Pyeongchang 2018: Halfway

001_halfway_021818Devin Logan (USA) loses control in ladies ski slopestyle final run 1 during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park.

002_halfway_021818It has been a tiring yet productive three days here in the mountains at Phoenix Snow Park, with some really enjoyable events hitting the schedule that we’ve just crossed the halfway mark of. It can be hard to believe we’ve already been here for almost two weeks–it feels like we just arrived yesterday! I must admit that I’ve started to miss some cuisine only available back home. That reminds me, can someone get a quote on freeze-drying and overnight shipping a Zel’s roast beef sandwich? Thanks.

One event that I really enjoyed shooting was snowboard snowcross for both the ladies and men. Snowcross, where five or more athletes race each other down a twisting and turning course, is the first competition we’ve covered that involves multiple athletes going against each other at the same time, as opposed to one athlete after another running down the course. Visually, having multiple athletes with which to fill the frame at the same time is always a win for me. For one, there is an immediate battle within the photo. Another reason multiple athletes on course at the same time is exciting? The ever-present potential for crashes, of course.

003_halfway_021818To get to my snowcross photo position a few days ago, I got to take one of my first rides on a ski lift. As luck would have it, I ended up riding up with competitor Anton Lindfors from Finland. I could only imagine what was going through his mind as he prepared to rocket down the course.

004_halfway_021818Michela Moiolo (ITA) leads in the Womens Snowboardcross Finals.

005_halfway_021818Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) leads Tess Critchlow (CAN) in the Womens Snowboardcross Quarterfinal 2.

006_halfway_021818Christopher Robanske (CAN) is carted off the mountain after crashing in the Mens Snowboardcross Semifinal.

007_halfway_021818View of shovels at the men’s freestyle skiing aerials qualification during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park.

Our evenings have been spent with another favorite event of mine, freestyle skiing aerials. In the event, skiers hit ramps with inclines of over 70 degrees to launch themselves high into the air and perform a series of tricks, with a feather-soft (ideally) landing to finish off the routine. Since these are night events, the skiers end up against a jet-black sky for a super-clean background. The event is also prime territory to get artsy and weird, which (being my strength) my editors have encouraged me to exploit. With one more night of aerials tomorrow, I’m excited to get back out there and see what else I can come up with.

008_halfway_021818Alla Tsuper (BLR) competes in freestyle skiing ladies aerials qualifications.

009_halfway_021818View of a coach’s jacket with Russia obscured by a patch at the men’s freestyle skiing aerials qualification. Russia was completely banned from this Winter Olympics following the revelation of doping by athletes. Several athletes not involved in the scandal appealed (and won, allowing them to compete), but they cannot compete under their country’s name. Instead, they are referred to as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

010_halfway_021818Feb 17, 2018; Pyeongchang, South Korea; A volunteer wears Olympic rings glasses on her head following the men’s freestyle skiing aerials qualification during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park.

Guy’s Korean Word of the Day is, 자다, pronounced, “Sah-dah,” meaning, “Sleep,” as in, “I’m missing out on precious 자다 by finishing this blog.”

Pyeongchang 2018: A Different Cold

001_adifferentcold_021518View of the snow blown by the wind in run two of the ladies halfpipe qualification during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park.

Growing up in the unforgiving winters of East Chicago, Indiana, I was pretty sure I’d felt and experienced it all with respect to frigid outdoor temperatures. I’ve had school cancelled for days because of negative wind chills. I’ve witnessed broken steel water pipes hemorrhaging their vital fluids into icy messes. I know the feeling of the inside of your nasal passages freezing seconds after stepping outside. I even know extreme cold on a first-name basis, “The Hawk.” This was the name given to the biting arctic wind that would reach around street corners in downtown Chicago and fly off with the breath from your chest clutched between its icy talons. Sound painful? It is.

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Pyeongchang 2018: Up The Course

001_upthecourse_021118Matt Graham (AUS) during mens’ moguls freestyle skiing moguls qualification during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Phoenix Snow Park.

Prior to joining the ranks of Olympics photographers, I recall reading hallowed tales from other shooters about what a grind the schedule was. The Summer Olympics was said to be the creme de la creme of punishment and physical tumult in the name of storytelling and all things visual. If you enjoy getting more than two hours of sleep a night over a three week span, they warned, stay far and clear from wielding a camera there.

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Thanks, Obama

01_thanksobama_012017Then U.S. presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama speaks during a campaign stop at Wicker Park in Highland, Ind., Friday, October 31, 2008.

I have been blessed with (or cursed with, depending on the situation) what I lovingly refer to amongst my friends and associates as a “scary memory.” And it’s only through conversations with these very friends and associates that I’ve realized it exists in the first place.

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