The Winter Olympics at Sochi

For the next few weeks, the focus of the photography world will be fixed on Sochi, in Russia, as the Winter Olympics take place. There have already been a lot of photos tweeted out about the somewhat unprepared nature of the Olympic village and accommodations. And, while the coverage of the opening ceremony was nice, more digital ink was poured over whether or not Vladimir Putin was snubbing the Obamas over his choice in who would help light the Olympic brazier.

Still, the Winter Olympics are more than just a political and cultural event. They are the chance for sports photographers to really shine. Though the games at the Winter Olympics are not always as photogenic as the games at the regular Olympics, the snowy conditions and isolated events often give a photographer a chance to really show how well he can pick a scene, select his shot, and capture the essence of the event in a single image that lasts less than a second in real-time. Competition for those kinds of shots and locations is often intense and some of the best photographers are those like Adam Pretty who take time to scout locations off the beaten path.

Sports photography, especially extreme sports, requires a lot of toughness and fortitude from photographers and their gear. And, for those photographers who choose to go into this area of the field, the rewards can be boundless far beyond just the satisfaction of having captured the perfect shot. Additionally, without their willingness and the willingness of their TV crew counterparts, for most of us, getting the chance to see these beautiful competitions in action would be non-existent.

— da Bird