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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2000-10-31
Leading Off: Observations from Sydney
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter
After 4 weeks "In the Land Down Under" for the Summer Olympics and then spending the next 8 days back home with the most screwed sleeping and eating patterns imaginable, I've finally gotten a quick issue of Sports Shooter to our loyal readers. (Plus I got tired of people asking me at the Flying Short Course trade show in San Diego "When's the next issue? It's been two months!")
Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
So here are a few observations and a quick couple of rants:
Everyone predicted it would be "the best ever" and after all was said and done, they were right.
I've covered six Olympic Games, and while the first one you go to always hold the most memories, Sydney will go down in my memoirs as the best.
- Things got off to a strange start for me, when on my third day in Sydney I witnessed and photographed a fatal bus crash in front of my hotel. While walking back from a computer store with three USA TODAY colleagues, we watched in horror a city bus ran through a red light and bounced off of two cars, another bus and came to rest on a curb about 50 yards from the entrance to the Mercure Hotel.
- The Opening Ceremonies were a technical and artistic marvel, with a young girl sent flying through the air across the Olympic Stadium at one point and about a hundred fire breathing performers providing some spectacular images. For me however, the haunting rendition of the Australian folk song "Waltzing Matilda" used several times during the show gave me pause.
Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
"Waltzing Matilda" is a song my dad Seico used to sing to me when I was a young boy and when I hear it now, it always brings tears to my eyes. My dad never traveled to Australia and I don't know why or where he learned the words to that song, but it made me nostalgic and made me miss him.
- The venues in Sydney and at the Olympic Park in Homebush Bay were roomy, easy to work in, had great photo positions and the best lighting of any Olympics I've been to. For instance at boxing I was able to shoot with a 400mm lens and a 1.4 extender with an exposure of 1/500 of a sec, f/4 at ASA 800. I know the locals had many complaints about NBC turning down the light in some of the venues, but overall, this Olympics was The Best. (Arenas, stadiums and sports leagues in this country should take note good light help make good images.)
- It was great to meet Sports Shooter contributors Tim Clayton and Ivo Gonzalez face-to-face finally. Tim was busy getting some unbelievable images during The Games, including working with two different panorama camera systems. Every time I ran into Ivo, he had that wide-eyed enthusiasm that makes working your first Olympics so memorable as I mentioned above.
- While I wasn't at the so-called "premier events," (i.e. Dream Team games, track & field and gymnastics) covering weight lifting, judo, boxing and wrestling reminded me that great photography isn't limited by what's in front of the lens, but only by what's behind it.
- The people of Australia gregarious, funny, honest, hospitable and always helpful reminded me just how awful it was four years ago in Atlanta.
Thank you Sydney!
Bitch, Bitch, Bitch
- They maybe basketball's "World Champions" but the light in their house SUCKS! I was appalled a week ago when I went to the year-old Staples Center for several Lakers and Clippers exhibition games. While the light last season was not great, it was semi-livable. What I saw this season was flat-out b**l s**t!
Photo by Robert Hanashiro/USA Today
The light had dropped by 2/3 of a stop by my estimation (I compared DCS520 files shot at game last week with files shot during Game 5 of the NBA Finals) and was 1/400, f/2.8 at ASA1250! And the Clipper games were actually a bit worse because their playing surface is considerably darker than the Lakers.
(For comparison, Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis also opened last season and the available light there during the NBA Finals was 1/500, f/2.8 at ASA640.)
At one point during the Lakers-SuperSonics game, AP staffer Kevork Djansezian noticed the lights on one entire quarter of the court were turned off! After complaining to the house electrician, the lights were turned on at half time, but all this did was even out the illumination and did not up the exposure.
With such a cavalier attitude about the lighting in the building, it's no wonder it's so bad.
Hey Staples Center: either turn up the lights or get all those Hollywood types wearing all-black sitting in those $1,400 courtside seats to start wearing all white so we get more light reflected back up to the players!
- There is small movement going on with a couple of newspapers revolting against the NBA and NHL rights and usage policy. We've all seen the small print on the back of those credentials we wear around our necks at sports events. And it's time we all (including our bosses) read them.
The recent legal battle involving the NBA and the New York Times selling prints shot during Knicks' games is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. And don't be surprised if the Times lose this case.
Several newspapers are refusing to accept the language on the backs of these credentials and the "contracts" some teams are pushing on us as a requirement for covering games. It is a noble gesture and one that more newspapers and magazines should take up.
However, until we ALL get on board with this including the wires we will all be led down the slaughter shoot eventually. Even if the wires continue to cover NHL and NBA games (their "sign it and ignore it" attitude is very dangerous) we must try to convince sports editors and page designers not to run NBA and NHL photos.
Yes that is a tough sell. And so far, a very lonely one.
Sports Shooter Notes
- I will be taking Sports Shooter on the road with speaking appearances upcoming at San Jose State University and at the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar.
On November 16 I will be speaking at San Jose State University at 7:30pm in the Arts Building, room 133. I'll be showing images from the Sydney Summer Olympics as well as some picture stories on athletes we profiled in USA TODAY.
On December 1 I will be conducting a workshop on sports photography at the annual Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar. I'll also be showing a documentary video I made during the Sydney Olympics on photographers. This seminar will be held two or three times depending on signups and should be a lot of fun. If you've ever heard me make a presentation, you know I like to tell a lot of stories, keep the sessions informal and have a helluva lot of fun. I'll be around all weekend for the three-day seminar, so if you can't make it to my sessions, please try to find me somewhere in the hotel and say hello. For more information about the Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, go to their web site at: http://www.photojournalism.org/workshops.html.
- Sports Shooter can always be accessed via the web. Each issue is supplemented with many images and put together by Sports Shooter curator Brad Mangin. To check out this and all of the previous issues, go to: http://www.manginphotography.com/intropage.html.
Please check out the Sports Shooter Forum, which is hosted by RobGalbraith.com. I will have posted a few topics from this issue for readers to comment on. You can access all of the RobGalbraith.com Forums at: http://www.robgalbraith.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro
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This month's issue of Sports Shooter has an extensive look at the recent Summer Olympics by frequent contributor Sam Mircovich. We close out the baseball season with reports on the World Series by Brad Mangin and an insightful and humorous article by the LA Dodgers' Jon SooHoo. Also The Count and Mongo check in with an installments of their regular column.
So as we say here at the mighty Sports Shooter offices: sit back, adjust the brightness of your monitor, turn down the volume of that new U2 CD and enjoy Sports Shooter v.24!
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