Monday, August 18, 2008

Beijing Olympics: Day 9

He did it. Eight gold medals in a single Olympic games. I will admit, Michael Phelps' eighth was a bit anticlimactic, because it was a medley relay and Phelps did not swim the freestyle anchor and it was pretty clear that the team was going to hang on to win. Therefore, although there was pretty decent jubilation, although nothing compared to yesterday's from the 100m butterfly finals.

Although I don't think the initial jubilation is a particularly special image, I think my pre-game plan as to where to sit ended up working out giving the situation. I knew that Phelps would be out of the pool when the Americans finished the race, because he wasn't swimming the anchor, so I had to try to find a spot in the photo positions that would offer the best line of sight to the start/finish line. I had debated for a while whether to shoot it from pool level at the start/finish line, pool level from the turn side of the pool, or to shoot it elevated about midway down the pool. I quickly ruled out the turn side of the pool, because there are a lot of little flags that hang over the pool (it warns the backstrokers that they only have a few meters left before hitting the wall), and it was very likely that they, as well as any of the other random things that hang over the pool, would obstruct my view of the celebration. And while the pool level start/finish line position offers a pretty unobstructed view, I eventually decided against it because I was afraid that it might be too much of a profile view of the celebration. I felt there would be a pretty high chance that a teammate might jump out in front of Phelps and ruin the picture. Therefore, I felt that for this particular event, it would be slightly elevated in the first row of the stands, because not only was it somewhat less likely a teammate would block my shot of Phelps, but I was much less likely to get blocked by the little flags that hang over the pool (the ones that warn the backstrokers that they only have a few meters left until they hit a wall). If I was at pool level for the celebration, I felt like I would run the risk of having those flags, or any of the other random ropes that hang over the pool cut right through the image of Phelps celebrating with his teammates.

All that said, I thought the victory lap around the pool with his teammates holding up large American flags in front of them was a lot more interesting than the act of winning the relay.

I will say that in a week and a half full of special moments, this one is certainly one I will never forget, and I feel fortunate and honored to be able to participate in such a historic moment in all of sport.

After the event finished and I transmitted all my pictures, it was time to head over to the tennis center and catch the tail end of the womens single finals between two Russians, Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina. They played a long, three-set match but Dementieva eventually came through in the end to take the gold. It was actually a Russian medal sweep, as Vera Zvonareva won the bronze.

I was hoping in my time up there, I would be able to stick around for the medal ceremony as well as the men's singles final featuring Rafael Nadal, but I could not because I had to get over to diving, which is one of the USA teams we are contracted to shoot for.

I think I've said it before, but the diving venue is not set up very well for photographs. The options are to go really really high up into the stands, so you can just get blue water as a background, or to shoot really low and do some artistic panned movement shots. For variety's sake, I started low than moved high for the rest of the competition. Since I posted stuff from high last time I did diving, I'll show some a panned shot this time...

Although the work days have all been very long, time has been flying by quickly. Only one week left to go!


Blogger Tommy said...

great stuff, Jerry!

I linked to you on our blog, btw.

Hope all is well!!


4:24 PM  

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