More Than a Ten Hour Wait for an Event That Lasts Less Than 10 seconds…

 

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Jamaica's Usain Bolt wins the gold medal in the men's 100-meter final followed by Marc Burns of Trinidad and Walter Dix of the U.S.A. This is from my lower remote on a 1Ds MKIII. Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Here is a tilt-shift version of the same finish from above—it was shot with a 45mm tilt-shift lens wide open on a 1Ds MKIII.

 

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Here is the handheld shot I made with the 400mm. Usain was so far ahead that the reaction was far from fantastic—all those remotes for this? I'm very happy to have decided on the wideangles for me remotes—the tight version would have yielded very little—but I could be wrong... will have to see what everyone else has.

 

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

Photograph by Vincent Laforet for NEWSWEEK

 Well, we’re here—all of us—at the “National Stadium” or Birds Nest, waiting for the start of one of the two big marquee events of the Olympic: The men’s 100m final. It’s the biggest “hurry up and wait” of them all.

It’s shaping up to be a pretty amazing 24 hours—we’ll all wrap up late tonight, probably around midnight, catch a few hours of zzz’s and head to see if Phelps breaks Spitz’s record in the morning. I think it’s safe to say that all eyes will be on the 100m meter track final tonight to see the fastest man alive, and then tomorrow to see an epic record being broken (hopefully.) 

I’m writing this blog entry well before the men’s 100 meter race because we won’t have much time to write later tonight… those who know me know that I value my sleep—and I’d like to feel somewhat functional for tomorrow’s big race at the aquatics center. So you’re likely seeing photographs of the actual race,even though I wrote most of this blog hours earlier… hope that’s OK.

Seeing the photographers industriously setting up more than 100 remote cameras all at once is quite comical. Photographers are pre-focusing their cameras, making fine adjustments to get the framing down just PERFECT, and then another photographer will invariably catch his foot one of the of the remote rails by mistake, and two dozen remote cameras will have to be reset. It’s absolutely maddening, believe me…that’s why I’ve forgone that ritual today and set up a few wide angle lenses instead. The photographers are actually setting up more than one camera because they’re trying to shoot tight action of each individual lane (in effect guaranteeing a shot of the winning athlete). The first phalanx of cameras are framed around lanes 7-9, the second on lanes 4-6 and the 3rd on lanes 1-3. You never really know what lane the winning runner will be in until it’s far too late, and the race is over. There is often a remote that covers all lanes—but it’s a bit loose. Then there are side remotes, overhead remotes, and an entire second set of remotes that are guessing on where the winning runner will “react” all pre-focused of course—so it’s a total shot in the dark. It’s quite an amazing process to witness.