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Picture power: Lighting the flame

Li Ning

In the first of a series of articles in which photographers explain the story behind the picture, photographer Julian Finney tells how he managed to capture this photograph of the opening ceremony at the Olympics Games in Beijing.

"I was positioned in the second tier of the stand in the front row, on the opposite side to the main stand.

"I didn't see the rehearsal, but I was aware that the torch bearer would run around the top of the stadium before finally lighting the Olympic flame. I had no idea how it was going to look, but it turned out well from my position.

"A lot of luck is needed: if Li Ning had lit the flame in a different spot, I would have missed it completely. I chose a long lens for this section of the ceremony and it paid off. The projection of colour that followed the flame around the stadium really made this picture.

"I shot all aspects of the ceremony, from the drummers at the start, to the fireworks at the end, and, of course, the teams entering the stadium.

"Fireworks always make for great pictures. But looking back at the ceremony, the lighting of the flame was the highlight. Four years on from Athens and the Olympic torch finally reached its destination at the Beijing Olympic Games."

Photo by Julian Finney / Getty Images / 8 August 2008

Come back each day to read the story behind another spectacular photograph from the Olympics.


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