The closing ceremonies, just like the opening ceremonies, requires that photographers be ticketed to get in. I went to my contacts at the US Olympic Committee and they hooked me up. I got tickets dead center in the stadium, sitting just above the royal family.
Just like the opening ceremonies, there was no shortage of photo opportunities, and therefore this blog entry has more images that I have ever posted at one time (at least that I can remember). So...here we go...
This is the setup for the beginning of the show.
Emeli Sande opened the show with "Read All About It". (Funny thing is, I am writing this blog from home in CA now and saw the first 30 minutes of this show on NBC and they failed to show a lot of the beginning performances. Although I have not had time to watch all of the broadcast, I was struck by how different it was on TV, some better, some not.)
Actor Timothy Spall playing Winston Churchill from high up in the roof of Big Ben.
The colors in the stadium were really cool (and the sound system was amazing).
The 1980s band Madness played their song "Our House" on the back of a truck, which went around the stadium.
This was my "must have" shot of the evening. No, not because I like the boy band "One Direction", but because my daughter and her friends were counting on me to get this shot. I made sure to have a 500mm f4 lens to get in close. And since I was sitting above the royals, most of the performers were facing in my direction (for me of course and nothing to do with the royal family!)
More cool colors as they lit up a representation of the London skyline.
I happened to be shooting another wide shot of the stadium right as they sprayed out a whole bunch of confetti.
And just like the opening ceremonies, when I shot images of the team from Great Britain entering the stadium surrounded by confetti, I shot this image of some of the athletes being covered in the paper.
All the flag bearers by the Olympic flame.
Once all the athletes came into the stadium and filled the middle area, it created the Union Jacks.
As always, they perform the medal ceremony for the marathon at the closing ceremonies.
I really liked this part of the show, when people came walking in with different puzzle pieces which came together to form the face of John Lennon.
At every seat, there was mounted a small box (about 5" x5") with 9 small LED lights, which allowed them to create very cool graphics in the audience section of the stadium. (Very cool to look at, but a pain in the butt for us photographers who are trying to juggle numerous cameras and lenses in a very small space, with that LED light right in the way.)
I was amazed at how many cool graphics they could make from those 9 small LED bulbs.
George Michael performed for 6 minutes (seriously!). Enough said...
And they had some famous fashion models...
My favorite musical performance of the night came from Annie Lennox who rocked the house. I love her voice and she did not disappoint.
Russell Brand made his entrance up top of a psychedelic bus that was supposed to have something to do with Willie Wonka...and sang "I am the Walrus"
More cool colors coming from the LED lights around the stadium.
Fatboy Slim mixing his music inside a giant octopus. Either I am too old, too young, or too out of it, but I don't remember this guy.
The giant inflatable octopus was really cool and made for some cool photos.
Jessie J performing. If I had a choice between her or the car, the car would win out! :)
And then, after much anticipation, it was time for the reunited Spice Girls.
Their entry into the stadium was pretty cool. You saw 5 black cabs cruising around the arena, and then all at one time, they lit up and the license plates changed from normal numbers to Spice.
There was a cool tribute to Queen, with Freddy Mercury being projected on digitally enhanced mobile displays.
And Brian May playing lead guitar, with Jessie J coming back to add vocals.
After a lot of music, it was time to take down the Olympic Flag.
The head of the IOC waved the Olympic Flag and then passed it off to the Mayor of London, and then finally to the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro
There was a large group of Brazilian supporters just below us, and knowing that they all had their flags, I slowed the shutter of the camera and shot this image of them waving their flags during the handover process.
I have no idea what was going on here. Most of you see this on television with commentary, but we sit there in the crowd not getting everything. I actually had a press guide which explained a lot of this, but only read half of it. I was planning on reading the rest after the fact, but had to ditch the guide on my long walk back to the press center, since it was too awkward carrying all the cameras and lenses and a press guide. I had a choice to make, and the cameras and lenses won! :)
Something to do with Brazil, but all I know is that it looked great in camera.
As the logo for the Rio Games was inflated in the middle of the stadium, lots of fireworks were set off.
I really like the logo for the Rio de Janeiro games. So much better than the logo for these London Games (which I have never really liked).
This was really cool as a pheonix came flying into the stadium as part of the dousing of the Olympic flame. The toughest part of being a photographer at these types of events (and not having any prior knowledge of what is going to happen), is finding and capturing all of the key moments. Thankfully, I was looking off to my right when I caught her flying into the stadium and had enough time to focus and get the shot.
This last shot shows the Olympic flame as it is being lowered to the ground and being put out. I shot this frame to capture the flame, the phoenix and the Olympic rings all in one photo.
Well folks...after 3 weeks of shooting, editing and shooting more, these Olympic Games are officially over. Now it is time for me to return home, back to my somewhat normal routine. Wow - this has been another WILD ride!