Yan Huckendubler is a graduate of some of our photo courses – mostly sports including the pro-hockey photo course in February – and last summer Yan had the privilege of assisting the Canadian team at the Commonwealth Games in India.
He has posted international sports reports on our blog before.
In the next couple of days he shares stories and his photos from his adventures last summer:
2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India
In October, I was selected as Media Attaché for the Canadian Team at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. Although photography was not my primary duty, I packed my camera and a few lenses, hoping to grab some shots of the sports I was assigned to: archery, boxing, table tennis and of course field hockey, the sport I have been involved with for a long time.
I left with the advance Canadian contingent, a group of a dozen staff going about ten days before the rest of the team to prepare everything, and we immediately had to deal with the abysmal state of the Athletes Village, which was well documented in the media. As the only communications person in the group, I was in the eye of the storm, working with the correspondents of the main Canadian outlets, called in from places such as Kabul to cover the “situation” in Delhi.
I was confronted with a dilemma that many photo-journalists probably have: should we release the series of pictures I took to illustrate the sorry state of the athletes’ quarters? The media were pushing to have them, arguing that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and would speed up the resolution of the problem; but the Canadian Team staff did not want to, opting for a more “Canadian” approach and hoping that the Indian officials would become reasonable.
Our dilemma was resolved when the BBC web site published a similar series of pictures (obviously leaked by the English Team) and the proverbial shit hit the political fan, triggering an immediate and decisive action to clean-up the Village.
At these types of events, you need to carry with you all your equipment from venue to venue, and through numerous security checks: computer, video-camera, camera, lenses, rain gear, granola bar, etc… not to mention an “unmarked” neutral shirt recommended by our security group in case you were separated from the official group. So I decided to limit the lenses I would carry to:
- AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm 1:2.8G IF-ED for the casual shots, team pictures, etc…
- AF-S VR-Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G ED for archery, boxing and table tennis;
- AF-S Teleconverter TC-14EII 1.4x, combined with the 70-200 for field hockey.
The plan “nearly” worked: the combination of 70-200 with the 1.4 teleconverter was too short for field hockey pictures (I would normally use my AF VR-Nikkor 80-400mm 1:4.5-5.6D ED).
For archery, the type of pictures you can take is limited. I was flabbergasted by the regularity with which the archers hit the centre of the target but it is mostly a static sport, everybody having the same stance and being perfectly still while aiming, with little emotion shown after a shot to avoid wasting mental energy.
At the boxing venue, I somehow became friend with the Venue Photo Manager and he let me go “ring side” when the Canadians were fighting. It is certainly a choice position to follow the action, although I spent a lot of time trying to decide if I should shoot below or between the ropes! There is great potential to catch the expressions on the boxers’ faces during the build-up phases, and, with some luck, you can shoot at the right time to catch a wild swing.
Stay tuned for more of Yan’s adventures from the 2010 Commonwealth Games!