I’ve just rushed back from the Birds Nest stadium in Beijing to see if I can be the first to post to TrekEarth a shot from the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games tonight.
This shot was taken just after the lighting of the flame (top left) and as fireworks formed the Olympic rings in the sky. It is an 80% crop of one of a number of images I took with a 10.5mm fisheye lens.
The opening was spectacular – as everyone expected it to be – but I don’t think it surpassed the opening of the Asian Games in Doha two years ago as some people thought it might (there’s a couple of shots from that opening in my Qatar gallery). That’s not to say it wasn’t as good as Doha. They were probably on a par*. One thing the Chinese did do better than the Qataris though was transporting the 90,000 spectators and 100,000+ performers and attendants to and from the Bird’s Nest stadium – that went off like clockwork and better than any previous Games I have been to. I don’t think any country in the world can move large numbers of people as efficiently as China does.
The athletes were all well behaved except for the Italians and Australians who were giving the Chinese marshals a hard time keeping them within the white lines they were supposed to march between (some of them kept running off the track to make faces at the TV cameras).
The section where I was sitting was the next section along from where all the VIPs were. I could see George W. Bush about 20 rows away, and when the Cuban athletes marched on with a very loud cheer from the Chinese spectators, I tried to see what his reaction was – but he was a little too far away for me to see. Apart from China, the other two countries that got very loud cheers were Iran and North Korea. I bet George was grimacing by that stage! The US team got a good cheer too, but it was no louder than the Iranians (although I expect George was screaming at the top of his voice to make it so).
It was a stifling hot night in the stadium and extremely humid. Most people came out with their clothes soaked in perspiration and sticking to their skin. I pity poor old George who was sitting there in a suit and tie. He must have been roasting!
ISO for this shot was 320. Noise removed with NeatImage.
*PS added 9th Aug: A few colleagues who watched both the Doha and Beijing ceremonies on TV have told me the Beijing ceremony looked more spectacular on TV than Doha. That could well be the case as my comment above about them being on a par was based on being there as a spectator. The sheer size of the Beijing stadium made it difficult for spectators there in person to see some of the detail that you could see on TV.
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Critiques | Translate
Didi (59066) 2008-08-08 11:38
You are the first one to post in direct from Pekin
Very great picture with warm colours.
I note here a very good lights management
pastadog (13111) 2008-08-08 11:47
Wow! Almost on real time! And you were kind of TE-representative there... One more proof of the global reach of this network, hehe... I'm sure you managed plenty of fascinating shots, lucky you! This one is certainly excelent, with those orange tones all over, and superbly composed with the Olympic rings on the "eye" of the stadium against the dark sky. I believe everybody in TE should appreciate your effort! Regards, Daniel
sevy (15367) 2008-08-08 11:48
I am impressed to already see photo for the opening of the Olympic games.
Moreover your photo is very good and use well the difficult possibilities of a fish eye lens.
I like a lot this red mood in the color and the fact you caught the olympic circles in the sky.
Kielia (24073) 2008-08-08 12:10
congratulation!I am impressed to see your contribution on TE nearly at real time. The shot is amazing with bright and warm colours and excellent sharpness, and your note is really very amusing. Great work!
lousat (82572) 2008-08-08 12:56
Hi David,i wish to be there me too!!!! I think this is one of the most spectaculars events never seen,you're lucky to see that!!! My best compliments for this wonderfull wide pic,excellents colors and perfect details,my best compliments,Luciano
goodwill (4226) 2008-08-08 12:59
Congratulations for this pioneering effort. Adams must consider it........a gold medal for you.....for you are the one of TE, and till this hour the only on TE, who has posted a marvellous beauty for such a big event on TE.
The shot is exploding with colours and the ornge effects are marvellous.
pablominto (53746) 2008-08-08 13:04
Not only the impressive speed but also the quality of this fine image...
Attractive composition with wonderful details, and the colours speak for themselves!
huahoa (3698) 2008-08-08 13:27
Very impressive image from Beijing !
The timing is so good with these olympic circles.
Many and many interesting details to watch.
Well done !
Gustaw (21670) 2008-08-08 13:42
Friend! It is beautiful! It is very interesting view. For me only in %TV... Beautiful colours and light. Well done!
maximage (15535) 2008-08-08 13:52
Une compo grandiose et d'actualité! Bravo et merci pour le partage.
brandstaetter (15915) 2008-08-08 13:54
what a story ! Thanks for that. Wish I could get a close up of G.W.Bush´s face...
great job you did ! Amzing !
Morac (27723) 2008-08-08 14:00
Cheer . you are the first one to post in direct from Pekin : It is the first medals of the Olympic Games,
Attractive composition with wonderful details,
mesutilgim (89100) 2008-08-08 14:07
Sofar it's still the Nr 1 and only shot from the Olympic opening ! Congratulations !
Perfect pov and amazing light control. Nice notes.
TFS and best regards
yogi32 (823) 2008-08-08 14:40
first photo from Pekin :)
it was a fantastic ceremony!!! I saw on TV.
amazing colours and light!
corniste (4280) 2008-08-08 15:01
You had just the right equipment for this shot! Great! And you got the very moment were you have the olympic rings in the air! Fabulous!
Have a great day!
tomescuc (3291) 2008-08-08 15:30
Impressive....and without the horrendous pollution ;-)
Sne011 (3084) 2008-08-08 15:57
Spectacular! Congratulations for the first post from the OG!!
I didn't catch up the opening ceremony, I was at work but I've heard it was a real spectacle!
Thanks for sharing this moment with us!!
Polonaise (5802) 2008-08-08 17:08
Those Italians and Australians...?
It's not the first time they do faces for the cameras...
What a pity and a shame for their nations...
Thanks God, we have properly behaving North Koreans and Iranians - just for the balance.
If it comes to transportations of the huge numbers of people ( and not only from the stadium to the streets of Beijing !) - you are perfectly right, David.
They (Chinese) have an enormous experience on the subject... Piece of cake...During Mao's era they were able to ... Oh, forget it... :-))))
The spectacle was magnificent (spoilt only by the presence of roasting and perspiring G.W.B.), but other than that - no complaints from me...
The spirit of the Olympiads lives on ( have you noticed, David - the pres. Sarkozy was without his sexy (thirty lovers !) wife ?)...
One hundred thousand strong police force is protecting the spectators from protesters and the other bad guys (photographers ?)...
(That's at the Tiananmen Square entrance... The other exits are remain at secret).
A great feast for the best athletes of the present era…
Let the wars and conflicts seize for the time of the Olim……Errr… I just accidentally switched channel for the news one… Burning tanks, downed jet planes… Fire and detonations… I wonder where is it…?
Phew… Who has the time to listen and watch this boring political stuff ? I've only heard that it has something to do with Georgie… Damn… That Bush, again - I presume ?)
Great, wonderful show for the peace on earth (have you noticed David, how far princess Anna sat apart from her husband ? Hmmm… I wonder what does it mean ?)
Thanks and all the best for you, good buddy…
You did it again…For us…
These freshly baked buns with butter…
Neat photo ( Even though, George W. Bush is hardly visible ?).
ribeiroantonio (22637) 2008-08-08 17:08
This was at around 2am here in Brisbane and I did manage to stay up to watch the ceremony on TV. This “sea” of red is spectacular and the fish eye view too. Thanks for the first 2008 Olympic picture on TE. Well done.
worldcitizen (7618) 2008-08-08 17:34
With the time delay I am watching the opening ceremony right now, and I came across your fabulous photo. It is truly magnificent! The detail of all the colors, the perfect clarity, the smoke hanging in the air...you captured it all flawlessly. I am looking forward to the parade of nations. Thanks for your detailed note, too! :-)
alainh (35583) 2008-08-08 22:50
great moment i suppose !! and the exclusivity for us, in TE !!!
excellent picture. and just, for the fun, Carla was not there, she was with me !!!
have a nice day David
leo61 (0) 2008-08-08 23:17
I envy you for having been there......
Great shot ,taken from an excellent POV.The image has a fantastic quality and I like the red tones and of course the firework.
thea0211 (1365) 2008-08-08 23:19
thank you for rushing back from the stadium just to let us know how things went in beijing at the opening ceremony of the olympic games.
you were the first so we are the first too ... are we spoiled or what? ;o)
impressive image and 'hot' news brought by one of ours ... i like to believe that this is what TE is about - that's the spirit! well done!
and thanks again,
ps: i wonder what good ol' george (bush of course) would think of your note ;o)
jafadabret (56501) 2008-08-08 23:31
Une photo d'actualité d'une très grande beauté. Les couleurs et le graphisme reflètent bien la beauté de cette cérémonie.
saxo042 (37678) 2008-08-09 0:08
A great photo and an outstanding picture. Very good colours, sharpness and composition. A what a fine note!
Greetings from Gothenburg
bibiweb (8) 2008-08-09 0:24
Wow... a photo from the opening ceremony in Beijing! Did you ahev some kind of special authorisation to be there (as the official TE representative, for example)? Though I don't approve China hosting these games, I must admit that your photo is top class. That fish eye lens allowed you to get all those details in there and the result is a brillant overview of the stadium. I'm quite certain that many newspapers would love to buy this photo.
Butterflyka (518) 2008-08-09 0:52
Wonderful composition with good perspective.
Nice warm colors,light management and clarity.
PixelTerror (0) 2008-08-09 2:08
Wow that's good we had our special TE event coverage task force ensuring the visual information about this ceremony would reach the most remote corners of this world via TE ;-)
Lucky you who has been attending this and share the enjoyment of this event of the day with us, nice comprehensive image of the stadium and I share with the Chinese and my fellow canonists the love for this wonderful festive color very present in your image: RED !
Xiexie David, JY
hatti52 (12786) 2008-08-09 2:38
great shot of great opening ceremony
have a nice weekend
Floydian (30970) 2008-08-09 3:48
Lucky you in being there. Saw some parts on tv last night and it sure looked impressive, being there must even been more impressive. Your photo shows a great atmosphere in how it was...really good work with all those red tones. The fireworks with the Olympic rings is a great bonus...well done..!!!
sandpiper (6788) 2008-08-09 4:36
Brilliant capture of the spectacular event. Great colours and detail.
adamchewts01 (862) 2008-08-09 6:34
Which I was there but I manage to watch it from the TV. Very good shot and memorable moment.
Barkan (362) 2008-08-09 8:21
You were one of those lucky 91 000 people I believe. Your picture with all the colours of Bierd's Nest is great. Keep posting from Beijig. Tfs.
capthaddock (28790) 2008-08-09 9:30
Wow, very timely and impressive. The wide angle and the dominant red colour are impressive.
"I pity poor old George who was sitting there in a suit and tie. He must have been roasting!"
Pity? Let him roast. He deserves it. Though I bet his entourage of bodyguards were probably fanning his highness with portable aircondionong units.
10 star note (out of 5 max stars). I wish more members could write informative and entertaining notes like this.
axiotea (21649) 2008-08-09 10:22
I do remember one of your spectacular pictures made in Doha 'US$160 million show'!
Here, a great pov giving us the entire view on the packed stage which you framed very well! I like the shape of the opening in the roof with the olympic symbols creating a nice visual impact! Thanks for your interesting and also humoristic note;)
wolf38 (31284) 2008-08-09 10:26
Hello David. What for a motive. Aktuelll, beautifully, impressing, worth seeing. Technically protruding. Best regards, Wolfgang.
kensimage (8565) 2008-08-09 21:08
Those dastardly Australians, marching outside the white lines! The Chinese are OK with Darfur and all, but marching outside the white lines is apparently over the limit.
You are very fortunate to see this event! I only saw a little on TV but it looked absolutely beautiful. Your fisheye does a good job taking in the whole scene. The orange light comes off the rim of the stadium very nicely. Regards, Ken.
TGULUMSER (13252) 2008-08-10 4:34
An amazing view from the ceremony, very impressive. The quality of the photo is excellent, the lights, colors are masterworks,
Best regards and thanks for sharing,
kibele66 (3087) 2008-08-10 11:51
Impressive and timing is perfect. I am amazed that you`ve captured the whole Birds Nest including the fireworks on sky.
Colors are great too. You`re so lucky for being there.
plimrn (21344) 2008-08-10 14:50
The framing and light management in this photo are phenomenal; the note is even better!! I love your chatty style of writing. Well HLJ, Pat
John_F_Kennedy (43413) 2008-08-10 23:57
I like this very dynamic night shot, a perfect one. Very nice night scene captured with a fisheye focus, and good handling of the light. Wonderful done.
ktanska (25893) 2008-08-11 0:21
Great to see your viewpoint on this spectacle. Fish-eye suits perfectly on that place and doesn't give as distorted view as one would expect. Excellent colours and the moment with olympic rings in the sky is a well chosen frame.
kevinos (7403) 2008-08-11 6:01
Well David! Hot off the press; it could not be more current and a stunning image too,you seem to have picked the perfect moment that distiles the whole colour and excitement of the occation and, given the lighting conditions, the exposure is perfect. Regards kevin
cessy (13647) 2008-08-12 16:40
wow.. you have been there !! fantastic shot, David
excellent capture of this great event
thank you for sharing
scroller (3441) 2008-08-13 10:19
Just came hom from my vacation. Following the Olympics from a little TV didnt give much of overview from this event. Your Photo however gives it another dimension. Great composition, a gold medal if you ask me geting the torch just right.
stego (24030) 2008-08-14 11:35
Long time, no see...
It looks like you are the sole TE member showing something from the Olympic Games so far, at leats in the Beijing Gallery. Only for that you deserved a great compliment, but this photo would still be a great one even it showed a much less popular event. Great light, colours and graphics! Amazing for a night shot!
Stepan (27210) 2008-08-16 10:03
So you were there !! The place to be, on that moment, in the world, I guess.
A rare shot, perfectly managed. An unique post too.
riclopes (35577) 2008-08-18 6:39
Wow, spectacular image, David. Unfortunately I was in Spain and didn't see this opening, but I was very curious about the work of Zhang Yimou. 80% crop from the original fisheye and it's still a very wide perspective with great details we see here. The light and warm colors stand out beautifully. Quite impressive work and excellent note as usual. Congratulations.
adores (40990) 2008-08-18 16:43
It's surely worth the rush:))!! How lucky you were, it must have been amazing and you got a great shot here, I just love it, the pov, the effect of the lights, everything matches here. Great shot!
euryan (8440) 2008-08-18 23:15
Perfect timing with the Olympic ring fireworks. The sharpness of the photo is incredible. I watched the entire opening ceremonies on TV and they were super impressive. Blew every other opening ceremony out of the water. I'm very jealous you were there (even if it was hot and muggy). Go World!
jcdurka1 (1950) 2008-08-19 4:57
Superbe vue d'ensemble. Great wide view that transmit very well the magic moment of the Olimpic Games.
Angshu (56574) 2008-08-20 0:49
I was surprised that there are hardly any pictures in TE. I saw the opening ceremony on TV & some memorable pictures in some blogs & this one from you is, for sure, a spectacular one! I was intrigued when I read in your note that you had cropped off 20% of the image…even then this is a fantastic wide view. I can’t add to whatever has already been said, but only laud you for the great exposure, the sharpness & the technical quality of the picture, which IMO is of the highest order & also thank you for sharing this picture with us…and last but not the least, a wonderful note, which made a great read.
PS : If wonder if you would have some more pictures from the Olympics to share with us!
pboehringer (770) 2008-08-20 13:58
almost the same POV as your "cold night shot" and yet completely different atmosphere. This one here isn't bad at all, but know that I have seen the other one first I definitively prefer the blue and cold version.
brevbrev14 (140) 2008-08-21 6:35
Hi David, for sure the impact of the show seen on tv is really different...another vision...another view..
for sure your image is well captured, with a good large view of the moment
Blairfraser (849) 2008-08-26 7:09
The moment I saw this it went right into my favourites! Sorry I never got round to commenting until now, when its all over! :-)
What can I say??? This is just outstanding work. Your fisheye gives us a great view of the stand. You have also managed the lighting here very well. The thing that impresses me the most is your timing. You captured the five rings fireworks here at a great position.
To be honest, I'm not really sure what else I can say. One of the best pictures I have seen in a long time!
Thanks for sharing.
vbl (1421) 2008-08-27 5:58
Perfect compo. Your capture gives us a magnific information about this increible moment
gilad33 (14400) 2008-08-29 23:19
Classic, poetic, well timed. This is epic
fredon (5052) 2008-09-26 11:24
batalay (36984) 2008-10-17 5:22
During most of August I was sailing in the Mediterranean, and caught some of the Olympics broadcast from China. The opening ceremony was the most dramatic that I have seen. An indeed, the tradition of the President of the Olympic Games to make the pronouncement at the closing, "The best ever Olympic Games!" was largely true. You've captured a magnificent shot of the opening, and I almost feel as if I had seen it vicariously.
jmcl (14535) 2008-10-25 19:33
striking image .. the vastness .. the reds .. good thing you had the fisheye ... no time for a stitch.
drweizy (530) 2008-10-30 21:46
you photoed the most beautiful moment for us, thank you.
happypoppeye (4819) 2008-12-21 21:38
Ya know David, I think this is the first shot I've seen of the Olympics! ...and yes, it's Dec 22. ...so you wasted a "rush" on me.
Great shot. Perfect exposure and love the fisheye look which works perfectly here. Gotta say too, this one just screamed "banyanman" before I even saw that you took it. Reminds me of those shots of the soldiers from North Korea for some reason.
AiresSantos (56155) 2009-01-20 1:28
Great picture from this stadium in Beijing. Beautiful, colours and details. Excellent quality, well framed and done
MLINES (12516) 2009-01-20 12:36
Hi David, A good series of this exciting event. The timing is ideal to catch the rings as you have. Vibrant colours. TFS. Murray.
giorgimer (34935) 2009-01-20 13:28
perfect wide view, excellent light management, great moment capture.
Very well done!
asajernigan (21427) 2009-01-21 3:29
This is an outstanding shot! Your light management is fine showing many details in this low light setting. The colors are great as is the sharpness and detail.
jaywalker (16101) 2009-01-26 12:47
Hi David, This is truly an amazing photo bringing the feel of the Olympics into your home, the light is excellent with the beams from the spot lamps shining down, great colours & a fabulous capture of this wonderful event, TFS, kind regards Wilson.
ruisc_pt (10892) 2009-02-05 3:47
Fantastic shot for the opening of the Olympic games at Beijing.
The fisheye lens result in perfection.
TFS David anf congratulations.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-08-08
- Categories: Event
- Camera: Nikon D200, Nikkor AF Fisheye 10.5mm f/2.8G ED DX
- Exposure: f/2.8, 1/60 seconds
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Blogger slideshow [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2008-08-08 11:36
- Favorites: 4 [view]