Rio 2016: The Full Meal

01_rio_081816Aug 17, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Colombia’s Mariana Pajon during individual seeding in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic BMX Centre.

“Okay riders, random start. Riders ready, watch the gate…” and then silence. Eight BMX riders sit frozen atop their ferrous frames, awaiting the gate holding them back that rests against their front wheels to drop – without warning – flat against the ground. Silence. The crowd, obeying the wishes for “silencio, por favor” from the mighty LED screen, can barely keep themselves together. Silence. Vultures circling over the neighboring favela dot the sky as a torrent of dust rolls across the course, caught in the dry, hot afternoon wind. Silence. The sunlight gleams against the colorful helmets of the riders, still unsullied by the scuffs and scrapes that will undoubtedly come from the painful wipe-outs in the days ahead. Silence. With a startling CRACK, the gate falls and the riders finally rocket down the first drop of the course, with screams and applause of the fans there to cheer them on flooding the arena. The battle is on!

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Rio 2016: Drenched

01_rio_081716Aug 15, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; A general view of the rain during the women’s field hockey quarterfinals between Netherlands and Argentina in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Hockey Centre.

02_rio_081716It started off innocently enough. Just one little ole’ rain drop, then one of his friends. Ok, we can work with this. They seemed cool enough, just hanging out up there in the hazy light beams of the Olympic Hockey Centre. The problems started when those raindrops decided that women’s field hockey was pretty exciting, so they hit up social media and invited a few billion of their friends to drop in on the action. You know how that goes! Once word gets out about the party, all bets are off.

I’d be telling you a tall tale if I said there isn’t a little moment of panic that shoots through me when the skies open up on an outdoor shoot. Here in Rio, my daily reality is that I have upwards of $30,000 of sensitive electronics gear on me — gear that doesn’t particularly like getting wet — that I need to function reliably at all times to do my job. Protecting that gear from the elements is my first priority, which is why I carry two purpose-built rain covers from Think Tank (one for each of my camera bodies) at all times when I am shooting outdoors.

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Posted in Photography on August 17th, 2016. 1 Comment.

Rio 2016: Groundhog Day

01_rio_081416Aug 13, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Keith Sanderson (USA) in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol qualification in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Olympic Shooting Centre.

With just a little over a week left here in Rio, myself and pretty much everyone on the USA Today Sports Images team has reached the point that we like to refer to as Groundhog Day (a take on the 1993 Bill Murray film where the same day keeps reoccurring over and over again). Groundhog Day at the Olympics usually entails having trouble remembering what day of the week it is, experiencing difficulty remembering whether you’ve eaten an actual meal yet, as well as giving up hope for more than four hours of sleep per night. Pretty much everything on my end is starting to run low, including the aforementioned sleep, energy in general, clean laundry, Cliff Bars, patience for late shuttle busses, as well as the strength to keep lugging a 400mm lens on my shoulder to every event I shoot (somehow it always ends up getting used).

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Posted in Photography, Photojournalism, Rio Summer Olympics, Sports on August 14th, 2016. 1 Comment.

Rio 2016: Textbook Examples

01_rio_0801016Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Denis Gargaud Chanut of France celebrates after winning the men’s canoe single final in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Whitewater Stadium.

I believe one of the most inspiring things a person can do in life is to be genuinely gracious towards someone who’s come out ahead of them. I’m extremely fortunate that, back home, in my inner-circle of friends, we’re continuously celebrating each others’ accomplishments, even if one or more members of the circle could be viewed as “ahead” of the others at a given time. I think we’ve all realized that the more people we surround ourselves with who are achieving their goals and dreams, the more likely that their momentum of success will transfer to us with regards to our pursuits.

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