Ryu: Top 10, because I only had 10 good pictures this year

Boys and ladies,

I think I’m coming down with something, but I’m not sure why. My cat has been sneezing for the past two days and the I’m suspecting that I have cat flu. In any case, it has to be better than the avian flu, so all those people out there who wanted me gone, sorry. See you in 2013. :)

Matt and I, we did a top 10 at the end of last year and it was interesting to hear what people had to say about it. As photography is a subjective endeavour, you can only gauge how good your pictures truly are if and only if you pay your friends so that they will say something nice about them. I got some people who will do exactly that and I have now managed to create a fairly sub-objective top 10 of 2012.*

*I can neither confirm nor deny money changed hands in selecting these images.

In no particular order:

Berlin ISTAF Long Jump
I have no idea who this person is other than the fact that he wasn’t a spectator who happened to waddle onto the sand pit. I was shooting the long jumpers as they jumped towards me. Since I wanted to get their feet, I pre-focused and prayed to a sports photography god that things will go alright. And luckily, I was a good boy in the first half of 2012 and came out with this image. The focus was a bit in front of the jumpers feet, but then he gave me a great splash of sand.


British Open aka “The Open”
As you may well know, I’m a celebrity junky and can get inexcusably excited over famous athletes. I got to meet and get in the way of Mr. Tiger Woods for the first time this year. Typical Blackpool weather was no where to be found and it was strangely rain free for the duration of the golf days. Instead we had a lot of heavy clouds. Wanted to capture the clouds over Tiger in this image here. The airplane was an accident.


Eric Bompard Ice Dance 1
Before this competition, I was not at all interested in ice dance. It seemed completely dull compared to the pairs, who fling each other across the rink hoping to catch each other by inter locking their teeth and the pinky mid air whilst smiling like a maniac. Two of my colleagues thought I was crazy that I don’t like ice dance and I decided that I should give it another go. For some reason I had a revelation and the rest was history. This one was shot during practice. As we have said many a times here at BLFS, practice is one of the best time to shoot because A) you get to be closer to the athletes B) they do weird stuff. This was the prior as the location I used to get this shot were forbidden during the actual competition.


Eric Bompard Ice Dance 2
Well, when you get bored go slow. Slow like 1 second slow. I shot the entire Free program of the ice dance with 1 second. I got couple good ones and it shows that massive amount of patience (about 2 hours clicking away at 1 second shutter speed) sometimes pays off. 400mm with a 1.4 TC.


Montrose v Rangers
I don’t know if I told you about the match I was supposed to shoot before this match. It was Elgin v Rangers and it was cancelled the day before the match and my colleague and I found out the day of the match. Needless to say, we were on the train to Elgin from Edinburgh when we found out. Nice. So I had to go back and shoot another away match. It wouldn’t have made any sense for me to shoot a Rangers home match as that will be at Ibrox and it will look like any old football match. Had to goto a small, but lovely town called Montrose in Scotland and shoot the Rangers in all of their 4th division glory. It was a fun day and unlike the people of Elgin, the Montrosians were nice people. The weirdest thing was that Rangers fans still called me “Naka” a nickname to Mr. Nakamura of Glasgow Celtic whom I shot for 3 years. If it wasn’t for Mr. Nakamura, I wouldn’t be writing this top 10.


Inter Milan v AC Milan
Yes, the Milano derby. It was a dream of mine to be able to shoot this at some point in my small yet wonderful life. I got the chance last year and must admit the atmosphere was like no other match I’ve been to. Flares galore and at some point I couldn’t see half way past the pitch. Voila.


PSG v Porto
Zlatan. I’ve started harping about him as he got on the PSG bus and I like this shot because I shot it well. As you may have noticed, I don’t really do action shots very well. So much so, I have sort of stopped looking for moments, but everything changed when Zlatan did his thing against England. I’m sure he will do something crazy and I want to be there to capture it this season. This one, I was waiting for him and got him. Sports photography is 99% luck and 1% “you better be damn ready when that luck comes banging on that door”.


European Championship Helsinki
Ah, the land of sauna and Moomin and of course Santa. Apparently Santa shows up on the 24th of December in Germany, but hey, they are Germans. Everything was well until they told me I wasn’t important enough to go infield. Same thing they said at the ISTAF in Berlin. So, I had to look for a place where I can get good images. Found a spot in the stand. If you ever want to play with shadows, do make sure that there is a shadow to play with. Make sure you know where the light is coming from as well. This shot would have been impossible if the sun was coming from the other side. It also will be smart to know if there is a sun at all. A shot like this is relatively easy to take, because you will get to have a lot of chances as they do go around in circles a lot. Most importantly, know your sport and make sure you know what time they happen. Especially in a sport like track and field (aka athletics), things are happening all the time, so just don’t get lost.


World Cup Cycling
At the velodrom in London which might not be there anymore. Most of the minor Olympic sites get torn down because they can build expensive apartments on the same land. It was my first time shooting cycling and it was a lot of fun. Same thing here again that they wouldn’t let me go infield because I didn’t have any experience. LIke it’s so difficult to not get run over by a bike with no brakes… Anyhow, this again was shot during training session. Wanted to go really wide and wanted the rider to come just where I was sitting. With an image like this, you really need to set your focus before the riders come and pray that they will pass by where you focused. You obviously have not seen the throw aways I had trying to get this shot.


NRW Trophy
It was a big year for figure skating for me and I got to goto Dortmund. The only thing I knew in Dortmund was Kagaawa, but now that the boy is gone to Manchester, Dortmund belongee to Kim Yuna for two days. Oh yes, that Borussia Dortmund team isn’t bad either. In any case, Kim was coming back after year and a half, maybe 2 years of doing nothing. I know, life is tough for the 22 year old defending Olympic champion. Although she was far from her Olympic year form, she was head above the rest. I also got goose pimples (chicken bumps) watching her short performance. I slow shuttered once again and wanted to get her as close as possible. I waited right next to her coach knowing she will have to take her jacket off before she got into her… training. Like I said, training time is the best time.


That’s about it from me writing wise in 2012. Thanks for the continued support of BLFS and see you all in 2013, year of the snake. 2012 was my year, but for some reason it was just okay.


*Please Read Below*
Big Lens Fast Shutter is funded solely from the pockets of Ryu Voelkel and Matt Cohen. If you think the information we give you about sports photography is making you a better sports photographer and as a result a well balanced human being, please show us your appreciation by supporting us on Patreon and send some of your hard earned dollars/euros/Brixton pounds our way. People who donate will be mentioned on our next show unless you want to remain anonymous. Thank you for supporting us and may the force of sports photography be with you, always.

3 thoughts on “Ryu: Top 10, because I only had 10 good pictures this year

  1. Never realised you were in Scotland shooting The Rangers (who play in the 3rd Division by the way). My town and my team.

    Favourite is the cycling guy.

  2. Elroy,

    It was one of the most exciting shoots I’ve done this year. Rangers in the 4th division (it’s 4th and you know it) is better than Rangers in the Premiership. :)


    You just have to love Tiger, because he’s half Asian. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s