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Paying Attention

During the Olympics in Beijing, it had been overcast for over two straight weeks. Day in, day out. During that entire time, I carefully evaluated different venues and how they might look differently should sunlight decide to make an appearance.

So when the first day of sunlight came, I already knew the kind of image I intended to make. I knew I wanted to completely isolate that background and blur it out. I shot it wide open on a 300mm lens, which also allowed me to use the fastest shutter speed possible to freeze the image of those water droplets.

This image was shot uncomfortably tight, because that’s just the way I wanted to do it at that time, and I was bored with loose images. My assistant, who was to my right, shot the same image with a 200mm lens, composing with more room around the athlete. He also nailed the moment and won the award for college photographer of the year that year. His images captured the same moment but it wasn’t the same image. It does make a difference when you go uncomfortably tight and really blur out that background.

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