Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Beijing Winter Olympics: Watching TV but thinking like a photographer

It is so weird to watch the Olympics on television! 

For the first time in 16 years, I am not at the Olympics, but sitting at my home watching it like most everyone else. This also means that it has been that long since I have heard the back stories, the commentating, and the spin that NBC puts on the Games. It has also been that long since I have heard the all too familiar Olympic theme song which has been used by NBC forever. I have to admit, I actually have missed hearing that song played before every Olympic segment.

I made sure to tune in to the opening ceremony, and had some really weird mixed feelings as I watched the broadcast.

I realized that when I was watching the ceremony, I was thinking photographically. I was watching each sequence and thinking "Would this part be worth shooting? and How would I shoot this?" Honestly, I watched the opening ceremony (with the luxury of fast forwarding through each country walking in - which is always too long when we are in the stadium), and I thought that the only part that would make great photos was the beginning. Yes, I even took a photo of the screen to show you what I am talking about. After this, most of the ceremony was using the giant LED display on the deck of the stadium, and lacked the energy of having people performing, much like the opening ceremony in Tokyo.

I have also watched many different sports over the last 5 days, way more than I would have seen if I was in Beijing photographing the one or two events per day. And when watching those, I am often torn between watching the athletes and looking at the photo positions and how many photographers are in the venues. It does look like there are far fewer photographers covering each sport, but I have yet to get clarification on how many photographers are actually at the Games.

The toughest sport to watch is hockey, knowing that I would normally be parked against the glass and shooting the action first hand whenever Team USA is on the ice. I get the email updates from the team, and it kills me that they are not able to use my images this time around. 

I can assure you that I am not rethinking my decision to stay home, knowing that I would go absolutely nuts being locked in a small room for weeks. And I am still hearing the same horror stories that many of you might have seen or heard, with athletes and journalists being locked up for weeks in poor conditions as they wait anxiously for negative Covid tests. Stories like I shared from my friend Ian. (I talk to him every day and will share an update on his predicament soon.)

The one thing I miss the most, is knowing the back stories. NBC does a good job of showing the sports, but I want to know about the housing, the food, the transportation, the volunteers, and the overall conditions. I have reached out to some of my photographer friends who are there, but as expected, they are working crazy hours every day with little free time to communicate. That I know well!


Subscribe to the Jeff Cable Photography Blog by clicking HERE!
If you are interested in purchasing ANY equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.
Check out my upcoming photo tours to amazing places around the world. I have photo tours to Africa, Costa Rica, Cuba, Europe, Asia, India and more. And Canon will loan you any gear you want for FREE for any of my tours. 



Karlis said...

You might want to try TikTok. Many athletes and press people post a lot of interesting stuff.
So far it seems everything is quite a bit better organized than in Tokyo. And safety measures seem to be much higher. A ton of automation, robots and stuff i was expecting to see in Japan.

Of course, not much fun for those stuck in isolation.

Ralph Hightower said...

Four years ago, my bronchitis diagnosis was changed to pneumonia. It was miserable! However, the coughing kept me awake to watch many events live, like 4 man bobsled, curling. I saw the USA women defeat Canada for gold in hockey.