Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Basking in the afterglow of the post-Olympics photo frenzy

Fireworks are seen at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, Sunday, August 12, 2012.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

It may be that I'm still in the afterglow of the Closing Ceremony, but the post-Olympic hangover hasn't hit me yet.

No doubt it has been a gruelling few weeks, but with only a few exceptions it's been an incredible experience.

To be honest, the most difficult part of photographing an Olympic Games isn't the photography at all. It's dealing with the logistics of covering such a huge event.

Story continues below advertisement

Constantly moving between venues, hopping on and off buses and passing through security several times a day means you have to be highly organized. It is extremely easy to leave a critical piece of kit behind, which happened to me on one occasion.

As far as photographic challenges, I constantly felt as though I was under glassed, even with a 600 mm lens, particularly at the rowing and at many athletics events.

The next biggest challenge I found was dealing with the omnipresent pool cameras. With special access, these photographers and television crews are often positioned just a few feet from the athlete blocking every other photographer from getting a clear shot of the action.

It's a frustrating reality of covering Olympics but it often makes it difficult to get a clean image of that critical moment.

Having said all that, it is still the greatest sporting event in the world. The emotions are high, the drama is at its peak and the athletes are spectacular. It is truly one of the great photographic experiences.

I also have to mention the thousands of Olympic volunteers who were all so wonderful throughout the Games. How they remained so pleasant and helpful even when having to deal with wave after wave of crusty journalists is truly beyond me.

One lovely volunteer would even drop by the photo work room every few minutes to offer us tea or coffee while we filed our images. Unbelievable.

Story continues below advertisement

Before I left for London, Globe staff photographer Fred Lum, who has shot his share of Olympic Games, sent me a note.

"You'll meet some amazing photographers and make some good friendships there as well," he told me.

"Enjoy one of the most amazing times a photographer will ever experience!"

Fred was absolutely right.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Born in Calgary, Kevin Van Paassen graduated from the Journalism Arts program at the Southern Alberta Institue of Technology in 1997. He moved to Toronto in 1999 and joined The Globe and Mail as a staff photographer in 2004. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨