Friday, September 25, 2009

The good the bad and the ugly.

Well following my trip to the home of cricket Lords I was off in my motorhome to Nottingham for 2 more of England's cricket matches against Australia... needless to say the Aussies creamed us but again I had some good shots.

Ricky Ponting scored a century in the 1st match, again I was playing with various focal lengths and lens camera set ups, a 7 hour match means you have a bit of time!! I also decided to do some old school stuff with manual focus.

After the match I drove up to Liverpool as I had managed to secure accreditation to cover their Champions League match with Hungarian team Debreceni VSC. As a school kid I had been a bit of a fan of Liverpool with Kenny Dalglish my hero. So to actually stand on the pitch as 60000 people sang the Liverpool Anthem "you'll never walk alone" was possibly the highlight of my sports photography career so far. Prior to the game I had a brief chat with a guy called Michael Reagen from Getty Images, he is also the official FA photographer, and possibly the best football photographer in the world. He gave me a bit of advice about best position which was nice of him.

I chose to shoot facing the KOP with the away fans behind me, and about midway between the goal and the corner flag. For the first half Liverpool attacked the goal my end, the match was fairly boring Liverpool eventually winning 1-0 with Dirk Kuyt scoring the winning goal.

I didn't get a good shot of the actual goal as a big Hungarian arse was in my way.. these darn players are so inconsiderate at times... I was working on the wires for this match (images going direct to newspapers etc from the agency) so speed was of an essence in getting images out, what you have to do is shoot some shots then change memory cards download what you have taken to your laptop, then edit / caption and then FTP (send) them to the agency, you do this constantly during the game so sometimes you are relying on things like crowd noise to let you know when something is happening. The big agencies have either editors for their photographers or something called shoot live where the cameras are connected to the laptop and within a second of the image being taken it's transferred to the picture desk back at head office.. As yet I have not worked for an agency with this system but it means no onsite editing so cant be a bad thing ;-)

My workflow was basic for this, shoot the action, chimp (check the screen see if images are sharp and good) then ingest to the laptop using photo mechanic, add a caption, transfer to photoshop to crop adjust colours, and then ftp. I shoot in RAW 99.99% of the time which may be a bit slower but means if you have a good image but it's slightly under or over exposed then you can sometimes save it. This is handy when you shoot on manual settings and suddenly the light may change mid shot.

After the match I returned to my motorhome to find it had been broken into, the police were on scene and waiting for me, luckily I had all my important gear with me and only lost an old pentax slr camera a point and shoot camera, and some tools, the worst thing though was all my clothes had been pulled out of the wardrobe and cupboards and trampled on the floor, also my travel pillow had split with millions of tiny polystyrene balls all over the friggin place. I was gutted but life goes on the door had virtually been ripped off it's hinges so a Mitch repair job with some string a bungy and some gaffer tape secured it for my trip back to Nottingham and the cricket the next day.

Football Champions League Liverpool vs Debrenici - Images by .

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