Photo Anatomy: the Olympic vision of one of the world’s best sports photographers

Photo Anatomy: the Olympic vision of one of the world's best sports photographers

In our Photo Anatomy series on Digital Camera World we select pictures by famous photographers and explain point by point what makes them work.

In our latest instalment, world-famous sports photographer Mark Pain explains how he made this unique image from the 2012 Olympics.

Photo Anatomy: the Olympic vision of one of the world's best sports photographers

Perfect moment
Everything came together for this shot. “I had a clear view, the blue and yellow kit worked nicely with the red track and the runner’s body was in the ideal position,” Mark says.

Blocked view
Frustratingly, a huge TV camera boom arm swung into Mark’s shot in almost every race. “The only time I got a clear view was at the beginning of relay races,” he says.

Freezing movement
For this shot of a Bahamian sprinter in the 4x100m relay final, Mark was using a Nikon D4 with a 300mm lens. His settings were 1/500sec at f/4, ISO 800.

Vision and position
Mark saw the potential of photographing athletes through Olympic flame’s heat haze, but had to shoot from the public seating area. Luckily, there was one spare seat in the stadium’s back row.

Painterly effect
“I found that when the runners were in exactly the right place above the flames, the blurring effect made them look like figures in an Impressionist painting,” says Mark.

READ MORE

Famous Photographers: 100 things we wish we knew starting out
How to see photos like famous photographers… every time you shoot
The best lenses for sports photography (and ideal focal lengths to use)
Shoot sharper sports photography: pro techniques and the settings they use