The 2014 Special Olympic Summer Games have come and gone and while I sit here looking at all of the shots I captured I feel complete. Its not about being deep, its about shooting something with more meaning, something that can change the way people see those with special needs. I've been covering the Special Olympics for 6 years now and each year I come away fulfilled from the experience.
Those who volunteer to become a photographer for the Special Olympics, well at least for Southern California, are given a shot sheet of requested shots. There are a few things I don't put much effort in when trying to get shots. Such as honored guests and other volunteers. I put my focus on the athletes which is where I excel. I want to show more than just athletes crossing a finish line, I want to show someone who is giving it their all and yet are simply excited to be doing what their doing.
This years Summer Games were held on the University of Southern California in preparation for the World Games, which will be held there in 2015. Additionally this years Summer Games had 15 other countries involved as well. The games started Friday morning, but due to work I missed the opening ceremonies. I love capturing the athletes in action and so enjoy shooting the opening ceremony. I love the shots of all the police lining up as the athletes walk in during their parade of champions. There's just so much contact and emotion during that time and I missed it, but it is what it is.
So on Saturday morning my photo buddy "Shelly" from ShellyRosenPhotography and I met up and checked in. We received out shot list for the weekend, although Shelly would only be shooting on Saturday.
My assignment for Saturday was to cover Gymnastics and Bocce ball while Shelly's assignment was to cover Aquatics. So we started our day heading over to gymnastics. Wasn't sure what to expect with lighting. Cal State Long Beach has nice open windows along one wall section, which offer some nice light in the room, but we weren't as lucky with the facility at USC. I had to push my limits with gymnastics. I shot manual with my ISO maxed at 3200, and a aperture of f/2.8, which gave me a shutter of 1/320.
Below are some of my favorites from the gymnastics event.
After covering gymnastics for a bit we went to the aquatics facility, which was right next door to gymnastics. As Cal State Long Beach, the pool at USC was outdoors, which made things nice.
Here are some of my favorites from aquatics.
Then Shelly and I took a walk to the softball field where bocce ball was being held. Not sure if we arrived late in the event, but there just didn't seem to be many participating in Bocce ball, but that didn't prevent us from getting some great shots.
Here are a few of my favorites from bocce ball.
After some bocce ball it was time for some lunch. After enjoying a nice lunch we decided to hit the track. I was scheduled to cover basketball, but since shelly didn't have the lens for shooting indoors we decided to try some track, which to be honest didn't take to much convincing as I absolutely love shooting track. We spent the rest of the day covering track and had a great time getting burned in the sun, well at least I did.
Now for "Day 2"
Day two found my all alone as my photo buddy wasn't shooting today, so since I didn't cover any basketball the day prior I decided to hit the courts today. As gymnastics I wasn't sure what I was going to get with the lighting, but in the end it wasn't all that bad. As gymnastics I shot in manual, but only had my ISO at 1600. My aperture was at f/2.8 and my shutter was at 1/400.
I covered a few games and below you'll find my favorites from them.
After shooting a few games I went to my favorite place - "TRACK". Have I ever said how much I love shooting track, well its true.
So for day two here are some of my favorites from the track.
Before the closing ceremony started I thought I shoot a little more aquatics. Here are a few from day two.
Now for the closing ceremony I usually grab some shots of the athletes relaxing and enjoy the music with dance, but this year was different. There wasn't much dancing and there just seemed to be a ton of photographers, so instead of fighting for a spot to get shots of all of the speakers, I talked to a few people and found out what route the torch would be carried out and waited.
Here are few from the last few minutes of closing ceremony.
I must say USC is a beautiful campus and while I add some free time I got a few important shots. Hope you enjoy.
In closing - I had a wonderful time and captured some great images. I think this last image says it all.