This image was shot at the men’s marathon during the 2012 London Olympics. I went into the crowd and started to look for anything other than what I had shot in the official position and where most of the photographers just showing up would continue to shoot. I spent years shooting hard, long lens “in your face” action but these days prefer a more street photography approach. I find getting it right on normal to wide lens much harder (so many more elements have to align) than slapping on a telephoto but the results are far more pleasing for me. I try to show the entire scene, the atmosphere of an event so that someone who wasn’t there could get a feel for the day. This meant stepping back a little, bringing in more elements and layers of interest.
To do that I used a monopod with a small ball head and pocket wizard transmitter and receiver to fire the camera while it was several feet overhead. I couldn’t see what I was shooting but just tried to keep everything straight and pointed in the right direction while firing the camera with my teeth as the runners went through. I’m not generally a big fan of overcomplicating my life with piles of gear but do carry a small amount of remote camera gear so I can operate one camera like this for hard to get to shots. You’ll be able to see from the tech info below that this image would have been virtually impossible to shoot back in the film days, way too dark in there, it would have taken a day of rigging lights first.
This image was shot on a Nikon D800, 14-24mm f2.8 Nikkor lens set at 14mm. 800th @ f5 ISO 2500. Pocket Wizard FlexTT5 and Mini TT1.
Mike Powell has been a professional photography for 30 years. His images have graced the pages of Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, ESPN Magazine, Stern, and L'Equipe, and he has won numerous photography awards. He has covered all the major sporting events including the Super Bowl, the Summer and Winter Olympics, the World Cup, and the Tour de France.