Olympics, Day 6: Fencing, Sailing…

Olympics, Day 6: Fencing, Sailing…

Half way thru the games. Been busy, being the only photo­grapher for my client means I am really pushing it. Which also explains why I have been very quiet in this blog as well — there just is no extra time. Work intended to the client(s) and simply getting around from venue to venue in the London traffic just takes all the time there is.

I am naturally covering sports which have finnish athletes competing — and not neces­sarily the sports I would do as a photo­grapher just to get visually the greatest images.

One exception: went to see fencing the other night. Mens finals in foil — which I knew would be spectacular to see.

Also, those who know me way back might remember that foil was my own sport when I was still in school (and it almost got me kicked out of the university…)

My favorite parry on the top image. High prime I think it is called in English. Notice btw that 3 out of 4 of the semifi­na­lists were left-handed.


The other day I made a day trip to Weymouth to cover sailing. Decided to live dange­rously and shoot 800mm lens from a rocking rib, with pretty hefty wind and decent waves…

Boy that was hard… like you have ten shots out of which you sort of see the boat in about three frames… out of which maybe one is in focus (hopefully?) — again, sort of in focus… the remaining seven images being of the waves and the sky, totally off…

But, I got lucky, think I made one or two “half decent images” (as my fried Hopper would say) — along with couple of hundred ones which were total crap…

Especially I was happy about this match race image between Finland and Spain.

Somebody might be tempted to think that profes­sional sports photo­graphy is just nice sunny daily field trips where you simply hang out with the athletes and maybe take a snap or two occasio­nally… Well, this image was a result of 23-hours of work: traveling first from London to Weymouth and then back and spending 6–7 hours in a rocking rib with 1.5 meter waves and occasional rain showers…

But I think it was worth it.


Talking of 800mm… Nikon announced couple of weeks ago that they are making one (as you might know I have the Canon one) and — please don’t ask me how — I actually happened to get a prepro­duction model Nikon the other day into my hands for trying it out.

Did not even know they had them yet… I don’t think they offially do, actually :-).

Truly impressive piece of glass. I tried it on a D4 and as the one of Canon, it was light weight (well, everything is relative, right?) and extremely fast and accurate focusing, razor sharp. Sorry, I will not post any sample images — would not be fair as it was a pre-prod. model.

But nice to see there are options now — as you might have heard me raving about this focal length earlier — for instance I shot the Daegu (Korea) athletics World Championships with that lens to a large extend last summer.

I don’t think they have announced a price yet for that but one could imagine it would be of the same order as the Canon one which is around 15k euros.

Here is another one of sailing shot with the 800mm. Sari Multala of Laser Radial had a really bad day — she was way back from the lead so I think this picture was pretty appropriate that particular day. Before this race she was one of our biggest hopes to get a medal.


I get asked a lot what is my favorite sport to shoot. Don’t really have an answer to that, but I tell you what is the hardest one of them all: dressage. How on earth are you supposed to get anything decent looking out of that? It is so subtle in its nuances… and you are pretty far away from the field of play (FOP) and this time also the background was anything else than pleasing (which is exactly why I typically love covering the olympics: the clean, well constructed backgrounds with no advertising).

This shot was the best I could come up with. I covered the tracktors and the all the junk stuffed in that corridor in the background by shooting it real close. It does not show the movement and the grace of the horse (which is sort the point of this sport, kind of…) but what can you do?

The rider is finnish Mikaela Lindh and the horse Mas Guapo.

Sunshine in England?

Yes: this is England, so it is typically pissing rain and cold as hell… but occasio­nally you get some sunshine and interesting sports to shoot… I know, there has been so many pictures about beach volley already — tight closeups of fingers behind the butt etc. — but when I went there I got lucky with the weather and actually saw the sun for a while — so here is my take.

A more conser­vative approach :-)

2 Replies to “Olympics, Day 6: Fencing, Sailing…”

  1. My wife gives me quite harsh critique when I get the oppor­tunity to shoot her dressage rehearsals. You have to know how to frame horses, select the photos that show the horse and the rider in their best poses/positions and indeed the nuances are odd for those who don’t know the sport.
    For me it’s spray and pray and then at home the wife tells me what is good, what is not and why. Learning as I go.

    1. I know… the pic above is disgusting to anybody who unders­tands anything about this sport.
      Goes without saying: I don’t.… :-)

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