The morning for the NAC opened in wonderful sunshine… a bit too wonderful for shooting, bringing the usual issues of harsh shadows and glowing faded green of the surface. Great news from the previous evening meant that after all it was possible to get some quick breakfast before driving to the competition with the early bird team members.
Small and medium teams fought back from the fourth places from the jumping course, and the clear runs lifted the squads to silver and bronze, respectively. The small team nearly got to number one by a one fault and some time difference.
In the individual medium final the situation became very exciting after Anu Rajaheimo and Budi took the first place in total results having one dogs from Sweden and two from Finland starting after them. The Finnish supporters got to see some typical Swedish sports antics, as the Swede was the only one from the top three starters finishing with a clean run. Large team as well as individual competitors both topped the day with two golds and one silver. In the final results it was quite close from having Finns take all top 5 positions.
The team final needed special attention during course walking, as the Finns were starting first. There were a few interesting passages to shoot but the available angles were quite bland with the sun right behind the back. Often an usable alternative is to resort for a shorter lens and get closer, but the course side was surprisingly packed close to the edge, so getting low enough was pretty much out of the question. After a while there was an opening for a spot on the course side, and staying there yielded a bit too little variance in the shots. Choosing a longer lens provided couple of nice high-risk (of failure) shots, but for the critical Team Finland runs, a shorter lens was again used for the flexibility.
For the otherwise very smooth organization, the timing problems took some edge out of the atmosphere, but fortunately a Mexican wave started by the Norwegians, together with some spontaneous teamleader choreography entertained the spectators for the while. In the world championships the dancing during breaks is a hallmark activity, but this was something special indeed.
In the individual finals the sun had turned into a more favorable position, allowing better angles with lighting from the side. Shooting against the light didn’t work out as well as expected, and as an afterthought the “small” version of the final course didn’t provide very usable angles. For the medium and large a quite conservative spot allowed to get slightly varying shots from several obstacles. For the individual medium and large finals there was even an executable plan of a wide shot, and for the last winning run by Jaakko Suoknuuti and Dao it came out quite close to the plan – although with some luck, as I hadn’t paid attention to which side the handler would run at the weave poles.
The celebrations are often unexpected and difficult to prepare for, at least if you’re on the opposite side of the course. Again, it was mostly luck that the first ones at the finishing line happened to fit somewhat nicely in the frame, still with a fixed lens. However, the one from just a short moment later came out as one of my own favorites. Both medalists are in the image, hugging, on different depths, and with some audience on the background, and the overall feeling looks simply happy. If only the shot would have been just slightly wider…
With these thoughts, it’s soon time to return back from Norway. Let’s see if some thoughts come to mind for another short update.