London 2012

Olympic Stadium and Paralympic Games

Stratford, the East End of London. Once a construction site, now the centre of the worlds attention as millions of viewers tune in for the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Last night we were lucky enough to witness the incredible atmosphere that is the London 2012 games. Having been glued to the television for almost all of the Olympic and Paralympic action so far, being able to witness it first hand was an unforgettable experience.

With a buzz about the park and high-fives from energetic games-makers, we headed to our seats inside the Stadium. With various lens restrictions in place, I promised my other half I would only take one lens, travel light and enjoy the experience. Armed with my 17-40 wide angle, we found our seats only to realise we were sat three rows from the 100m start line, it was going to be a brilliant night of sport!

Of all days to visit, watching Mickey Bushell take home Gold for Team GB in the T51 100m Sprint with a 80,000 strong crowd behind him was a unique experience. Rapturous applause filled the stadium as the national anthem bellowed around the stadium.

On the build up to the Paralympic games, we often heard the phrase 'Superhumans'. No other word in the english language can describe these athletes better, achieving feats that most would dream impossible. Events such as 100m, 200m, 400m, 5000m, Long Jump and Javelin took place on the night, meaning there was always plenty of action to watch around the stadium.

Sad that our night and Paralympic experience had come to an end, although privileged to have been part of that home crowd. As we left the stadium it was cycling through a multitude of colours. It only felt right to capture it as it shone gold, symbolising the great achievement by all of the athletes who have competed in these games. Inspire a Generation? London have done just that!

"I Am..." An Olympic Long Jumper

He's at the top of his game, which is a good job when you consider that jumping is his living.

JJ Jegede is one of Britain's elite competing at this years Olympic Games in London with high hopes to take home the gold in the Long Jump event. Twice English Champion and 2012 UK Indoor Champion, if JJ isn't leaping over three minis or twelve brides, he's coaching and mentoring as a personal trainer and speaker.

Being born less than one mile from what is now the Olympic park, and his first passion being athletics, JJ has his sights firmly set on achieving his dreams of a gold medal at his home ground. With an incredible personal best of 8.04 metres in the long jump i'm sure we'll all be cheering him on come the summer. You can check out his personal website here.

I was lucky enough to get in contact with JJ and arrange a photoshoot for the "I Am..." Series. An honour to meet and feature someone at the height of their career, I was out on location all day to grab just five minutes shooting time with JJ because of his hectic schedule.

That in mind, I needed to be quick and organised. Simple three light setup and a good chance to test out my Elinchrom Quadra kit with the Deep Octa. The athletics track was undergoing refurbishment ahead of the this years games, so I wanted to shoot wide open at F2.8 on my 70-200mm lens to minimise any distracting objects and keep the focus on JJ.

Silver reflector inside the octa, no diffusion, two kickers (speedlites @ 1/4 Power, 105mm) and wide open with a Tiffen 77mm VariND filter (set at ND4) we have our first frame in a matter of minutes, job well done.

Really enjoyed my brief time shooting with JJ, and after suggesting a few creative ideas it had us both inspired to do more. Fingers crossed in the summer we'll be able to do a full shoot together, albeit this time with a gold medal around his neck. Rooting for you JJ!

Athletics and photography go hand in hand. If anyone is reading this and is interested in being featured for the "I Am..." series, feel free to get in touch.