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Winter Sports 2018 Blog

Behind the Camera: “The Epic Battle on Gold” by Dan Himbrechts

Shaun White of the USA competes in the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Final, at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL VR with AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14 III | ISO 2000 | 1/1600 s | f/5.0 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image

PyeongChang, Feb 14, 2018 - Dan Himbrechts, staff photographer at Australian Associated Press (AAP), Australia's national news wire agency: “This is my second Winter Olympic Games, and as Australia has a relatively small team of 51 athletes, I am the only photographer from my organisation covering.

This presents many challenges when planning on how to cover a specific event, mostly due to the fact that I can't be in three places at once and need to make sure I get the picture. As a photographer I always want to find and make the most interesting picture, but I also have to cover the story and be where I think the action, or in the case of big events like the Olympics, the celebration and emotion will happen.

Prior to shooting news and sport full time I shot snowboarding for magazines, and it is by far my favourite sport to shoot, so coming into these games I was especially looking forward to shooting the snowboarding events, and in particular knew that the men's halfpipe event was shaping up to be one of the biggest stories of the games.

American two-time gold medalist Shaun White had made his intentions clear that he wanted the Olympic title back after missing out on a podium in Sochi, yet his competition this time in Japanese teenager Ayumu Hirano and Australian Scotty James, ensured we were in for an epic battle. In what seemed like it could have been a scene from a movie all three contenders took the top spots, with the gold medal being decided dramatically on the final run, with White clinching the gold from Hirano. The enormity of the win wasn't lost on White who was overcome with emotion, making for some great pictures”.

Shaun White of the USA is seen during a training run in the halfpipe at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR Fisheye-Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D | ISO 200 | 1/3200 s | f/5.6 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image
Shaun White of the USA reacts following his final run in the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Final, at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II | ISO 1000 | 1/2000 s | f/4.5 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image
Shaun White of the USA celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Final, at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II | ISO 1000 | 1/2000 s | f/4.5 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image
Shaun White of the USA reacts after winning the gold medal in the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe Final, at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II | ISO 2000 | 1/2000 s | f/4.0 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image

“Shooting during competition can be difficult as good positions are limited and clean backgrounds can be hard to find. I try to shoot practice first, to see the course and use lenses I wouldn't be able to during the actual competition, such as being up close with a fisheye lens or wide angle, whereas during the halfpipe competition I decided to base myself at the bottom of the pipe and use a 400mm lens with a 1.4x converter, as well as a 70-200mm and 24-70mm lens for the celebration that can often take place following a run”.

Jake Pates of the USA is seen during a training run in the halfpipe at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR | ISO 200 | 1/2500 s | f/5.0 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image
Mirabelle Thovex of France competes in the Women's Halfpipe Final at Phoenix Snow Park during the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL VR with AF-S TELECONVERTER TC-14 III | ISO 100 | 1/2500 s | f/4.5 Photo by Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image