Nate Jones over at Metro was recently looking through Getty Images in search of Olympic beach volleyball photos, when he came upon an interesting/”gross” discovery: some of the photographs focused on the body rather than the athlete or the sport. While other Olympic sport photos focus on action and emotion, it seems that certain beach volleyball photographers are intent on snapping images of behinds.
We’ve seen some very heavy-duty gear lugged out to cover the Olympic games in London this year: some robotic rigs, an 800mm lens that could easily weigh more than the average lady gymnast, and of course, the usual suspects in a packed camera bag. But Guardian photojournalist Dan Chung is traveling light: he’s covering the games with a simple iPhone setup.
Using different combinations of an iPhone 4s, a clip-on Schneider lens and a pair of Canon binoculars, Chung has been live-blogging all aspects of the games. His photos yield surprisingly crisp results, indoors, outdoors and even underwater through a viewing window — which again reinforces the old photographer’s adage that the best camera is the one that’s with you.
Chung uses the Snapseed app to do in-camera/phone edits. You can check out more of Chung’s work on his Guardian blog.
Sports photographers sitting close to the action occasionally take a beating when athletes leave their field of play. This happened yesterday to Reuters photographer Mike Segar while he was shooting the Olympic basketball game between Spain and Australia. While trying to dive for a loose ball, Spain’s Rudy Fernandez slammed into Segar and injured his head. Segar has written up an interesting post on what it was like to suddenly find the cameras pointed at him:
As the smoke cleared and I looked up, Fernandez was basically lying in my lap head down eyes closed. He rolled forward slightly, moved his hands to his head, moaned loudly and stopped moving. He was in my lap, clearly injured on his head. I could see blood on his fingers on top of his head and apparently he was now unconscious for a few seconds, or nearly so. At this point I was not a photographer. I suppose I just kind of instinctively rubbed his arm and shoulder, kept my hands on his back and held him a bit and said “stay still, stay still man… You’re all right.” I didn’t actually know if he WAS all right at all, but all I could do was to try to comfort him for the 20 or 30 seconds it took the Spain trainers, players and staff to rush to his aid. Anyone would do the same for anyone else injured in their lap, right?
I looked up and realized that fellow photographers and TV crews were shooting the incident from all possible angles. I was in the center of this wreckage but I was not really hurt. A camera with a wide angle lens was somewhere in the strewn mess of my equipment at my side and for a moment I thought to try to find it and take pictures, but with Fernandez lying bleeding on my feet and me the only one trying to help a bit, that wasn’t going to happen.
The Olympic games in London this year makes London the first city to have hosted the modern Olympic Games three times. The previous times were in 1908 and 1948. Here are some photographs captured at the 1908 Olympics 104 years ago, during a time when megaphones were used to announce events, top hats were all the rage, and dresses were worn by female competitors (this was the third games in which women were allowed to compete). Read more…
This behind-the-scenes video by the Associated Press gives a neat look at the various robotic cameras the agency will use at the London Olympic Games (earlier this month we shared some of Reuters’ rigs). Fancy remote-controlled rigs will allow for many photographic firsts, as cameras will be found in locations that were previously inaccessible. Wired writes that despite their usefulness, robotic cameras are causing some human photogs to sweat:
“We are essentially able to put cameras and photographers where they’ve never been before, capturing images in ways they’ve never been captured,” [Fabrizio] Bensch said. “For example, I’ve installed a robotic camera unit on a truss, 30 meters high — in a position where no photographer has been in a previous Olympics.”
For [Mark] Reblias, those are positions you just can’t compete against. With the traditional remote-control cameras, if the subject showed untethered joy five feet out of frame, you were out of luck. Now if Reuters is able to get that shot, “well, there’s nothing I can do,” he said. “Maybe I’ll have to upgrade my gear and make a robotic system. It’d be expensive, it might be a cost I have to take on.”
Every year, ESPN releases a special Body Issue in which athletes pose nude — an edgy, artful response to Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue that focuses instead on the power and form of athletes’ bodies. Last summer, a sports writer stripped down for an interview with two NHL players, a turning of the tables on sometimes awkward locker room interviews. This year, ESPN columnist and senior writer Jim Caple stripped down for his own body images by sports photographer Rod Mar. Caple poses as nude Lance Armstrong, a doughnut and press pass version of Michael Phelps, plus some other memorable sports photographs. Read more…
Sports photographers use a variety of techniques and gear to shoot from different angles that are less accessible to the photographers during action: wirelessly triggered cameras mounted behind backboards, perched on overhead catwalks, clamped on the ground. Reuters photographers Fabrizio Bensch and Pawel Kopczynski decided to take the technology of remote photography to another level for the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics with robotic cameras. Read more…
Want to know what it’s like to cover a football game as the chief photographer of a school’s athletic department? Photographer Joel Hawksley created this day-in-the-life time-lapse video after being assigned to cover a football game between Ohio University and Temple University. It starts early in the morning when he pulls out of his driveway, and ends at night when he pulls in. In between we see everything from setting up, shooting, post-processing, and uploading/emailing photographs. Hawksley used a Nikon D700 and D300 to photograph the game, and a Canon G9 to capture the time-lapse images throughout the day.
“The Catch” is one of the most famous plays in American football history, and Walter Iooss Jr.’s photograph of Dwight Clark leaping into the air is one of the game’s iconic images. Paul Lukas of Uni Watch has published an interesting analysis of the photograph and why it “works”:
I’ve been fascinated by the famous photo of the Catch for years and have always thought it to be the greatest photo ever of NFL action, and possibly the greatest sports photo, period. The photo has always been very visually pleasing to me, so I recently decided to find out why.
Out of curiosity I applied the golden ratio, the rule of thirds, and perspective to the photo, and I was completely blown away by the results. Now I know why this photo has always been so visually stunning to me: Compositionally, it is divine. I’ve prepared a series of exhibits to support my points.
If you aren’t familiar with these two rules of composition, check out this article.
In this video, commercial photographer Jay P. Morgan walks through how he went about shooting a composite sports photograph of Mexican soccer player Rafael Márquez.
We were going to shoot several shots that would need to freeze him in mid air as he kicked the ball. We had limited time with him so it was necessary that things were planed out and ready to go when he arrived. We took two Hensel speed max heads that have the fastest flash duration of any mono block head available. The goal was to use them as our key lights and freeze his action in mid air. We shot background plates the day before at the ruins outside of Mexico City for him to be retouched into. The idea being famous soccer players in action shots at different iconic sites of Mexico. [#]