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Winter Sports 2018 Blog

Behind the Camera: “Challenges and Rewards” by Joel Marklund

PyeongChang, Feb 21, 2018 - Joel Marklund, Chief Photographer at Bildbyrån in Sweden and Nikon European Ambassador: “Normally when shooting Winter Olympics I'm covering a lot of ice hockey and other indoor sports. However this time with less interest in the sport because of missing NHL players, I've been occupied with outdoor sports involving skis - Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, Freestyle Aerials and Freestyle Ski-cross.

Tamara Tippler of Austria competes in Women's Alpine Skiing Super-G during Day 7 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 17, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4E FL ED | ISO 500 | 1/5000s |f/5.0 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
Nastasia Noens of France competes in Women's Slalom during Day 7 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR @ 550mm | ISO 1000 | 1/3200s | f/5.6 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
Nicola Zanon of Thailand competes in Alpine Skiing Men's Giant Slalom on Day 9 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 18, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR @ 270mm | ISO 160 | 1/5000s | f/8 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
A skier on a practice course during the Women's Slalom on Day 7 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 16, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR @ 290mm | ISO 100 | 1/2000s | f/4.5 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN

When shooting alpine skiing the photographers need to be in place on course one hour before the start. Only 40 photographers who are expert skiers are allowed on course at the same time. Essentially it means that if you want a reconnaissance run you need to go up by the lift approximately two hours before. For me 10 am start means that I will wake up at 5:30 am to be there in time. Because of very tight safety measures the photographers are placed far away from the skiers, in the event they crash. For Slalom and Giant Slalom I've been using a tele-zoom and for Downhill and Super-G the 600mm. Downhill is considered the ultimate winter sports for a reason. It's blazingly quick and most of the times we don't see the skiers before they approach the gate.

However, because of hard winds the alpine competitions were postponed several times. Therefore a lot of the 5:30 am mornings turned into nothing at all, a couple of times I sat in the gondola on my way up to the start house when I received a notice about cancellation.

Ilia Burov of Olympic Athletes from Russia at a Men's Freestyle Aerials practice session on Day 4 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR @ 62mm | ISO 5000 | 1/1600s | f/6.3 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
Dimitri Isler of Switzerland jumps above course workers at a Men's Freestyle Aerials practice session on Day 4 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm F2.8G ED @ 14mm | ISO 5000 | 1/1600s | f/5.6 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
Liubov Nikitina of Olympic Athletes from Russia is reflected in ski googles at a Women's Freestyle Aerials practice session on Day 4 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR @ 400mm | ISO 1250 | 1/2500s | f/6.3 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
Igor Omelin and Egor Korotkov of Olympic Athletes from Russia during a practice run prior to the Men's Freestyle Skicross on Day 12 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED @ 14mm | ISO 640 | 1/5000s | f/6.3 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN
Robert Winkler of Austria in Men's Freestyle Skicross during Day 12 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II @ 70mm | ISO 50 (Lo 1) | 1/40s | f/22 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN

All these ski competitions have their own charm, difficulties and rewards. Freestyle Aerials is probably the most creative event for a photographer, whereas Alpine Skiing is very technical and physically exhausting, Cross Country Skiing demands knowledge of the different disciplines in order to know when and where to be out on a course and Ski-cross is both spectacular and hard to shoot.

Altogether these different sports have made these games feel very much like a proper Winter Olympics”.

Charlotte Kalla of Sweden celebrates after the Women's Skiathlon during Day 1 of the 2018 Winter Olympics on February 10, 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Nikon D5 | AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR @ 26mm | ISO 2500 | 1/500s | f/4.0 Copyright: Joel Marklund/BILDBYRÅN