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|| News Item: Posted 2012-08-27

2012 Summer Olympics - Nhat Meyer
"I'm taking cellphone pictures with Kluetmeier and Burnett, how cool is that!"

By Nhat Meyer

Photo by Nhat V. Meyer / Mercury News

Photo by Nhat V. Meyer / Mercury News

"I'm taking cellphone pictures with Kluetmeier and Burnett, how cool is that!"
I have two vivid memories of the London Olympics:

Underwater with Kluetmeier and Burnett
After stopping by the USOC office I saw Robert Gauthier in the adjoining LA Times office, he was nice enough to tell me about the underwater water windows at the Aquatics Centre - I was heading over there to cover a local diver competing in the Men's Synchronized 3m Springboard. I got there about an hour and 45 minutes before the diving competition started and checked in with the photo managers. I figured I was too late to be able to head down there, but amazingly it was completely open. One other photographer and a photo helper and I headed down an hour and a half early.

As I was shooting, Sports Illustrated's Heinz Kluetmeier walks up (I met him once briefly in Greece) we shared the underwater window for a bit. Every once in awhile you get the feeling you're in the right place. Soon after Kluetmeier showed up another photo legend walked up, David Burnett, with his 1940s Speed Graphic. It was cool just to watch them interact because they are obviously good friends that have known each other for quite some time. They were joking around – Burnett was saying he didn’t think he could do a pike (as in diving) and Kluetmeier says, “Oh I could, it would just take me 10 hours to get out of it.” Ha. Burnett gave me the key to a long life as well “keep breathing.” Very sage advice for sure.

Of this whole cool scene, my favorite moment was when we were all taking cellphone pictures at the same time of the divers entering the water. I was thinking - "I'm taking cellphone pictures with Kluetmeier and Burnett, how cool is that!"

Women's Football Gold Medal Match
Photo by Nhat V. Meyer / Mercury News

Photo by Nhat V. Meyer / Mercury News

USA's Carli Lloyd (10) celebrates her first goal with Kelley O'Hara (5), Alex Morgan (13), and Abby Wambach (14) in the first half of their game against Japan for the Women's Football Gold Medal Match at Wembley Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012.
This isn't the best picture I took, but it's one of my favorites. I don't cover a lot of soccer, but I have covered my fair share and the thing about soccer is that it’s such a huge field and you never know where things are going to happen. It’s a bit of a guessing game. I didn’t see the first goal, I just saw Alex Morgan with the ball pass back towards Abby Wambach then everyone went nuts. Once they scored the goal I just kinda held my breath. I thought Wambach had scored the goal because she was going nuts but as I was shooting I noticed that she was pointing to her right - then Kelley O'Hara and Alex Morgan joined Wambach and they were all and heading to their right so I moved my camera that way and then out of the corner of my eye I spotted another player, Carli Lloyd, on her knees with her hands up - alone - looking to her left, and I was like hmmm, perhaps I'll stay shooting her - and I did and everyone went to her. I still didn't know who scored the goal. But the important thing is the reaction came my direction. The photo Gods shined on me that night because I was able to get off a long sequence - I had nearly a 100 frames of the aftermath. Here's the full frame, uncropped version of the frame that ran in the paper. The best part about it – is our local – Alex Morgan, who went to Cal is center front – with pink headband:

I also included a screen shot of Photo Mechanic - This was shot with a Nikon D4 on a Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens with a 1.4x converter. I love that lens – I get things I wouldn’t be able to get if I was shooting with a fixed lens – like a 400mm f2.8 or a 300mm f2.8. With the Olympics when you’re in a set spot having a long zoom is really huge – I don’t have to worry about missing anything because I’m in the midst of changing lenses. I felt very fortunate and lucky to have been able to see that – and I mean that literally, it is super easy to get blocked – there were sound people, referees, video camera guys, other players all in front of us. Or they could easily have faced the opposite direction… so many variables.

This goal was very early in the game – so I had to stress out about whether or not they were going to win the game… because if Japan ended up winning – then obviously the celebration picture becomes completely meaningless. Luckily the same player – Carli Lloyd scored again. I didn’t have much from her second goal – but that’s okay. As a whole, this was my favorite event to witness in London. It was the third time in-a-row that the US has won gold in Women’s Football, it was a huge rematch from the World Cup – what would you rather have an Olympic gold medal or a World Cup championship? And this was the largest crowd in Europe to ever witness a Women’s football game – an announced crowd of 80,203. I remember shooting the CyberRays – a long defunct Women’s soccer team in San Jose that would barely draw 5,000. It was just cool to see so much support and it was a great, loud crowd.

The cool things is that hours before the game I was standing on the pitch next to Robert Gauthier, from the LA Times, and he was reminding me how lucky we were to be there at all and how much he loved his job. I know a lot of people may think that funny, but when you're working long days on little sleep, it is nice to get some perspective.

Nhat Meyer is a staff photographer at the San Jose Mercury News. You can see his work at his Sports Shooter members page:

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