My Favorite 20 Images and Why

These are my favorite 20 images from Sochi.  They might not be the best pictures I took but they are my favorite images, in no particular order:

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Canada’s Noah Bowman warms-up before his first run for the finals of the Men’s Ski Halfpipe at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.

This was my favorite day for the Winter Olympics, it was the first time I was at the Winter Olympics that it FELT like the Winter Olympics. As huge snowflakes were coming down, I hiked up to the top of the halfpipe to shoot the warm-ups and the first of two runs for the finals. There was some railing I was standing behind, about nine feet back from the lip, I leaned over and put my camera over the railing for a lower angle, so I wasn’t looking through the viewfinder when I took this picture. A happy accident to get him right in front of the light, we just had to guess where the skiers would be doing their jumps because it wasn’t the same every time.  I started my love of photography shooting skiing growing up in Colorado. This was back in the early 90s and it is cool to see how the sport has progressed. To be able to photograph the first ever Men’s Ski Halfpipe and see an American win was a great treat.

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Gold medalist Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, right, and bronze medalist Italy’s Carolina Kostner pose for a picture following their flower ceremony for Ladies Free Skating at the Iceberg Palace for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.

I like this picture because it shows their personality. Italy’s Carolina Kostner, left, had just won bronze, and Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova, right, had won the gold. After the flower ceremony they skated around the rink to celebrate and have their picture taken. Here they posed for a picture by someone in the coaches area.  I was sitting in shooting position A – which is on one of the ends of the rink, right above the coaches area and kinda of behind and to the right (when looking at) the “kiss and cry” area.

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People hangout in front of a fountain in downtown Sochi, Russia on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014.

One of the first days that I was in Sochi I actually went to downtown Sochi, it’s about 17 miles north of the Olympic Park, it took about 40 minutes by train.  A great train ride, a little slow, but it winds the coast of the Black Sea.  It was great to see Sochians (is that a word) celebrating the Olympics (the Olympic Torch had just gone through their city) and everyone seemed to be in a happy and excited mood.

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USA’s Sage Kotsenburg performs during his first run during the semifinals of Men’s Slopestyle at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014.

Mark Reis from the Colorado Springs Gazette showed another photographer (Paul Kitagaki for Zuma) and me a picture similar to this one and told us about this location at the extreme park, so we had to hike up and try and capture it as well. It was a decent hike up there, the weather was warm and sunny.  The only way we knew when a snowboarder was coming down was when the tv guy at the top of the hill started to move, because standing at the bottom of the hill we could see nothing.  Snowboarders could take a jump to the left or right of this doll but luckily most decided to go over the doll.  I lucked out because in this picture it’s a USA guy, who happened to win the gold medal and if he isn’t touching the doll he’s super close to it, most were very far away.

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Russia’s Elena Ilnykh gets a kiss following the Team Figure Skating compeition at the Ice Berg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. Katsalapov was part of the team that won gold for the team competition.

I just like this moment.  In the background – just to the left of the guy kissing the girl, the half-head, is a blurry Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Russian fans cheer after Russia’s Evgeny Plyushchenko finished his performance for the Team Men Free Skating at the Ice Berg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014.

Wow is that little Russian girl excited!  They were pretty far away from me but after Plyushchenko performance I looked for some crowd reaction – stumbled upon these two.

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Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch heads down the course for the downhill during for the the Ladies’ Super Combined at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014.

I hiked up the mountain with another photographer – the only other option was to sit at the finish line – which I typically need to do because we usually only get to photograph one run and we want to get the reaction at the bottom.  Since this was the Super Combined they did one run of downhill in the morning and one run of slalom in the afternoon.  I photographed this with a slightly slow shutter speed – 1/200 of a second to get a little blur in the background which helps gives the skier a sense of speed.

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USA’s Julia Mancuso competes in the Women’s Super Combined Slalom at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014.

This was shot from the finish line – we were really far away. As we were waiting for the skiers to come down and get into a decent size in the frame I noticed skiers popping in and out of the trees – I wish that grey pole, on the left, which is a light pole, wasn’t there but I do like the skier in the trees.

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Switzerland’s Dominique Gisin reacts after finishing her run in the Ladies Downhill at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. She tied for gold with Slovakia’s Tina Maze.

I didn’t see a lot of great faces but this was one of them. I didn’t see it for very long either because I was in the second row of a very tight shooting spot at the finish line of the Alpine Center, I got only got off a few frames before I was blocked.

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USA’s David Backes (42) celebrates his goal against Slovakia goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak (41) in the second period for their preliminary round at the Shayba Arena for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.

Hockey, like soccer, there is a lot of guessing as to where things are going to happen. I was sitting in my ice level position and was lucky enough to see USA’s David Backes celebrate his goal my direction.

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France’s Thomas Mermillod Blondin heads down the final jump during his downhill run for the Men’s Super Combined at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

Another picture from the finish line. I liked the visual of the mountains in the background.

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Workers prepare the course for the Women’s Super G at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

As I walked out of the press work area and headed to the finish line for the Men’s Super Combined I looked up and saw workers preparing the course for the next day’s race, the Women’s Super G.

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A stray dog sleeps next to a playground in downtown Adler, Russia on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014.

This was for the stray dog assignment we did, Elliott Almond wrote the story – there are a lot of stray dogs around the Olympic Park and some athletes were even adopting some of the younger dogs. We didn’t have access to the athletes so I went to Adler to look for stray dogs. I walked around the town and ran into a few, this one was taking a nap in front of a kids play area. The light isn’t very good but I like the fact that obviously the parents felt comfortable with the dogs around.  The dogs here have all been very sweet and most will let you pet them and they generally look well-fed and they never growled when they saw you.

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Latvia heads down turn five for the Two-man Bobsleigh at the Sliding Center Sanki for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014.

Photographed with a fisheye lens here is Latvia heading down the course. We were allowed amazingly close to the bobsled track. I could have literally reached out and touched the sled.  Bobsled, even though I have only photographed it a few times is one of the more fun, because it’s so visual, and challenging, because it’s so fast, winter sports to photograph.

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Men’s Snowboard Cross was delayed due to fog at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.

When I reached the Rosa Khutor Exteme Park it was foggy, real foggy. So I went out and took some fog pictures. Afterwards I was resting in the media center waiting to find out if they were going to even race (they did not, it was postponed until the next morning) reporter Elliott Almond came up to me and said, and I’m paraphrasing here “I’m doing a fog story, do you think you can take some fog pictures.” It was great to say – I’ve already taken them! This was a couple up in the stands, I stood behind him, the man on the left turned around and waved at me and then waved the flag.

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Russia heads down turn 10 for Heat 3 of the Two-man Bobsleigh at the Sliding Center Sanki for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.

Another bobsled picture, this time of Russia heading down turn 10. Bobsled is a great visual sport, but hard to photograph because they go so fast. This was the final for the Men’s Two-man Bobsleigh. Luckily the final started just before dusk so I was able get some light in the sky – just a few minutes later the sky would be pitch black.

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A Russian fan watches Russia-2 head down the track for Heat 4 of the Two-man Bobsleigh at the Sliding Center Sanki for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.

A young fan at the finish line of the Men’s Two-man Bobsleigh. They were watching the Russian’s two-man team on a big screen television and cheering for them, here she waits for a split-time to be posted.

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People wander around during a weather delay in Men’s Snowboard Cross at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.

This picture doesn’t have much to do with anything, I saw it after taking the fog features. I was leaving the stands and as I’m walking down the stairs I’m amazed at the scaffolding that is put up, it’s crazy the amount that is used. I just liked the lines that the scaffolding made, it’s like a scaffolding maze, it’s very impressive to see it from the outside and more so from the inside.

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USA’s Alex Deibold is carried by teammates after winning the bronze medal for the Men’s Snowboard Cross at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.

Apparently this guy wasn’t that great at snowboard cross.  In Vancouver he didn’t make the team but was invited to go as a wax technician.  So when he won a bronze medal he was excited and so were his teammates, they ran out and mobbed him and eventually a couple lifted him onto their shoulders.  I shot this from the handicap area, which was in the front row of the stands slightly elevated.  It’s always good to see raw emotion.

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Heat 4 of the quarterfinals in the Men’s Snowboard Cross at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.

This was a miserable day – it was at the Men’s Snowboard Cross, it was raining, cold rain, my least favorite weather to photograph in. This had been postponed from the day before due to fog. I had shot a few different events at the Extreme Park and decided to go for a different angle and I walked up to the top of the spectator stands. Because it was raining, and this was the rescheduled event, the stands were pretty empty. We are allowed to shoot from any spectator seat as long as we are not blocking anyone. I looked way up to the top of the mountain and I could see them for a second or two before they disappeared behind a hill. I like all the little people hanging out throughout the frame.

Thank you for reading.

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2 thoughts on “My Favorite 20 Images and Why

  1. 5th picture on this post… You have: “Russia’s Nikita Katsalapov gets a kiss following the Team Figure Skating competition at the Ice Berg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. Katsalapov was part of the team that won gold for the team competition.”
    In that picture however, we have Nikita’s partner: Elena Ilnykh kissing (most likely) their coach Nikolai Morozov, after the Team Event in Sochi. Nikita black skating costume, is visible in the background. And… president Putin is nowhere to be seen there. You had the names completely mixed up. Nikita is a Russian male name. 🙂

    • Thank you – will make the change – the blurry half-head coming out of the back of the coaches head is President Putin – I was photographing him leaving and saw the two kissing in the foreground. Nikita is both a male and a female name right? Not an excuse, but that’s probably what tripped me up… – thinking of popular references – La Femme Nikita – Elton John’s song Nikita (but I guess that would make sense it’s a male name – but at the time he hadn’t ‘come out’). But perhaps in Russia it’s only male?

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