Rugby Photography - Leicester Tigers v London Wasps

The match between Leicester and one-time bitter rivals Wasps was a bit of a departure from the usual for me.

Niki Goneva at Welford Road after it was announced he re-signed to stay at Leicester Tigers

Highlight of the game was Niki’s massive grin as the crowd cheered him onto the pitch after re-signing for Leicester.

Normally, I’ll sit behind the goal and get fairly standard ‘action’ photos to send out to the media, along with anything a bit more creative when the opportunity arises.

Saturday’s game was different in that my main task was to get wide-angle shots of various situations for a coaching website.  This is a very different style of shot to what is normally needed - usually a standard action shot will be two or three players in frame, perhaps showing a tackle or break, and it is rare to shoot very wide.

Leicester Tigers flyhalf Owen Williams gets attention from Wasps

A closer type of action shot. An unusual expression always makes for a good shot.

The difficulty with wide shots is that the players can get easily lost in the frame.  Normally, we try and throw the background out of focus to make the subject stand out of the frame.  With the short focal lengths needed to get wide angles it is tricky to do this.

Wasps lose the ball in struggle with Leicester Tigers

The classic action shot as a ball spills loose. Three or four players in frame.

So, I wouldn’t be able to stay behind the goal line to get the shots. That meant moving up and down the touchline to try and get a good angle and make sure the players in shot didn’t blend into the background.

Manu Tuilagi watches the Wasps and Tigers packs scrum down.

By using selective focus and wide apertures different and more creative effects can be achieved.

As it turned out, the hardest part of was moving around to find the right angle, which is constantly changing as the play moves from left to right. Shooting from the side means switching much more often between the long lens and the second camera, which I carry on a shoulder strap. It’s easier when sitting down but more tricky when moving around and trying to keep one eye open to avoid being squashed by players being tackled into touch!

Leicester Tigers backline lined up behind the scrum at Welford Road.

An example of a wider shot. The Tigers backs wait for the ball from a scrum. Putting the focus on Matt Tait means that the photo just about works.  if it was on the scrum, the background would be too much in focus.

I found a bit of time in the second half to get some standard action shots, but by then the game had fizzled out, unlike the game down at Kingsholm…


Follow Graham Wilson on Twitter; you can see his work at Pipeline Images.

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