Sochi Olympics, Day 8: Two Seconds

Sochi Olympics, Day 8: Two Seconds


Feb 13th, 2014

I have a confession to make: I really do not care about sports. (And I love to shock people saying this.… :-) )What I mean is: I am not that interested in who wins or how high or how fast somebody manages to reach.

No, I like the people in this. I admire the passion, the dedication, the training, the focus these people have. Whatever their respective sport is.

With photo­graphy I try to respect that. Show — if possible and within the limits of one’s skills — that focus and dedication. And naturally, I am very much into the aesthetics of the whole. So to me it’s more about “how to create the perfect visuals” than “who is the first one over the line”.

aikkuBut today was a bit different. I was really into the competion, counting seconds and fractions of those seconds…

Aino-Kaisa Saarinen started into this race as a bit of an underdog. It seemed like an impos­sible task to do. She would have to beat Kowalzyk, Björgen, Johaug, Kalla and Weng… not to mention the others.

As the race went on she did well, really well. She managed to leave Weng and Björgen behind her… Justyna and Charlotte were beyond her, but she had a chance to beat Therese Johaug.

I was watching it by the finishing line, one eye to the track, another to the score­board, trying to count the seconds.

I love the staggered start compe­tition. It is so much more exiting than the mass starts. And I feel it is a shame that e.g. men’s 50km is nowadays a mass start: you ski in a group for 48km’s and then you have a sprint race. Not what the greatest of all the ski races should be. But maybe more about that later. Today it was a staggered start and what a race it was.

She did great, she really fought it hard. But it was not enough. It came down to two seconds… to Therese Johaugs favor. Looking at the two last images, I don’t think we have to guess what is going on in the minds of these two remar­kable athletes.

justynaBut that’s sports for you, folks. Me — typically quite untouched by who wins and who doesn’t — I was really impressed by the fight she put up. Leaving Björgen and Weng and all the others behind her.

But at the end of the day: two seconds missing from the medal.

Here are some of my favorite shots from the race. All shot with the Canon 200–400/4 zoom, which I used today for the first time in these games. It’s a beautiful lens for something like this, when there is plenty of light and you have time to adjust the focal length to get several images from the same spot.

I typically rave about the 400/2.8 — as I consider it one if not THE best sports glass ever made — but I really like the versa­tility of this one.

It has only one downside: the price tag, which presently is c. 12 000€

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2 Replies to “Sochi Olympics, Day 8: Two Seconds”

  1. Nice work Kari. I was wondering have you agreed with your clients that images appear on your blog before they appear on for example Lapin Kansa and other Alma papers. Image of Aikku on this blog is the same as the one on the paper. Yeah yeah print is slow but I was kinda bummed to not see anything fresh because reading your blog yesterday. 

    it was a boring pick by the paper anyway, There must’ve been some frames with more emotion than just a skiing frame.

    1. Thanks Jussi. No, nothing that specific agreed. I try to use my common sense: if it is “news” or somehow special I will not post anything on SoMe or in my blog before the client has done so. But if it is a generic picture like this (albeit a good one, but there must be c. 20 photo­graphers with the more or less same image) I feel it works more to the clients favor: lots of people who follow the blog also follow the papers I work for.
      Aamulehti had that image on their second cover — and as it is a broadsheet it looked pretty awesome.

      I am building an iPad publication of my experiences over here after the games… and your question just added another chapter into that.
      More about it later.

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