Wednesday, January 31, 2018

This could be one of the coldest Winter Olympics ever! - How I am planning for that.

When most people ask me about my planning process and packing for the Olympics, they are almost always asking me about my camera equipment. But this year, with chilling temperatures in PyeongChang, this California guy is facing a big challenge.

Other than periodical trips to the Sierras for the holidays, the coldest weather I have to deal with is somewhere in the 40F range. you can see from the screen shot above, this Olympics in PyeongChang is going to be REALLY cold. They say it will be one of the coldest winter Olympics in history.

Here are what I believe will be my big challenges:

* At this Olympics, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are going to be outside. And us photographers have to be inside the arena at least 4 hours before the ceremonies start. Combine that with the 4 hour long festivities, and you realize that we are sitting in one place for 8 hours in this really cold weather.

* Even though I will be photographing many indoor events (hockey, figure skating, speed skating, curling...) I will also be outside for long periods of time to capture images up in the mountains (ski jumping, biathlon, cross country, bobsled...)

* Cold weather will typically decrease battery life, so I will have to carry extra batteries for my cameras and other accessories.

* I have a lot of clothing to keep my body warm, and feel that my current photography gloves (with exposable finger tips) will not be heavy enough to keep my hands warm. I just ordered the heavy duty shooting gloves from Freehands. These are their ski / snowboard gloves but also have the removable fingers.

With that in mind (and hoping to keep myself from becoming a frozen photographer), I have been out shopping for the last month.

Here is what I am bringing to help me stay warm while photographing the Olympics:

* Numerous pairs of heavy outer pants
* Long underwear (pants and shirts)
* Smart wool clothing to help regulate my body temperature
* A heavy weight jacket
* A lighter weight jacket
* Snow boots
* Wool socks
* Numerous hats (smart wool and others)
* A box of hand warmers
* A face mask
* 2 pair or photographer's gloves (light and heavy)
* Crampons for shoe traction in the heavier snow areas (required for some shooting positions)
* Moleskin in case I get blisters on my feet (which happened in Sochi)

The good news is that, for the first time I can remember, there will be washer and dryers for use in each building. And there is no charge for this. So I am also bringing some packages of detergent so that I can do my wash over there. This should be way easier than washing my clothes in a bathtub or sink like I have done in the past.

Here is the ironic thing...I am writing this blog while still in Northern California (wearing a t-shirt and shorts) where the average temperature is currently 70 during the day. Next week will be a huge change for me.

But after years of planning, I am ready to get to Korea and start capturing the action! My flight leaves in 5 days.

Before I leave, I will also post a blog showing the photographic equipment I am taking with me to Korea. Stay tuned!

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