I am happy to say that I am home and sleeping in my own bed!!! I am still fighting the darned Brazilian cold, but won't let that stop me from enjoying my re-immersion back into my "normal life".
Again, thanks to everyone for the support, encouragement, and engagement throughout the last month.
And now...on to the photos from the closing ceremony.
The closing ceremony started with lots of color and continued that way all the way through. All of you who watched this on television will know more than I do about the backstories and meanings of all these performances. I am there to capture the scenes that unfold in front of me, but I don't get all the explanations that you do.
The light was very low, so I was using ISO 3200 for almost the entire ceremony, to try and keep my subjects in focus and sharp.
The flag bearers came out with the Olympic flag and Brazilian flag leading the way. I was poised and waiting for the shot of Simone Biles carrying in the American flag.
And then I saw her tiny body coming in. For almost all of these photos, I was using my go-to kit, the Canon 1D X Mark II and the Canon 200-400mm lens. Quite often, I would use the built-in tele converter and zoom into 560mm. I did that for this photo!
I saw this guy with his selfie stick and just laughed. Even at the Olympics, you just can't get away from these things. :)
After the 45 minutes of athletes entering the stadium, the show continued.
I saw this woman standing in the middle of the other dancers and immediately thought "this would be a perfect time for motion blur." I quickly changed the camera aperture to f/13 and a shutter speed of 1/6 second. It was not easy to get this shot at this slow shutter speed and a focal length of 400mm, but I like the way that everyone else is in motion except for my subject in the middle.
I did something similar when the Olympic flag was taken down and being carried away. This time I changed the ISO to 320 and the aperture to f/11, which gave me a shutter speed of 1/4 sec. I panned the lens along with the flag bearers to get this shot.
At the time, I did not know that this was the Prime Minister of Japan, but it seemed like a good photo opportunity, and I took it.
They came out with these cool light cubes. I turned the exposure compensation of the camera down (yes, down) to further darken the scene. This accentuates the light and increases the contrast as well.
I kept a Canon 5D Mark III with a Canon 16-35mm lens at my side for wide shots.
This photo was also taken at 16mm, but I pointed the camera up a little higher to include all of the stadium opening. These photos show you how different the same scene can look from a long zoom and a wide angle lens.
At one point, I saw that all the remaining flags were waving, and took this wide shot.
Then it was time for more colorful entertainment.
It was raining during most of the closing ceremony, but this was actually part of the performance. At first, I was not sure, and I thought "wow - the rain is really coming down now!"
The Olympic flame lit...
...and then not. The Games were officially over.
The fireworks went off and I was ready with my wide lens. This also happens to be one of my favorite photos from this ceremony.
And just before running out of the stadium to catch the first press bus out (since I was not feeling great and really did not want to get stuck in hours of traffic), I switched back to the camera with the long zoom and captured this amazing Carnival float coming in.
This is another favorite photo from the closing ceremonies. At this point, everyone was out of their seats and dancing. It was a really great moment, but also sad, as the Games concluded.
And so another Olympic Games is over, making it #5 for me. And now that I am home, people are asking me how it was to be there for a month. Honestly, I think it is too soon to answer that. I was moving so fast, that it hasn't all sunk in yet.
The most common questions in the last 24 hours have been:
* Did I ever feel unsafe? And the answer is no. There was a lot of security in all the areas where I visited, and so I never felt that my wellbeing or my equipment was in jeopardy.
* Was I ever worried about Zika Virus? Another no. Seriously, the entire time I was in Rio, I never saw one mosquito. Not one. I brought numerous cans of insect repellent and only used it on the second day.
* Did I have fun? Of course I had, I was at the Olympics. Even with all the hard work, it is always a great experience.
* How many photos did I take in Rio? Since I was shooting and culling all the time, I don't have the exact count, but I am guessing that I took between 50,000 to 60,000 shots total. This is less than I used to shoot, mainly because I have photographed many of the sports before and have a better idea when to hit the shutter, and when it is not necessary.
* How many people read the blog? I just checked, and there were more than a quarter million views of the blog in the last 3 weeks. The most read blog post was the post showing the vast amount of equipment that Canon brought to the Games to loan to us photographers (60k views).
* Will I be shooting the Winter Olympics in Korea in a year and a half? Oh heck yeah!
I hope that you all continue to follow along on the blog in the months and years ahead. Thanks again to all of you for sharing this with me. I loved reading all your comments through my days in Rio. Now it is time for some sleep. Oh wait, never mind, I am shooting a Bar Mitzvah all day tomorrow. :)
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