The photographer who captured an image of Usain Bolt framed by a bolt of lightning has spoken of his shock at the ensuing global media coverage.


Picture credit: AFP Photo/Olivier Morin

Olivier Morin, who works for French news agency AFP, last night told Amateur Photographer (AP) that he hopes the sprinting legend will sign the image that made headlines worldwide earlier this week.

‘Usain Bolt has tweeted today, mentioning my name and picture… We will see what happens in the coming days,’ said Morin, who is based in Milan, Italy.

The photographer used a Nikon D4 DSLR (set at ISO 4,000) with a 24 -70mm f/2.8 lens to take the now famous shot, manually pre-focusing on Bolt’s running lane in anticipation that he would win Gold.

The camera was one of five remote models the photographer had placed around the track for the 100m final at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow on Sunday.

It was located around 30m from the finish line and triggered via a foot switch, with images sent directly to the photographer’s laptop.

Morin says he had expected the shot to make an ‘enduring feature photograph’ rather than a typical news shot.

Asked if he was astounded by the resulting media coverage over the past few days, Morin told AP: ‘I did not see it coming. I knew I had got a good picture for a good number of publications but [expected] far from that amount of world reaction.

‘I truly underestimated the consequences.’

Writing in a blog, published on the AFP website earlier this week, Morin said: ‘I admit, with only a thumbnail view at first, I didn’t see the lightning in the background, but after a moment I saw four photos with the bolt in the sky.

‘Two of these weren’t usable because the cloud was too dark and the lightning was hard to see. But with the other two images, thanks to a little luck, the lightning is nice and visible – I’d got “the” shot.’

Morin, who has worked as a photographer for 25 years, says he takes credit for just ‘one per cent’ of the picture.

‘It’s, of course, the lightning that makes the photo, because we’re talking about Usain Bolt here.

‘Without the flash in the sky, it wouldn’t really be anything that special.’

  • Ian Montgomery

    Last Sunday in the park, my granddaughter having a great time feeding the ducks and riding her bike – great for photo memories to be laid down.
    Big annoyance – sunlight too bright for view screen – rubbish photos on both fairly new Canons as view screen image not visible!!!! According to Jessops (at the time)no viewfinder cameras were available other than expensive SLRs. What makes designers so ?????!!!!? deaf to requests for optical viewfinders. Don’t they want to sell cameras that are for for purpose.

  • Bettina

    Great shot. Truly deserved. Also like the photographers sprinting in the background.