Photographers race for best Games photo in best time

Tue Aug 7, 2012 3:57pm EDT
 
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LONDON (Reuters) - When Canada's Ben Johnson accelerated across the 100 metres finishing line in 9.79 seconds at the 1988 Seoul Olympics it took about 1-1/2 hours to get the shot to newspapers.

When Usain Bolt blitzed the 100m at the London Games in an Olympic record of 9.63 seconds on Sunday, it took news agencies less than three minutes to publish the first images of the fastest man in the world's triumph.

Technology has revolutionized the speed, quality and quantity of photos from the Olympics, with the shift to digital sparking a race among news organizations to get photos online and to iPads winning readers and advertising dollars.

With cameras getting better every Olympics, more frames can be taken per second, and underwater cameras capture all angles in the pool.

The type of photos on offer has expanded further at the London Games with remote, robotic cameras in the roofs of major venues and the use of gigapan cameras to zoom in on the crowd.

Standout images from London have ranged from underwater shots of Michael Phelps ploughing through the pool, to long-range images of Prince William hugging his wife Kate at the cycling, to artistic images of the moon below Tower Bridge rising through the Olympics rings.

Past iconic Olympic photos include the 1968 black power salute by John Carlos and Tommie Smith in Mexico, U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz wearing seven gold medals at Munich 1972, and Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic flame in Atlanta in 1996.

Technological advances have changed the game for 1,500 photographers at the 2012 Games, all of whom are chasing the ultimate images of ecstasy and agony at the world's largest sporting event.   Continued...

 
The full moon rises through the Olympic Rings hanging beneath Tower Bridge during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 3, 2012. Standout images from London have ranged from underwater shots of Michael Phelps ploughing through the pool, to long-range images of Prince William hugging his wife Kate at the cycling, to artistic images of the moon below Tower Bridge rising through the Olympics rings. Picture taken August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor