Day 12 – Bode Out, Janko In

Bode Miller of the USA loses control and misses a gate to get disqualified during the Men’s Giant Slalom at the Whistler Creekside during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 23, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle) 

Carlo Janko of Switzerland skis to win the gold medal during the Men’s Giant Slalom at the Whistler Creekside during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 23, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

Whenever you’re walking out the door and it’s still dark, cold, and don’t have coffee or breakie in the belly you know it’s an early morning. That’s how the day begun.

After 10 minute drive in a car packed to the gills with photographers and gear, we were at Creekside Whistler, the home of all the Alpine events at the Winter Olympics. Today was going to be an exciting event with the technically challenging Men’s Giant Slalom. Equally challenging would be to slip down the icy course with newly tuned skis and 60lbs of gear on my back.  

Skiing Photographers prepare themselves for the competitors with their long telephoto lenses and crampons.  (Photo by Donald Miralle)

Dow Travers of CAY competes during the Men’s Giant Slalom at the Whistler Creekside  (Photo by Donald Miralle)

After slipping down the course and watching a couple other photographer friends take headers and slide down the course, we negotiated a what seemed to be a good area to park and shoot a gate. Other than the physical challenge involved in ski racing photography, the same rules of photography apply. You look for clean backgrounds to shoot against, a peak action spot where the athlete is in a dynamic position, and most importantly a place where you can park it where you are not in the fall line of the athletes. After an hour to scope it out, I took off my skis, placed my crampons on so I could safely walk on the icy slope and walked up the hill to a steep pitch. I parked my heavy pack on the side of a steep hill and attached it to the catch fencing with a carbineer; and parked it at the spot where I was to shoot about an hour later.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia competes during the Men’s Giant Slalom at the Whistler Creekside during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics on February 23, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Donald Miralle) 

After a couple of cliff bars and activation on my harm warmers, I pulled out my long glass and camera and prepared to shoot the Men’s Giant Slalom. Since the most of the best shots in ski racing are shot at crests of mountains, they are usually blind turns and you have to be ready or have someone in your group who is aware of the intervals (which vary throughout session from 1:30, :45, ect) or even someone who has a timer. Usually if you park yourself next to one of the boys from Agency ZOOM, a French sports photography group that specializes in winter sports, you are in good shape.

Stepan Zuev of Russia #57 loses his edge during the Men’s Giant Slalom at the Whistler Creekside

Fortunately for me and unfortunately for Bode Miller, myself and about 25 other photogs where at the part of the hill that he missed the gate. It was an unfortunate turn of events for him, and Carlo Janko capitalized on both his runs and came through with the big gold in the event. 

Getty Senior Staff Photographer and lead photographer for the Whistler Alpine Venue, Doug Pensinger tries to stay warm and contain his joy on course. (Photo by Donald Miralle)

It was a fun but cold day, that ended in snow flurries and rain,which was hard after over a week of beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying in B.C. I know that’s not normal this time of year but I guess the gods on Mount Olympus where looking over the Vancouver Games and hooked us up with good weather. It looks like it’s going to be mostly snow or rain form here on out, so it might be a good time to switch over to alot of the arena events in Vancouver from here on out. Going o pack the bags once again and prepare for the Speedskating tomorrow, the Women’s Ice Skating Long Program and Women’s Ice Hockey Medal Matches on Thursday which should all be good. Thanks for looking and reading, your comments keep me going and I am so stoked that you all can share the Olympics experience with me. Only four more days left!!!!

 

Comments

  1. Hang in there, Don. only a few more days to go!

  2. Don, I love the photog’s-eye view of the Olympics 🙂 And that’s a great shot (duh!) of the pole bending as Ivica pushes past.

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