We were disappointed at first to learn that the brand new Whistler Sliding Centre was closed to the public during our stay here at Whistler. You see, there is a World Cup event being held here this weekend, and the various countries from around the world were here doing training runs this week. We made some inquiries, and fortunately we were able to obtain press passes to photograph the facility and the training – I gotta say, what an amazing treat to be able to stand just feet away as bobsleds zoomed by at over a hundred miles an hour!
Without a doubt this was the hardest thing I have ever photographed. Despite how this event appears on TV, the turns are very short and tight, and the bobsleighs are traveling really fast – they blast by in and out of sight in just a fraction of a second. To get a photo like the one above, I pre-focused and waited until I saw the slightest bit of movement or color, and hit the shutter just as quickly as I could. There was only time for a single frame, and it was very difficult to get the sled at the uphill side of the frame like you see here. What helped was holding my head back from the camera so that I could see the sled in my peripheral vision so that I could see it before it even entered the frame. I also panned with the bobsleigh at times, and that worked well except for situations like this where I wanted to capture the track logo in the image along with the bobsled.
We watched the two women and four man teams practice. The starts were like watching a well choreographed dance as each person quickly tucked themselves into a tiny space after pushing and running as hard as possible.
I gotta admit it was a total rush seeing this event up close – the speeds are incomprehensible. And walking among world class athletes wearing uniforms from places like Germany, Russia, the U.S and Canada was really exciting, definitely the highlight of the trip!
Here are more Whistler pictures.