Saturday, February 10, 2018

The amazing colors and moments from Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang

It is now Sunday morning here in PyeongChang and I am once again writing this blog post while on a press bus. Friday night was the Opening Ceremonies for these 2018 Winter Olympics and I was there to capture the athletes coming in and the artistry of the evening.

Before I show you all the images...I should tell you a little back story. For the last couple of months, all I have heard from everyone is how cold this place can be. And having been to so many Olympics in the past, I know how long we are sitting in one place for this event. IS really cold here. I spent a lot of money on underclothing, a new big jacket, big shooting gloves, hats and everything else in preparation for this event and any outdoor events I might go to. So, there was some trepidation about even going to this year's opening.  As a matter of fact, I talked to many press who were skipping the ceremony for that reason.

As it turns out, I picked a photo position that gave me a huge break. I asked for a shooting position near the dignitaries, knowing that all the pageantry would be facing that direction. But, as it turns out, that also meant that there was a nice warm building right behind my shooting position. (I was one floor below the VIPs.) I was able to put my gear at my spot, go inside and watch it all from behind a window. That was blissful! I left the comfort of the warm building about 10 minutes before the start of the show and really was comfortable up until the last 20 minutes.

For the rest of this blog post, I am going to write less than usual, and just let you enjoy the images from the evening.

As a photographer at the live show, I am taking all the photos, but honestly not always understanding the significance of what is in front of me. For all of you who watch it on TV, you get more understanding of the event than we do.

Using the Canon 1D X MKII camera and Canon 200-400mm lens, this photo was taken at 1/160 sec at f/5 to freeze the action. I saw this woman standing in the middle of the dancers and thought it would make an awesome motion blur shot.

I quickly rolled the aperture to f/10 and slowed the shutter from 1/160 sec to 1/25 sec, and voila, I got this shot.

And this one too.

I love the lighting and colors of this photo.

Picking the right shooting location gave me a front-on shot like this.

Some more motion blur...

I used a combination of the Canon 1D X MKII with the Canon 200-400mm lens for the long shots and a Canon 5D MK IV with a Canon 24-70mm lens for wide shots. I kept both cameras within arms reach, and switched quickly between them. You can see from the image above and below how much different they can be.

The presentation of the Korean flag.

Team USA entering the field. And I was a bit surprised to see them come in so early, forgetting that they go by the host country spelling, not English. But I managed to get the shots!

I love the jubilation on everyone's faces.

A wide shot of the different countries entering the stadium.

Israel entering the stadium.

People just love the Jamaicans. The crowd roared when they entered the ceremony. Funny how one movie can spark generations.

Canada is in the house...

This was a historic moment as North and South Korea entered together.

After all the athletes came in (which was much shorter than the Summer Olympics since there are far fewer athletes at the Winter Games), the show continued.

For those of you regular blog readers, you know how much I love photographing repeating patterns.

I saw the cool lights and quickly switched back to the Canon 5D MK IV.

Then came the speeches and the official opening of the Olympics.

Cool fireworks.

Since you were watching this on TV, you probably know who these singers are. I don't. :)

And finally, the entrance of the Olympic flag.

The torch carrier with the Olympic flame (which was lit - I swear).

The torch bearers running up to light the Olympic flame.

Ta da!

A cool tight shot of one of the performers.

At the very end, as always, is a big fireworks show.

This is one of my favorite photos from the Opening Ceremonies, with the fireworks all around and the Olympic frame off to the side. 

As soon as the fireworks stopped, I hightailed it out of the stadium to catch the first press bus out. Before the games even started, I had scoped out a staircase that would get me down from the 5th floor to the ground level as fast as possible. I knew that the elevators would either be jammed or blocked with all the dignitaries trying to leave. That really paid off, as I made it right onto a bus and back to the media village in less than 90 minutes. I talked to other photographers and writers who said it took them almost 4 hours to get back.

All in all, it was a great night and yielded some nice photos. What I did not know at the time is that the next day (yesterday) would be my worst Olympic day ever! But that story is coming next,

Oh - and please tell your friends and family to follow along on the blog. The more readers, the more fun it is for me to write.

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Chris Hamilton said...

Great photos Jeff! I think my colleague and I were in the lucky minority after the ceremony too. We got out of the stadium and onto a bus in about 10 minutes, just after we sat down the bus left and we were in the media village less than an hour later.

Linda Allen said...

Jeff, I really enjoy your blog and especially when you cover the Olympics. Beautiful and stunning images. It's nice watching the Olympics on TV but I love the still images that captures an extra depth that you don't necessarily catch when watching on TV.

Thank You for taking us on this journey with you. You are an amazing photographer and teacher and I can't wait to read the next blog. Stay safe and keep warm!

Unknown said...

As I missed the opening ceremonies on TV, I am so happy to have your pictures that capture the best moments. I enjoy your back stories almost as much. You have gotten the strategy of getting around the olympics down to a science!