A worthy read from Gizmodo’s Mario Aguilar, detailing the complex, and quick process the Associated Press and Getty go through to capture and distribute incredible photographs of the Olympics in record time. I’d love to shoot the Olympics… someday.
It’s worth taking a moment to admire the hardcore Olympic photographers who wake up long before sunrise in some cases to ski out to their locations. The standard kit for a Getty photographer includes four camera bodies each outfitted with different lenses: 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, 70-200mm f/2.8mm lens, f/300mm F2.8 lens. As you can see in the image below, Getty photogs travel with a mixture of Canon and Nikon cameras bodies, while the AP is an entirely Canon shop. Without fail, these photographers are using either Canon 1D’s or Nikon D4’s. Unlike most disciplines where you could get away with something other than flagship DSLRs, sports photography requires the 10-15 fps speed that you get at the top of the line.
The second a photographer fires the shutter on a camera, the resulting image—a high quality JPEG, not RAW—is transported by ethernet to Getty’s central editing office in about 1.5 seconds. There, a team of three editors processes the photo. The first selects the best image and crops it for composition; the second editor color corrects; and the third adds metadata. The whole editing process is done in 30-40 seconds. Once the last editor is done, the image is blasted to the world. It takes about 90 seconds for the images to travel over redundant 100 Mbit/s dedicated lines to Getty’s data servers in the the United States.