The “normal” glass for an Olympics is in the 400-600mm range. Planning for athletics, I knew a few things going in. I’m not pool, so I wouldn’t have an FOP (field of play) position, eyeballing the athletes. I had duties such as high jump, and triple jump, staged far apart from each other. What to do? Travel light, no backpack, two D6 cameras, a wide angle lens in my pocket, and an 800mm on a monopod, carrying the 180-400. Cards were cleared and downloaded so no extras needed to be brought. Batteries full, so no spares required. Credential, phone, Lysol, Advil, spare mask.
The mix of glass enabled me to reach the two events. I got as low as I’m allowed in the grandstand near the women’s triple jump, but could still reach with the 800 across the field to grab the men’s high jump. Below,
Woo Sanghyeok of South Korea, almost, almost clearing the bar.
Thankful for that, as the expressively terrific Gianmarco Tamberi shared the gold with Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and I could cover it from my position. The events (high jump, triple jump) are running simultaneously, so you have to do a pretty quick two-step with your cameras.
I would set down the 800, and hand hold the 180-400 (with a built in TC 1.4) to track the oncoming women for the triple jump, which is just a really cool sport to shoot.
Above is the amazing Yulimar Rojas, who took the gold. A rangy 6’3″ athlete, who took flight like a beautiful giant bird of prey. Wonderful to watch.
I’ve repeated the same strategy throughout covering athletics. Reach.
Check out more Tokyo Field Notes!