10 Spot / Olympics Aug. 2

Nikon D4, 400mm, 500iso, f16, 1/1000th, Manual

At the Beijing Olympics I was stuck photographing Gymnastics for two weeks and it got old very quick. For London I told management I wanted to cover as many different events as possible. My philosophy is why travel halfway around the world to cover sports I cover back home in Phoenix all the time? When I got my assignment scheduled emailed to me for this day I saw shooting on my list of events and let out a groan. This would be a tough one…

When you are covering an event where people are shooting guns you can be assured that the photo access is going to be horrible. For obvious reasons photographers can’t go out much past the line that the shooters fire from. That basically reduces our angles to dead side shots but mostly you get pictures of the shooters backs. That makes it incredibly hard to come up with cool shots when you have such few options for angles.

I wouldn’t be in London if I got discouraged that easily. If anything it motivated me to try hard to see what I could come up with.

Below, I went up into the grandstand (yes they have spectators who pay to watch this!) and shot with a wide lens to show USA shooter Walton Eller (center) in action during the men’s double trap competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Royal Artillery Barracks. Eller was the defending gold medal champion from Beijing but it wasn’t in the cards this year as he would fail to qualify for the finals.

Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 200iso, f5, 1/2500th, Manual

While sitting around bored to tears shooting the competition I decided I wanted a challenge so I threw my 400mm onto my D4 in an attempt to capture a clay pigeon exploding as it was hit.

It was much harder than I expected since the targets come from different spots at different angles. Plus the shooters are so fast, they usually shoot them before I can even begin to track them.

It took about 10 tries to finally get a decent shot of one being hit.

Nikon D4, 400mm, 1600iso, f14, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority

After I finished with the skeet shooting it was next door to the indoor pistol range to shoot the 25m rapid fire pistol men’s qualification.

If I thought shooting skeet was tough, pistol made me realize that things could always be worse.

Inside the pistol range the shooters were in the shade under fluorescent lights while the targets and back of range were all lit by the sun. Shooting backlit is never fun. Luckily it was partly cloudy so when the clouds came through it evened the exposure out a little bit… but not enough.

USA shooter Emil Milev (center) and Jian Zhang (CHN) shoot during the 25m rapid fire pistol men’s qualification at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Royal Artillery Barracks.

Nikon D4, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f3.2, 1/800th, Manual

The backlight behind the shadowed competitors did make it easy to produce silhouette shots at least.

Emil Milev (USA) looks down as he clears his 22” pistol following a rapid fire shot.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 1000iso, f10, 1/800th, Manual

Anyone who ever has been to an indoor shooting range should know how loud it can be with the echo of the guns firing. Now imagine it with eight shooters firing five shots each in under four seconds! Thankfully I had a pair of my earplugs in my backpack. I always carry a small pair now in case I have a roommate who snores. True story!

The range master covers his ears as Keith Sanderson (USA) shoots during the 25m rapid fire pistol men’s qualification.

Nikon D800, 70-200mm, 1250iso, f3.5, 1/640th, Manual

The last shot I wanted to get before leaving was a bullet casing flying from a gun. I would quickly get that shot as Keith Sanderson fires during the competition.

Nikon D800, 400mm, 2500iso, f4.5, 1/1600th, Manual

Trap/pistol shooting was the hardest Olympic sport I’ve ever had to cover so it was great that my next assignment would be the easiest sport to cover for cool pics. Beach Volleyball!

Overall view of the match between USA players April Ross and Jennifer Kessy against Spain players Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan during the women’s beach volleyball ┬ápreliminary at the London 2012 Olympic Games at Horse Guards Parade.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 200iso, f6.3, 1/2000th, Manual

Sand flies off the arms of USA player April Ross as she hits the ball against Spain. USA would win two sets to one.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 500iso, f5.6, 1/1250th, Aperture Priority

After the women’s match I had a few hours to kill so I found a nice little pub nearly in the shadow of Big Ben. When I would return to beach volleyball it would be for a night match between the USA and the Czech Republic.

The little bit of remaining ambient light mixed with some dark clouds made for a solid overall view of Horse Guards Parade as a ball girl looks on during the match between the USA against Czech Republic during the men’s beach volleyball preliminary during the London 2012 Olympic Games. USA defeated the Czech Republic 2-0 in straight sets.

Nikon D800, 14-24mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/2000th, Manual

Czech Republic player Premysl Kubala goes out of bounds into the TV camera operators against USA during the men’s beach volleyball preliminary.

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, 2500iso, f2.8, 1/1600th, Manual

That wraps up another day. Up next is an afternoon of track cycling at the high banked velodrome followed by some water polo.

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One Response to “10 Spot / Olympics Aug. 2”

  1. Hi Mark,
    I’m enjoying your coverage of the Olympics. I must admit I’m a little jealous. I’ve covered Olympic level gymnastics and skating myself, just not at the actual Olympic venue. I had originally found your site while looking for some hints for shooting NHRA drags which are in Seattle this weekend. Having never shot drag racing, I was curious as to what constitutes a good racing picture. Any idiot can shoot a picture of a car, you seem to have done quite well in conveying a sense of excitement and artistic balance. I’m looking forward to more of your coverage from London and events in the future and hope I can do half as well.

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