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  • 'Not just a competition for athletes' - A look back at Joel Marklund's best shots from Rio Olympics 2016

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    Nikon Europe Ambassador Joel Marklund is used to travelling around the world capturing the biggest sporting events. However, none are quite as exciting or challenging as the Olympic Games. This year, Joel spent three weeks in the beautiful city of Rio. Here he shares his thoughts on the Games and reveals what goes into achieving his favourite shots.

     

    “The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro were my fifth Olympics so far. Having covered all of the summer and winter games since 2008, I’m confident in saying that the Olympics are far from glamorous for the majority of photographers. “Only” working a 12-hour day seems a luxury now when I was used to working 19-21 hours every day for three weeks at the Games.

     

    Having said that, the Olympics are also incredibly exciting to be at. I felt privileged to be amongst top photographers gathered to document the world’s biggest sporting event. It’s not just a competition out on the field among the athletes, it’s an equally fierce competition among the photographers to get the best and most unique pictures. Armed with the Nikon D5, here are some of my favourite shots I took at this year’s games.

     

    The image of the ultimate challenge

    RIO, Eventing Cross Country, day 3, Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. Eventing Cross Country.
    Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. Eventing Cross Country. Nikon D5 + NIKKOR 24-70 mm f/2.8 | 24mm | 1/2000s. |ISO 2500 | © Joel Marklund

     

    This image encompasses all of the challenges I had to face during my time in Rio. I only had minutes to set up for this shot after battling heavy traffic and enduring long security queues to enter the venue.

     

    In an ideal world I would have had time to walk the entire length of the course, plan my coverage and scout out where to put my remote cameras. However, on this occasion, I had to improvise and choose my location quickly.

     

    A general rule with sports photography is that you want to be as close to the subject as possible. However, this is often very hard due to restrictions from organizers and security risks to both athletes and photographers.

     

    I got around this by using a remote camera positioned behind some branches and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED (2.9x) wide-angle lens, set at 24mm, to get really close to the action. When the race started I triggered the remote camera standing about 30 meters away. The resulting image I think is different from what you typically see in equestrian competitions.

     

    Telling a different story 

    Jamaica, Usain Bolt, Olympic Games, Men's 200m final
    18-08-2016: Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. Usain Bolt before the Men’s 200m final. Nikon D5 + NIKKOR 400 mm f/2.8 | 800mm | 1/1000s. | ISO 3200 | © Joel Marklund

     

    This is perhaps the most unforgettable moment for me from the Rio Olympics. Michael Phelps had just won his first gold medal of the Games and he was standing together with his team mates. He was showing a lot of emotion which was quite unexpected. It was this emotion I particularly wanted to convey in this shot.

     

    I was using the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR which allowed me to pick up on the detail of the tear on his cheek. For me, the tear reveals just how important these games are to Michael, having spent the last four years preparing for them.

     

     

    Raw emotion – the image that captured it!

    Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. Michael Phelps, winning the Men's 200m medley.
    Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. Michael Phelps after winning the Men’s 200m medley. Nikon D5 + NIKKOR 400 mm f/2.8| 1/1600s. | ISO 2500 | © Joel Marklund

     

    This is perhaps the most unforgettable moment for me from the Rio Olympics. Michael Phelps had just won his first gold medal of the Games and he was standing together with his team mates. He was showing a lot of emotion which was quite unexpected. It was this emotion I particularly wanted to convey in this shot.

     

    I was using the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR which allowed me to pick up on the detail of the tear on his cheek. For me, the tear reveals just how important these games are to Michael, having spent the last four years preparing for them.

     

    This was closest to my heart

    Sarah Sjöström, Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro, won gold, women's 100m butterfly
    07-08-2016: Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro. Sarah Sjöström having just won gold in the women’s 100m butterfly. Nikon D5 + NIKKOR 400 mm f/2.8 | 1/1600s. | ISO 2500 | © Joel Marklund

     

    I felt particularly nervous before the woman’s butterfly final as Sarah Sjostrom was competing on behalf of my home country, Sweden. I have also been following her since she was 13 years old and have watched her career progress over the past 10 years. I felt a huge relief when she eventually went on to win the race and also broke the world record. To capture this image, I used the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens.

     

    Rio de Janeiro, sunset, Rio Olympics, Rio de Janeiro,
    A view of Rio de Janeiro at sunset. Nikon D5 + NIKKOR 70-200 mm f/2.8 | 125 mm | 1/1500s | ISO 200 © Joel Marklund

     

    Being a part of the Rio Olympic games is undoubtedly the highlight of my year. Despite having to face some big challenges, I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to have captured these special moments and emotions experienced by both the crowd and the athletes.”

     

    See more from Joel, go behind the scenes and see what it’s like for a a pro photographer covering Wimbledon and Champions League Final or see more from Rio