Saturday, February 24, 2018

A visit to the Olympic Plaza (and a funny story)

About a week ago, I had some free day with no hockey games happening for Team USA. I woke up in the morning and decided that, instead of shooting more Olympic sports, I would get out and see something other than sporting events. And I did promise you all that I would give you a behind-the-scenes view of the Olympics, so it only seemed right to do this.

I have to admit, I did second guess myself when I woke up. There were so many sporting events happening on this day...but I decided to make a visit to the Olympic Plaza and it's surroundings. When I had visited the police station on my second day, I had seen some really cool snow and ice sculptures, but was way too stressed out to stop and take photos. Today I was determined to go back and check it out.

I packed up my Canon 1D X MKII camera and just two lenses. The Canon 24-70mm lens and a Canon 100-400mm lens. I figured I would be using the wide lens for most everything (which I did), but also wanted the long zoom in case I needed the reach. I got on the press bus heading up to the Main Press Center, since this was the first of two bus rides to get to the plaza. The bus was really full so I found one of the few remaining seats. I sat down next to this nice young girl who said hello and introduced herself as Annice. I asked her what she was doing here, and she told me that she was a photographer covering ice skating for their one athlete from Malaysia. She then asked me what I was doing here and I told her I was photographing for Team USA and USA Hockey. She then turned to me and said "Oh my gosh - you are Jeff Cable." It turns out that this is her first Olympics and she got credentials at the last minute. She had no idea how to plan for shooting the Games, and found my blog. She told me that my blog posts became her bible for her Olympic trip. That was really cool to hear.

Anyways...long story short, I told her I was going to take photos at the Olympic Plaza, and she asked if she could come too. This 25 year old girl totally impressed me with her stories and I was more than happy to have her come along.

So off we went, onto the second bus and towards the plaza.

Before we made it to the Olympic Plaza, I really wanted to check out the snow and ice sculptures. The area you are seeing here is a frozen river and this photo was taken from one of the bridges over that river.

You can see just how big these sculptures are.

This photo shows you the same frozen river, but taken from the other side of the same bridge.

They had these performers dancing on this makeshift stage.

As we walked past the "stage" I saw these ladies waiting to perform. I asked them if they would pose for me, and they did.

And then I got the whole group together and got this shot. Annice was right behind me to take advantage of the opportunity. Smart kid.

I saw this mother taking photos of her kids and had to grab a shot of that. It turns out that they are Americans here for the Olympics.

They fit so perfectly in the cut outs.

I took some photos of Annice, so that I could send them to her later. You know that us photographers never get photos of ourselves. And being her first Olympics, this was a really special time for her.

She, in turn, took some photos of me and sent them to me.

I saw these guys making repairs to this Pinocchio sculpture, with them obviously trying to keep this exhibit alive for a while longer.

This snow Temple was amazingly large and cool!

We saw this cute Korean boy playing in one of the snow windows and I had to take this photo. He is just too darned cute.

At this point, it was 2pm and I suggested that we go get something to eat. But as we were leaving, Annice asked if we could check out this Ice Cafe before lunch, and I was good with that. And thank goodness she wanted to do that.

We walked through a narrow snow entry and walked into this! It was literally an ice cafe with all the tables, chairs, bar, and everything made of ice. It was amazing. And all of this right under the overpass of the bridge.

Even the lighting under here was interesting.

This dragon ran the entire length of the ice cafe.

We asked someone to take a photo of these two new friends.

After we had a nice lunch, we walked over to the Olympic Plaza. I saw this volunteer girl wearing the Olympic Ring glasses and asked if I could take a photo of her. I moved her in front of the circle of flags and grabbed some shots. I showed them to Annice, who ran back and got some shots of her own. (Some people might not like someone shooting the same images as they took, but I like that fact that Annice is not afraid to shoot what she likes. And she was learning to pose people, and I saw it as a way to teach her. I was not offended at all.)

This is the stage area where most of the medal ceremonies are performed.

I really like the artwork in the plaza. I had seen this piece once before, on the day of Opening Ceremonies. And I will be back there tonight for the Closing Ceremonies.

There is a walkway that goes from the plaza up to the Olympic Stadium. We walked there to get some photos of the Olympic Flame.

At this point it was closing in on 5pm and I saw the sun making it's way towards the horizon. I walked around to the far side of the flame and positioned myself so that the sun would just be peaking out from the side of the flame. I rolled the aperture of my Canon 1D X MKII to f/16, to get a little bit of starburst off of the sun, and grabbed this silhouette shot. My goal was to get the sun and the flame properly exposed and let everything else go dark.

At that point, Annice and I made our way back to the Main Press Center, since I had an event to shoot that evening. We had a really fun day. Not only for the chance to see some of the public areas of the Olympics, but to meet a new friend.

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1 comment:

MontanaImages said...

It’s my third or fourth Olympics that I have enjoyed your blog, and this story reinforces to me that you are the generous soul you seem to be. Kudos to you and thanks very much!