Things Are Starting to Click—and I’m Not Talking Only About Cameras This Time

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 

Well. Yesterday’s post turned out to be quite cathartic—it helped flush whatever was holding me back out. I felt calm and collected all day, and the photos just seems to keep coming my way. It’s amazing how big of a role your state of mind plays in how you shoot.  In this case, I simply went to the venues with one goal: make one or two images from each—nothing more.  And magically, positions that I had not been looking for prior to this change in mindset opened up right in front of me. This is far from the first time this type of mental shift has happened, but I appreciate it every time it does. My stress level goes down 500% and the quality of the photography tends to go up as a result. I had a total blast today. The shot above is of U.S.A.’s Alexander Artemev. It was the first photograph I made of the day and got me off to a really good start. It was made full frame with a 300mm 2.8 and pre-focused.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 I then turned my camera to the right to photograph Yang Wei of China. He was favored to win and seemed to have it in the bag every time I shot him. This image was made with a 200mm 2, wide open and again full frame. It was just a lot of fun to be able to stay in one place, to have beautifully clean backgrounds on both shots and be able to use two prime lenses.  This is a photographer’s dream.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 Here is Yang Wei again on this final event.  Amazing form and grace. He made it look too easy, and you never saw him sweat.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

France’s Benoit Caranobe was a big surprise. Apparently, no one was more surprised than he was to receive the Bronze medal—he burst into tears when he found out, although I never got to see that—I was busy with Yang Wei. 

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 Here is Yang pulling off a nearly flawless routine. 

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Here is Yang’s teammate, Yibing Chen—he did not medal, but his form in this frame is just spectacular

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 Jonathan Horton of the U.S. had one of the best performances of his career, but that only took him to ninth place. He said that he’s already getting prepared for 2012, looking to put more difficult moves in his program to become more competitive.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

As cool and collected as Yang Wei appeared, I did catch him exhaling as he high-fived his coach after making a perfect landing to take the Gold.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Here he is celebrating at the conclusion of the Men’s individual competition.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 I then left the venue and found it was pouring down rain outside. Needless to say I was blessed to be shooting indoors all day. Mike apparently was not so lucky—when I called he said he couldn’t be more soaked had he jumped into the water himself at the slalom venue. Apparently the event was being delayed because of too many close lightning strikes…. yikes.

My next stop was Wrestling and that too was a lot of fun to shoot. I decided to shoot from above, to clean up the backgrounds and take advantage of the colorful mats.

Aslanbek Khushtov, from Russia, won the gold medal with this move by flipping Mirko Englich, from Germany, (who won the silver) during the sixth session of the 96kg weight class, men’s Greco-Roman wrestling competition.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

This is a sort of classic image that every photographer at the Olympics is always on the lookout for—the defeat vs jubilation shot. Asset Mambetov, from Kazakhstan, reacts to winning the Bronze medal against Marek Svec of the Czech Republic.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

This one made me chuckle a little—I very much identified with Zoltan Fodor, from Hungary as he tried to escape Andrea Minguzzi of Italy. Minguzzi won the gold medal and Fodor the silver during the sixth session of the 84kg weight class, men’s Greco-Roman wrestling competition.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 Needless to say, his effort was in vain. Seconds later Minguzzi won the gold with this move.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 My countryman Melonin Noumonvi of France didn’t fare any better as Ara Abrahamian of Sweden defeated him to win the bronze in the 84kg weight class.

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 

It must really hurt to get so close to winning a medal… all of those years of practice and nearly almost there.

That’s it for today. I’m getting up a 6 a.m. tomorrow to show up very early to two venues—I’m looking to do some overhead shots of Michael Phelps at the swimming venue and of Weightlifting as well. I have officially been approved by the main photo manager to mount overhead remotes so from here on out—look out from above!