Taking Off in Sochi – Don’t Try This at Home

And on the 14th day, he rested – but not really.  I took most of the day yesterday off which meant that I stayed in the apartment editing.  The weather was still socked in with the cloud line just above the Mountain Cluster Hotels. Biathlon was delayed until the afternoon, pending possible reschedule and the Snowboard Cross was reschedule for today.

By the time there was a sign of things clearing I had two choices, Men’s Aerials Skiing or 2 Man Bobsleigh.  Since this was my only chance to shoot Aerials, I headed up to the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.  Short bus from the Apartment to the Cableway and then a ride up.

I was lucky enough to tag on to a young Chinese photographer Huang who with his pretty fair English skills and my two remaining Chinese words left over from the 2007 Women’s World Cup (hello and thank you), helped me through the maze to the venue media center.

After mentioning it had been my birthday, Huang asked my age, which I proudly told him and in true Asian tradition, with great respect he offered to help carry my gear. I declined.

I am not kidding there were at least 500 steps down from the Cableway to the park. Not such a big deal going down, but I was sort of dreading going back up after the event.

I made my way to the photo position and I had absolutely no idea how to shoot this thing.  During the practice runs, the skiers would come off of 1 of 4 jump points without warning. I  was using my 400 mm lens on a monopod (because no one hand holds a 400, right?). I had lots of shots of nothing and a couple of shots of them smashing into the snow for a landing.

When the competition began, I was able to watch the start on the large screen TV count to 5 and then know they would hit the lip of the ramp.  The only way to shoot it was to hand hold the 400!

For a couple skiers I went back to using my 70-200 just to show some context of what they are really doing up there.

Remember – DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

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After the 2 qualifying rounds, I packed up and left. I found out that I could avoid the 500 steps, which post event looked more like 1,200, by taking the media transport bus back to the Mountain Media Center and then a bus right to my apartment door! It took probably 30 minutes longer to get back than it did to get there, but my guess is that if I had to walk up the stairs with my gear, I might have come out ahead on time with the bus anyway. I might be old, but I am not stupid. This Olympic media thing is about pacing!

It’s raining in the Mountain Cluster this morning and we all hope it is snowing up on the mountain.  I am heading down to the coast to shoot a bit of skating and if the weather clears see a bit of the park.

More soon –

Paul

6 thoughts on “Taking Off in Sochi – Don’t Try This at Home

  1. Thanks again. Am getting blog now. Enjoying it. Get in place for USA hockey, a must! Lol we have more snow here than you probably have. Keep living the dream! And posting!

  2. Well, I will still enjoy your shots. See it’s raining there now. I am watching hockey now, c& vs sake. Chezks winning 3-0.
    When I have time am looking at some of your older blogs. It’s fun as I like photography also, but even though I retired, it’s in my heart and love seeing great work like yours! You are gifted! Keep up good work, and enjoy for us back home too!
    Looking forward to next shots.

  3. Thank you so much for sharon your talent with us Paul. Your photography is truly breathtaking. I can’t imagine seeing the 2014 Sochi Olympics in person. I feel like I’m right there through viewing your pics. The mind, body, spirit and athleticism of these extraordinary athletes is so beautifully displayed in your work. Thank you.

  4. Love all the shots! Your work is amazing. Living vicariously through you. Must be exciting, exhilerating and exhausting all wrapped up together. Your accommodations look really good. Drink it all in for us at home.
    Mary

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