Tag Archives: Rugby League

2013 Rugby League World Cup

1  rl world cupThe 2013 Rugby League World Cup was heralded with much finery, glitter, pomp and circumstance at the Millenium Stadium on the 26th October where Australia (the tournament favourites) played hosts England.

England’s sprightly opening with composed structured play mirrored the opening ceremonies energy and sheen. Alas, Australia ran out eventual winners 28 : 20 to dampen the England fans enthusiasm.

What greeted Caught In Action, for the Fiji v Ireland match at Rochdale on the evening of the 28th can best be described as a downpour of the stair rod variety. Ah, a chance to practice big rain shots, much employed by wedding photographers. Thanks, but I’d rather not. Thank goodness for Nike gortex jackets which kept me dry whilst the Canon’s were protected by Acqua Tech.

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As horrific as the weather became the more exhilarating and hard-hitting the Fijians played. Whilst their supporters choral singing will linger in my memory long after the tournament. Fiji triumphed 32 : 14 with fleet footed winger Akuila Uate running in a hat-trick.

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Baring in mind the prevailing weather conditions and the floodlights, which can sometimes be patchy or if too high create shadows where eye sockets should be seen I decided I would process some of my personal shots as black and white. Deliberately ignoring noise ninja and allowing the grain to prevail to create gritty images and using the backlights almost like rim lights in a fashion shoot.

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The World Cup really caught the public’s imagination from Workington down to Bristol crowds proved to be at full capacity. Records being set at Huddersfield where England beat Ireland 42 : 0. although the second half proved less than remarkable.

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In spite of the nation embracing the sport England unfortunately didn’t make the final. Being beaten by the holders in the dying seconds as New Zealand rolled the dice at Wembley.

During the tournament the sport lost one of its finest exponents and all time good guy, Steve Prescott, whose passing was marked by the Scotland captain, Danny Brough wearing a specially emblazoned shirt bearing Steve’s name.

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The final at Old Trafford between the two Anzac nations also created a crowd record for rugby held at the stadium. But proved a hurdle too far for the holders who lost their crown to Australia 2 : 34. Sonny Bill Williams, the New Zealand second rower who had put Papua New Guinea to the sword at Headingley, with a devastating hat-trick could not repeat his heroics against the green and golds with the Man of the Match award going to Australia’s stand off Jonathan Thurston.

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As always the shots were taken using shutter priority therefore allowing me to dictate the speed of the shutter whilst the camera dictates the aperture required, which I find beneficial when covering sporting events, changeable light and movement. By using a fast shutter speed it allows the use of large apertures which in turn creates a narrow depth of field.  Allowing the focus on the main subject whilst the background is out of focus and therefore less distracting.  This is particularly useful where the background is cluttered or spectators are rather sparse.  At Old Trafford for the final we were not allowed to have remote cameras fixed nor to cover the Haka from either on field or a high vantage point. This access and facility was reserved for the official photographers and a very large picture agency.

I would like to thank all the volunteers of Team 13 for their help and assistance in directing me to press rooms and ensuring we were well looked after. Also Hannah of the RFL is an absolute trooper and ensured along with Tony and Joe that there were no glitches with regard to accreditation or communication. Thank you.

Posted in Camera Gear, People, Rugby League, Rugby League World Cup, Sport Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

The end of an era

 

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In the fast turn round timescale of sport with its short-term contracts the term legend is often over used.  However, as the 2013 Super League campaign drew to its conclusion, the grand final would see two monumental players, Adrian Morley (Warrington Wolves) and Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors) taking their final bows, before moving on to pastures new.  Salford Red Devils for Morley and New Zealand Warriors for Tomkins.

Whilst legend, Wigan’s Pat Richards was due to return to the NRL  and Wests Tigers. With whom he won the Premiers title in 2005. Add in the Man of Steele award in 2010 when he also claimed a Super League winners ring, plus  a couple of Challenge Cup trophies.  Along the way scoring over 2500 points  in his eight year Wigan career, and the term legend is probably understated.

Caught In Action’s brief for the press conference was to obtain shots of  Pat for a retrospective piece on his career, whilst not forgetting to get images of Adrian and Sam also.

It was easier said than done given the fact that the Elinchrom Quadra failed that morning.  Speed lights to the rescue on a cool October day.

First up, Adrian and Sam with the trophy pitch side, in front of the Alex Ferguson stand.

I opted to shoot from a low vantage point to exaggerate the athletes physique.  To make them more imposing even over powering the size of the stadium stand behind them.  I had no fears of shooting from such a low vantage point regarding double chins as these guys have strong firm jaw lines.

After ensuring I had got full length shots and noted Sam’s customised X Blade boots, embroidered on the toe with his initials I took half length shots from eye level.  Before ending with shots at a more jaunty angle.  All the while checking the screen to ensure my shots had not synched with other photographers flashes and been over-exposed.

Pat Richards has features chiseled from granite and perceptive bright eyes.  A herculean figure both tall and broad.  I knew I needed to depict this power and strength.  To do so I asked him to fold his arms.  This pose created bicep bulge and accentuates strength and power.

Given his height, I could have done with a set of short steps to shoot from a slightly raised viewpoint to get his shoulders and chest even nearer to the camera to exaggerate his breadth even more.  I use this technique to create a more inverted triangular body physique.  However, you have to work with what you have and there were no steps.
1 blog era 1For the next shot Pat adopted a more relaxed pose whilst looking into the distance wistfully.  As if possibly looking back on his career in Super League.  It was important to ensure that I had sufficient depth of field for this shot.  I therefore shot with a smaller aperture, thus ensuring that “Manchester Is My Heaven” is legible.

1 blog era 2Finally, a head shot was required.  Given Pat’s 2010 status of Man of Steel it was necessary to incorporate the steel work of the stand roof.  Whilst cropping out the rest of the stand.  Pat was positioned so the Wigan Warriors badge and his player identity number were visible along with the steel struts.  The remainder of the shot is sky.  Allowing the negative space to be used for text and career statistics.  To ensure the sky was not blown out an ND filter was used on the lens.

1 blog eraOn the 5th October Old Trafford witnessed Wigan Warriors over turning a deficit of 16 : 2 to run out eventual winners 30 : 16.  This proved to be the biggest comeback in Grand Final history.  Inevitably Pat Richards scored Wigan’s fifth and last try.  He must surely believe that Old Trafford is his theatre of dreams.

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