Over the next three weeks, I’ll be practicing what I preach to other photographers all the time:
Separate Yourself From the Pack.
In my public photo presentations, I talk about the importance of covering events differently than everyone else. There’s no reason to go to an event and shoot it just like the other photographers who are there.
This week I begin covering the London Olympics, but not as a traditional still photographer.
This is my fifth Olympic Games (Nagano ‘98, Sydney ‘00, Salt Lake City ‘02, and Torino ‘06). At all the others, my job was to make storytelling photos at the events, like this shot of Michelle Kwan, who came up short in her bid to win a gold medal in Nagano.
This time, I’m working for both NBC and Sports Illustrated in two unique roles.
Each weekday morning, I’ll be on the set of NBC’s Today Show with my friend, legendary sports photographer Neil Leifer. He’s doing portraits of the medal winners who come on the show (which is basically all of them). We’re setting up a photo studio in a trailer and the athletes have to come to us before they appear on the air.
I’ll be helping Neil with his Olympic portraits like I did when he photographed Muhammad Ali earlier this year.
I believe the Today Show will cut to Neil as they come and go from commercial breaks, so you might occasionally see us on the air.
Then at night, I’m producing Gigapan images at all of the big events. Since my Obama inauguration Gigapan, I’ve produced high-resolution panoramas at the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Final Four, NBA Finals, and even for Bon Jovi.
The plan is to do them at opening and closing ceremonies, gymnastics, track and field, swimming, basketball, and beach volleyball. They should be online the day after each event, and I’ll post links and status updates on my Facebook page.
Working the Olympics for two of the biggest media companies in the world should keep me pretty busy, and I plan on staying as far away from the pack as possible.