Sunday, February 18, 2018

Guess what was found???

I got back to my apartment around 1am two nights ago and there was a envelope taped to my door. It was from the housing department telling me that someone had found the notorious green sleeve in the media village (where it was lost) and turned it in. They returned it to the transportation desk, so it took some time to find it's way back to me. But, alas, here it is!


So now I have two sleeves. The old sleeve number has already been black-listed in the system, but it is still nice to have it back. Another Olympic souvenir, and this one has one hell of a story with it!

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Olympic Curling - Stones, Brooms and Ice

As an American, I am not very in tune with curling, but I usually end up photographing this sport every two years at the Olympic Games. The other day I photographed a hockey game for Team USA in the afternoon and then had time in the evening to cover another sport. Since the curling venue is close to where I am staying and I wanted to shoot this sport for a little bit, it made sense to head over there for an hour of shooting.

I started shooting the curling with my Canon 1D X MK II on the floor of the venue, using the Canon 70-200mm lens.


This time I actually started shooting with a slow shutter and panning with the curlers.  Knowing that this sport is slower, I felt that it needed the motion blur to keep the images interesting.


Since these guys are not moving very fast, I shot these images at 1/10 sec to create the necessary blur.


I did move to a faster shutter speed to get your run of the mill curling shots.




But soon after, I went back to the slower shutter speed. I decided to zoom in all the way to 200mm to try and isolate the curling stone and just the lower extremities of the mens.


After 30 minutes of shooting on the floor (or what they call the "Field of Play"), I decided to walk up into the stands and shoot from the bleachers. I even slowed the shutter a little more, this time to 1/5 sec.




After I got those shots, I wanted to give this an even more creative flair.


I turned the camera and shot the rest of the photos at an angle.


I was at the venue for an hour or so before I went back down to the floor to where I left my gear,  to pack up. While down there, I decided to try the off-angle shot from down low, and I captured my favorite image of the night.

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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The quest for just ONE image!

The weather was not too bad the other night, and I saw that there were practice runs at the Ski Jump venue.  I decided that this would be a great time to get shots of the ski jumpers. This meant that there would be no crowds to deal with and very few photographers in the photo positions. I bundled up, grabbed my Canon 1D X MK II and Canon 200-400mm lens and headed up to the mountain.


I got the venue about 30 minutes before the practice started and decided to shoot a couple of wide shots to show you what the area looks like.

I found out that they have a monorail that takes us most of the way up the jump. In Sochi, we had to climb our way up.


My first shots were pretty cool, getting close-ups of the jumpers mid air.


I liked shooting these and getting the different colored outfits and visors against the black sky.


After getting numerous close-up photos, and knowing that every photographer could get these shots, I moved on.


I decided to move down the steps to see if I could get something better. I took some landing shots, but still was not feeling it. I wanted something really different and good!


I did notice that, when shooting from this lower position and zooming in on some of the images, some of the jumpers wore visors that reflected the Olympic Rings from below. That was cool, but STILL not good enough.


I walked all the way down to the bottom of the jump and used the long reach of the Canon 200-400mm lens to frame this shot with the Alpensia ski jump tower in the background.


I shot both vertical and horizontal shots...


...some tighter and some a little wider. I really liked these photos but still was wanting more!


Using the built-in teleconverter on the Canon 200-400mm lens, I zoomed in tight on the jumpers as they flew over the Olympic rings.


I framed them over and under the rings.


I also noticed that, as the ski jumpers were just about to land, there were cool shadows being cast from the many lights above. I took a bunch of these landing shots for the collection.

Seeing the jumpers flying over the rings, I knew the killer shot that I wanted!!


I changed the camera to shutter priority and changed the settings to ISO 160 and a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. And yes, once again I tried panning with the athletes. I started with them landing to determine the optimum shutter speed.

I tried panning with my Gitzo monopod attached to the massive zoom lens (since the camera and lens weighs more than 10 pounds combined), but I found that the monopod was too restrictive for what I wanted to do. I removed it and shot handheld the rest of the time. Holding all that gear as steady as I could jump after jump. Yeah - my back was aching, but I REALLY wanted my shot.


When shooting at 560mm at 1/60 sec, 90% of the shots are throw aways. This one looked pretty good in the camera, but when zoomed in, it was not sharp.


This is a crop of the same shot, and you can see how soft the jumper is.


I got this shot, and it was tack sharp, but I didn't like the color of his suit against the rings. Time to keep trying.


Another keeper, but his wight helmet blended in with the snow too much.


This photo was perfectly sharp, but the placement was all wrong.


I like this one a lot, but it still is not what I wanted.

I decided to push things even more. I changed the shutter speed to 1/40 sec and kept panning with the jumpers. My back was saying "no more!" and my head was saying "you can do this!"

And then... BAM!


The jumper was right in between the rings, wearing the right colors and helmet and I got my shot!


Here is a tight crop of the same image to show you the clarity of the athlete.

I ended up shooting more than 1000 photos (with the safe shots and the motion pans) and did so, all to get this one photo. It was one of the tougher photos I have ever taken, but worth the effort for sure.

Now, when you see this image, you will know what it took to get just one photo.

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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
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Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world.
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Friday, February 16, 2018

Two hockey games from the men of Team USA

Yikes!!! I am falling behind in my blogging. I am shooting so much and trying to find time to write all the blog posts. But alas, I am going to post my favorite images from the last two men's hockey games from Team USA in this one post.

US vs Slovenia


When I present on sports photography, I always say that it is important to capture the action AND the reaction. When I am shooting sports like hockey, I am always thankful when my team scores on my side of the ice and celebrate in front of me. This was the first of two goals for the US, who lead 2 to 0 going into the final period.


A one timer that missed wide of the net.


Thankfully, our defenseman knocked this puck out of the way before the Slovenian player could put it in the net.


Having the puck in the frame really help solidify the image as a keeper...



As you can see from the dejection in this image, Team USA gave up two goals in the third period and then lost in the first minute of overtime. It was a tough loss for the team. My job is to tell the story, good or bad, and so I took this photo.


I also go into the "Mix Zone" after each game to grab some photos of the players being interviewed. Needless to say, the guys were not in the best mood, but I hoped that it would fire them up for the next game.


US vs Slovakia


Tonight's game was another really good one, and this time with a better outcome.


Ryan Donato scores his first of two goals, this one in the first period. And once again I was happy that he scored it on my side of the ice and I caught the celebration.


Tbere was a wide open net for a split second but Mark Arcobello couldn't put it home before the Slovakian defense poked it away.


This was my favorite photo from the game and another favorite from this Olympics so far. There was this huge scrum in front of the net and I saw the ref jump up onto the net to see if the puck crossed the goal line. It was a classic moment, and thankfully I captured it in focus through the plexiglass. And after some research I did get the ref's email address and have sent him the full-res image for him to keep.


A close up shot of Ryan Zapolski during a stoppage in play.


A great stop by Ryan in front of his net.


And yet another great stop.


This game was a lot more physical than the last one. There were no fights (which are very rare at the Olympics) but it was chippy for sure.


This was taken a second or two before Ryan Donato scored his second goal of the night. He went from backhand to forehand to score five hole on the goalie. I was shooting, but there was a defender in between him and myself, so it was not a great shot.


But I did get the celebration again.


And this time the ending was much happier for Team USA.


And the US fans were loving it too.


Then I was back in the Mix Zone to get more photos of the player interviews. There were more smiles this time around.

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Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
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If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
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Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world.
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