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Curling Pictures – Covering a Visually Underestimated Sport

by Tanya Zenkovich
It started in July 2013 when I got to know that I’ll be a part of the epa team for the Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014. It was to be my most serious assignment ever.

A man stands near the Olympic cauldron in the Olympic Park in Sochi, Russia, 01 February 2014. The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games run from 07 to 23 February 2014. epa/ Tanya Zenkovich

A man stands near the Olympic cauldron in the Olympic Park in Sochi, Russia, 01 February 2014. The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games run from 07 to 23 February 2014. epa/ Tanya Zenkovich —- find out more

Sochi met me with palms and a very pleasant weather contrast: while in Minsk it was –18 Celsius, in Sochi it also felt like being 18 degrees, but now above zero. At the very beginning I couldn’t escape troubles though. A wrong accreditation pass was given to me at the airport. Anyway, I thought that standing in a line at the accreditation center to get a correct card, wasn’t the worst thing to happen.

Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia, 07 February 2014. epa/Tatyana Zenkovich

Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia, 07 February 2014. epa/Tatyana Zenkovich—- find out more

The first challenging task for me was to cover the opening ceremony of the Games. I got a really awesome position at the stadium: it was very central and high to make good panoramic shots. After the necessary preparations (briefing, plugging a cable into the camera, sending test pictures, defining settings in the camera set, and, of course, learning the ceremony schedule by heart), I couldn’t wait for the ceremony to commence. There’s one peculiar thing about events in Sochi: when they start there’s no stopping. Therefore, to get a nice shot one has to stay focused, be creative, be prepared, do everything fast and predict what’s going to happen the next moment. Time is so fast here! So it’s very important also to have some snacks with you at your working place so as not to be out of energy, when the crucial moments come. 🙂

Curling Pictures and Pajamas

Most of the time I spent taking curling pictures. At first I hardly knew what it was about. Some colleagues told me this sport is boring and that it’s hard to come up with interesting angles for curling pictures; still others assured me that it’s really nuts, great and an expressive competition to cover (and some of these “optimists” even sent me Youtube lessons how to play curling). Besides, I always asked my new acquaintances among the photographers who worked in Sochi whether they had had a chance to shoot curling pictures before and (if yes) what their experience had been.

Christoffer Svae of Norway delivers a stone during the tie-breaker match between Norway and Great Britain in the Curling competition in the Ice Cube Curling Center at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 18 February 2014. epa/ Tanya Zenkovich

Christoffer Svae of Norway delivers a stone during the tie-breaker match between Norway and Great Britain in the Curling competition in the Ice Cube Curling Center at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 18 February 2014. epa/ Tanya Zenkovich —- find out more

Indeed, curling turned out to be an exciting “playground” for experimenting! Multiple exposures, panning, slow shutter speed, zooming and twisting, game of shadows, different angles and an opportunity to move from one position to another during matches. My favorite team was from Norway. Because of the Norwegian team’s everyday-new funny uniform and curling slippers it seemed sometimes that the players wore trendy pajamas – a real stroke of luck for a photographer!

Jennifer Jones of Canada in action during the Women's Gold medal match between Sweden and Canada in the Curling competition in the Ice Cube Curling Center at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 20 February 2014. epa/Tanya Zenkovich

Jennifer Jones of Canada in action during the Women’s Gold medal match between Sweden and Canada in the Curling competition in the Ice Cube Curling Center at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, Sochi, Russia, 20 February 2014. epa/Tanya Zenkovich —- find out more

When I understood how a typical match develops and also found an effective algorithm of my actions for a match, life at the venue became much easier for me.

When the Games started I saw how many preparations the epa team had done in advance and how many people were involved in the process so that everything was running smoothly. I also realized that my work was only a small contribution to the huge working mechanism. And I’m pretty sure that what I could see is only the tip of the iceberg. So my task as a photographer was quite easy – just wait for a good moment and press the button.

It was a great experience for me to work with such a professional and cool team, to learn from them, and I’m very grateful to my colleagues whom I got to know there!

Tanya Zenkovich from Belarus, our photographer for curling pictures, jubilates under the olympic rings in front of the Olympic stadium in Sochi, Russia, 07 February 2014. epa/ Tanya Zenkovich

Tanya Zenkovich from Belarus, our photographer for curling pictures, jubilates under the olympic rings in front of the Olympic stadium in Sochi, Russia, 07 February 2014. epa/ Tanya Zenkovich – —- see her portfolio

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