Monday, August 25, 2008


(please see below for behind the scenes pics)

The Olympics are a frantic frenzy of buses, walking, cameras, lenses, photographs, sweat, bumping & shoving, running, jubilation, action and then all of the sudden it comes to a screeching stop. I think I might have POD - Post-Olympics Disorder, not sure what to do with myself.

The last thing my best friend from high school Eric Fowles said to me via email was "rock china" - well I tried my hardest and China certainly rocked me but it's been a great experience. It's certainly not an original analogy, but the Olympics is definitely like a marathon. Okay, so I've never run a marathon, but I know someone who did (Jessica) and it's one of those things that might not be fun all the time but the greatest reward is making it to the finish line in one piece. Had lots of fun shooting the events, the hard work was the logistical stuff.

I definitely have mixed emotions about these Olympics. Wonderful experience and so thankful I was able to come here. The sad thing is looking ahead to London's Olympics - unless there is a cataclysmic change in newspapers and the economy I can really only see a handful - like 5-10 newspapers in the US sending people to London. Will newspapers even be around in four years. New York Times, Dallas Morning News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, USA Today will send people, beyond those papers everyone else is highly in doubt.

The cool thing is that Athens and Beijing are the two Olympics I wanted to go to, Athens for the historical nature and China for the, well historical nature - but in much different terms.

I just wanted to say some Thank You's to several people, I'm not using last names in case those people don't want to be found:
First a huge thank you to Rachel W - our bureau chief - if it wasn't for her MediaNews proposal to have a bureau at the Olympics I would not have been there (neither would a lot of the other people). Second thank you to my boss Geri M. for having faith in me and asking me to go a couple of years ago (I guess I didn't f-up the first one too badly). Third another big thank you to Elly O., Josie L., and my bro Nol for watching my boy (cat) Whitie while I was gone and giving him lots of needed attention. Thanks to all the picture editor's and designers who used my images, Michael Malone, Jami S., Josie, Ashley, et al. Thanks to columnists Ann Killion and Mark Purdy and reporter-extradinaire Elliott Almond. Thank you to my Mom and stepdad David for their endless support and love. Thanks to my friends for their support and emails. I'm excited to play in the San Francisco Press Photographers Association Golf Tourny with Pat and Sean. A big thanks to our telecommuncations guru Linda K. for setting me up in the 11th hour with the near-life saving blackberry so that I could keep in constant touch with reality via email and internet. And thank you to Brad Mangin for posting parts of these on Sportsshooter.

There are a ton of people who did Olympic blogs and I look forward to finding them and reading them... some people that I know have blogs out there about the Olympics (just google them): Rod Mar, Chris Detrick, Vincent La Foret, Sol Neelman, Kevin German, Zach Honig, David Burnett, Dan Powers and others...

It was really great making some new friends out there Robert Gauthier, Michael Goulding, Mark Reis, Chris Detrick, Helen Richardson, Erich Schlegel and others, and seeing old friends like David Eulitt, Paul Kitakagi, Eric Seals, Michael Macor, Sean Haffey, Wally Skalij, Smiley Pool, Scott Strazannte, Rod Mar... Met a bunch of people briefly whom I didn't get a chance to talk with too much but seemed really cool, John Biever, Kevin German, David McIntyre, Jeff Shaw (I think?), Kirby Yao, Edward Ornelas... Barely ever saw some of my other friends, Jed Jacobsohn, Lucy Nicholson, Robert Hanashiro, John Mabanglo, Harry Walker, George Bridges, Vincent La Foret, etc... Awesome to work along side (or in the same venue with so many great photographers)... the SI dudes Robert Beck, Bill Frakes, John Biever, Al Tielemans, Bob Rosato (there were a couple more whom I haven't met before)... If I forgot anyone don't be offended :)

For all you gear-heads this is what I brought with me. And I will not be the first to proclaim this, but the Nikon 200-400 f4 is the perfect lens for covering the Olympics. That lens was awesome! I used it all but two days and those two days I wished I had had it. Most of the time when we are covering events we can move around. The files are so nice that ISO is irrelevant, I often shot at 2500 an the files looked sweet and tack sharp with that 200-400. Love that lens! During the Olympics most of the time you pick a spot and that's where you sat for the duration. The 200-400 f4 gave me latitude to get images I would have been unable to get with a fixed 400 or a fixed 300.

On a daily basis I rolled the Thinktankphoto airport international 2.0 which I could fit two bodies and five lenses in, including my lovely 200-400 and I carried my laptop in a Pacsafe backpack.

3 - Canon Mark III's
2 - Nikon D3's
1- Casio Exlim camera
1- Canon G9
1- Canon SD790 (point and shoot)

Canon lenses:
1 - 400mm f2.8
2 - 70-200mm f2.8
2 - 16-35mm f2.8
1 - 24-70mm f2.8
1 - 24mm tilt shift lens
2 - 1.4x converters
1 - 2x converter

Nikon lenses:
1 - 200-400mm f4 (awesome lens)
1 - 70-200mm f2.8
1 - 24-70mm f2.8
1 - 14-24mm f2.8
1 - 16mm f2.8 fisheye (yes Mom and David the same lens from college!!!) - used it to make the panoramas

Other gear:
1- Powerbook G4
2 - small harddrives
2 - Canon 580 strobes
1- floor plate
1- magic arm
1- ball head
3 - pocket wizards
* - a bunch of other misc stuff like monopods, clothes, energy bars, etc.

And all that stuff fit into:
1 - Thinktankphoto International Airport bag (carry-on)
1 - Pelican case
1 - Lowe pro case
1 - Samsonite hardcase
1 - Pacsafe backpack

It was kinda crazy - I have five DSLR (digital cameras) with me, two of them, Nikon D3's, I'd only used a couple of times before I left. I also brought a Casio that I'd only used once. A Canon sd790 which I hadn't used before at all. I ended up using the Nikon's the majority of the time mostly due to the 200-400 f4.

What didn't I bring over that I thought I was going to?
-Canon 300 f2.8 - no need to with the Nikon 200-400
-Canon 100-400 - see above, plus the Canon lens is no where near as sharp as the 200-400
-Sony video camera - i have the G9 that does video

Behind the Scenes

Pics from behind the scenes... captions below the images

(me, Michael Goulding (OC Register), and Robert Gauthier (LA Times) hump it to the water polo gold match)
(Wally Skalij, LA Times, in the moat)
(my opening ceremony ticket)
(Volunteers hold umbrellas so we can get on the bus during a rain storm!!!)
(Wally asked this volunteer to sing a song - so she did!)
(me in the Nest)
(the coolest media workroom you'll ever see)
(Paul Kitagaki, Sac Bee at work in the Nest)
(Michael Macor, SF Chron on the bus from water polo)
(Wally Skalij, La Times, in the moat)
(Erich Schlegel, Dallas Morning News in the moat)
(our bureau, surprisingly without people)
(bus anarchy)
(cafeteria - McD's is on the far left)
(Goulding, Kitagaki, Reis in the Cube)
(A full bus from? basketball maybe)

Saturday, August 23, 2008


2:57 am - back in room ready to sleep for a long time... Eric Seals bought me dinner (thanks dude). I think Schlegal bought my beer I thanks dude!

1:15 am - drinking Weihenstephaner at the swanky mpc bar - how did I not know about this place before... It was right above our heads!

12:30 am - just finished transmitting... Might go grab a beer, still need to edit some audio...

10:32 pm - whoa wait, is it over? Back at MPC - still gotta scan in volleyball, water polo and closing ceremonies... Already transmitted the marathon - that was on deadline...

7:35 pm - sheesh it's packed here and a 1000 degrees - I'm sitting in front of a stobe light that is blowing hot air on me... I hope closing ceremony isn't as long as opening.
(Updated via blackberry)
(The very long and steep stair case up the nest to our shooting spot for closing)

7:20 pm - @ birds nest - had to walk no buses - got cheeseburger on way out
(Updated via blackberry)
(Me, Kitagaki and Goulding walking to the Birds Nest)

5:05 pm - they are playing MC Hammer, can't touch this. the US lost 14-10, oh well. Shooting local dude with medal - wish it didn't take so long for medal ceremony... hungry. Gotta eat and then run to closing ceremony... Then gotta scan all this stuff in!
(Updated via bb)

3:35 pm - oh yeah this is my last athletic event for the Olympics!
(Updated via blackberry)

3:30 pm - just had an apple, feel better - walked out to pool and they are announcing players now... Can't believe timing worked out this well. Hungary has won 8 golds in water polo - USA has won 0... Go USA! Goulding met a family of Gouldings on the way in...
(Goulding meets a Goulding)

2:40 pm - Men's vball final was freaking amazing!!! Thank god they won that last set. Gauthier, Goulding and I in cab on the way to water polo... We should make it with plenty of time - phew, was stressing on that. Haven't had time to eat any thing yet, hungry - but going to shoot the Hungary vs. USA water polo.
(Updated via blackberry)
(Goulding and Gauthier give directions to the cab driver)

1:38 pm - at men's vball usa up 2-1 hope they win this next set cause I gotta leave soon for water polo
(Updated via blackberry)

11:18 am - Gauthier just blew our minds and used the word "cogitate" in a sentence! Reis and I are amazed and impressed he threw it out on the last day. Reis jokingly said "isn't that what you do on your wedding night?". Ha
(updated via blackerry)

10:48 am - Can't believe it's the last day, on a pretty full bus to men's volleyball final, US vs. Brazil riding with with Robert Gauthier and Mark Reis (Colorado Springs Gazette). Bed at 3:30 up at 7 to shoot marathon finish at birds nest. Kenyan won - US 9 and 10, I think.
(Sent from blackberry)

7 am - wake up to cover men's marathon (finishline)


Slept in again - but didn't go to bed until 4 again - got up around 10 - headed off to the Men's football finals between Argentina and Nigeria. I was pulling for the Nigerians since Argenita won last year (right?). It was a really boring game, at least compared to the women's game the other night. I guess it's because thy control the ball really well so there isn't as much contact as there is for the women. But contact is what makes the for good pictures, or else you just have a dude dribbling the ball all alone... snoozer. I sat next to Tom Fox (Dallas Morning News) the second half and it was freaking hot.

I went staright to the water cube to catch the synchro team final. USA was first and I was hoping to get to photograph from the underwater windw - but it was already booked up.

Smily Pool, Houston Chronicle, is pretty insane, he wanted to break the record for the amount of assignments one can cover in one day - he held the previous record at 5... today he shattered that record and put that number to a staggering 7! Obviously he is not staying for a whole event, but still...

Headed back to the MPC and grabbed a lunch of spaghetti and pizza with? damn, if I forgot who it was it must me Detrick again - haha

Headed to the Women's volleyball final between USA and Brazil. Ran into Paul Kitagaki there - I think this may have been the first time since last week!

The amazing thing is that Brazil had not lost a set, yes a SET, in all of their Olympic games! USA played valiently and even won one set quite handily, a moral victory I guess, they nearly won the fourth set - but unfortunately Brazil finished them off. But USA still got the silver so that's cool?


Well I think I'm starting to run out of any intersesting stories because my brain is becoming as tired as my body. My mind is a bit mushy right now and remembering details is becoming more difficult - like with whom I had lunch with is getting lost...

So I sort of got to sleep-in today - didn't get up until 10:30 - but I went to bed around 4:30-5:00, saw a little early morning light starting to appear. Ran into Rod Mar (The Seattle Times) as we were getting on the bus to the MPC - we happened to be going to the same place - Men's Volleyball at the Capital Gymnasium. It's about a 35 minute bus ride from the MPC. I headed straight to the bus MB10, I think, when we got the MPC while Rod went over to grab some coffee. He was nice enough to pick up a banana and some almond cookies for me.

It was cool to catch-up with Rod, I'd seen him here-and-there but hadn't had a chance to chat with him, he didn't much of a choice since we sat next to each other.

The volleyball game was pretty exciting. I was disappointed yet again on the merchandising at volleyball they had no volley-ball specific merchandise - how idiotic is that? Sorry Jessica, I wandered all over the venue. Just like freaking the swimming venue didn't have any swimming pins! Sorry Caroline!

After volleyball I headed back to the MPC. Had lunch with Tom Fox, Carlos Gonzales (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and ??? - crap I'm totally spacing out who the other person was - the sad thing is that I actually walked into the cafeteria with that person and happened to run into Tom and Carlos! That's really terrible.

ok, I'm in the workroom at the media village sitting next to Chris Detrick and after several minutes of asking what day was what we figured out that it was he who was the mystery lunch guest.

Well after lunch I headed over to the Yingdong Natatorium where they play water polo, I ran into Michael Goulding (Orange County Register) there. The Men were playing Serbia in the semi-finals. They had lost to Serbia 4-2 and no one really thought they had much of a chance. Supposedly no one outside of Europe has ever won the gold in water polo!

So it was very surprising that they destroyed Serbia 10-5. I shot next to Scot Strazzante (Chicago Tribune) down on the water for the first two quarters and then photographed from a little balcony area for the last two quarters.

Michael was going to head out after water polo but I mentioned that as soon as water polo was over I was planning on heading to track so that I could catch the Men's 4x100m relay - mainly because Ann was writing something about Usain Bolt - the Jamaican guy who had already won two gold medals and set two world records. We jumped on the bus to the MPC and then from the MPC we jumped on the National Staidum bus. It's about a 15 minutes walk versus a 10 minute bus ride, might as well relax a bit and take the 10 minute bus ride.

Got there about 30 minutes beforehand... so it worked out okay...

Several photographers have been attacked by the Beijing bug, with fever like symptoms. Luckily I have avoided that bug pretty well... especialliy considering that I'm pretty beat down. Don't ask me what it is or how one gets it but it's out there.

Friday, August 22, 2008


"Unforgettable memories" this is the reason why a college majoring in communications decided to volunteer for the Olympics. I was chatting with him at the Women's gold medal soccer game. I did find out that they are not required to work 14 hours (like one volunteer told me) but 8 hours a day for 20 days. But it's certainly possible that some volunteers work longer than others.

The soccer game was pretty sweet - they went scoreless into overtime and our goalie Han Solo - oops - Hope Solo - made a ton of sweet saves. To a Star Wars fan would Hope Solo be Han Solo's great, great, great x10 grandma? There is quite a big back-story revolving around her and the world cup, but I'm not getting into that.

Reverse - taht otni gnitteg ton m'I tub htrof os dna... today was another monster day - my longest so far. Got up at 7 a.m. to shoot the beach volleyball gold medal match and my head hit the pillow around 4:30ish a.m. Today it felt like I hit the wall at 7, I did not want to get up... and looking out my 12th story window at the other media towers and seeing rain pouring down really didn't help my cause.

I have never been as soaking wet as I have been at beach volleyball. My ThinkTankPhoto Hydrophobia did keep my camera's nice and dry but I got soaked despite wearing a waterproof jacket. It was raining so hard that it just went right down my neck and soaked the front of my shirt and eventually my pants.

Robert Beck (SI) had the brilliant idea of wearing swim trunks to the match. I, on the other end of the spectrum of brilliance, decided to wear pants! duh... so if you want to feel what it was like today, put your clothes on, get into the shower and turn the water on and sit there for 45 minutes and watch beach volleyball on tv (please don't bring the tv IN to the shower with you though). The match was a good one and it was also nice and quick - like I said about 45 minutes. The game jube was ok but the medal ceremony (which can be not so good) had some nice emotion since this might be Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor's last Olympics.

The match started at 11:00 am - but our picture editor Jami back in the States was nice enough to get the normal 12:00 pm (9 p.m. in California) deadline pushed back to 12:40 (or 9:40 p.m.) - because it was raining there was no way for me to bring my computer out and transmit. The medal ceremony ended about 12:15 which gave me 25 minutes to run back to the press room and scan and transmit - I raced through 24 images by about 12:45 - which was 9:45 p.m. back in California.

Being the good mother that our columnist Ann is, after I walked into our office in the MPC she instructed me to go back to my room and change - or I'd get sick. I'm really glad I did - I had actually walked out to the buses and then turned around. So after talking with her I walked back to the buses again, luckily I had about 3 hours before I had to head to the Women's water polo match. I even caught a 15 minute nap.

I would have stayed for the medal ceremony at water polo but since they lost and got the silver I decided to book it out of there and catch as much of the gold medal soccer game as I could. I had to go back to the MPC and then catch bus MB13 to the Beijing Workers Stadium. I had thought about grabbing a taxi but it would have been hard to describe where I needed to go - to the media entrance.

I walked on the field about 10 minutes into the game, didn't miss much. I am still amazed the US won because the Brazilians just dominated them the first half. The game was scoreless in regulation. With about 5-10 minutes left in regulation a bunch of the so-cal shooters who were at the softball game (which they lost - and won silver) - sauntered in. "What did I miss," they asked me... I said to them, you bastards, you haven't missed anything! There was a brief time-out before overtime started - which consists of two 15 minute halves - no sudden death. USA's Carli Lloyd broke the tie about 5 minutes into the first overtime and they just had to hold on and have Solo use the force to stop a couple more goals.

A cool, quick factoid, the Women's gold medal was the 1,000th gold medal in US history in the Olympic Games.

Oddly enough the Brazilian players only list one name the roster - not sure if it's their first or last - but one of the players name is Marta - which reminded me of one of the best television shows of all time - Arrested Development - I should have had her autograph my Bluth Company tee-shirt.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


David pointed out that I had the unmitigated gall to spell "unmitigated gaul" incorrectly... ugh