2008 Beijing Olympics



Flying home tonight and looking forward to seeing the family and friends. Its been a very enjoyably 2 weeks and the Chinese have done a fantastic job and looked after the media very well. I was staying in the North Star Media village with fellow Aussie photographer and good friend Delly Carr, and the volunteers and transport have been the best I have seen at an Olympics. London have a hard act to follow. The Beijing photos are now available to view in our Editorial Archives.

The final few days I spent trying some slow shutter speed images and the rhythmic gymnastics finals proved the best sport to photograph for this. I got to the venue early to get one of the only spots low down so I could shoot into a black background on the far left hand side of the mat. Had about 2 metres of good black background to work with. The image below was taken 1/15th at f11 200 asa with a 200 1.8 lense handheld panning in the direction of movement.

Usain Bolt wins the 200m in a new world record:

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I got into position in the far left of the grandstand (the pool photographers in the middle once again were allowed to mass around to the right of the time clock blocking any low position’s view of the time) and managed to get one of the only photos with the time (time officially adjusted from 19.31 sec to 19.30 just after the race finish) A great night and amazing to watch him in full flight. I shot this full frame vertical with my 200 1.8 handheld.

Taekwondo Finals – my favourite sport to photograph and the crowd and atmosphere in the finals was great.

Athletics at the Birds Nest

Womens Water Polo

Day 10- Mens 100m Final- Usain Bolt runs a World Record – 9.69sec

I got into position down on the moat around 7 hours before the event – I had watched Usain Bolt in the heats knew he would be close to the record and this was confirmed after watching him wind down at 80m to run 9.85 in the semi final.
I was also hoping to get a time in the background as he came past me as I had done in Atlanta, but this could not be possible this time as the Pool photographers had positioned themselves in front of the time clock (The image with the time shown is during his victory lap)

I photographed the race handheld with the 200 1.8 again with 2500 asa 1000th at f4, and watched the big scoreboard and race until the 80 mark when I started tracking Bolt. I stayed on him for the duration and he just kept on running . I didnt know the time until I looked up and saw it on his victory lap and I was fortunate to witness one of the greatest sprint races of all time. The Kiwi athlete Valerie Vili also won the shot put down the other end and I photographed her as she came past on her victory lap.

Day 9- The Track & Field finally got underway today and I spend the day photographing from high in the stands. The athletics can only really be photographed now from up high at the back of the stadium with a 400 long lense with x2 converter giving me 800mm as the low positions in the moat around the track are only really for us to cover the track events. We can also sit in any unused spectator seat but the events have been packed most days.

The shadow photo was taken during the morning 400m heats. I had spent all morning up high in the stands trying to get some shadows on the rings painted on the track and wasnt getting anything much from side on so as I was about to leave as the last few races of the 400 were on and I noticed the stadium was starting to cast a nice shadow on the rings but it was forming very fast. So I had to race around to the head on platform before this last race was run, and as I raced up onto the platform and started shooting there were around 10 other photographers all sitting down with their gear not shooting and about to leave – I shot it as they came into the home straight with the 400 2.8 and then mentioned how nice the light was to the guy next to me who thought I was being sarcastic and said they all werent getting much in the dark light of the finish. I couldn’t believe no one else had noticed it . I’m so used to seeing things at a 400 2.8 distance after using the one lense for 15 years but maybe I missed something in the dark light close up at the finish line. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
All Track & Field images are now available and searchable by athletes name in our Athletics Archives.

Day 5-8

A busy few days photographing the Australian Teams at Softball, Hockey, Basketball and Water Polo.
Images now available, and searchable by athletes name, in our archives: SoftballBasketball.—Hockey.—Water Polo.

I have to plan my day as some venues are a long bus ride apart and I can only get to 2-3 events per day.

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Day 4 I visited the White Water Canoeing with Delly and after we got some good shots of the athletes in the 1st round, we then had a play round with slow shutter speeds and blurring images. These images were taken with a Canon mk 3 and a 400 2.8 lense – 1/15th at f29 3200 asa

The Olympics is the only event I can shoot such images and I intend to do a lot more in the next few days at other events.:

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Day 3 The Phelps Show:

Day 2 -Australian Gymnast from the back of the stadium:

Day 2 -Stephanie Rice wins gold and the 4×100m relay team win bronze. I was in media position 3 with 20 other photographers in the grandstand for this finals session, and photographed with the Canon 400 2.8. All swimming images are now available and searchable by athletes name in our Swimming Archives.

Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony – I was lucky enough to get the only Australian freelance media pass for the ceremony and enjoyed a great spectacle:


As requested by a couple of photographers inquiry emails, here is a run-down of my complete travelling kit. This is all the equipment I use whenever I cover action photography at a local School Sport event or more recently at these Beijing Olympics.
As you can see its a small kit and I like to travel light. I fly all over Queensland with this equipment and it is just under the 25kg allowable weight limit for the local flights.

The 2 main lenses I use for action are the Canon 400 2.8 and the 200 1.8 for indoor action. Ive had these 2 lenses for 12 years and together they have covered 4 Olympics and all the local sporting events I have ever covered since 1996. With over 2 million frames between them they have never let me down at an event and are only cleaned and checked every 2 years. I did have the focusing replaced on the 400 2.8 around 5 years ago – but this is the only major service I have had done. The 400 2.8 series 1 was purchased as an ex Canon hire lense and the 200 1.8 was bought new in 1996 for my first Olympics in Atlanta.
They are a great example of equipment built to last and although the Canon techs laugh every time they see them – they have proven to be most reliable and have been invaluable to our business over many years. The Hardigg Storm case has also proven very reliable and its been everywhere from a 10km trek along a dirt road in outback Longreach to the Olympics and my equipment has always been safe inside.
Here is a list of the equipment pictured (as of 28.9.08):
Hardigg Storm Case iM2750
Canon 400 2.8 EF L Series Lense
Canon 200 1.8 EF Lense (now discontinued by Canon)
Canon Mk3 Camera
Canon Mk 2 Camera backup body with a Speedlite 430EX Flash
Canon 15mm 2.8 Fisheye Lense
x2 converter
Manfrotto Monopod
Lc4 Remote and transmitter
Griffgear rain hood
FOOTNOTE: (as of 25.2.09) – The Canon 400 2.8 has since been replaced by a lighter Nikon 500 f4 lense and a Nikon D3 Camera. I also now have a Canon 5d Mk2 Camera with a 24-105 IS Lense for videoing of events.
To View my new Nikon/Canon Kit Click Here

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