Day 3 & 4 at the World Championships (and a great breakfast)

Yesterday marked the third day the US team struggled to get a medal at the 2011 World Championships.  Clarissa Chun had what will turn out to be the most difficult draw in the tournament, and wrestled great beating a former world champion and world silver medalist, while accenting a loss to three North Korean from 2009 in Denmark.

Besik sports a ( ) look. (You fill in the blank.)

She lost a tough battle to Maria Stadnyk of AZE, herself a former world champion, and then dropped her match in the repechage.  Whitney Conder wrestled tough winning her first round match, but was unsuccessful from there.  Same with Andrew Besik, who used the power of his mustache to defend twice in the par terre, but lost his second match and did not make the repechage.

The photo area is starting to hit a rhythm, we are now behind a barricade where the stage used to be, so the coaches, athletes and workers all walk in front of us, but we stand on chairs if it gets crowded to get us above the masses.  For the finals it’s getting hectic, with many people on chairs, and others in front of them.  I’m having to secure my spot about an hour early, but I’ll take my computer with me and work down on the floor.  Since the Japanese dominate the women’s class, they are down about 1.5 hours early and do not let anyone in front of them.  There are about 10 Japanese media people here, and we have a mutual respect for each other having worked three championships now.

I’m starting to dial in to the lighting, though I was eating batteries which my gear doesn’t normally do.  I think I figured it out with the help of another shooter Adam Fenn.  I’m using a slightly different technique in my post-processing that speeds things up a bit and doesn’t detract from the quality of the images, which is nice.  I’m able to get a set of about 100 images up a day, and get the stuff ready for W.I.N. Magazine, so they can start laying out their pages early.

Breaky at Armada. Open air roof top salon.

At the end of last night’s session I high-tailed it downtown to visit my friend Jenn who happened to be visiting Istanbul at the same time.  I’ve known Jenn for a long time, she’s awesome, and was visiting with her friend Eric. Of course it took me longer to get to the Armada Hotel than planned and I almost fell asleep on the train, but I finally got there at 11:30, and they were gracious in having waited for me.  (Not having phone coverage, or even wifi in my apt is killing me!)  It didn’t hurt that they had just come from an all-you-can-eat and drink restaurant.  Listening to their stories of their two days here, and my stories, I’m definitely coming back on a proper vacation with Rochelle.  Jenn, Eric and I had raki, the Turkish version of absinthe, and since Jenn had an extra bed I stayed over at the Armada.

Spending a night in the city was a goal so I could photograph Hagia Sophia and the Basilica Cistern, two must do spots as a photographer.  What I hadn’t planned on was having the best breakfast ever at the Armada.  So fresh, so good, only one meat offering, squeeze your own juice, granola, an entire honeycomb!

Basilica Cisterns

Fortified I walked up to the entrance at HS and had to wait about 10 minutes for it to open. Perfect timing. After shooting there for a fairly rushed hour I crossed the street to shoot the cisterns.  It’s truly a cool space, with traditional Turkish music playing in the cavernous old space.  I didn’t realize it still had water in it, which give the light a reflective surface for even better photos.

After shooting that for about 30 minutes I jumped on a train and headed back to the wrestling venue and the start of Day Three.

Day Four is shaping up a little better, we have two women wrestling for bronze, Helen Maroulis and Elena Pirozhkova.  Both wrestled pretty well today, Kelsey Campbell had a rough day and didn’t place.

Looking up at a chandelier at the Hagia Sophia.

About Tony Rotundo