Ski Jumping: Four Hills Tournament 2011–2012

Ski Jumping: Four Hills Tournament 2011–2012

Just a brief post to show that I actually do work for a living… Covering the “Vierschanzen­tournee” — or as it is called in English, the Four Hills Tournament. I did the Oberstdorf already two days ago and just finished the Garmish-Parten­kirchen competition.

Nothing spectacular so far, but couple of decent shots (or as my friend Hopper would comment: “well, I’d call them half decent…”). Tom Hilde’s fall yesterday was pretty scary, I actually did not follow him with the lens, but saw from the corned or my eye that he fell and luckily I had 400 2.8L in my hands. Goes to show how fast the new model of that lens is… I always consi­dered the 400mm the best lens I have ever used, and yet this new model blows me totally away. And yes, it’s so much lighter that you can shoot it hand held.

Anssi Koivu­ranta. Canon 800mm 5.6L

Today I shot with 800mm 5.6L — and frankly, it is a bit of an exagge­ration for this. And damn hard, if I may add: if you lose your target, ‚that’s it, it’s over.… No way you manage to find a jumper in mid-air again in time. But I’ve seen one photo­grapher using it in Insbruck in previous years so I thought I bring mine along this time as well. Yes, I do this profes­sio­nally, so one has to practice, practice, practice.…

I also used the 8–15/4L for the first time and I have to say you get some pretty funky images with it. One trouble is that as it is such an extreme wide-angle, you can not put a protective filter on to it. So you have to watch out for instance for ski-tips as they might scratch your precious little toy.… But a real nice piece of glass, I’m telling you.

My journalist Santtu Silven­noinen asked me yesterday if it would be possible to get all the Finnish jumpers and the Austrian jumpers into a same image, to show the diffe­rence of level there is at the moment. I thought for a while, tested couple of options (such as 400 head-on and wide angle on the side), but ended up using a 70–200mm 2.8L clamped on the side and remotely fired. Not as brilliant as I would have liked it to be, but quite illustrative from a journa­listic perspective.

I also made a small gallery of my images if you are interested. I will be updating it from Insbruck as well as from Bischofs­hofen in the days to come.

And yes, I notice that my brain is kind of slow today… as the copyright stamp is set on 2012 — although two of the images were shot in 2011…

15 Replies to “Ski Jumping: Four Hills Tournament 2011–2012”

    1. Harri — actually, now that you mention it… it might be model two instead of three. Anyway, the new model came out around the Vancouver olympics 2010 — and I seem to remember it was 3rd model but might have been second. Anyway; thanks for pointing it out, I will take it out from the text ( — as it is not essential in the first place). Call it “the last model”. Likewise with 400 — I just checked it says 400 2.8L II on the lens — but it is actually third type I have (second with IS) as I remember in Torino I was shooting with a non-stabi­lized model (which was second gen. in it’s own genre…)

      Damn these numbers… :-)

      1. Actually, there’s 2.8L, 2.8L IS and 2.8L IS II. So it’s actually third model, but only second with IS. Damn, indeed.

  1. Quite totally off topic, but that hasn’t stopped me before: your shots do not work!

    Ha! A literary hook to get you reading. Your shots are wonderful, but they don’t reach all the readers of your client paper, so in that sense the shots are not working for you. Earning money, to be specific.

    Actually I want to write about media in general, as usual. Seth provided a great link that tangents the conver­sation we have been having lately:

    The writer explains how the newspaper business model was based on selling the media (the stack of paper) instead of the content. Everybody had to buy the entire bundle of news, enter­tainment and ads even if they only wanted the sports pages.

    From now on the media companies have to stop selling the media (because there won’t be any) and instead they have to sell something else that people are willing to pay for. The twist of the blog is that the answer is not really the “content”. Instead, the money will come from morals.

    That is not the word the author uses, but I use it. It means, for example, that the digital subsc­ribers of the New York Times don’t really pay just for the stories, but they also pay to support the New York Times journa­lists, so they can continue writing those stories. The great content is almost a kind of bonus that you get for your money. If you wouldn’t care about the morals, you could just read the 20 free stories you get per month and move on to the next web site.

    So I would like to see a Finnish media company that would publish all your shots (and your writing, btw) and then persuade the readers to pay for limitless access to their site — because that way they can support Kuukka (and Rajala Camera Pro Shop).

    The author of the blog actually makes all this sound econo­mically sensible, too, but you have to read the entire post to understand the business model.

    Anyway, I think this just shows how much the Finnish companies have to change to survive. They have to become so ethical and socially important insti­tu­tions that people will pay for them to survive and continue their work. Helsingin Sanomat likes to think that they are like that already, but I don’t really see it. They used to be, so many people subscribe the paper stack just to support them, but I don’t think that many Finns truly FEEL that the paper is a strong force for good that deserves to be supported.

    Funny thing is that a couple of months ago I subsc­ribed the New York Times digital edition for exactly those reasons that the blog describes: about 50 percent to get the content and 50 percent to support an important and morally valuable group of journa­lists. I would do the same for the American National Public Radio that I listen to quite a lot, but I cannot donate to them from overseas.

    So yes, if some Finnish media company would show me Kuukka photo­graphs and simul­ta­neously convince me that the company deserves to be supported for ethical and intel­lectual reasons, I would pay to see these shots. Now the shots are not working and I watch them for free. Not good.

  2. JP -

    I cannot thank you profoundly enough for your commentary. Seriously. I know that sounds pompous, but I mean it.

    (Sorry it took me quite a long time to get back to you… Been busy ever since Xmas doing all kind of stuff (personal note: my sister was back home for Xmas from Florida for the first time in 20 years, then I left for the Four Hills tournament to Germany and Austria, then back home for three days, then off to Rome for an assignment. All this time working on the multi­media production of two of my students. And running the daily assignment during those three days. And trying to be a good father to my 4 and 7‑year olds… So I’m sure you approve my excuses).

    You hit me alright with your right hook :-). As a consequence, I DID read carefully and I read the Shirky article and he makes total sense (I guess after Godin he is the next of my favorites list as a very insightful writer).

    My next blogpost (which I will start like NOW) does touch the same subject. This is a struc­tural change, not a crisis the print has to to solve. And it is not easy. Or put it this way: it requires a bit more deeper thinking — thinking which I really do not see happening in our media scene.

    What Shirky is saying — and what you are saying — makes total sense. It is about morals, it is about following people worth following… and trying to build a viable model around that. It’s not about the lowest input producing the maximum amount of clicks. Seths post couple of days ago puts it real nicely — calling it it “leaders attempt to solidify their position on a bed of quicksand — as does Shirkys comment at the end of the article .

    I will be brief this time (so I get to write my next blogpost) — but as I got into quoting, let’s call in mr. Jobs. He said somewhere in his biography — talking about politics, if I remember correctly — that the world is not divided into liberal vs. conser­vative but into destructive vs. constructive.

    The obsession of trying to maintain the status quo using old business models and staying mentally in a constant state of denial- as our legacy print is doing — abusing your power (ref. to these “deals” I will be talking in the next post) is totally idiotic. I am tempted to call it criminal — as in the process it distroys the lives of committed people trying honestly serve this profession to their best ability — and because as a consequence, it is the society (i.e. us) who pays the bill.

    The obsession of trying to maintain the status quo using old business models and staying mentally in a constant state of denial- as our legacy print is doing — is totally idiotic. 

    Talking of criminal ( — I know I am digressing, but that’s me): I had a very nice talk with Mikael Jungner about a month ago. Something he said is worth quoting here: ” In five years time a physical newspaper will be regarded as an environ­mental crime.” Could not agree more.

    In five years time a physical newspaper will be regarded as an environ­mental crime.”

    - Mikael Jungner -

    But — reason I mentioned mr. Jobs above: I am just friggin tired of shouting and telling people (profes­sional people, people in the print industry, people who should have a brain) that open your eyes for Christ’s sake, smell the coffee — AND DO SOMETHING. It is really a no-brainer to see that the present model is not working. So instead of shouting even louder, I decided to be constructive — to do something — however small.

    So here is my five cents to this scene back here in the North Pole: a small multi­media company called DocImages producing both linear and non-linear multi­media for the tradi­tional media and for the business. I will talk about this in a post later on but I thought you might appreciate a quick look (if you did not already notice it). Eventually I am sure it will crow into a multi­media page of it’s own right to existence — such as Mediastorm has done.

    It is very small scale an attempt — but I am very proud of it. It’s being creative, it’s being constructive, it’s being pro-active… intend of whining “why aren’t these poor suckers grateful to work for peanuts, because the times are tough and don’t they see we have investors to keep happy…”

    But as I said, I try to be brief this time (Hmnn… ) :-)

    1. Funny thing. I think that the topic of our conver­sation stopped being relevant during the ten days that have passed since I wrote my post. Also I see that this same new situation might be poten­tially dangerous for the DocImages group.
      Did I get you again? You are so easy.
      Well, actually I am kind of serious here. I think that there is no need to talk about the struc­tural change of media any more, because it has happened already.
      It happened yesterday when Apple intro­duced their new digital textbook‑, authoring- and iTunes U‑systems. In a nutshell; now you can create pretty fine multi­media content, publish it in iBooks and get it to students/customers as easily as you make a video for Youtube. iBook Author is like Garage Band for intellectuals.
      Okay, you say that all this has been possible before. Yep, and there were MP3-players on the market years before the iPod.
      I have a feeling that all the remaining walls around the old media fortress just vanished overnight. Up till yesterday there was still a consi­de­rable threshold to climb before you could get a) attention for b) money from your self-produced content. Now you can create really polished results with video, widgets and zoomable pictures AND you can instantly sell them on iBooks.
      Still skeptical? Saying that the content will not scale easily, because iBooks is a relatively minor market?
      Well, there are rumors that Apple has ordered 25 million iPad2 screens from their suppliers for 2012. Combine that with the rumor that the iPad3 will be announced in a couple of weeks and is expected to hit the market in March. It could mean that iPad2 will remain for sale, so it will be sold for a lot lower price.
      Put these together, and you get a situation where lots of students will soon start to buy textbooks in digital format. To accom­modate them and to compete with the 199 dollar Kindle Fire, Apple will probably sell the iPad2 for 200–300 dollars.
      So multi­media creation is suddenly very easy, there is a one-click method to publish your content for profit (and you “only” have to pay Apple 30 percent), the entire younger generation will grow using tablet computers, and Apple is predicted to sell about 65 million of those before next Christmas — to add to the existing 40–50 million iPads and assorted minor tablets.
      Well, I wouldn’t like to make my living selling paper, that’s for sure.
      So what is the danger for the Doc-guys? You are too good. You have produced really wonderful stuff with the tools that have been available so far — but yesterday those tools just turned into Neanderthal bones and stones.
      You shouldn’t become one of those video editors who complain that the Final Cut Pro X is too “amateurish”. They demand that everybody should keep paying them megabucks to produce video with the trusty and sophis­ticated and enormously difficult earlier version.
      Won’t happen. FCPX will demolish the merely competent video profes­sionals and the iBook Author will do the same for complacent book publishers. Magazines and newspapers might have a couple of months more left, before the iPad-students decide that they want to say something and make money saying it.
      Interesting times.

  3. Holy Shit -

    (yes, you did get me again :-) )

    Been too busy lately so I have not followed what the guys in Cupertino have been up to.
    I will reread your post (as always, it is sooooo loaded with GOOD points and material), but move the conver­sation to the next post — then maybe even to the next one (which is about DocImages)
    Couple of quick points: no, I am not the one dismiss the FCX as amateurish. I played with it for three days — then told TaiK where I will be teaching now in the spring that this is the program I will be using. Not FCP. Why? Learning curve to start with, ease of use, intuitive UI, etc.
    Yes, coming from FCP tradition it seems amateurish… but seeming does not count. What and how fast / with what ease can you “ship” — to quote Seth again. FCX is totally superior in that.

    As to rendering us Doc-Guys (I love that expression, consider it stolen like… now) obsolete. No, won’t happen. If you look at the two last pieces over there: I do the coding presently in two hours for something like that. As to e.g. the Estonia piece or P.Koskinen piece: they were obsolete the moment they were published. But: the lessons learned while producing them — producing content for them — remain as valuable as ever.

    Smilingly, I dare you: name one person — apart “yours truly doc-guy” — who can pull something like that together in our present press core. Ship it, that is for the first time? Do it against the clock, with a deadline, within a realistic budget? Be creative on location — alone?

    What I am trying to say — in other words: the fact that you own a computer does not make you a better writer than — say Hemingway (who wrote with pencil), right? We agree on this. It’s still the content which runs the show. And when it comes to multi­media, the unders­tanding of the inherent properties of these different pieces one can put together on a website to create something extraordinary.

    All my multi­media students in Tampere University are sick and tired :-) of hearing my 40–30-20–10-rule ‑and I won’t get more into it here now. But the 10% in the end repre­sents the technical mastery or the tech solutions/programming etc. of multi­media production. And that is what- if what you say above proves correct — Apple just totally blew off balance.

    However, the 90% remains… and all that has a learning curve. And putting them together (the story, audio component, visual component) is an art of itself. Trust me on this one, been learning it now for five years.

    It’s funny, every time I am asked to teach multi­media, it is somehow assumed that the “core” is the technology, the programming choices etc… when it really is about dramatic story­telling. I dare say — speaking on behalf of people I have taught in the past — that there isn’t a student who would not agree. They always start with “which program do we use, how do we do audio” — and in the end the it boils down to “what is the story you are telling — and what and in which order are the compo­nents you use to do it most effectively”.

    And that’s where I have no doubt us DocGuys (hey, that’s better spelling.… :-) ) will excel and find our niche.

    Great talking to you again.


      1. As they say in the movies: we can’t go on like this : )

        Anyway, I should be writing a book, so I have time to write here. Your focus on story­telling is totally brilliant. I actually did spend two seconds being worried about the great technical compe­tence that I saw at the DocSite, because that level of skill very often turns into an anchor like the Neanderthal video editing skills.
        Let’s say that now I know there will be no Kodak moment for Kuukka. Ha! A multi­layered pun!
        (In case you have been too busy to read the news, Kodak just went bankrupt. They were pulled under by their skill in making film.)
        Let’s hook up again in the next post.

        1. Sounds good. I just hit the publish button of my next post. Trying to be as politically correct as I can. Be respon­sible. Somebody has to write about the shitty stuff as well. But the next post is about us DocGuys


  4. And JP -
    one more: I am sure you appreciate the two (2) Seth quotes… :-) in the next post.
    Seriously, that Apple thing is interesting. I’m sure in this country they try to find a way to put that onto paper…

  5. Heheh, DocGuys. But really interesting points here, giving some hope for the future!

    And yeah, I went straight to FCX although the Pitkä syksy pellolla ‑project had to be done with some other program, since FCX is the future. Next step is to create great stories efficiently. But I think we are heading to the right direction.

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