THE London 2012 Olympics has a total of 1,600 photographers covering it, but only 600 of the lot were permitted to cover the Opening Ceremony. Just because you are accredited to cover the Olympics does not mean that you can always cover everything that you want to. Some sports or arenas don't
have the capacity to accommodate all of us, plus the spectators and thus that's why the wire services play such an important role in covering the Games.
I spoke to the deputy director of photography of The Associated Press Denis Paquin and he said that they started to work on covering the Olympics from about two years ago. They have a team of about 60 photographers drawn from all over the world and they cover every sport with swimming, gymnastics and athletics being the most popular events. He estimated that they ran about 11 miles of Internet cable to get their images out fast. Paquin, who is a veteran of 15 Olympics, says that they will have a total of 15 photographers covering the men's 100m final in addition to another 20-30 remote cameras to cover the 10-second event. They will be using a number of robotic cameras that are mounted in the roof of the stadium as well, and he expects that the AP agency will send out, starting one minute after the 100 final, a total of 15,000 images. A total of 10 cameras will be cabled directly to five photo editors to help get the images out fast. He sees the Olympics as the showpiece event for his agency.
The Reuters news agency will have a total of 50 photographers led by Gary Hershorn, who is their global editor for sports. He is also a 15-Olympics veteran and informs me that his agency will have a total of 12 photographers for the men's 100m final. His men will be spread all around the stadium from the start line, the finish line and all around the curve for the celebrations. They will have 7-10 remotes with two robotic cameras in the roof of the stadium.
Images will be sent out to the world within two minutes of the finish of the event.
The AFP agency have 39 photographers covering the London Olympics with 10 of them down to cover the men's 100m final. Their team is led by their photo editor-in-chief Eric Baradat, who tells me that they plan to use 15 remotes and that they plan to transmit several hundred images from the event to all corners of the earth. From a personal point of view, covering the Olympics is not an easy job. I was lucky to get a ticket for the Opening Ceremony, but my shooting position was way up in the 'fowl roost' at the top of the stadium. What is worst is that all photographers had to be in place four hours before the event.
It's not nice to sit for four hours doing very little, waiting on the Opening Ceremony to start.
When I cover swimming, we have to be in place two hours before the start of the session and even if our athlete swims in the first event, we can't leave until the entire session ends. I covered Samantha Albert in Eventing and I had to be in place three
hours before the event. To make matters worse, that day
was very, very cold. My fingers were almost numb.
The good thing about covering the London Olympics is that both Nikon and Canon are here to loan us their latest cameras and lens to help us to do our jobs better.