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.
For 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.
Finally, 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.
On 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.