Sunday, August 7, 2016

Yesterday was the first USA water polo match of the 2016 Games

Yesterday morning at 10:20am, I photographed the first men's water polo match of these games. You will notice that these games are played outside, which is different from what we had in London. As it turned out, the organizing committee in Rio ran out of time and never built the facility that was shipped out from London. So...all the preliminary matches are being played in this outdoor facility, and the final rounds will be held in the swim venue.  This will be interesting for me, since it will give me two very different looks in one Olympic Games.

The good news is that there is a lot of light for fast shutter speeds. The bad news is that there are harsh shadows, and the shooting positions in this venue are VERY limited. There are only two positions and they are on the same end of the pool. This poses a challenge for me, since I do not have a choice to shoot mostly offense or defense, it is all determined by which side the US shoots first. I should also mention that yesterday it got very warm once the sun came overhead. But, as I always say, a good photographer should be able to shoot nice photos in almost any conditions.

This was one of my first shots of the morning, with the US and Croatian teams lining up before the match.

Using the Canon 200-400mm lens at it's full extension of 560mm (with the tele converter switched on), I was able to get this shot of Merrill Moses pumping up the team.

And then the action begun.

Since the shooting position is basically behind one of the nets, I decided to use that to my advantage. Using back button focusing, I locked in on the opposing goaltender's face and waited for Tony Azevedo to shoot the ball. Tony scored on the shot and so did I. :)

The ever amazing athleticism of  Merrill Moses. Remember folks, these guys are treading water and not pushing off of the bottom of the pool.

I always love getting good shots of the crowd, especially when it is family members of the athletes.

Peak of action on a shot!

I had a lot of light, so after a couple of quarters, I switched the camera from f/5.6 to f/8 to give myself more of the swimmers in focus.

This was my favorite shot of the morning.

Trying to steal the ball from the Croatian player.

With shutter speeds over 1/1000 sec, I can get nice shots with the water coming off the players and ball.

Case in point.

The US men lost the game (I can say that now because it has already been broadcasted), and as you can tell, the coach was not too happy with one particular goal from the opposing team.

As soon as the game ends, I run over to the "mix zone" to photograph the athletes being interviewed.

Here is Merrill Moses being interviewed by a woman from the New York Times.

And Tony Azevedo being interviewed as well.

As soon as I have these shots, I look to Greg (my contact with the team) to see if there are any other players coming through. If there are not, I grab my gear (which I promise you I am keeping very close to me at all times) and I move quickly downstairs to the photo room. This is where I pick my favorites, do some quick retouching, and then post them to Dropbox for the team to grab.

Right now I am heading to the white water venue to shoot some kayaking and canoeing. I did this in London and loved it. Yes, this blog was written completely on the press bus. They have WiFi on all the buses this year and it is amazing!!!

We are almost gotta run!

I hope you are enjoying the Olympics with me.


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mcfotosfo said...

Great first day water polo shots Jeff. Curious - how long does it take you once you are in the post match photo room to pick your favorites, retouch, then upload to Dropbox?

Greg B. said...

Great photos. You said the light was harsh,did you lighten the shadows in post?

Jeff said...


Great shots! I particularly like the photo above the caption "Case in point."

I don't remember whether or not you explained this in previous years, but when you get time, and if it is something you think is a fair question, I would be curious to know how you came to be the specific photographer for the sports you cover at the Olympics.

Did you have previous experience in these fields?

I look forward to each post!

Joseph Linaschke said...

I went to high school with Marrill Moses' twin sisters, Michelle and Marcelle! Small world :-)

Kathryn said...

Amazing photography! I especially love how you capture the beauty of the water in sprays, drips and rivulets.