Kind Friends / by Bill Frakes

We always rely on the kindness of our friends, and they always come through. For the Olympics, they came from Portugal, Britain, India, Germany, South Africa, France, Italy, Sweden, Canada, Norway, Belgium, Japan, Australia, and China with good will and amazing resources.

Laura and I are very well equipped both gear and experience wise to deal with pretty much any situation, but at an event as intense as the Olympic Games, there is always room for more help.

Just a few examples.

Our cameras on the roof, Nikon D4s, needed to be powered with AC units since we left them on continuously for days.

When we went to install them, we realized, much to our chagrin, that there were no units to be found. Like cards, card readers and power leads, these disappeared quickly when left unattended.

I sent a mayday email to several of the NPS folks. Bill Pekela, NPS USA, answered quickly and managed to track some down, and they were available for us at Fixation, the camera store inside the Main Press Center, by the next morning. Peter Brodin, NPS Nordics, sent an email an hour later. No problem he said. He found some in Stockholm and had them delivered to my hotel room in London by 11 p.m. Amazing. Between the two fixes, we had power for all our high angle cameras.

Nikon and Canon were in place at the Main Press Center loaning massive amounts of equipment and doing fast repairs. Their generosity and commitment were extremely impressive. The folks at Nikon made our lives so much easier with their fast responses and kindness -- after three weeks in the dust and dirt of the Olympics and the streets of London, my gear left London as clean as clean can be.

Pocket Wizard also sent a team to London to work with photographers. Lorenzo Gasperini and Patrick Clow were a huge help. They loaned gear, helped program units, gave mini seminars and pretty much made sure everyone was up and running. The new software allowed my wizards to work from the bottom of the Olympic Stadium and across the breadth of the facility.

Bob Martin, Director of Photographic Operations at the Olympics, my longtime friend and a former staff photographer at SI, had things sorted out. He did an incredible job making sure things were as absolutely good as they could possibly be for all of us. The entire photo corps owes him a huge thanks, it was a herculean effort.

The Photo Marshalls at the Olympic stadium have my enduring respect and friendship. Craig Dutton, a terrific shooter in his own right, climbed to the top of the stadium with us, at least daily, sometimes twice a day. He made a tough part of the job fun. Venue photo manager Tony Waymouth provided calm leadership. He made sure everything worked smoothly, not an easy task with so many photographers each with their individual needs and considerations. He did it with a smile and great patience.

Last but not least, Raquel Cavaco Nunes stepped away from her law practice to run the infield -- a tough job that she did with grace and ease.

Our kind friends really made London successful.