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.
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.
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”.