I posted a few times on gear before I left: here, here and here. Now seems like a good time to talk about what worked, what was disappointing and a few “it wasn’t my fault” type failures.
- ThinkTank Roller – This is a bag that is easily taken for granted. I didn’t even mention it during my initial write-up, but the Airport was rock solid for the entire trip. It was bounced up and down countless sets of stairs, raced for the bus, dragged through the snow, pushed through the mud, overstuffed and generally abused. Never had a single issue.
- Nikon D850 – If this is what the “new” Nikon is capable of delivering, sign me up for
the mirrorless now. Remarkably compact form factor, but attach the battery grip and it’s a legit sports camera. It’s also worth noting that it’s tough. The D850 took a couple of tumbles and never let me down.
- RRS Mini-Tripod – The perfect finish line remote base. The head never drifted, the lever makes adjustment easy and it folds up tiny. I saw a couple of other photographers eyeing it during the Olympics, I won’t be shocked if RRS has a run on them.
- Craft Storm Pants – My “go to” each and every day of the trip. Yes, they could be a little “warm” in the superheated press venues and on #saunabus, but they were absolutely perfect out on the course.
- Glyph Blackbox Pro 8TB – What a colossal disappointment. I spent weeks researching archival drives and clearly made the wrong choice. It worked fine for a couple of days, but then just wouldn’t mount. Olympic Tech Support finally got it back up, but it was painfully, painfully slow. I brought over some old LaCie drives as redundancy — without those, I would have been toast. This is my second Glyph drive to fail out of the box and — as the saying goes — “shame on me.” (And pro tip — as a guy who knows a little bit about customer service — telling me that “Let’s have you follow up with a technician to see if you can prevent these errors in the future” isn’t a good idea. I ONLY have problems with your drives. Every other kind has been fine.) My advice? Avoid these folks like the plague.
- Patagonia Galvanized Pants – I like these pants, but the suspenders are a pain. They’d come unhooked at the worst times and were a hassle getting them reattached. I tried going without the suspenders, but that almost turned into an international incident of its own.
Nikon D5 – It hurts to put this one here, but I had a rough couple of days. This camera went to Nikon USA for a full check-up just before leaving for Korea. For the first portion of the games, it was perfection. The rest you can read about here. To be fair, I shot the rest of the games on a D5 borrowed from Nikon and it was fine. But I’m still ticked about my overall experience and my personal camera failing so quickly.
L.L.Bean 850 Down Jacket — The miles of scaffolding at Pyeongchang were covered with screening and let’s just say that OSHA didn’t sign off on the wire used to attach it. It scratched a number of photographers during the week and my jacket was one of the victims. Feathers everywhere. Luckily I brought a Patagonia Nano and used it as an “underlayer.
- Warby Parker glasses & their two friends – I brought four pairs of glasses to Pyeongchang — My WarbyParker frames, two adequate drugstore readers and an “only in an emergency” pair. I’ve been wearing the latter for the last five days. It was definitely “hood” weather and putting the hoods on & off was tough on glasses. They’d fall off and disappear in the snow. And given the number of photographers, it was just a matter of time before someone stepped on them.