London Olympics Day 1
Today was the first full day of competition at the Olympics, which was very exciting! My first assignment started at 7:30 am at the mens cycling road course which started near Buckingham Palace. I didn’t get back from shooting fireworks at the Tower Bridge until 2am, so I was working on the my second day of 3 hours sleep, which is a tough way to start the Games. Most other photographers were in the same boat as I was, so at least we could take solace in each others grogginess.
The cycling venue was one of the more chaotic events I have covered at an Olympics. After the start at Buckingham Palace, about 50 photographers were shuttled in mini-buses up into the countryside to a town about 50 miles away called Dorney, where the cyclists did 9 laps in a hilly area called Box Hill. We sped through the country side on the course trailing the Peleton which had made its way to Dorney past tens of thousands of people who came out mostly to cheer on Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain who had just won the Tour de France less than two weeks ago. It was really quite an amazing site to see as we sped toward Box Hill.
As we arrived to Box Hill, we knew that we would have 4 laps to shoot before speeding back down for the finish. Our bus driver missed the turn off for the parking area so we had to go around the course again while the other photographers exited and started to find photo potions which were not very well marked. We only had three laps to shoot because of the error on the drivers part, so I was scrambling to find positions amongst thousand of fans and other photographers. Before having to get back onto the bus. My biggest fear was that the bus was going to leave me behind, which actually happened to three photographers who then had to take a train back to London.
The photo organization for this venue did nothing to improved my sleep deprived attitude, as the New York Times was denied the field of play finish line spot which we had requested, which finished on Pall Mall in front of Buckingham Palace. I was relegated to an auxiliary photo potion for the finish which was sorely lacking in any sort of planing to help us see the finish line cleanly.
My second assignment for the day was to cover an evening session at the beach volleyball. The venue is really beautiful, set in downtown London with views of the Big Ben, the Eye and Horse Guards Parade. I didn’t get there in time for sunset which was a shame because it may be the last day of sun for a while. The shot at dusk was still very nice though. Day 1 in the bag. Time for sleep!