Ski jumping is one of the sports that I wanted to shoot for a long time. I’ve shot skiing and luge races but never ski jumping. I was excited when I was sent for this assignment at the Whistler Olympic Park where was held for some of the 2010 Winter Olympic events.

My trusted Fujifilm X-T2s with the XF14mm, XF16-55mm and XF100-400mm lenses were with me on the road to Whistler. I got to the location an hour before the race started so I can assure having enough time to secure a good spot. However the race was delayed for 2 hours due to the safety concern as the snow was too hard for landing. Nothing you can do when the mother nature is not on your side.

There were about 30 athletes in this tournament. The final competition consists of a first round and second round. So that I know I have around 60 rounds of shoot opportunities in total. It’s quite easy to lose count of the athletes as you’re so focus capturing the moments.

I started shooting by the starting gate. As it’s so close to the athletes, The XF14mm lens was my choice of lens for the actions.

As you can see from my frames, I used high speed shutter to freeze the athletes and slow shutter to create the motion blur. Same sport, just different approaches.

I moved down to be under the ski jumping platform where the athletes taking off to capture the flying shots. Thanks to Brian Aikens who also covering this tournament sent me back this shot. You can see where I placed myself for all the following frames.

All the athletes taking off photos were captured by the XF14mm. As it is not a fast AF lens, therefore manual focus was my best option. I prefocus the edge of the platform and added 2-3 feets to factor in the height of the athletes. One of the challenges was that I was working along, so nobody could hint me when will the athlete start. I based on the vibration noise generated by the ski flying down from the track to determine when to release my shutter. I’ve got about 200 or so awful frames that remind me how lucky these are. The 11fps of X-T2 was helpful too and I now want more : )

The XF100-400mm lens was used for the in the air shot after the athletes took off. I shot it from the same location except I was not lay on the ground shooting up. As lot of trees on the background, so I used the single AF-C focus point to nail my subjects. It worked very well and the keeper rate is high.

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