Tuesday, May 21, 2024

65 Days Until the Olympics in Paris - Opening Ceremony Challenges!

I am just about two months from my departure to Paris and there is still a bunch of planning going on. First and foremost, before the Summer Olympics I am leading a photo tour to Costa Rica in 2 weeks and then come back for a couple of weeks before heading to Peru to lead another tour. Then I can make the final plans and start packing for the three week trip to France. 

Am I excited? Yes!

In the mean time I have been on numerous calls this month, with the Paris Organizing Committee, Team USA, Canon and others. One of those calls was an informational presentation regarding the Opening Ceremony, and this call left me a little more unsettled than calm. 

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I have been very excited to cover an Opening Ceremony like no other. With the teams floating down the Seine River as opposed to walking into a stadium. But along with the excitement in that, comes a lot of challenges. Let me explain.

First the first time ever, ALL Olympic tickets (for spectators and press) will be delivered digitally. Although I really love the thought of this (since it might save me having to make the trip back to the USOPC offices in the main press center to get my tickets for the High Demand Events (HDEs), it also could be a nightmare if there are any digital snafus. And the first event that will be trying this new format is the Opening Ceremony with 650,000 people attending. Yikes! 

I also found out that there will only be 250 photo positions at the Trocadero, with a view of the Eiffel Tower in the background. Getting one of those is going to be very difficult! Remember, there are approximately 2500 photographers from around the world who all want one of these spots. So I am already working on plan B and plan C.

The 6km route will be sectioned off into 6 different working zones, so it will not be possible for us (or anyone else) to move along the entire route. This is great for security purposes but less than ideal for photographers trying to capture images from different vantage points. And, for the first time, I will not be able to capture all of the ceremony, since different things will be happening along different sections of the river.

Some of the photo positions are standing only, which will be difficult because we are typically in place for about 9 hours. And to make it even more challenging, most of the positions are not under any cover, so we have to deal with whatever weather is presented to us that day. It could be really hot or it could rain. neither of which would be fun. At least in a stadium, we can duck for cover.

Don't get me wrong. I am not complaining, as I am lucky to be going at all! And...covering the Opening Ceremony is more of a choice than a requirement from the team. As is everything at the Olympics, it will be a challenge to navigate it all, but interesting nonetheless. Sometimes good photography requires a balance of luck, preparation, and skill. We will see how that all works out.

More information to come.


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Jimmy DERAIME said...

Hello Jeff, it seems this opening ceremony will be the most difficult part of this games. I can't wait the result. I will read your blog each day and follow your adventure as usual. Thanks a lot for the share through this blog, b&h events and so on. I learnt so much beside you. Once again, thank you Mr Cable. I wish you good Olympic Games. See you !

Anonymous said...

With great challenge comes great solutions:
Perhaps for the digital tickets, you can download them as PDFs or screenshot and store them on a secondary device. Maybe carry an extra battery for the phone or tablet.
No seating for 9 hours? Bring along a Joby gorillapod with a seat attached to it. In the worst case, sit on the ground and flip that LCD out & down.
If the weather gets bad, wear a hat.
Can't travel across the whole route? Deploy the Cable: Zipline through the working zones.

Good luck Mr Cable!

Anonymous said...

Since Canon announced the R1, are you still under an NDA? Will you be able to say that you're shooting with the R1 and won't have to scrub the EXIF?