Friday, February 16, 2018

Skeleton: Crazy women on their stomachs sliding at 85mph

I finally had a chance to visit the Olympic Sliding Center, to watch the women Skeleton. This venue is only minutes from the Main Press Center, but my schedule has not allowed me to get there when there was anything going on. Until the other day when the daytime hours were free and the USA hockey game started at 9:15pm.

I took a couple of press buses to get to the Slide Center and rode the 2nd bus all the way to the top of the slide. From there, I walked the entire course (down) to see which turns would be best in photos. Just like in previous Winter Olympics, I have looked for the turns which have the Olympic rings or logo. As much as I like big walls of white ice, I want to create photos which show that I am photographing at the Olympics. The only turn which met my needs was turn 14, towards the bottom of the slide.

I parked myself at that turn and prepared my camera gear. Knowing that I would be photographing this sport, and having done it before, I did not bring any really long lenses. I opted to bring just the Canon 70-200mm, Canon 16-35mm, and the Canon 8-15mm fish eye lens.

I first mounted the Canon 16-35mm lens on the Canon 1D X MK II and waited for the ladies to start their runs. I shot straight on to the turn, but did not like the results.


I then walked down another 20 feet and turned up to the turn and shot in that direction. I liked this angle much better.  These women are barreling down this hill at speeds up to 85mph, so my normal sports shutter speed of 1/1000 sec was not going to freeze them. I set the camera to get a shutter speed of 1/3200 sec which just barely did the trick. Having a camera that captures 14 photos per second (which the Canon 1D X MK II does) sure helps when photographing this sport. They come by so fast that it is very difficult to capture them exactly where you wan them in the photo.


After using the wide angle lens for a while, I switched to the Canon 70-200mm lens and stood back to try and get some motion pans of these ladies. This was no easy task with the speeds at which they are going. This photo was captured at 1/80 sec.


I then slowed the shutter speed down a little more and took this photo at 1/50 sec. All was good, but I wanted to get a nice clean pan shot with the slider by the logo.


It took a little while but I got what I was looking for. Once I knew that I had that photo that I wanted, it was time to try a different lens choice.


I switched to the Canon 8-15mm fish eye lens and walked right to the railing by the ice. I also changed the shutter speed back up to 1/5000 sec. I had done a similar shot at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, but this was not as compelling. The ice is not as white and it just left me wanting more.


Luckily, it was right at that moment that we got word from the photo management team that we could go under the barrier and shoot REALLY close to the ice. This helped make a stronger image.


This last image was taken with the fish eye lens at 15mm and looking up the turn (like I did in the first image of this blog post. It is amazing to see how much a difference there is between a 21mm shot (first one) and a 15mm fish eye shot (this one). In this photo, the entry to the turn becomes a leading line into the photo. I really liked this image and knew that I had done what I wanted to do. I packed up my gear and headed down the mountain to make it in time to shoot another game for USA Hockewy. Oh, and this image is now the first image on the Jeff Cable Photography home page.

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4 comments:

db1ny said...

love the coverage
keep up the great work
stay healthy
and sane

db1ny said...

love the coverage
keep up the great work
stay healthy
and sane

Glenn Hermes said...

Great shots! I like seeing the application of the different focal lengths.

Steve McClanahan said...

Fantastic shots and explanation behind your shot choice (and camera settings) once again Jeff. I'm honestly torn between the shot you took at 20mm and the fish eye that you liked better. Both are compelling in their own way.