Yesterday, after the men's quarterfinal game, I was asked if I could shoot a team photo today by the Olympic rings, which is in the middle of the Olympic Park. I figured that they wanted me to photograph the women before their big game tonight. I sent an email to my contact at the team asking how we were going to get the shot with so many spectators taking their photos at this prime location. He said that the park should be fairly empty at this time, so we should be fine. So, I walked out to the Olympic rings before the designated time, and I see this!
As it turns out, a band came out and started to perform for a mob of people. Not only was the band playing, but they had street performers and other forms of entertainment. All of this drawing a huge crowd by the rings. As I walked around trying to figure out how we are going to do this, I see one of my contacts at USA Hockey. He and I start trying to figure out a plan. And as we are talking, he says "the guys are on their way." And I am thinking, "Holy crap! They are bringing the USA men's team out here with all these people??!!" And 2 minutes later, all of these NHL all stars show up. And the crowd goes crazy with people trying to get photos with the guys and people asking for autographs.
Meanwhile I am trying to get all the guys in place and all the spectators out of my way. Have you ever tried moving hundreds of people who don't want to move (because they are trying to get their own photos), and people who don't speak your language?
I had to be really forceful to try and get everyone to spread out, to get a clear shot of the guys. I felt bad for all the people trying to get a photo, and I got a lot of dirty looks from the people I would push out of the way.
And then...once we had the shot, they asked all the family members of the players to join in on the photo. This caused another problem because there were many people trying to join in, and I didn't know who belonged and who didn't. I heard one person say "we think of ourselves as family, does that count?"
After I got my shots, they quickly escorted the guys out of the general area and we went under the Bolshoy Arena. I have to admit that I was shaking a little afterwards. This was a lot of pressure on a poor little photographer like me.
The funny thing is...the guys from "NHL Revealed" were there capturing video, and I was trying to stay out of their way. Then the camera man says, "No, we are doing a piece on you taking the photo, and we want you in the shot". It will be on the air on NBC next Thursday. I am sure that I will come across as the really demanding American who is pushing the Russians out of the way. :)