Thursday, February 20, 2014

Photographing the USA men's hockey team in the middle of the Olympic Park!

I have done many group shots in my photography career, and many of them have been challenging. But I have never done a group shot that had the challenges of this one!

Yesterday, after the men's quarterfinal game, I was asked if I could shoot a team photo today by the Olympic rings, which is in the middle of the Olympic Park. I figured that they wanted me to photograph the women before their big game tonight. I sent an email to my contact at the team asking how we were going to get the shot with so many spectators taking their photos at this prime location. He said that the park should be fairly empty at this time, so we should be fine. So, I walked out to the Olympic rings before the designated time, and I see this!

As it turns out, a band came out and started to perform for a mob of people. Not only was the band playing, but they had street performers and other forms of entertainment. All of this drawing a huge crowd by the rings. As I walked around trying to figure out how we are going to do this, I see one of my contacts at USA Hockey. He and I start trying to figure out a plan. And as we are talking, he says "the guys are on their way." And I am thinking, "Holy crap! They are bringing the USA men's team out here with all these people??!!" And 2 minutes later, all of these NHL all stars show up. And the crowd goes crazy with people trying to get photos with the guys and people asking for autographs. 

Meanwhile I am trying to get all the guys in place and all the spectators out of my way. Have you ever tried moving hundreds of people who don't want to move (because they are trying to get their own photos), and people who don't speak your language?

I had to be really forceful to try and get everyone to spread out, to get a clear shot of the guys. I felt bad for all the people trying to get a photo, and I got a lot of dirty looks from the people I would push out of the way. 

And then...once we had the shot, they asked all the family members of the players to join in on the photo. This caused another problem because there were many people trying to join in, and I didn't know who belonged and who didn't. I heard one person say "we think of ourselves as family, does that count?"

After I got my shots, they quickly escorted the guys out of the general area and we went under the Bolshoy Arena. I have to admit that I was shaking a little afterwards. This was a lot of pressure on a poor little photographer like me.

The funny thing is...the guys from "NHL Revealed" were there capturing video, and I was trying to stay out of their way. Then the camera man says, "No, we are doing a piece on you taking the photo, and we want you in the shot". It will be on the air on NBC next Thursday. I am sure that I will come across as the really demanding American who is pushing the Russians out of the way. :)


Unknown said...

That sounds pretty challenging, but it looks like you got what they wanted. Congrats!

Unknown said...

Thanks for rising above it all. So glad the NBC folks were there and asked YOU to be a part of it and were interested in YOU. BRAVO for them and you!.

Dennis Bress said...

Way to go Jeff, you made it happen. You got the shot. That is what matters. Yep, the pressure must of been intense. This story sets the mark compared to our many adventures in getting our CDM Water Polo teams to all stop what they are doing, we are getting a a team shot. :-) Keep up the good work Jeff and GO USA!!!58569988

Unknown said...

Jeff I am loving your blog. Will be a fan of yours from now on!

rcortinas said...


Great job. You did it and that's what it counts. Very nice that they appreciate the job you guys are doing. I will be alert to NBC next thursday to se that.
Next time, give me a call if you need a bodyguard , ha ha !!
Thanks again

Roberto C.