Long before the Games began, photographers heading for Torino were preparing for the rigors of Olympics coverage. Four who were there share their workflow, lighting, and coverage strategies.
Torino marks my 12th Olympics, so we bring a lot of experience to covering the biggest sporting event in the world. The complexities change with each Games because the hostís nationality are different and so are the personalities.
I rented an apartment in Torino to be near the Kodak processing labs and the Kodak Media Center. Photographers are restricted from using any form of artificial lighting equipment both inside and outsideóno strobes, no flashes because it distracts and endangers the athletesóso we shot everything with available light.
Since we are most concerned with creating timeless images that emphasize the efforts and romance of the different sports, we avoid photography and pitfalls that promote the hype and nationalism that is so prevalent with television. I carry a lot of equipment to be prepared for every opportunity.
We shot both film and digital: Nikon F5s and D2Xs. I have a 600mm f/4 AF lens that is a veteran of at least six Olympics. I borrowed a Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 from NPS. The 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom becomes the ďnormalĒ lens because of the long distances involved. Two Gitzo tripods, extra batteries, and replacements for everything rounded out the arsensal.
Combined with our extra extreme-conditions clothing, long underwear, ponchos, extra gloves, towels, and plastic coverings, made our Lowepro backpacks very heavy.
My crew (three assistants) and I train for five to six months just as if we were Olympic competitors. Running and climbing stairs and testing clothing outside in the rain and snow to endure the arduous conditions, long hours, and thin air on top of the mountains.
We brought Kodak E100GX film for rare sunlit days and pushed E200 inside the arenas and everyday because of the blinding snowstorms we encountered.
Every night we uploaded the digital files into Adobe Photoshop and sent a selection back to my agent, Zumapress, and my website in the U.S. On a couple of occasions, my assistants downloaded the CF cards onto laptop computers on the long train rides from the venues back to Torino.
Although each successive Olympics gets harder and harder to photograph, the Italiansí need-to-please allowed this one to be especially fruitful.
Lou Jones, based in Washington, DC, is an editorial, commercial, advertising, and fine art photographer with a diverse clientele that includes IBM, Peugeot, KLM, Nike, Major League Baseball, Federal Express, National Geographic, and People. He is equally well known for his social commentaries. He was a long-time ASMP board member and charter member of APA. His works have been exhibited worldwide, e.g., Smithsonian and Corcoran Galleries, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York. He is a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens. Jonesí second book, Travel + Photography: Off the Charts, is due out this year.
Iíve been to several Olympic Games, but I headed to Torino with a new plan. I was going to avoid having to edit images while shooting them, having to decide when to turn away from the action to download images from my Lexar CompactFlash cards, and choose and transmit my selects.
What gives you an advantage as a photojournalist are your wits, your eye, the amount of research you do, and the speed with which you can deliver images. I was, hopefully, going to have a new digital workflow that would let me stay behind the camera as much as possible, to make shooting my primary responsibility, like it was just a few years ago, when we shot film.
No one really has any idea how little time a photojournalist spends actually making photographs. Between all of the negotiating, travel, editing, and archiving, itís close to five percent. Before digital, it was probably only 15 percent.