I have now been in Vancouver for 2 weeks and yesterday was the first day that I really felt like I was at the Winter Olympics. My new friend, Ian (Sports photographer of the year for the last two years in the UK) convinced me to make the trek back to Cypress yesterday to shoot the women's snow cross event. I saw some of his shots from the men's event from the previous day, and really liked the venue. So...off we went to get some shots of the snow crossers.
When we first got up the mountain, the weather was overcast and cold, but I could totally handle that. Actually, I was loving the overcast skies since that meant that I could shoot the skiers without harsh shadows. We arrived up the 300 stairs at approximately 12:30 for the 1pm start. The weather was holding and we set up our gear.
Then at 1pm, the games began and we shot the image (below) of the first race. Well...one of the Russian skiers fell really hard and they stopped the race for 30 minutes while they put her on a stretcher and got her out of there. Normally the race goes continually one after the other. So...we waited...and waited...and as we waited, the snow started falling and it just got worse.
This is the one clean image that took of the first race. I think that this was the 3 frame shot after I got up the hill.
And you might be able to see that the weather was getting worse. I had to edit this image and the next one just to increase the contrast and black levels to make the skiers visible.
At this point, my hands were frozen, my shooting gloves were soaked, my camera and lens were covered in snow, and the servo focus on my camera was trying to figure out if I wanted to focus on the skiers or the snow flakes. All of us photographers were cursing. What really kills me is that, if the Russian skier had not wiped out, we would have had a lot more clean shots to work with.
This was my favorite shot of the day. Canada's Ashleigh McIvor beat out the others to win the Gold medal. And even though my hands were frozen and many of us photographers were huddled behind a hut, I grabbed the camera and ran up to the finish line area to catch this shot of her reaction. This shot almost made the trip worthwhile... :)