For the last 3 years I’ve been covering the annual Six Day track cycling event in London. It makes a nice change from the other types of commercial work I typically undertake during the rest of the year. The client … Continue reading
Last month I was commissioned by Six Day London to photograph a couple of days of the cycling, which was taking place at the Velodrome in Stratford, East London. Although I’m not an experienced cycling photographer it is always fun … Continue reading
Some finished stills from a commission I worked on back in May at the famous Repton Boxing Club. It is one of the oldest in Britain, founded in 1884. Repton is a place full of character, where you can smell the sweat … Continue reading
Tennis is a big passion of mine, I live close to a great club here in North west London and try and spend every spare minute playing it, so it was great to have the opportunity to cover the famous red clay courts of Roland Garros for a sports picture agency I occasionally shoot for. In an ideal world I would have been out there for the duration of the tournament but assignments here in the UK meant I could only do 6 days. These were spent there during the second week of the tournament, before catching the last train back on the friday night before the finals weekend.
The French Open is the biggest and only clay court grand slam tournament in the Pro tennis circuit. It is held annually in the summer, the second slam of the year after Australia, and before Wimbledon and The US Open.
Roland Garros is a unique tournament for photographers because they have freedom to go pretty much where they want, so any unoccupied seat in the stadium can be taken as a vantage point, there are the pits behind the baseline for the close, low angle view, courtside, and higher positions which give a very graphic shot filling the frame with the red clay.
Because I don’t shoot sport full time I made use of the Nikon Professional Services counter at Roland Garros to borrow a few pieces of equipment. The NIkon D4S with it’s 12 frames per second was something I found hard to give back! Also hired was a 300mm f/2.8, 58mm f/1.4 and teleconverters.
It was hard work covering the event, once the play started it was non stop shooting, editing, captioning, sending then back to the start of the cycle as soon as possible to get the next match, but I had a great time and will try and get back to Paris next summer.
I remember reading about this venue, The Maracanã Stadium in ‘World Soccer’ magazine when I was younger. It is one of the most iconic sports venues in the world, up alongside Madison Square Garden, Wembley and the Nou Camp. Upgrades were recently completed in time for this years World Cup and the Olympics in 2 years, it now holds 78,000 spectators. In 1950 it had the 199,854 fans watched the World Cup final between Brazil and Uruguay (which the latter won 2-1).
Getting there was easy – one change on the metro from Copacabana, and getting a ticket (90 Reals – £25) was simple with English speaking assistants at the ticket booths. After shooting Stadium exteriors in the late afternoon light I went for a couple of beers amongst the Botafogo fans, as the evening kick-off time approached.
As the teams entered the arena the atmosphere was electric, unlike anything I’ve heard at English grounds, so much noise. The away, Chilean side (Unión Española of Santiago) scored the only goal of the game, meaning they finished top of their group, and Botafogo 2nd. Both sides would go through to the next round of the Libertadores Cup (South American version of the Champions League).
Day 54 – Santa Laura Estadio – Universidad Chile 3 – 3 Unión Español, Santiago, Chile
Jumping out of the taxi near the stadium I assumed it would be a simple matter of finding the ticket office and making the purchase. I was wrong – they don’t sell tickets at the game, you have to buy them online beforehand. However like all entertainment events around the world there will always be touts and people with spare tickets willing to sell. And so for 8000 Chilean pesos (approx £9) I got a ticket from one of the Unión fans just before kick off.
And what a great game to see, three apiece, with a red card and three penalties! The home side, Universidad de Chile, down to ten men after a dubious decision in the second half, came back from 3-2 to score a late equaliser, sending the passionate fans around me into raptures.