I always feel like it is a massive test when asked to step up and perform against the best photographers. Premier League matches see the big agencies send several photographers to cover the football from multiple angles. Great photographers who always deliver top quality photos of the key incidents.
As one man with a camera, being able to compete relies on several things. The first is being organised, the second is being on my game and the third is enjoying a big slice of luck. Today I didn’t really have any of those.
This year I have been making a concious effort to capture more in the build up to matches. Ideally I want to get myself to place where I can capture players from both teams arriving at the stadium. I also want to shoot stock images during the on-pitch warm up and try to add more wide-angle shots while the game is in play. Naturally I attempted to do all of those yesterday and made a sub-par attempt at all four due to a lack of organisation. I’ll admit I was a litte frustrated with myself because I know from previous experience that it is always best to try adding one new thing at a time. I think of it as being similar to learning to drive. Lots of little things that are not particularly difficult to do on their own but you have to learn to put them together over time. Try to do too much at once and then I stop doing others so well.
The luck was definitely not on my side today. Tottenham did not have a great first half so I gambled that the second half would be similar and Newcastle would make a few chances. Unfortunately that gamble backfired minutes into the half when Jonjo Shelvey foolishly got himself sent off for stamping on Dele Alli. With ten men against a strong Spurs team Newcastle were restricted to defending for almost all of the second half. For me that meant very few noteworthy pictures. Both goals and the red card were at the other end of the pitch which left me with nothing but a few nice stock images. Better luck next time!
One thing I did do was experiment a little in the last thirty minutes by putting a 1.4x extender on my 400mm lens. Effectively this meant losing a stop of light but increased the focal length up to 540mm. My thinking was that if Newcastle were going to be pinned back then I could use the extra bit of reach to zoom in closer to the action. Unfortunately I’m not convinced by the images which felt too soft and more underexposed that usual. It was worth a try but is not something I’ll be looking to use again in the near future.
Newcastle are next at home against West Ham on the 26th August. Before then I have an EUHV fixture that I can use to work on a few things.
Click the link below for a full gallery of images taken as Newcastle United lost their opening Premier League fixture 0-2 to Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park.