10 Spot / Olympics Aug. 1

I’ve been in London now for eight days and have been shooting damn near non stop. There have been many times where I am so physically and mentally fatigued I have to force myself not to get lazy or unmotivated. What has been keeping me going is the fact that I am surrounded by the best sports photographers in the world and I’ll be damned if I worked this hard to get outshot!

The day would begin over at the Excel Center shooting Olympic boxing for my first time.

Immediately I was discouraged by the photo positions. Nothing is worse than shooting boxing from far away with a long lens. The shots lack depth plus the backgrounds are always distracting.

Oh yea, there is one thing worse than shooting Boxing from far away with a long lens. Wanna know what?

In the Olympics the boxers all wear head padding. The helmets cover up most of the athletes faces which is bad for pictures. Even worse is the fact that they look like Rock em Sock em Robots. ¬†However, unlike the robots, these guy’s heads don’t pop off when they lose…

Below, USA boxer Joseph Diaz Jr (blue) against Cuba boxer Lazaro Alvarez Estrada (red) during a men’s bantam 56kg bout at the London 2012 Olympic Games at ExCeL – South Arena 2.

Nikon D4, 600mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

I was only there to cover the three USA fighters who would be competing during the session I was assigned to cover. After the first USA guy fought (and lost) I headed back to the media room to transmit photos on deadline for clients around the world.

On my way back for the second fight I would come across the below scene of a fighter sparing in a back corner of the arena with his trainer. It made for a cool behind the scenes photo that is hard to get at an event the size of the Olympics.

Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/200th, Aperture Priority

Once back in my photo position seat in the front row of the crowd, I produced this overall shot of the boxing ring by putting the camera very low to a metal bar in front of me. The metal bar reflected the blue lights above the ring which resulted in the shiny effect at the bottom of the shot. When I am at an event thats hard to get cool photos at I will try anything to get something interesting.

Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1250th, Manual

A referee wipes blood from the face of USA boxer Michael Hunter II during a time out against Russia boxer Artur Beterbiev.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual

While the shots in the ring were less than ideal, I couldn’t be much happier with some of the cool shots you could get before and after the fights when the boxers were lit from side angles by a spotlight. Everything outside of the ring was pretty dark so the light hitting the fighters produced pretty dramatic looks.

USA boxer Michael Hunter II is side lit by a spot light as he exits the ring following his loss to Russia boxer Artur Beterbiev. The USA sign on the right was being held by a kid who walked in front of the boxer to lead him from the ring.

Nikon D800, 600mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

This was another shot that was made cool by dramatic light as USA boxer Dominic Breazeale dejectedly leaves the ring after losing to Russia boxer Magomed Omarov. For those of you keeping track, all three boxers I was there to shoot lost. Maybe I’m bad luck!

Nikon D800, 600mm, 4000iso, f4, 1/500th, Manual

On my way out of the arena on my way to the Main Press Center, I would notice a massive beard that looked very familiar. It only took me about a quarter of a second to realize it was NBA star James Harden with teammate (and bigger star) Kevin Durant.

I shot a picture of Harden and got a nice death stare before a female fan approached the duo to have her photo taken with them. She was super happy as she hammed it up for a friend next to me with a camera. Judging by their looks in this photo, they were not! #awkward

Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 5000iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

After a quick pitstop at the MPC to drop off my 600mm lens in the office and grab my 400mm lens, it was off to the Water Polo Arena for a women’s water polo match featuring the United States vs Spain.

Water polo certainly isn’t my favorite sport to shoot but it always makes for interesting photos so thats all that matters to me.

Water flies in the air as USA centre back (6) Maggie Steffens swims the ball towards the goal using her head to guide the ball as she swam in the first half against Spain during a preliminary round of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Water Polo Arena.

Nikon D800, 400mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

If you have never watched water polo before, you should! Its an incredibly physical sport where the athletes essentially beat the hell out of each other.

In this shot, USA centre back Maggie Steffens uses her arm to push a Spain player underwater as  goal keeper (1) Betsey Armstrong defend the goal.

Nikon D800, 400mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

USA goal keeper (1) Betsey Armstrong defends against a shot on goal by Spain during a preliminary round of the London 2012 Olympic Games. In case you aren’t aware, the water is deep enough that the players can’t touch the bottom. For the goalie to leap up like that she is actually kicking her legs underwater. That takes some impressive leg strength to do!

Nikon D800, 400mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

One more shot of Maggie Steffens as she falls back in the water under pressure from two Spain defenders.

Nikon D800, 400mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/1250th, Manual

That wraps up yet another blog!

I have a 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!

One Response to “10 Spot / Olympics Aug. 1”

  1. nigel says:

    Hey Mark,
    Great photos as usual,one quick question why did you prefer to shoot with the D800 today?
    ta,Nigel

Leave a Reply