Even though I showed up late for the competition, I was happy to be able to obtain an ice level shooting position, so I could photograph the skaters up close. The first performance was upbeat and comical.
Yah, there were no body checks to be seen, but these skaters had lots of skill and grace.
The next skaters were the Shibutani couple and they performed to Michael Jackson songs.
It seemed like they were having fun out there on the ice.
Next up was Madison Chock and Evan Bates, from the United States. I used my Canon 1DX with the 70-200mm lens to try and get s close to them as possible. Normally I would have opted for a longer lens, but since I had just come from hockey, and did not have time to go back to the main press center to get my 200-400mm lens, I just used the 70-200mm. This worked out well, since the 70-200mm is easy to handhold , giving me the flexibility to move freely. Since so many people are asking me for the camera settings...here you go. I was shooting in manual mode at ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/800 sec. The lighting is very good at Olympic venues, and that makes life easier.
They had great expressions and did a very nice job, but not medal worthy.
Notice the empty seats in the background. This has been an issue here in Sochi and many of the venues (just like London) are not sold out. As a photographer, this is really bad, because we would prefer to have big crowds in the background, not vacant seats.
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, from France, performed their routine dressed in these wild colors.
As I mentioned, I was shooting photos from right next to the ice. When they made this move fairly close to me, I knew that there was no way I could frame it with the 70-200mm lens. So. I zoomed all the way out, twisted the camera, and framed the shot this way. Something different - always my goal!
Again, using the Olympic rings as a background feature here.
The Canadian's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir then took the ice and really enchanted the crowd.
I am not sure if it was part of the routine, or just their presence on the ice, but they seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves out there. I just loved the way that Tessa smiled throughout the performance.
As I photographed this couple, I kept wondering if this same positive energy would come across on television. There was something really special about these two, and the crowd in the arena felt that.
As you can tell, I was constantly changing the position of the camera. Sometimes shooting in landscape mode and other times in portrait mode. As a photographer, it is important to be able to react quickly. Honestly, the best way to shoot a routine like this, would be to have seen it many times and know when the key moments would happen. I don't have that luxury, since I am not an ice dance photographer.
The Russian couple of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov then took the ice in front of their home crowd and really enchanted everyone. And the camera just loves them. Look at these images as compared to the first couple of sets. Do you see the difference?
They performed a flawless performance.
I was happy that they performed this part of the routine in front of the Olympic rings (at least from where I was positioned).
When their performance was over, they were overjoyed. Tessa even cried.
It truly was a special moment. And even to someone like myself who knows little to nothing about ice dancing, knew that they had performed above their expectations.
This was another Russian pair of skaters, who proved to be more flexible than the others.
And then, the last performance was from the American's, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Much like the Russian's, they performed extremely well.
Heck - I am just jealous about all of his hair!
I love all the lifts, which make for really nice photos.
And then, the competition was over and everyone waited for the final score.
The Canadians knew that they had medaled, and were just thrilled to be in that position. They happened to be right by me at this point, so I quickly changed the camera from manual mode to aperture priority and fired off this shot.
Charlie White congratulating the silver medal winners.
Here are the Russian's overwhelmed with this experience.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White celebrating their gold medal performance, skating around the rink with the American flag.
Then they came over to those of us photographers who had congregated in one area, and gave us this photo opp.
The Russian's did the same.
This last shot was taken after all the ceremonies were over. I was packing up to leave, when I saw this. She was still on the ice, when she looked over and saw someone she knew. She just had this look about her, and I quickly took this photo. This is an Olympic moment!