Aug 16, 2008

The Longest 3+ Minutes on the Planet


1st 8 Olympic Gold Medal Winner – Michael Phelps


Professional Photographers Blogging from Beijing Olympics

Jason Lezak wins 4x100 relay & Gold

Some time before the Olympics, Simon Barnett, Director of Photography, Newsweek, gathered Vincent Laforet, Donald Miralle, and Mike Powell (The Dream Team) together to discuss shooting the Olympics.
Rich Haggerty, A Photo Editor, did an interview in which Simon said,
"For us, this is the first time our focus is overwhelmingly to our web presence, so we’ve come up with a new approach to editing. Each of three photographers will manage their own photo blog, editing, and uploading their best images – along with, I hope, some very personal anecdotes about what it’s like to be there experiencing it. I hope this creates a form of photo “Survivor” between them, where they are in a kind of creative competition. Then, I’ll go into their blogs each day and edit what I deem to be ‘best of’ which will be up on a showcased gallery around noon each day. It’s kind of photographic natural selection."

In simple terms, the professional photographer has the exciting, yet new demanding role of capturing that electrifying moment, picking it out from several thousand pictures, writing his feelings about that particular Olympic event, putting it on a blog, and 'instantly' sending it to his editor - so we can see it online in a very short time!  He's shooter, image processor, writer (even local director of photography) - all at the same time, using today's incredible array of exquisite Internet technology.
BTW, the antithesis of Simon Barnett's Newsweek view of a future direction in photography is expressed in 42 Things I Know by William Lobdell, former newspaper editor, written just before the Olympics.

Read More…

Newsweek's Dream Team began planning a year before the Olympics.
Here's what Laforet was worried about…
"We still have to worry about the following at each event we cover: We don’t know who will win/lose or become the news, where that will happen, when that will happen, or from where we can get the best picture from, or with what lens and exposure (nor when we can put our guard down or take a meal/bathroom break) never know this until the event happens _LIVE_
"In photography there are no second chances; you are either “hero or zero” with little in between. This is why photographers, who by nature are used to capturing what is a sometimes chaotic series of events, like to have at least the basics figured out before they get to the venue, so they only have to worry about making “the” picture."

If you're a photographer, Laforet wrote a very interesting experiential blog on A Third of the Way Through: Time for a Little Introspection.  Faced with incredible moment-to-moment pressure, Vincent noted his long sports photography history, the complexity of sport shooting at this level, then commented about the need to see a new way to provide Olympic photography.
One of the requirements was an Equipment Confirmation Letter containing a list of every piece of gear they conceivably might need.  In Laforet’s case, this meant 200 pounds of gear.  On a given day, he might use 60 pounds.
About three days in, he said "Well. Yesterday's post turned out to be quite cathartic—it helped flush whatever was holding me back out.  It's amazing how big of a role your state of mind plays in how you shoot."

If you're a photography blogger, then I must say - checking the blogging times of the Dream Team, they were on line at any time in the 24 hour day.
It's my guess, since they were acting as photographer, editor, and writer, they probably used Lightroom 2.  But it's also fair to say they need to know how to blog, technical aspects behind good writing, and getting images and blogs professionally prepared for US consumption.
In particular, Laforet’s A Third Day… used a short, creative intro, then put the meat on a separate page in their blogging space using Read More.

My congratulations to Simon Barnett and his Dream Team ~ Vincent Laforet, Donald Miralle, and Mike Powell.  Not only is their reporting inspirational, it clearly presages new ways for photographers to communicate about their driving passions which give us such visual glory!

But back to Michael Phelps and the 29th Olympiad...
or, Michael Phelps First 8 Minutes after Winning the 8th Gold Medal!
Last night, at 2307 hours, a surprised Michael Phelps became our all planet gold medal winner, helping to set a world record and winning his 8th goal medal.  Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Phelps and Jason Lezak won the 4x100 meter relay at Beijing in a world-record of 3 minutes, 29.34 seconds, lowering the old mark of 3:30.68 set four years ago in Athens.
With the same reporting spirit Laforet displayed in Beijing, let's celebrate Michael's first 8 minutes after Jason Lezak touched the wall. 
We show Michael's expression 8 seconds later,

Michael Phelps sees they won 4x100

then Mom's expression. 

Mother Phelps sees they won Olympic Gold

Team celebrates before the 29th Olympiad at Beijing 30 seconds later. 

Phelps Team Celebrates Gold

Michael celebrates before the 29th Olympiad at Beijing one minute later. 

Michael Phelps Salutes Bejiing and Planet

Eight minutes later, Michael, the 1st 8th gold medal winner ever, is interviewed on NBC.

Michael Phelps & Team 1st NBC Interview

Our images, captured on a remote HDTV using rabbit ears, lack the nicety of $10,000-15,000 of on site equipment.  But, they are without copyright infringement.
And, on a very minor stage, not only have we replicated Newsweek's achievement, but we've enjoyed these rather incredible Beijing 2008 Olympics...

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