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|| News Item: Posted 2008-09-04

Olympic Moments: Vincent Laforet
'Phelps was obviously the story of these games.'

By Vincent Laforet

Photo by Vincent Laforet

Photo by Vincent Laforet

Male Gold medalists Maris Strombergs of Latvia and Female Gold Medalist Anne-Caroline Chausson of France were the first two gold medal winners in the first BMX competition of the Olympics.
Covering the BMX finals was definitely a highlight for me - it's always fun to cover a sport during its inaugural run at an Olympic venue. I used a 24mm Tilt-Shift lens on this image on a Canon EOS 1D MKIII - and I think it really accentuates the miniature feel of the sport - after all the riders are twice the size of their bikes!

One of the hardest things to do at The Games is to constantly remind yourself to break away from the pack. The reason you do it is because the photographers that are surrounding you are far from mindless morons - they're actually some of the best photographers in the world and there's a strong likely hood that one or four of them will kick your ass - at the very least, they're not going to miss the picture and trying to compete with them on who is a few milliseconds early or late, or a few inches to the left or right is a losing battle.

Therefore I think it's wise to break away and look for a different angle - because even if your timing is not as good as the others - at least you've got a better chance of making an image that will stand out from all of the others. No matter how good an image might be, if there are 4-5 versions of that same image out there - your image will lose value... let's admit it: we all love to get the image that no one else has... right? (1/800th at f 3.5 at 50 ASA on a 1DS MKIII - 24mm T/S)

Michael Phelps was obviously the story of these games - everyone new it ahead of time and it was confirmed when he won his 8th gold medal. Seemed appropriate to shoot him with the new 800mm on his eight medal run - although my lens choice was a result of our distance from the block - not the lucky number 8 - hey the Olympics started on 8-8-8 - to fit NBC's TV schedule of course.... I was one of the few ones lucky enough to get his fist pump with a perfectly clear background - in large part to my choice of that lens as opposed to a 600mm. (both 1/640th at f 5.6 on a 1D MKIII at 2000 ASA - 800mm 5.6)

Photo by Vincent Laforet

Photo by Vincent Laforet

Robert Hanashiro asleep on the bus in Beijing.
I've been fortunate enough to cover a few "historic" moments and/or events in my 18 year career - and I've got to admit that given the incredible record that was being shattered here - the images and reaction overall were a bit more muted than I would have wished... I would have given a lot to see his teammates carry him off on their shoulders...

Finally - I get tired just looking at this photo to the right as it puts me right back in that setting. Both Bert Hanashiro and I were dozing off on this early morning ride to the women's gold medal match in Beach volleyball - we had 2-3 days left of the Olympics and it was real early after yet another late night at track... the coolest thing I experienced when returning from the Olympics was literally feeling two inches taller (no heavy photo vest and gear to walk around in for 18 hours a day) I didn't even break a sweat when I walked up 5 flights of stairs with my son at the Children's museum - heck - HE wanted to take the elevator... and my Leica felt like a feather around my shoulder.

It's nice to be home - and to be watching the U.S. Open Tennis on TV!

Related Links:
Laforet's member page

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