The start of the Olympics is signified through the opening ceremonies, and I was tasked with seven other photographers to cover it. Since the ceremonies wouldn’t be starting until 8 P.M. that night, I decided to go down to the biathlon track to check out the lay of the land. I would be covering this event two days from then, and we were going to work with the photo manager at the venue to see where we could shoot, where our tethered lines were located, as well as a general view of the course. Unfortunately there weren’t any shuttles to the location, so we piled six guys into a small van and headed to Alpensia Olympic Park to head to the Biathlon venue. Here we are, figuring out where the photo work area is.
Then it was time to wait around, since the work area isn’t open yet we had to contact the photo manager to get us in, and give us a tour of the venue.
A general view of the shooting range. Since we were following along, I ended up getting a few snap shots of the area to get myself a memory of the venue.
I thought this location could have been decent, but the lighting would also be different since all of the biathlon events would be held at night.
A view of the range, from a tethered position.
We headed up onto the course and found out where we could cross the tracks, as well as what positions we were allowed to shoot at on the course. Here are some volunteers walking along the course.
And a Canadian skier practicing as well.
After we were finished with the tour, we headed back to MPC (the main press center) and waited for the 2 P.M. meeting for all of the opening ceremony photographers in our USA Today Sports crew. Here we would discuss the general schedule of the ceremony, the positions we would be shooting from, and our logistics going there. We would need to arrive early, to avoid the large crowds and to get ready for a 5 P.M. meeting. Most of the time at these Olympics would be either waiting for the transit, on the bus to events, or waiting for the events to start. The media village is around a 30 minute drive to the main press center, but that could be changed due to traffic. Also there are other buses that branch out from there, with rides ranging from 10 minutes to nearly an hour and a half. We arrived at the stadium with plenty of time, and were given a gift set, which includes some nice swag.
We were at least inside with warm drinks and some snacks. But after getting briefed at the photo meeting, we were off to our seats. I ended up getting a few photos around the venue to show how cold it was for the attendees. Here with some delicious hot soup and skewered goodies.
A spectator shelter, with a heater to keep people toasty.
And everyone was bundled up, prepared for the cold below freezing temperatures and strong winds.
I arrived at my photo position around 5:30 P.M., and had to sit outside in the cold for two and a half hours to wait for the start of the ceremony. I was sitting behind the athletes, and would be able to get any reactions as they came up the stairs.
There were already some other people in the stands as well, bundled and cold.
And since there was a lot of time to burn, just looking around to get some photos. People were already filing in, and the photographers were already in their positions as well. The first people here had the first choice in position.
My photo position, T.
And the North Korean attendees filed in, and started to cheer with a unified Korean flag. This was a big deal, since South Korea invited the North to join in participating in the Olympics.
And an hour before the ceremonies were to begin, there was some entertainment, with this Taekwondo show, which was impressive in that they weren’t bundled up in the cold.
Let the show begin! My general view of the area. I ended up using a set of lenses, including the 400 2.8, 70-200 2.8 and a wide 14-24 2.8 for the scenics.
The Tonga flag bearer was there as well, impressing the crowd with his inability to feel the cold!
And the Korea unified team.
Let there be light.