The Brazilian people are warm hearted, fun-loving, and generally need the smallest of excuses to gin up an impromptu, informal party. I saw these small, lively, spontaneous get togethers many times, spilling from the bars into the streets, accompanied of course by samba music. The last night of the Olympics, however, proved that given planning, resources, funding and preparation, Brazilians are capable of throwing a REALLY BIG PARTY.
Such as the one last night, as the Olympic flame was extinguished at legendary Maracana Stadium and Rio said goodbye to the world in ebullient Carioca fashion. I have rarely, if ever, been caught up with my cameras in such a swirl of genuine delight, and good will. The naif in me kept thinking, if only the world could be like this all the time. Ok, maybe some of the time? A few days a year?
It was fun to cover the Closing Ceremonies, but not easy. It rained most of the night, and while cameras were tarped, they got soaked anyway. My D5’s got hammered, but kept working. Most of the lens rags I brought became useless, as they became puddles unto themselves. The party went on, though, with lively characters dancing right through the raindrops.
Flash, like tripods, are forbidden for the accredited photogs at the Games. But, when the flame went out, all bets were off, and, surprisingly 😉 I had a flash in my bag. Hand held, driven by radio TTL (WRR-10), it gave just enough frontal boost to the ensure some sharpness as the crazy lights of the stadium played over the participants in intermittent fashion.
It was a glorious sendoff, a colorful, emphatic rebuttal to the prophets of doom and the naysayers that clamored for the Games to be canceled, and predicted that these Olympics would sink in a swamp of unpreparedness. Said swamp of course would be patrolled by Zika bearing mosquitos. Rio did it. Rough around the edges to be sure, but this city can stand proud. The volunteers did their best to be helpful, the soldiers were plum cordial, and the athletes were sublime. Bolt, Phelps and crew lifted us all above the mayhem and criticism, and as always, the sweat, honor and dignity of human competition held sway.
Farewell, Rio, and thank you…..more tk, from elsewhere….
Loved your coverage of this Joe, especially the party pics.
Steven Shone says
It sounds like you really enjoyed it, sensei. My sports are soccer, rugby and motor racing (with an occasional visit to cricket for the unique atmosphere) so the Olympics are a big fat tedious zero for me, but this time I have had your photos to enjoy. Your innate enthusiasm lights them up even when you are forbidden flash. The idea of that flashgun calling to you, siren-like, from concealment in your bag is really quite entertaining 🙂
Charlie Young says
Joe, when you get into more of a photojournalism situation like this and decide to hand hold do you shoot straight flash with the dome diffuser on or do you add some sort of a light shaper? Do you prefer radio driven vs a sc-28 chord to avoid tangles with the chord or was it simply what you had available at the time?
As a brazilian, thank you for the kind farewell note. Glad you enjoyed it!
Joe McNally says
Went with a hard flash, only dome diffuser, no shaper. Held it off camera w my left hand, camera in right. Wireless connect. Easier than managing a cord in the rain. I had a small backpack and two other cameras on my shoulders, with a 70-200 and a 200-400, so less cords all the better. Best, Joe
Joe McNally says
It’s like the ring, Steven…it wants to be found…..
Vlad Rapchan says
Thanks for the kind words about my country, Joe! Being a brazillian myself and a long time fan of your work, I can say on behalf of my country it was a pleasure having talented athletes and artists on these lands. 🙂 In my 3 days in Rio, I even called to a friend and entertained the idea of running across you at the Olympic Park. Maybe next time, uh? If you ever need an assistant in São Paulo, please let me know!
Mads Pallesen says
Great great coverage of Rio!
I send you an email in extension of my blog post a couple of weeks back regarding adding the 58mm 1.4G to my bag. Well, I did add it in the end. Had to try the “neo” Noct and it’s unique rendering and handling of light. I would still love to hear your thoughts on my email, if you find the time. Best, Mads
Jim Nooney says
Joe your Olympic images from Rio have been magnificent. It’s so hard to choose just one favorite so i will go with two…the breathtaking shot from the start of the men’s 100 meters and the stunning multiple exposure fencing shot. What I have I always admired about your work is not just the technical excellence but your remarkable ability to always capture in some way the humanity of your subjects as well. Looking forward to seeing you present again at PhotoPlus…for me that’s the #1 reason I go to the show.
P.S. About how many frames did you shoot overall in Rio?
Joe McNally says
HEY JIM…. thanks for the kind words and for tuning into some of the Olympic imagery. I did shoot alot! Many thousands of frames, don’t rightly know how many. But, shooting pretty constantly for about 20 days–thats a lot of clicks!
All Best, Joe
Great photos as always!
Karen Sayre says
Very nice work as always. Particularly love the party shots
These are fantastic. I love the way the background is not seen and the subject is isolated. For beginners, I found this Adorama Max fantastic when I was starting out. Especially on backgrounds stuff. http://www.adoramapix.com/blog/2016/10/13/choosing-a-backdrop/