When you have a team of 4 shooters to cover the numerous sports at an Olympics it takes careful planning and scheduling to ensure all the major events get covered for clients back in the states as well as for our foreign partners.

With that in mind we all got together with our head guy and worked out who would be covering the big four sports of Basketball, Track and Field, Gymnastics and Swimming. I was assigned gymnastics, which isn’t too bad of an assignment due to my experience shooting it at the Pan Am Games in Brazil last summer as well as an Olympic qualifying event held in San Jose, CA earlier this year. It also doesn’t hurt to be shooting indoors which is huge given the tremendous heat and humidity outside.     


In order to know the lay of the land as well as scope out some shooting spots I took the bus over to the venue to check it all out.  And see what I would be dealing with.



Access was much better than I was initially expecting, which was a good thing, with one little (MAJOR) problem.




Backgrounds were absolutely brutal due to how free the photographer access was at the venue. We have access completely around the arena so it presented a problem of photographers in thr background of everyone’s shots. And when the gymnasts are up in the air then it will be broadcast people and reporters who will clutter the backgrounds.

The main USA gymnast who is projected to win multiple gold medals is Shawn Johnson so I spent a considerable amount of time shooting pics of her.

She seems like a really nice girl as she spent numerous times looking up at the swarm of media around her to flash a smile to the sounds of thousands of shutter clicks.









Most of the images from the training session were basically useless due to the empty seats in the background of most the shots. But it was still a good choice going because I now have a basic plan for how I intend to approach the competition.

After finishing up there I headed back to the Main Press Center to transmit the images and from there I headed back to the hotel with a massive headache (I believe due to the pollution and with that I went to bed before 8pm in what is probably gonna be the last time I get 8 hours of sleep in the time that I am here.

Posted in Olympics, Sports   | 6 Comments

6 responses to “Venue acclimation day”

  1. mark – keep us updated!!! this is so cool that you are documenting this like you are – you are quite the storyteller

    again – keep up the amazing work


  2. Mark, as Dann mentions above, Keep up the great work! I really enjoy following along with your experiences while in Beijing covering the Olympics. I look forward to future posts.


  3. PeterB says:

    Mark – I stumbled accross this blog from the Fred Miranda forum. Your work is F-ing A!! Great stuff. I will follow this durning the Olympics. Thanks. PeterB

  4. Don says:

    Enjoy the sleep Mark, im sure it will be the last good sleep in a while. as for the Smog, is it really that bad? on TV it looks really hazy. also I would love to know what your eating? did you find a Chili’s? Hanashiro was a hooters in Beijing!

  5. Jeff Warner says:

    Fantastic work, I love the close-up on the beam… amazing.

  6. Joey Wilson says:

    Great captures!! PLEASE…..keep ’em coming!!

    Hope you can find a Chili’s open!! 🙂


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