Drones Add New Angles to Sochi Games Coverage


I think Aussie would have liked these things, and not just because he had a tendency to drone on … and on … and on about his many afflictions and gripes!

There is an interesting article in The Atlantic’s online edition about the use of drones. The same unmanned beasts that are so controversial when used to spy and bomb are being used at the Sochi Winter Olympics to photograph several sports. From ski-jumping to snowboarding these worker bees of the technology world are getting into positions no human could hope to gain access to and the result is some great different angles.

Sergei Grits / AP
Sergei Grits / AP

Almost thirty years ago, as a student working summers as a tennis court attendant, I had the pleasure of meeting an interesting character by the name of Aussie Whiting. Aussie, yep, originally from Australia made his way to Canada where he established himself as a world-class, award-winning sports photographer.

Aussie was one of those people who, when asked how they are, actually tell you – usually at great length. Whitings photos appeared in many publications, but his actual employer was Montreal’s The Gazette. He covered local teams including the Canadiens, Expos and Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. His camera was always with him, I’d tell you what make it was, but by the time I met him it was mostly cardboard and duct tape.  In those days a photographer had a deadline that necessitated him leaving most evening games before they were over to get back to the paper and develop his work for inclusion in the next day’s edition. Aussie always hoped for a good shot early in a game to give him lots of time to make his way back to his editor.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau walks arm in arm with Miss Grey Cup Nancy Durrell at the 1970 by AUSSIE WHITING
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau walks arm in arm with Miss Grey Cup Nancy Durrell in1970 by AUSSIE WHITING

I mention Aussie in relation to the use of drones for sports photography because I wonder what his take would have been on them. He did once tell me that the easiest sport to photograph was baseball, given the pace of play. He explained that he would set up a camera on a tripod in the photographers section of the dugout, focus it on second base. When a base stealer such as Tim Raines made it to first base, Aussie would take the cable release and, as the runner broke for second base he’d hold down his thumb and get any number of images, almost guaranteeing a terrific shot.

I think Aussie would have liked these things, and not just because he had a tendency to drone on  … and on … and on about his many afflictions and gripes!

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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One thought on “Drones Add New Angles to Sochi Games Coverage

  1. The stories Aussie would tell us inevitably included many of the photos he had scattered around his apartment or in the trunk of his car. I’m even in one of them, when I was attending an Alouettes football. Aussie even arranged for me a press pass to go “on field”, altho the camera he gave me was broken. He said he wanted me to distract the other photographers while he snuck off to catch some special shots of the players.
    Aussie was know for taking a picture at any cost, so I would bet any money that Aussie would find a use for the drones.

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