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LEE VALLEY OLYMPIC PARK

A friend who is in the GB 23's canoe squad, mentioned that they were going to be heading down to London to spend the day training at the Lee Valley water park, which was purpose built for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Having spent a bit of time with them up at the National Watersports Centre up in Nottingham, I jumped at the chance to meet up with George (Tatchell), Tom Quinn, to see the Lee Valley fasilities and to watch them and others from the GB squad in training

Arriving at around 8am on a clear, crisp but very cold morning, I was suprised to see the that course was bone dry.  I was later to be told that the water pumps cost around £250 an hour, so understandably they're not left running all day!

However, when I got a bit of time between training sessions to do a few set-up shots with them, the pumps had been turned off, so all thoughts of getting the rapids in the background went out the window.  A dry and empty course wouldn't really have had the same impact I don't think! In actual fact, we ended up doing some shots in the store area, with the guys surrounded by canoes, paddles and it worked out really well. It's can be quite satisfying coming up with solutions like that when you don't have a lot of time to play with. Especially when you don't have an assistant at hand to help move and reset-up all the gear and lighting. You have to be careful though when having to work fast, as it can be easy to over look something obvious like light readings or a prop place in shot.

The course itself was really impressive.  Would be great to go see an event there. Definitely need more than a 200mm lens though to get in tight.

One of the best things about the course was the lift they get at the bottom to get them back up to the start. Genius!!