennis, Sunday February 9, 2014

Belgium's Jelena Peeters competes in the Women's Speed Skating 3000m at the Adler Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 9 February 2014. Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst powered to victory in the Women's 3,000m on Sunday, stealing gold from defending Olympic champion Martina Sablikova. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

I was the joker today! Forgive me if I talk in riddles! I may be getting my ch@r@cters mixed up? Anyway, 'the joker' is the man who moves about and reinforces other teams. I had an early start with a couple of press conferences. I listened to the usual “stock” answers from athletes while trying to crop out…

I was the joker today! Forgive me if I talk in riddles! I may be getting my ch@r@cters mixed up? Anyway, 'the joker' is the man who moves about and reinforces other teams. I had an early start with a couple of press conferences. I listened to the usual “stock” answers from athletes while trying to crop out the well-known fizzy drink bottle. Product placement is everywhere! Then it was my first foray into speed skating... it was pretty cool. Imagine an ice rink as long as a rugby field. Or if you don’t play rugby, it’s big. No pressure on me; I went to the quiet bend... only a handful of photographers were there and I wracked my shutter speeds down. You can shoot ridiculously low these days with the image stabilisation built in to the lenses. I started with 1/4th of a second to see what occurred. I liked it, but I worked my way through the range of lenses and settled on panning with a Canon 400mm f/2.8.

Then a mad dash back to the figure skating for another evening “at the office”. To complicate matters the President came too... I’m not joking!

Elena Ilinykh (right) and Nikita Katsalapov (left) of Russia competing in the Figure Skating Team Ice Dance Free Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 9 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (centre) attends the Women's Figure Skating Team Free Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 9 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb09

Men's Downhill... done!

By Alessandro Trovati, Sunday February 9, 2014

Matthias Mayer of Austria in action during the Men's Downhill event in Sochi, Russia, on February 9, 2014. Mayer won the gold medal. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

Today, the big day is done... The Men's Downhill is the most important event of the Winter Olympics, like the Men's 100 metres in the Summer Olympics. I have attended six Winter Olympics and the day of the descent is always more tense... you can't afford to go wrong. This morning we felt the tension in the…

Today, the big day is done... The Men's Downhill is the most important event of the Winter Olympics, like the Men's 100 metres in the Summer Olympics. I have attended six Winter Olympics and the day of the descent is always more tense... you can't afford to go wrong. This morning we felt the tension in the air. In my chosen location there were 12 photographers, all with a lot of experience: we laughed and joked and bet on the winner until a few minutes before the race. But, when each of us had to set-up the cameras, it suddenly fell silent and the concentration and the adrenalin started.

With the first four skiers I already got a good choice of very dynamic images; unfortunately the light was not the greatest compared to the day before during in the training runs, but it was still good. During the race, you always hope that the best picture is with the next athlete. Today the winner - Matthias Mayer of Austria - has gone very well and it was the run with the best light. I'm quite happy... see you again over the next days!

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Feb09

The final countdown

By Clive Rose, Sunday February 9, 2014

What could have been... the Men's Downhill Olympic Champion Matthias Mayer of Austria skis during training for the Alpine Skiing Men's Downhill ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 6 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

Since arriving in Sochi for the Winter Olympics I must have checked the weather 350+ times. So much of what we can produce is based around if it’s sunny or not, that you quite literally obsess over it and the weather app on my phone doesn’t help this addiction either. It’s depressingly accurate at…

Since arriving in Sochi for the Winter Olympics I must have checked the weather 350+ times. So much of what we can produce is based around if it’s sunny or not, that you quite literally obsess over it and the weather app on my phone doesn’t help this addiction either. It’s depressingly accurate at times.

Waking up on Men’s Downhill day to overcast skies is a real downer. I now knew that I’d be spending the day looking skyward in a kind of mental torture that only sports photographers know. We’d enjoyed a whole week of clear blue skies and sunshine. We’d used up our luck on training pictures and Instagram. Some things are inevitable... this much I know.

We’d planned for it of course; balancing our four course action angles with neutral backgrounds that would work in both good and bad light. I lingered as long as I could at my original preferred spot (see the picture above), playing mind games with Mother Nature but the grey sky was killing me (literally). So I ‘rolled the dice’ and descended to a spot with a background that would make the skiers stand out better and got ready.

It’s the growing roar of the crowd as the skier descends that gets you. It gets louder with each ‘green’ intermediate sector. You wish it away but you know in your heart of hearts that the next guy over the crest is the one...

Better days: Matthias Mayer of Austria skis during training for the Alpine Skiing Men's Downhill ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on 7 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Feb09

Eye In The Sky

By Bruce Bennett, Sunday February 9, 2014

Members of the Sweden ice hockey team celebrate their 1-0 win over Japan during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B Game on day two of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena, Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Although I hate heights, I love the view from the catwalk looking straight down on the action over each of the two hockey nets. In most arenas, a Canon 1D X and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens provide the perfect combination for taking these images. However, in the Shayba Arena, we are using a 24-70mm lens set at…

Although I hate heights, I love the view from the catwalk looking straight down on the action over each of the two hockey nets. In most arenas, a Canon 1D X and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens provide the perfect combination for taking these images. However, in the Shayba Arena, we are using a 24-70mm lens set at 70mm as the ceiling is quite low. For some games, we will rack the lens out to get both the net and the Olympic rings, which are in the corner of the ice. The camera is triggered with PocketWizard remotes shooting blindly at 10 frames a second, meaning that we just shoot when we think something will look good from that angle. The resulting images are more artistic in nature, capturing action and important moments without getting blocked by players or officials. Really, there's nothing better than seeing the creative patterns formed by players on the clean white ice.

Valentina Wallner (35) of Sweden saves the puck during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round Group B Game on day two of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Shayba Arena, Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb09

It's already an interesting winter!

By Andrey Golovanov and Sergey Kivrin, Sunday February 9, 2014

Action from practice for the Men's Moguls competition at the XXII Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, February 2014. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

The 2014 Olympic Games have started! After Friday night's Opening Ceremony the action is now well underway and we've been shooting some practice action for the Men's Moguls competition that starts tomorrow as well as some of the early action from the Men's Singles of the…

The 2014 Olympic Games have started! After Friday night's Opening Ceremony the action is now well underway and we've been shooting some practice action for the Men's Moguls competition that starts tomorrow as well as some of the early action from the Men's Singles of the Luge competition, covering the first two runs. Already it's shaping up to be a very interesting winter!

Luge action from the Men's Singles at the XXII Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, on 8 February 2014. © Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

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Feb08

Once again into the breach...

By Adrian Dennis, Saturday February 8, 2014

Germany's Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi perform in the Figure Skating Team Ice Dance Short Dance at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 8 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

With my late night at the Opening Ceremony, then blogging, I didn’t feel the feathers in my pillow until way past 2am. Once again into the breach, but I warn you... I’m beginning to see rings! Dispatched to curling... my fault for getting caught reading e-mail. An amateur mistake – I should’ve know…

With my late night at the Opening Ceremony, then blogging, I didn’t feel the feathers in my pillow until way past 2am. Once again into the breach, but I warn you... I’m beginning to see rings! Dispatched to curling... my fault for getting caught reading e-mail. An amateur mistake – I should’ve known better. But I’m due to shoot curling and now I’m one up on my colleagues... I know how to get in the building! An hour to explore, shoot some frames and, as luck would have it, the British team were practicing. Now, like figure skating, I’ve never shot it before. I bite the bullet and find someone in the know...

On this occasion a fine chap with the Canadian team was on hand to ask a million and one questions. I just start with the basic, “how do you play this game?” and “who’s gonna win?”. If they’re still willing to engage me in conversation, and have stopped laughing, I just continue - until they walk away. Then back to the Iceberg [Skating Palace] for more figure skating. I’m done with the questions, I get it! It’s tough; not so much the shooting, it’s the four minutes you have to scroll through 100 to 300 frames. A split-second decision whether to send the picture... and in the flash of a LAN cable light the picture is on it’s way to an editor and into the system. Thank you and good night!

Britain's Tom Brewster takes part in a training session at the Ice Cube Curling Centre during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 8 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb08

I'm Having More Fun Than You!

By Ian MacNicol, Saturday February 8, 2014

Billy Morgan of Great Britain competes during the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle semi-finals during day 1 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 8 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

According to the bottom of Billy Morgan’s snowboard that is – as the GB snowboarder sailed high above my head I thought to myself: “How could he know this?” With hindsight, I don’t think it was directly aimed at me. Although I do think there is some kind of equation amongst photographers…

According to the bottom of Billy Morgan’s snowboard that is – as the GB snowboarder sailed high above my head I thought to myself: “How could he know this?” With hindsight, I don’t think it was directly aimed at me. Although I do think there is some kind of equation amongst photographers – relating to the amount of fun they are having being directly linked to whether or not they are making any nice pictures.

For me, at this point, I don’t have much in my Winter Olympics folio - or, for that matter, even for this blog! I’m going to blame it on sleep deprivation, which has come with arriving in Sochi on a 4.00am flight and having approximately four hours of sleep in the last 48 hours. However, I press on... it’s still early days.

It’s not all glamour this sports photography lark, you know. Granted, it’s definitely preferable to having a proper job but, at an event like this, it is a huge logistical exercise: from that point when you arrive in the middle of the night and need to find your way to your hotel, which involves taking a cable car ride in the pitch black up a mountain, to getting yourself from one mountain venue to the next. But it could be a lot worse... I was told about one poor chap who, when he arrived at his hotel room, discovered a stray dog had taken up residence in it! Welcome to Sochi!

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Feb08

Let The Games Begin

By Bruce Bennett, Saturday February 8, 2014

The 400mm f/2.8 lens gave a direct view into the athletes. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The trek began at 3:30 in the afternoon and I was setting up my photo position by 4:15pm at the Fisht Stadium... all for a 7:00pm start time. The Opening Ceremony was last night and there were so many good photo ops that Getty Images posted over 1,100 images from the event. I was positioned straight across from…

The trek began at 3:30 in the afternoon and I was setting up my photo position by 4:15pm at the Fisht Stadium... all for a 7:00pm start time. The Opening Ceremony was last night and there were so many good photo ops that Getty Images posted over 1,100 images from the event. I was positioned straight across from where the athletes entered the stadium, so my vantage point meant that my task was to make sure I covered off every team... and especially the flag-bearers.

My main lens was a Canon 400mm f/2.8 on a 1D X body (usually shooting at 1/400th of a second, f/2.8 at ISO 2500). I also used a 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom for wider shots. For the theatrical part of the show the exposure varied greatly and many images were shot at ISO 4000 and higher. In addition to the hand-held cameras, I mounted a camera about six metres above me; a 16-35mm f/2.8 for full stadium shots (TV mode at -2/3rd of a stop to help with the mostly dark arena). That camera was triggered remotely. Afterwards I walked back and shot some photos with spectators and the Olympic cauldron and strolled back into our offices just before midnight. Thank goodness... the Games start today!

Although the arena was dimly lit for the theatrical effect, cranking the ISO up to 8000 or 12,800 allowed me to freeze the action. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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Feb08

Robotics and Flame on!

By Richard Heathcote, Saturday February 8, 2014

Robotic cameras installed high up in the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

So, as I mentioned in my last blog, we installed a robotically-controlled camera for the Opening Ceremony. We used robotics extensively at London in 2012, having 10 heads across the venues. For Sochi the requirements are much lower, down to most sports being outdoors and the lack of approval for installs by the…

So, as I mentioned in my last blog, we installed a robotically-controlled camera for the Opening Ceremony. We used robotics extensively at London in 2012, having 10 heads across the venues. For Sochi the requirements are much lower, down to most sports being outdoors and the lack of approval for installs by the building owners.

The camera I installed for the Opening Ceremony was hanging on a 12-metre truss with cameras from other agencies. Due to the wind and the nature of a swinging truss we had a gentlemen’s agreement to not move the heads around once framing was done. It sounds like a lot of equipment and effort for just one angle and a fixed remote but, as we knew nothing about the Opening Ceremony and pyrotechnics, you have to make the effort just in case it becomes the key shot from the show.

I triggered the robotic over the network, which gave me the ability to also shoot the ceremony on a mixture of lenses... depending on what was happening. I used a tilt-shift [lens] for when the teams walked out, and once the torch entered the arena I ran out to a spot on the concourse to capture the cauldron being lit. Finally, after being here for over two weeks, it's nice to get the flame on and start shooting medal races.

A general view of atmosphere during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Taken on a Canon 1D X with a 15mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Fireworks explode while the Olympic flame is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Taken on a Canon 1D X with a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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Feb07

Opening Night

By Adrian Dennis, Friday February 7, 2014

Independent Olympic Participants (IOP), alpine skier Himanshu Thakur (right), cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal (centre) and luger Shiva Keshavan (left), enter during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

Friday night found me at the Opening Ceremony. Meandering through the spectators I had a ticket for a high position... although lugging the assorted Canon goodies up several flights of stairs is never fun! Despite being a fan of using the minimal amount of equipment, I chose to take four camera bodies…

Friday night found me at the Opening Ceremony. Meandering through the spectators I had a ticket for a high position... although lugging the assorted Canon goodies up several flights of stairs is never fun! Despite being a fan of using the minimal amount of equipment, I chose to take four camera bodies. One I clamped to a rail and triggered with a PocketWizard. The others I juggled around in no particular order. I didn’t see the rehearsal, but I’ve done opening ceremonies before. Anything involving the Olympic Rings or the Olympic torch and flame is pretty important. My position was good, pretty central to the action, although me and two colleagues were located on a stairwell. I couldn’t count how many times I was nudged in the back, but everybody was in good spirit. No frayed tempers yet... even seen a few laughing policemen! So far, so good for me.

Artists perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb07

The Oasis

By Nic Bothma, Friday February 7, 2014

Staff from Canon Professional Services (CPS) hand out winter gloves to photographers. Canon Professional Services host a party at each Olympics where they gather all the Canon photographers together to connect, enjoy an evening and also to hand out gifts to the snappers who never say no to a freebie! It's also quite an honour to meet and talk with the creator of the EOS System and share a beer with an inventor of autofocus systems! © Nic Bothma/EPA

Photographers are nomads. We travel our minds and the globe. We are the ones who go to the back of a cave with a torch and come back to tell the rest of the tribe what we saw. Often we work alone and sometimes we meet at a great oasis. This time it's the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi for the…

Photographers are nomads. We travel our minds and the globe. We are the ones who go to the back of a cave with a torch and come back to tell the rest of the tribe what we saw. Often we work alone and sometimes we meet at a great oasis. This time it's the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games.

I have been here for 10 days prior to the opening ceremony, helping to set up our operation and preparations. As we work with technical, photographic and editorial structures we also have the opportunity to reunite with old friends, fellow photographers, editors, technicians, officials, photo venue managers, journalists, athletes etc. It's a time that's all about the people for me. A fantastic opportunity to reconnect and refuel the soul's connection to our brothers and sisters in this enormous collaboration.

So, this oasis often runs on vodka not water! There have been some issues with journalists and water in their rooms, and other problems, but for me these things do not overshadow the greatest gathering of sport professionals on all levels.

The organisation and infrastructure at these the most expensive games in history are staggering. $51 billion US can buy you some impressive hardware! Mostly everything is in place, except a few journalists' shower curtains and doorknobs but it's on!

Fasten your seat belts, put your chairs in an upright position, and prepare for take-off of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games!

Media representatives move through the Main Media Centre (MMC) at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 04 February 2014. During the Olympic Winter Games, from 7 to 23 February, the MMC will host 2,800 accredited written and photographic press and more than 6,000 television and radio broadcasters from around the world. These are the most expensive games ever at an estimated $51 billion US. © Nic Bothma/EPA

One of the greatest pleasures for me at the games is spending time with my friends and EPA colleagues from around the world, who I only get to see at big sports events. Pictured here are the acclaimed sports photographers Larry W. Smith from Wichita, USA, aka 'Dude' (left) and Srdjan Suki from Belgrade, Serbia, aka 'Boris the Blade' (right). © Nic Bothma/EPA

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Feb06

Configure Yourself

By Adrian Dennis, Thursday February 6, 2014

Ukraine's Julia Lavrentieva and Yuri Rudyk during the Figure Skating Team Pairs Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on 6 February 2014. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

At home! Well, not exactly. After a long day travelling to Sochi and checking in for the Winter Olympic Games the next morning was consumed configuring laptops and cameras. A good few hours were spent alongside AFP technicians - they input new server details to my cameras and laptop; technology rules these…

At home! Well, not exactly. After a long day travelling to Sochi and checking in for the Winter Olympic Games the next morning was consumed configuring laptops and cameras. A good few hours were spent alongside AFP technicians - they input new server details to my cameras and laptop; technology rules these days! My cameras were ready, now I need to shoot some photographs and give them a good test! It’s always a little bit worrying whether they are actually going to work when dispatched to my venue, but also because I know I’m going to have to change them all back to my original settings when I return to London. The technicians earn their money when they come to a big event like an Olympic Games.

Off to the Iceberg Skating Palace – the arena where I’ll spend most of my time. Figure and Speed Skating are on my menu at these Olympics... new territory for me! Previously I’ve shot the Snowboard and “Extreme Sports” at the Winter Games... so it’ll be a different experience. On the one hand, I can’t help but be a little disappointed not to be working with sunlight. The upshot is I won’t be covered by snow while freezing on a mountainside!

The Honour Guard prepares to raise the Spanish flag during the team welcome ceremony on 6 February 2014 prior to the start of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. © Adrian Dennis/AFP

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Feb06

Get set...

By Barbara Walton, Thursday February 6, 2014

Evgeny Plushenko of Russia, the veteran three-time Olympic medallist in Figure Skating, cuts circles into the ice during a practice session at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, 5 February 2014. Plushenko is facing off against the Olympic favourite; three-time World Figure Skating Champion Patrick Chan of Canada who has eyes on winning Canada its first gold in the Men's individual event. © Barbara Walton/EPA

My Canon cameras are in for a temperature shock: from steamy Bangkok, Thailand - where I am based for as regional Chief Photographer for South East Asia for European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) - to Sochi, Russia for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games with the EPA team.

My kit is two 1D X cameras, a 16-35mm, a 70-200mm…

My Canon cameras are in for a temperature shock: from steamy Bangkok, Thailand - where I am based for as regional Chief Photographer for South East Asia for European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) - to Sochi, Russia for the 22nd Winter Olympic Games with the EPA team.

My kit is two 1D X cameras, a 16-35mm, a 70-200mm, a 300mm and a 400mm, plus extenders, flashes etc. The first days show that the gear is coping better than I am with the temperature drop. There may be palm trees here, but it is no tropical paradise when you are used to the sweltering heat, and lack of facilities in our media accommodation (like running hot water in the room) makes the first hectic days settling in a little chilly!

I am shooting Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating. The new Team Figure Skating event is first up with the Men's and Pairs a night ahead of the opening ceremony.

Russian superstar, three-time Olympic medal-winning figure skater Evgeny Plushenko might be getting on in years for a skater at this level but he is still looking good in training, where I caught him with my favourite lens - the 400mm f/2.8 - carving some circles in the ice.

Evgeny Plushenko of Russia, the veteran three-time Olympic medallist in Figure Skating leaps over the ice during a practice session at the Iceberg Skating Palace at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, 5 February 2014. Plushenko is facing off against the Olympic favourite; three-time World Figure Skating Champion Patrick Chan of Canada who has eyes on winning Canada its first gold in the Men's individual event. © Barbara Walton/EPA

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Feb06

The road to Sochi

By Ryan Pierse, Thursday February 6, 2014

Staale Sandbech of Norway competes in the Men's Slopestyle Qualification during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Extreme Park on 6 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Many great lessons and experiences lie ahead for my first Winter Olympic Games. The Russian city of Sochi is ready and the snow-capped peaks rising above our base of Rosa Khutor provide a stunning backdrop that will be showcased to the world over the next two weeks.

My first week here has been spent…

Many great lessons and experiences lie ahead for my first Winter Olympic Games. The Russian city of Sochi is ready and the snow-capped peaks rising above our base of Rosa Khutor provide a stunning backdrop that will be showcased to the world over the next two weeks.

My first week here has been spent getting to know the venues and the photo managers... so I’m prepared to turn up on the day of each event and just shoot. I also managed to sneak in a quick ski up at the peak and thankfully emerged unscathed!

I will find myself moving around a lot to cover many different events, both up in the mountains and down on the coast, so I needed to be practical when packing my kit for the trip. Equipment-wise I chose the Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens combined with the Canon EOS-1D X. This is a super versatile long lens and, after giving it a good test run at the Australian Open Tennis last month, I’m confident with this as my main lens. In addition I packed some of my favourite wider options including the Canon 35mm f/1.4 and the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II.

First up is Snowboard Slopestyle and Moguls. The Slopestyle course has some huge jumps and already a number of athletes have withdrawn due to safety fears. What a course like this does however is make for great pictures. Here are a few taken so far...

A rider practices during training for Snowboard Slopestyle at the Extreme Park at Rosa Khutor Mountain on 3 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

A general view during training for Ski Slopestyle at the Extreme Park at Rosa Khutor Mountain on 3 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

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Feb06

Pack, unpack, re-pack and the search for previews

By Richard Heathcote, Thursday February 6, 2014

The Olympic Rings seen through water droplets. Taken with a Canon EOS-1D X with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and a Canon EF25 extension tube. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

I've travelled to Sochi a few times over the last few years to see progress, so I kind of knew what to expect, but this didn't stop me from packing far too much winter gear and rushing to re-pack everything the morning before flying out... it's amazing how much space packets of hand warmers and pairs of salopettes…

I've travelled to Sochi a few times over the last few years to see progress, so I kind of knew what to expect, but this didn't stop me from packing far too much winter gear and rushing to re-pack everything the morning before flying out... it's amazing how much space packets of hand warmers and pairs of salopettes take up. It will be my second Winter Games after covering the Sliding centre in Vancouver, this time I'm assigned to Cross-Country and Biathlon with fellow Getty photographer Harry How.

The main piece of long glass I've brought out is the 200-400mm, it's a lens I've had the opportunity to shoot with for a couple of years now and for moving around a Cross-Country course it will be invaluable.

One of the advantages of coming out early is to get some good preview shots, playing around a bit and experimenting with angles we won't get once competition starts; trying to find something different that will stand out.

With the Opening ceremony only hours away I will let you know about our robotic remote and show you the results in my next blog. Cheers, Richard.

Bags finally packed, 200-400mm camera backpack, Peli case full of remote stuff, boots and handwarmers, plus a big dufflebag of warm clothes. © Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

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Feb05

Back In The USSR (well nearly!)

By Ian MacNicol, Wednesday February 5, 2014

My kitbag! © Ian MacNicol/INPHO

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was blogging for CPN from the World Athletics in Moscow and now I am packing my thermals before heading to Russia again; this time to Sochi for the XXII Winter Olympics (that’s the 22nd Winter Olympics for the non-Latin amongst us). I’m trying to minimise the amount of kit…

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was blogging for CPN from the World Athletics in Moscow and now I am packing my thermals before heading to Russia again; this time to Sochi for the XXII Winter Olympics (that’s the 22nd Winter Olympics for the non-Latin amongst us). I’m trying to minimise the amount of kit I’m taking for several reasons. Firstly, I want to be pretty mobile and use a backpack for carrying my day-to-day kit up in the mountains – and my Peli Case doesn’t do that well in deep snow!

Secondly, I need all the room I can to bring my huge stash of hand and foot warmers (check out the photo above!). Once you get them out of the packet you vigorously rub them to get the chemical reaction to make the warmth – I have so many if the baggage handlers don’t treat my bag with care it may spontaneously combust!

I’m pretty sure if I leave anything behind kit-wise those lovely chaps at Canon will be on hand to help me out – I believe they are already there unpacking all the goodies.

Amongst my itinerary I’ll be shooting the Irish competitors for Inpho in Dublin and, with the four-hour time difference, I’ll really be up against it – good job Stephen [Heaney] runs one of the most efficient picture desks in the business. We really will need to bring our “A game” to get those pictures moving.

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Feb05

It's all in the planning...

By Clive Rose, Wednesday February 5, 2014

They're not kidding... © Clive Rose/Getty Images

In February 2012 I visited the ski resort of Rosa Khutor for the first time to cover the pre-Olympics alpine test event for Sochi 2014 having never stepped foot inside Russia before. With the area being an almost complete unknown to the World Cup skiing scene I was unsure of what to expect. What I found…

In February 2012 I visited the ski resort of Rosa Khutor for the first time to cover the pre-Olympics alpine test event for Sochi 2014 having never stepped foot inside Russia before. With the area being an almost complete unknown to the World Cup skiing scene I was unsure of what to expect. What I found was the beginnings of what would become one of the most impressive winter sports areas I’ve ever seen. Fast forward to February 2014 (time goes quickly in this line of work) and I’m pleased to report that the outcome hasn’t disappointed.

Covering Alpine Skiing events requires as much planning as you can achieve. I returned to Rosa Khutor a year later for another week or so to gain yet more experience, which I could pass on the Getty alpine team in 2014. It’s imperative to spend as much time on the course as possible to appreciate how, when and where the light falls on particular sections so you know where to be and when.

Skiing, of course, brings its own hazards too. People ask: “It must be a great job right?”; I retort “Not when you have to ski down a vertical ice sheet with over 30kgs of camera equipment on your back”. Unfortunately it's part of the process of understanding what is going to make a good action picture. On the flip side, when everything’s perfect, there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be.

The team checking out the course in the run-up to start of competition. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

A general view from the Men's Alpine Skiing course ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre, Mountain Cluster on 5 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Clive Rose/Getty Images

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Feb05

So... how exactly am I going to carry all that stuff?

By Bruce Bennett, Wednesday February 5, 2014

Members of the United States Women's Ice Hockey team leave a training session ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Olympic Park on 4 February 2014 in Sochi, Russia. © Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The ship set sail in November (literally) with a tonne of Getty Images' computers and miscellaneous equipment. So I tossed in a 32kg case of assorted photographic hardware including safety wires, clamps, wire, commemorative pins (for helpful volunteers) and pretty much anything else I wouldn't need for…

The ship set sail in November (literally) with a tonne of Getty Images' computers and miscellaneous equipment. So I tossed in a 32kg case of assorted photographic hardware including safety wires, clamps, wire, commemorative pins (for helpful volunteers) and pretty much anything else I wouldn't need for the following two months of National Hockey League Games coverage. This made it a bit easier to travel 'light' from New York through Moscow and on to Sochi with just 92kgs of luggage and carry-ons, including Canon cameras and lenses, radio remotes and, of course, a few pieces of clothing. Just 74 Euros in baggage fees and I was actually able to drag all that stuff. And better still, when I arrived at the Main Press Centre... my shipped case had made it there!

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Feb04

Postcards from Sochi

By Alessandro Trovati, Tuesday February 4, 2014

Sochi, Russia, 3 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

After a few days of acclimatisation, with fog and rain, the sun finally came out to make everything look spectacular. On Monday I climbed the highest mountain where the Alpine Skiing events will be held; it's a fantastic view and you could also see the Black Sea and the valley of Sochi.

Sochi, Russia, 3 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

Sochi, Russia, 3 February 2014. © Alessandro Trovati/Pentaphoto

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Photographers

  • Marc Aspland

    The Times
  • Bruce Bennett

    Getty Images
  • Nic Bothma

    EPA
  • Adrian Dennis

    AFP
  • Andrey Golovanov & Sergey Kivrin

  • Richard Heathcote

    Getty Images
  • Sergei Ilnitsky

    EPA
  • Ian MacNicol

    INPHO
  • Laci Perényi

    SportPhoto by Laci Perényi
  • Ryan Pierse

    Getty Images
  • Clive Rose

    Getty Images
  • Alessandro Trovati

    Pentaphoto
  • Barbara Walton

    EPA
  • How Hwee Young

    EPA