Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 Summer Olympics: Track and Field in the Olympic Stadium

On Monday night, I finally had a chance to head over to the Olympic Stadium to shoot some of the track and field events (technically called Athletics). It turned out to be a great evening to be there shooting as I was able to photograph the Men's 400m race and also get some front-and-center photos of Usain Bolt getting his gold medal.

Semoy Hackett, of Trinidad racing in the 200m qualifiers.

Carmelita Jeter, from the USA, qualifying for the 200m race.

I saw this woman pol vaulter sitting off to the side and thought that it was a cool shot of an athlete in her zone.

There are different shooting positions along the perimeter of the stadium, and each one has it's own view of the different sports that are going on during the evening. Where I positioned myself was better for the track, but not as good for the pole vault or shot put. But, I was able to use the 400mm lens to get a handful of pole vault photos from my position. When going through the images, this one really caught my eye since it looks like the woman is standing on the pole (as they both fell at the same time).

Sanya Richards-Ross, who already won a gold medal in the 400m race, running her qualifier for the 200m.

This American pole vaulter made a clean vault and then...

...she started jumping up and down in excitement.

This is a photo of the Jenn Suhr, the American vaulter who eventually won the gold.

The Olympic flame in the stadium. Pretty cool!

Usain Bolt just after getting his gold medal (and once again, even though myself and all of the other photographers were in the best photo position to capture this, we were blocked by the Olympic Broadcasting person who shot close up shots right in front. You should have heard the foul language being tossed around the photo pit! )

Angelo Taylor doing the hurdles for Team USA.

Michael Tinsley of Team USA celebrates after winning the silver medal in the 400m hurdles.

This is Felix Sanchez, who had just won the gold medal for the 400m hurdles. This was a very emotional moment for him and is said to be one of the defining moments of these Olympics. You see, Felix was a favorite in 2008 in Beijing, but just hours before his race, he found out that the grandmother who raised him, had just passed away. He didn't even qualify for the finals. It just goes to show you how the mental well being of these athletes is as important as the physical. Well...this Olympics he came back and earned his deserved gold. Awesome!

This is my favorite image from this evening. Felix was making his victory lap, and myself and one other photographer were the only two photographers left in this particular shooting position. I looked up at Felix as he was walking by and yelled, "look right here!" and he gave me this pose. Love it!

Next up was the woman's steeple chase.

The great thing about the steeple chase is that it was 7 laps around the track. After shooting the first 6 at high speed, I decided to try my luck at a motion pan shot. A little more risky, but it is another favorite from the night!

The Ethiopian runners celebrating the bronze medal for their teammate, Sofia Assefa.

 Kirani James about to start his 400m race.

I had moved to the "head-on" shooting position, and was able to capture this wide shot of all the runners heading towards the finish line, with James leading the pack.

This teenager is so fast that he actually coasted across the finish line with a final time of 43.94 seconds, beating out the second place runner by half a second.

James celebrates the first ever medal for his country of Granada.

No shortage of emotion in this shot. Sometime luck plays a role in photography. So, when Kirani James turned towards me as he ran by, I was able to get this shot of him in full elation.


Unknown said...

Been following your blog since you started posting the water polo stuff Jeff, please keep it up! Brilliant.

Some great shots too, well done. I've been watching the Olympics everyday and would have to loved to have been there to take some shots like yours. I see the photographers on TV all gathered round, it seems like it must be a challenge to fight with all those photographers from all over the world to jostle into the best position?

Hope you're enjoying your time here in London!


Dale G said...

Jeff, thank you for all the variety and quality of coverage of the Games. I especially love the 'Golden' glow you captured in Sanchez's sunglasses!