Friday, February 23, 2018

Two man bobsled at the Olympics

Today is the day after the women of USA Hockey won their gold medals and everyone is still on a high. I was supposed to go on a tour to the DMZ (along the border of North Korea) today, but the ladies had a press conference at noon, so I postponed the trip until tomorrow. I figure that a day of sightseeing is due, and ending my sports shooting on the high of the women's game seems appropriate. Anyways, I wanted to be there for the team to grab photos of the conference and also say goodbye to many of the athletes and staff that I may not see again for a while.

I am also trying to get caught up on the blog posts, as I have photographed numerous events but not had time to edit the photos or write the blogs. So I am once gain in catch-up mode.

Three nights ago, I went back up to the Olympic Sliding Center to get some photos of the two man bobsled (bobsleigh) competition.

I started up at the top, trying to get some nice photos of the men running and jumping into the sleds. As it turned out, there were a ton of photographers there, and there was not much room to get a clean shot or be creative.

I took a couple of photo and decided to move further down the course.

As I was walking from turn to turn, I looked over the edge and saw this turn down below me. I liked the arc and thought it would make for a nice wide shot. I waited for a sled to come down and fired off a bunch of shots.

And then I was back in my slow shutter panning mode and had some fun.

There are a couple of challenges when shooting slow shutter shots of bobsled. Firstly, they are moving REALLY fast, so it is hard to track them as they fly by. Secondly, these things are moving so fast that they are shuttering. This vibration makes it even harder to freeze the sled and people in the photo when panning.

I shot all these motion pan shots at 1/50 sec while handholding the Canon 1D X MK II and Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS II lens.

I then climbed up into the stands and shot some wider pan shots above the crowd. From up there, I could see a screen which showed the location of the oncoming sled. This made life easier since there is almost no easy way to predict the arrival of the sled. Trust me, you hear a rumble, they blur by, and they are gone.

I liked this shot, but wanted to get a photo with a sled that was not white.

A couple more tries and I got this shot.

After successfully shooting the pan shots, I switched to the Canon 8-15mm fish eye lens for some more shots right in front of Turn 14 (the only turn with the Olympic rings). I shot this photo looking slightly up the slide.

I then took this shot looking straight into the turn. In order to catch these fast moving sleds and have them sharp, I was shooting at ISO 4000 and a shutter speed of 1/6400. That is really fast!

Once I got this shot, I walked back up the hill to get the press bus back to the Main Press Center. The uphill walk and the fact that I got a chance to photograph bobsleds warmed me up.

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