Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

After 3 weeks of working myself to the bone we come to the final two days of the Olympics. Myself along with numerous other photographers I have been speaking to are just plain burned out. It has been a totally amazing experience that I am incredibly thankful to have been a part of but I am more than ready to come home.

My artistic eye seems to have disappeared and the final days have me basically doing the standard shooting just to get the job done. The best way I can describe how I have been feeling is its like the last couple of days of school where you know you are going to graduate so its more a matter of laying back relaxing, bullshitting with fellow shooters at events and taking it all in.

Here are a few images from the womens volleyball gold medal game between USA and Brazil.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Brazil mopped the floor with USA to win the gold medal. The jube was pretty good so that was fine.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 2000iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

Immediately after the meal ceremonies I had to catch a bus back to the media center then hustle do another bus to make it over to the National Stadium (Birds Nest) to shoot the gold medal mens soccer game.

Unlike the womens game, two days prior, the mens game was very boring with crappy action as well as boring jube. I did like the picture I shot of some injured player being taken off the field. The hanging arm made the injury look much worse than the hurt leg really was.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1600th

During the game I was shooting mostly with a 600mm and also had a body with an 80-200mm and a body with a 24-70mm on my lap. I made the mistake on one play of leaving my 600mm hanging in front of me while a guy took a shot. Right after the miss a foreign photographer tapped me on the shoulder and in my ear gave me some advice. “When someone is taking a shot on goal move your long lens back so it doesnt block my FUCKING shot!” I felt like a total jackass and apologized to him. Thankfully it wasn’t a game winning goal or something otherwise I probably would have been the guy on the stretcher!

The game ended with a score of 1-0. And as mentioned earlier the jube was very average. The below picture was the best I could get from my position.

Nikon D3, 600mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1600th

One of my buddies grabbed my camera and took a photo of me on the sidelines. I am sure the girlfriend will appreciate it. Thanks.

(editors note-since I am lazy I have posted the final two days into one blog)

The last day of the Olympics has finally arrived and I am very happy to have made it to the end. Truth be told I was actually getting close to calling the airline to see if there was a seat on a flight on the afternoon of the last day but I forced myself not to so I could say I covered everyday of the Olympics.

Began the day shooting the gold medal mens volleyball match between USA and Brazil. It was a pretty big match because of USA coach Hugh McCutcheon, whose mother and father in law were attacked while site seeing in China at the beginning of the Olympics. His father in law died on the scene while the mother in law was severely injured (she has been upgraded and will make a full recovery). It was a pretty big story by the media since it was the first (and only) act of violence during the games. After he flew home to be with his family for three days he returned and led his team to the gold medal game. 

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

The game itself was a great matchup and had several great plays. While I was rarely in a good spot for the shot it was still a fun match to shoot.

A few times during the game the players would go flying out of bounds to try and hit a shot.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

My angle of it was crap but I cant wait to see Sports Illustrated photographer Al Tielemans’ (green shirt) shot of it as he had the perfect angle for the shot.

Moved around a few times to at least try and produce images but I was just too damn lazy with my mind on other things (like going home).

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

USA hung on to win the match and the players had mixed emotions as some celebrated wildly….

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

While others simply broke down in tears.

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

Some players celebrated with family….

Nikon D3, 80-200mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/400th

And then some shared the moment with their coach who had received the best possible finish to the tragic beginning of his trip to Beijing.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1000th

After receiving their medals each and every player took time to hug their coach (bottom left). 

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

After transmitting some images I took the bus back to the media center to once again rush to catch another bus to head over to my final event of the Olympics, the mens water polo gold medal match between USA and Hungary.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

As interesting as water polo is to shoot, I was just totally over it. I wasn’t enjoying shooting it because all the images started looking the same to me. Had it been outdoors then I could have toyed around with different light but that wasn’t the case at this indoor venue.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

The end of the game came…finally! USA lost the match but the jube from Hungary was great as the players rushed their coach and pushed him into the pool.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th 

USA players on the other side of the pool were silent and sat poolside for several minutes listlessly.

Nikon D3, 400mm, 1600iso, f2.8, 1/1250th

And with that moment my first Olympics came to an end. 

I rode the shuttle bus back to the media center and transmitted images as well as picking my 50 favorite images for Kodak to print out for me. (They provided 50 free 8×12 prints to all photographers so thanks Kodak!)

After making the rounds saying goodbye to fellow shooters and turning in my locker key I headed back to the hotel to pack and relax as I watched the closing ceremonies on TV.

I would like to send a special thanks to a few friends who helped post these blogs while I was in China and unable to due to the firewall situation.

Andrew Weber

Dustin Snipes

Guy Rhodes


Photography Directory by PhotoLinks



Posted in China, Me, Olympics, Sports   6 Comments

6 responses to “Olympics come to an end….and not a moment too soon”

  1. Well,

    I think everyone’s comments will be the same, but thanks for posting all this throughout the Olympics. It’s great to get a sense of the sheer amount of work you have to do as a photographer there, and to hear your thoughts on shooting each event. Oh, and the photos were bloody great too! Heh heh.


  2. fred Harl says:

    Great job Mark and enjoyed the blogs and the great coverage. Enjoy the sleep back home on the plane.

  3. Joey says:

    Great run!! Enjoyed the blog and all the fantastic images you captured!!

  4. Ken says:

    Thanks for posting all of the updates your photography and writing has been inspiring.

    Ken Petre

  5. John Setzler says:

    I have enjoyed following this blog through the games. I also look forward to following in your normal daily grind… keep up the great work 🙂

  6. Dave says:

    Hi and thanks for all the pictures together with the write ups. A pleasure to read and also to get perhaps a different perspective. All the best.

Leave a Reply

Check out my Facebook page devoted my photography where I routinely share my favorite photos from each shoot as well as favorite photos from the past. Click the below banner to check it out. Be sure to "like" the page so you can be kept up to date on all the events I am doing!