Packing for the Winter Olympics

February 2, 2010 | By Bruce Bennett | Olympics, Sport

Packing for the Winter Olympics is sort of like packing for summer camp. You just have to be prepared for a little colder weather. As well, with a single hotel room, I don’t have to worry about sewing my name into all my clothing. But for me, the weather doesn’t seem like a huge problem since my main shooting venue is the warm and friendly confines of GM Place, the home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.

Twenty-five days doesn’t exactly fit into one 50 lb airline bag. And the thought of the hotel boasting about having ONE washer and ONE dryer on premises for all 232 hotel rooms filled with guests on extended stays, doesn’t bode well for getting laundry done easily. I think back to my first European trip for Getty Images where I packed for half of the twenty day trip which timed out well for the midpoint extra night in Berne Switzerland. So I dumped off all my clothes at the desk and had them back the next day. When I scanned the bill at check out time, I noticed that there was a line item for $175.00 which simply read “lingerie”. I wasn’t thrilled with the translation and guessed that it would be my last trip for the company. So time permitting, I’ll handle doing my own “lingerie”.

But of course, that’s just the clothing part. The equipment part is a whole different story.

Months of planning boils down to February one — when it’s time to put pedal to the metal and actually start laying out equipment and packing up cases. Everything has been tagged with name/Getty Images and a local phone number where I can be reached. While packing I am keeping in mind the airlines extra bag charges and weight limitations vs. Federal Express fees vs. what I am physically capable of carrying and keeping an eye on.

Because of the vast amount of equipment for this trip, this all just doesn’t seem to mesh. So I slowly sort through the equipment and second guess myself whether each item will actually be needed. Then I match up size and weight to minimize transportation charges, keeping in mind that there is a nice seven day cushion in between when I arrive and when I shoot my first game. These are preparation days where I will set up remote cameras and get a better feel for navigating the arena.
The basic gear will be carried on board to get me through any simple shooting needs in the first few days I arrive. Checked baggage will include other camera bodies, lenses and a small assortment of remote camera triggers and clamps. Shipped via Fedex will be the heaviest components of clamps for placement of remote cameras in the rafters as well as for netcam (the camera in the hockey net), extra laptop and a wide assortment of wires, triggers, adapters, tools, backup lenses and camera bodies.

Each of the five remote cameras with corresponding remotes and hardware will be packed as standalone items. This minimizes unpacking and setup at the other end. As well, should a bag disappear for a few days, several remotes will still be completely usable.
In addition, with one day shipping into Canada, loaner equipment available from Nikon and Canon, and our own GI pooled gear, all photographers have a vast safety net should equipment disappear or malfunction.

Now, can someone with a van drive me to the airport?

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  • theo

    hope you will get the best out of it…

  • Ruud Voest

    hi Bruce, I came across this blog , lol:-) I also read a previous blog about the netcam. Ice hockey is not a big sport in my homecountry, the Netherlands but I might give it a shot setting up a netcam. I am very interested in detail pictures of your netcam equipment (the Lexan plate, the Velcro cover etc. ). I have used a modified Peli case once with a Lexan front cover at soccer matches. Works fine but a little too big . Anyway, good luck at the Olympic games :-)

    best regards
    Ruud Voest
    the Netherlands

  • Bruce Bennett


    Thanks for your comments. I’m always working towards making the netcam smaller and easier to place in the hockey net. Most importantly though. the box needs to be designed in a way that keeps the players as safe as possible. Next in importance is keeping the face plate clean! Good luck. BB

  • joan curran

    Hey, this is nothing for you, you’ve tackled far worse…

    We’ll be cheering you on here in Connecticut as you glide through this assignment. Have a ball and live in the moment. Breathe the alpine air. After you’re done, add some rum to your coca cola.

    be well, bruce. best and xx

  • J Golden

    Hello Bruce,
    What number olympic games is this for you? What are the advantages of living and traveling in North America versus having to work Olympics on other continents? Aside from not being able to use arena stobes, what is the biggest challenge in making great images?

    All the Best

  • Greg Ruvolo

    Hey Bruce,
    As an ex-road-rat musician, here’s a thought; you may want to consider wrapping your lens’ and other gear in clean tea shirts, socks and under wear. This economizes the packing process. Pack some Woolite and remember to wash them in the hotel tub before re-wrapping for the trip home.
    Have a blast, your cousin in law,

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