Great sports photographs

As the 2016 Olympics in Rio draws to a close I have been following with great interest images made by my colleagues- Facebook, Instagram, web sites and the press are full of great shots. This is the first Olympics since 1992 when I have not been in attendance, either as a photographer or a member of the photo  management team.

With the huge advances in technology over this time period it has become in many ways easier to get amazing photos. I was therefore very interested to see an article on today’s BBC website about a new book by photo historian Gail Buckland titled Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present. The book is accompanied by an exhibition now on at the Brooklyn Museum in New York.

It makes you realise that great sports shots do not necessarily rely on the latest technology. Getting in the right position, the exposure right, and anticipating the decisive moment are still the same talents honed by taking countless thousands of photos that photographers have used right back to the early days of photography.

Take a look at the two images below, one from the Olympics of 1924 and one from Olympics 2012.
p.s. I didn’t take the one from 1924!

Olympic Games Paris 1924 Alphonse Gemuseus (SUI) riding Lucette, the gold medallist

Olympic Games Paris 1924 Alphonse Gemuseus (SUI) riding Lucette, the gold medallist – Photo Col. Poudret

Olympic Games 2008, Hong Kong (Beijing Games) August 2008, Ludger Beerbaum (GER) riding All Inclusive, Individual jumping final

Olympic Games 2008, (Beijing Games), Ludger Beerbaum (GER) riding All Inclusive, Individual jumping final –  Photo: Peter Llewellyn

Looking at the 1924 image I am in awe of the photographer who managed to capture the height of the action and an incredible degree of sharpness in his image. I had a much easier time at the 2008 Games with high speed camera, autofocus and the ability  to instantly see my image on the LCD on the back of the camera.