Saturday, August 6, 2016

Photos from the Opening Ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics

I know, I know, it has been a whole 24 hours since the opening ceremonies begun and I have not posted the photos. Time has been really compressed since then. It was a really late night last, with me arriving back at my hotel at 2:30am (our bus driver actually got lost for an hour) and then I had to be up this morning to photograph the first water polo game. And then...I photographed the USA women's water polo press conference this afternoon. In between all that I had to look through all the photos from last night and select, edit, and post. Oh, and I am leaving to go photograph swimming tonight from 10pm to midnight.

So there you have it. The reason you are seeing these now and not earlier today. And this will likely happen in the future as well. I am now living in "Olympic Time" which is a time zone unto itself. :)

OK...on to it. Here are the photos and some quick stories from last night's opening ceremonies.

This is the photo position I ended up in. As you can see, the photographers in front of me were in the way, so I had to be creative with my composition.

We were very near where NBC was broadcasting, so I took a shot of Matt Lauer and crew.

And then the show began.

I saw these people running up to the flag poles, and quickly changed my camera settings to blur them, while keeping the motionless military sharp. This photo was taken at f/13 and was 1/6 sec at 300mm. Crazy right?

And I kept the slow shutter speed with these guys and panned along with the "spider".

I loved what they did with these ropes. That was very cool and translated well in camera.

As you can see, I shot wide and tight. For the wide shots, I had my Canon 24-70mm lens on one Canon 1D X Mark II body, and for the tight shots, I was using the Canon 200-400mm lens on another 1D X Mark II.

As photographers in the stands, we are not very knowledgeable about what the stories are about, we are more concerned with capturing the cool photos.

I liked the effect they used here, projecting the buildings and having these guys jump from rooftop to rooftop.

They worked themselves towards the favela.

Gisele was doing her cat walk across the dark stage and I fought like heck to get a clean shot. This photo was taken at 1/3 sec at 560mm. I panned along with her and got one clean shot out of ten.

More dancing on the rooftops.

I liked the colors here.

As a photographer, it is important to try as hard as possible to see everything. While shooting the happenings on the large stage area, I looked down and saw some of the performers coming up into the audience. I quickly pointed the camera down at them and got this. I love the big smile on the woman.

And then they made the rows of people to welcome in the athletes.

I really liked what they did with the "houses" at this point of the show.

Here is Team Canada coming in.

Both of these photos are of the Chinese team. I was surprised to see the girls wearing different colors than the guys.

And then the US team entered, with Michael Phelps as flag bearer. I was thrilled to see so many of the water polo team in the front, giving me Phelps and many of "my athlete" in one shot.

This is the original shot uncropped.

...and more...

After a REALLY long wait, for all the teams to enter the stadium, it was time for the Brazilian team to come in. And, of course, the place went crazy.

So did their athletes, They were giving great stuff to the field of play (FOP) photographers. These are the photographers from the big agencies, like AP, Getty, EPA...

They came out with these mirror boxes...

...and eventually formed the Olympic Rings.

Out of nowhere, they turned into these tress.

And...pop, all this came out.

The President of the IOC came out to do his talk. I knew that this would not be a very interesting photo, since I was so far away, and he was this small at 560mm. But I took one photo for the heck of it.

Just after snapping that shot, I looked down and saw his image on all the press monitors, and thought that this was a much cooler shot of him. I took this and then one of the pool photographers who was standing next to me, saw the LCD of my camera and copied my shot. Boo!

These kids came running through the rows of people, and I once again slowed the shutter speed of the camera and panned along with them. This photo was taken at 1/30 sec at 400mm.

After the speeches, it was time to raise the Olympic Flag.

They had many groups of dancers in different colors. I waited for this group to go by my section and took this shot. I waited for the yellow group since they were brighter and would give me a slightly better shutter speed.

Towards the end of the ceremony, they shot off a ton of confetti from the ceiling of the stadium. Normally I would focus on what is in the background, but this time I decided to focus on the little pieces of paper.

I then focused on the people in the background, which shows you the difference.

The lights went out and it was time to bring out the Olympic Flame. I saw all these people trying to get photos of the torch bearer and flame and loved it. In order to make this image work, I quickly turned the camera to an exposure compensation of -0.7 to darken the photo.

Photos of the different torch bearers.

When editing this photo, I noticed the man hiding off to the right of the image. See him back there? I am not sure if he was there in case the flame did not light, or as a producer. Your guess is as good as mine.

Here is a photo of the Olympic flame. I shot a lot of images of this rotating sculpture thinking that it would eventually light, but it never did.

Right after this, the fireworks started and I made my mad dash out of the arena to try and beat the 100,000+ people exiting the stadium. It did work, in that I made the second press bus out of there. But, as I mentioned earlier, the bus driver messed up those well laid plans.

All in all, the Opening Ceremonies exceed my expectations. The other photographer I talked to set my expectations low, but I was happy with the show and the photos. What did you think of the show (other than the excesive commercials I have heard about)?


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Bob Ianson said...

Nice work time I'm sure but just out of curiosity, how high was your ISO for those ceremony shots?


JustLyle said...

one out of 10 isn't bad Jeff ! especially when the subject is Giselle...she's a 10 on her own ;)

Anonymous said...

Such an amazing experience! Looking forward to more of your stories and photos!

Felipe Quintella said...

Awesome pictures!! I'm happy everything worked out just fine, except for the bus driver...
I was at the other side of the stadium, so a bunch of the floor projections looked all wrong for us, but in general I really loved the whole cerimony, specially the national anthom and the musical choices, it was quite emocional for us Brazilians!

Anonymous said...

That guy in the dark on the right looks like he's holding a fire extinguisher for obvious reasons. Nice shot of Giselle, just wondered why you didn't hike the shutter speed, I presume the 1DX takes pretty clean High ISO shots. I really liked the environmental theme of the show, the world needed a reminder. Great shot of the seed pods 'sploding!

Inger Hilde said...

I love Your photos

Unknown said...

Love all the photos. Considering you were so far back with I am sure the photographers in front bobbing up and down.
Could you not have sneaked into the same line as them I am sure nobody would have noticed seeing you had all the right gear.
Would you have gained any better shots if maybe not in the front line which would be too close but maybe further to the front than you were.
One shot did it for me, I am maybe alone on this but the shot of the flag bearer (not sure what country) walking down the row of people with arrows on there suits presumably to show the direction of the athletes to take, was standing looking into the crowd, his arrow reversed and directly pointing to the flag carrier. Ironically his hat was the same way as the rest. The right moment, as you say. Post processing would be good to pop all the arrowed people except the reversed arrowed man and make him B+W or something.

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

I was typically in the ISO 3200 range for the show. I could have pushed higher, but had fun shooting for more challenge. :)

mcfotosfo said...

Fantastic pictures as usual Jeff. Thanks again for providing the camera settings. I applaud you especially for capturing an interesting photo of the IOC Chairman speech by focusing on one of the aligned press monitors - brilliant.

Stenomicra said...

Great photos, as always. I really admire your stamina! I find it amazing that you can do all this and find time to post on this blog!

Lois said...

I am so impressed and envious of your latest photographic experience. The opening ceremony photos are wonderful. I can't compare to "real" ceremony as our TV reception has been anything but good on NBC. So...your photos are pretty much my experience and so far you are giving me a great Olympic experience. Wish that I had your knowledge of photography to be able to get such wonderful shots! Thank you so much for your blog. At least I can live your experiences vicariously! I got a pretty good shot of a goldfinch today...guess I will have to be satisfied with that! Enjoy your experience to the fullest!

SEH said...

Wonderful photos, and thanks so much for sharing them! I, too, was happily surprised and impressed with the opening ceremony, considering the TV announcers kept saying Brazil spent only 10% of what London put into theirs. I think they did a magnificent job, and your photos are outstanding.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the gorgeous photos!!! And for sharing the experience with us.