Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Back on the white circus and first stop St Moritz

So back to blogging and blatant self promotion.

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup has returned to Central Europe, so that means I get to work, this season I am following the tour as best I can splitting my time between the men's and women's races, and to try and make it as cost effective as possible I shall be using my motorhome.

The drive down from London to St Moritz in Switzerland was done over a couple of days due to the fact my 24 year old van does not really like hills, or going over 50mph (80kph) unless it's going downhill. Because this season I am working alongside the US Ski team, I hope to get a reserved space at the races, with electric power to help keep warm and allow me to cook etc. In St Moritz I had a space next to a huge motorhome, so now I must sell loads of images and buy one to get rid of my jealousy.
This is the first time in years that I have been to a race in St Moritz or St Moretits as I prefer to call it (lots of plastic surgery enhanced women in town)
Because the town is situated high up in the mountains, the weather can be very very varied.. Most days it did not get warmer that -10 and when you take into consideration wind chill, it was a bloomin cold week. Image wise I did not take a decent photo, either because I was moved last minute from what I considered to be the best action shot, or I misread the course and the expected action didn't happen.
I had hoped to get some nice training shots pre race days but alas the weather conspired against me.

For the first race, a super combined race which features one run of super giant slalom and slalom, I misread the course and expected some action at a gate I was covering, but after the first fore runner I realised that I had screwed up and ran up the hill about 100mtrs to a safe spot to get a back up shot I had in mind. For the slalom I decided to stay in the finish area, as there was a chance that Lindsey Vonn would win and I wanted to capture her emotion as she crossed the line... But it was not to be oh well, Cest la vie.

On Saturday it was the Super Giant Slalom race, which for those that do not follow ski racing to often is a cross between a downhill race (where the nutters go fast as f@*k and a giant slalom, where they do lots of turney things) I skied the course a few times to find a nice position, which was quite near the top and I thought that a few skiers may get into weird positions as there was a hidden dip, and with the light being very flat, I hoped to capture some crackers, but alas this was not meant to be, just as the FIS officials were with me as we discussed the position a message came over their radio saying that the start gate was being lowered down the hill because of the pants weather. So I skied off to try and find another position. Had this been a sunny day this shot would have been really nice, with a blue sky background........
I had a friend covering the finish area for me, and because it was another win for the US Ski team through Lindsey Vonn, and a 3rd place through Julia Mancuso I was fortunate to get podium shots and finish area emotion shots.
The problem with shooting a speed event is as a photographer you are meant to stay in position until after the last racer. Sometimes we can get out if our position is near an exit point. Also in St Moritz, they do not allow photographers to ski into the finish area after the race so we can get the podium shots, but instead they make us ski out the course and walk around to the finish area and always this is too late for slow skiers like me. (try skiing fast with about 20kgs of camera gear that is your lively hood)

Sunday nd the last race day of the St Moritz weekend was a giant slalom race, I love shooting GS as it lends itself to great images. Going up the piste I had a big grin on my face as ther was a lovely blue sky or bluebird as my American colleagues call it. I found a great position and after shooting the racers inspect the course I sat down with a cup of tea to await the start.
The weather Gods however soon wiped that smile from my face.

This shot of Anne Sophie Barthet of France would have looked so much nicer had the bloomin clouds stayed away.

Photographing Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany is always great as she really seems to attack each gate.

Next stop on the tour is Val Gardena in Italy or Sud Tirol as the locals would prefer!!

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