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|| News Item: Posted 2012-10-01

LONDON CALLING (Part 2) - Peterson
“We do what we can, and make the best of many bad situations.”

By Brian Peterson

Photo by Brian Peterson

Photo by Brian Peterson

Kenya's Ezekiel Kemboi says a prayer on the track after winning the men's 300-meter steeplechase at the Olympic Stadium.
The “One-Man-Band of Brothers”, we have a special bond. We are the ones sleeping deck-side at the pool or in the photo work rooms, running to catch a bus to the next venue and arriving late and accepting less than ideal shooting positions. We do what we can, and make the best of many bad situations. We don’t get the blue vests or pool positions. We don’t have robotic remotes or underwater mounts.

There aren’t many of us left, those that work alone, without editors, assistants or runners. We work for regional newspapers with local athletes, chasing from one venue to the next.

This was my first Summer Olympic Games, we tend to revel in the cold here in Minnesota and I have been fortunate to have covered four previous Winter Olympic Games. It was nice not having to pack cold weather gear, crampons and hand warmers.

It’s always amazing to me how many great photographers are willing to share their secrets and help each other out. Paul Kitagaki sharing advice on the best travel route to a venue or David Eulitt giving specific information about an athlete’s routine that will help you get a better shot.

It’s also amazing that with so many photographers packed together near the finish line or focused on the same historic event that none of the photographs are exactly the same. Your choice of position (or lack there of), and the moment you press the shutter are uniquely yours.

In London I was fortunate to have 14 Minnnesotans to follow and covered swimming, diving, fencing, soccer, tennis, wrestling, basketball, gymnastics, track & Field, beach volleyball, BMX, marathon, table tennis and both opening and closing ceremonies.

The expectations are large but the reward is great. We are often left to make our own choices, juggling local athletes with historic events and trying to do it all. I often envy the photographers who get to focus on one venue and learn all the angles and secret locations to make that unique photo. But to trade for that would be to trade the opportunity to see the vast spectrum that is the Olympic Games.

We are the fortunate ones, we get to see it all, watching and recording history.

(Brian Peterson is a staff photographer at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. You can his work at his Sports Shooter member page:

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