Friday, February 26, 2010

Day ??

Lost track of time, but I think I left off somewhere around Tues. Monday was really slow and I caught up with editing, emails, etc. Bought a few things for my daughters. That kind of stuff. Visited the Weasel House tent where local ski course workers, known as "Weasels" get together for beer and food and story telling every afternoon after the racing is done. They got their name from years of working the "Weasel" turn on the downhill course. Now all the course workers known as the "Weasels". See NYT story here:

Pictured here is Weasel exec Cindy Burton, NYT reporter John Branch, and NYT photographer Doug Mills.

Tues morning was crammed full of nordic, team nordic combined and ladies biathlon, or as I call it, chics on skis with guns. On the way up, my host Eric Frappier had built this carving house for the local Squamish Indians to show how they carve totem poles. This was my "assignment" for my most generous host to thank him for all he has helped me with.

First stop was nordic team jumping. I shot the first practice jump from the stairs. This photo of the landing area workers shows how steep the hill is.

Then shot the real jump from a profile angle with a little pan blur. Caught these two USA jumpers in flight.

Headed to the biathlon course next door, a short hike away. The event was under way. Team relay event were each competitor cross country races around the course, the shoots prone from 50 meters at a silver dollar size target, ski the course, then shoot standing at a target the size of a small burger. Most good shooters nail each one in about 20 secs. The crowd cheers each time the shooter hits the target. It was a really cool event and the first time I've seen it.

After the event there was a group of students from Dartmouth in body paint and bikinis. Funny picture. They said that more winter Olympic athletes from from Dartmouth than any other college in the US.

Then off to another course another short hike away for the final cross country race of nordic combined. I had shot here before and just went to the same shooting positions. The USA and Austria exchanged first and second place throughout the race. Each competitor does two laps around the course.

It really looked like the USA was going to gold medal, but the Austrians were just too strong in the cross country.

I had photographed Todd Lodwick in Chicago last year at the USOC media summit and he was a great guy. Had his little girl waiting with mom in the stands. Congrats to the US guys for the historic silver medal!

Ended the day with a quite walk in the woods back to the shuttle bus with this cute Japanese couple.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Few words of thanks!

No particular order and I hope I don't forget anyone.

Thanks to Canon and CPS for their support at the Olympic Games. Thanks Bob Malish for your support! Jim Vail and crew have taken really good care of all shooters here in Whistler. Repairs and loans have been a blessing. The new Mark IV worth every penny.

Thanks to Jennifer Mull at Backwoods in Austin, TX for her support. The new Icebreaker underwear is amazing! Wade was right. You can wear this stuff for days without washing and it doesn't stink. I can attest!!! Look forward to my presentation upon my return. So much happens behind the scenes here to get the pictures you see.

Thanks to Jen Brown at Beaver Creek Resort, Mary Helyn Kirwan at Telluride, and Mike Hess at The Peaks Resort in Telluride for you support of my trip through Colorado shooting World Cup events! You guys have a great selection of Olympic photos coming your way when I get home!

Thanks to my good friend Doug Mills from the New York Times for his sofa in Whistler. Always great working with you amigo!

Thanks to Corbis Images for pushing my images out there around the world.

Thanks to Competitive Cameras in Dallas, TX for getting me all those last minute "things" (including that Mark IV) before heading to Canada.

Thanks to my good friend Tim Osburn, my Texas Water Safari team captain and workout partner, who is getting ready for the "World's Toughest Footrace" in the Sahara Desert!

Congratulations to my good friend Elizabeth Kruetz for winning 1st place sports stories in World Press Photo for her Lance Armstrong images. Way to go Liz!!! We all miss you here in Whistler!

Last but not least, thanks to my host Eric Frappier for his hospitality and humor. It's keeps me going and laughing for sure!

To all my family back home, love you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 10, Men's combined and two-man bobsled

Again, too tired to write much. Checked out the downhill course and felt like shooting higher on the course nearer to the start. The morning light hit the "Love Shack" jump just as the hot skiers took off.

Most all wire and some agency photogs bring their laptop with them up on the mountain and file pictures right after taking them. Some are tethered directly to a wireless device that sends the image directly to an editor as the picture is being taken. Crazy!

Had gone to two-man bobsled yesterday and found some cool angles to shoot at dusk. Right about 5:55pm the light is balance between the track lighting and the light in the dusk sky. It's one of my favorites now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 9, Long hill ski jump

Getting behind on the posts, sorry. Corbis wanted some pics of Polish jumpers so perfect excuse to get off the mountain for a change of pace. Got there early to exchange by green Photo armband for a silver Pool armband and shoot from under the jump take off.

I blew off the remote shooting up toward the jumpers with rings for the scenic shot with mountains. Like the angle much better.
Timing is critical but you get it down pretty quickly.

Then moved down the stairs for the second round of jumps for a head on shot once the sun came out. Made for nice sidelight and ounce off the snow of the landing hill. The Japanese guy looked pretty cool. The Japanese used to rule this event. Now looks like the Austrians do.

This cool judges house, I think they call it the birdhouse looks funny with the windows and the guys heads sticking out.

A local high school band drumline made for some good entertainment after the jumping was finished.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 8, Women's Super Combined

I'm very tired so won't get into too much writing. Got midnight bus out of snowboard halfpipe last night, putting me at the MPC at 1:15am. Next bus to Whistler left at 3am. I was pissed and tired so laid down on the sidewalk. Bus person woke me up when the bus arrived (I couldn't really sleep due to all the noise and talking). Slept during the two hour ride to Whistler. Went into media center and then over to Doug's condo to sleep another 30 min. We got up at 6am and were on the top of the lift at 7am. Sun had not risen yet. Went to start house and shot laying down by the time clock and OBS camera of skiers breaking out of the start gate. Anyway, here are some of the pics. I'm going to get some rest!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 7, Vonn and White

Big long day today. Two of the hype stars of the Olympics competed and performed as expected. Beautiful day on the mountain, sunny and cold. Hiked up from the finish to the bottom of "Hot Air" for a clean jump action of Vonn.

Lots of crashes at the jump, but I was too tight with the 600mm to follow them down. The crashes looked great from the finish, but what are you going to do! Lindsey came by and blew the competition away.

Lindsey and Julia Mancuso did gold and silver respectively. Mancuso did a cute little dance on the podium during the flower ceremony.

I stuck around until Lindsey finished all her interviews and got her with excited fans. The monkey is off her back and I expect her to do more of the same.

Ladies' combined tomorrow with 9:30am start for the downhill portiion. Meaning I won't get much sleep since I am writing this at Cypress Mountain and still have three hours before I get to Whistler!

The media coordinated a special direct shuttle from Whistler to Cypress Mountain. Still took two hours, most of which I was sleeping! Still had my ski boots on from the women's downhill. Thought I'd be able to hike up the side of the halfpipe with crampons. I was told, however, that photographers on the sides must have been in place since 11:30am! It was 5pm. All those guys had not moved since then. I happily exchanged my ski boots and crampons for more comfortable hiking boots and shot from the bottom with a 600mm and 70-200 for jubo.

Thira, my daughter called me just before the men went off. It's her 10th birthday today! She sounded great and has been super busy with school and friends since I've been gone. Her bday party is Sunday after a Girl Scout function. I love that little girl so much!
Anyway, it's 1am and I still have a three hour shuttle bus back to the MPC and Whistler so here are a few more pics and I'm outta here.

Day 6, Ladies' SBX

Sorry for the blog delay. Too much ground to cover. Made it down to Cypress Mountain with Doug Mills. Tough morning. We got to the hill in thick fog, only to be turned back due to wrong parking pass. No way around it, we headed to the MPC in town and caught a bus back up to where we had just been. Took three hours to make the one and half trip.

SBX and the halfpipe are right next to each other. Both requiring a herculean hike up countless stairs with the spectators to the stands and finish area. Cool Olympic rings made for a good pic with boarders flying through the air in front.

Lots of US and Canadian fans in the stands.

A dreadlock French dude from Eurosport made for a funny portrait.

Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones having a bad day. Gold medal favorite Lindsey Jacobellis blew a landing and went off course in her semifinal run and finished last in the heat, not even making the finals.

Maelle Ricker of Canada wins gold.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 5, Lindsey Vonn

Immediately after the 30th men's downhiller went by, Doug and I packed our gear and hiked over to the women's course to shoot training. We skied down to "Hot Air" jump right above the finish. I had checked it out the day of the first training run that was cancelled. Shot Lindsey catching air, but something didn't look right.

Later in the mixed zone she commented to the media that it was too painful to "tuck" on the jumps. We hiked down to the finish and caught her talking to reporters.

She walked off with her husband and we wonder if she will compete or not. If the weather pushes back the runs, she may have a chance.