With the presidential inauguration just a few days away, we take a look back at pivotal moments in November that lead up to this moment in time and Nikon Europe Ambassador, Joel Marklund, was there to capture it.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else in the world at that moment in time.
History was being made before my eyes.”
– Joel Marklund, Nikon Europe Ambassador
Joel had opted to follow the Hillary rally in the lead up to US election night, capturing everything as it happened, from the results to the protests. To document the historic event, he had to overcome one hurdle: switching from thinking like a sports photographer to that of a reportage photographer.
From the excitement he felt to the similarities and differences that lie between these two genres of photography, Joel shares what it was like covering such a momentous event in history with us here.
Photographing major events: the challenges
“Your role as a photographer is to document what is happening and share it with the world,” explains Joel. “And with a high-profile event such as this, the challenges photographers face are numerous. Getting access is often the main issue, so you often have to rethink your angles and come up with a different shot than originally planned.”
“At a political event there is also a significant amount of security, so access is restricted and getting close to your subjects can be very difficult. You need to account for this when planning your shots, and always have a plan B in case things don’t work out. Work with what you have, do your best to get the right shot and just don’t give up”.
Before photographing anything, Joel always does his research so that he knows where to be at the right time. After the election, for example, he used social media to monitor the protests and ensure he did not miss any major updates.
Creativity & angles: how to get your shot
New York is a city that never sleeps, it has a constant buzz to it. However, the atmosphere on election night was very different. Joel recalls that Times Square was packed with people but also unusually quiet. The anticipation of the results created an almost uneasy atmosphere, “it was obvious that people were feeling tense.”
Once Hillary’s defeat was confirmed “a lot of people were shocked and some were visibly upset.” Joel wanted to capture the emotion and reaction to the result, and the challenge was doing so in a different way to the hundreds of other photographers shooting the same event. With the whole world watching this unfold, Joel needed to make sure his images got noticed and told an accurate story.
Joel used the Nikon D5 and a combination of prime lenses and different angles to get shots he wanted.
“The AF-S NIKKOR 35MM F/1.4G is perfect for reportage photography because of its ability to shoot in low light situations. Throughout the election I had to shoot late at night and early in the morning, so it was important that I had a lens that would still capture crisp shots in these conditions.”
Joel also often used the AF-S NIKKOR 50MM F/1.4G, shooting at a high ISO rate during the late-night demonstrations, pairing this with the D5, which “sees more than the eye can.”
Sports vs reportage photography: using one to compliment the other
“These are both about finding the perfect moment; they’re high pressure because you only get one fleeting chance. What I like about these genres of photography is that they’re inherently fast- paced and rely on thorough planning and quick reactions.”
Joel felt that he was able to take the skills he gained from sports photography and use these to his advantage during the election, to help ensure he did not miss a moment of the breaking news.
His view is that dipping into other genres can help progress and develop your overall photography skills: “ultimately, you learn a lot by practicing something new, it keeps you creative.”
Joel will continue to be working in the US covering sports from Ice Hockey to Basketball. Follow his Instagram for some amazing shots @joelmarklund