Barclays Premiership Football - Leicester City FC v Stoke City FC
Hello sports fans,
On Saturday afternoon, I travelled east to the King Power Stadium, home of Leicester City Football Club to photograph images of their home game against Stoke City for Action Plus Sports Images. This match was a 3:00pm kick off which means better light before the final whistle now the lighter nights are slowly arriving.
I arrived around 3 hours before the kick off and thankfully I was allocated media parking so no worries about where to park. The car park was about 1.5 mile from the stadium so a healthy walk before arrival. I had been to the previous stadium incarnation when it was the 'Walker's Stadium' many years ago for work conference and it was good to be back. After showing my accreditation I was shown to the photographers room where I collected my pass, photographers bib and a match programme. The photographers room was a reasonable size and plenty of space to work. I set up my laptop ready to work but before that, hot food with a steak pie - a great way to grab a bite before the match. One of my first tasks to was go on to pitch side to connect my ethernet cable in one of the pitch side sockets and once connected mark my spot before the match. One of the main issues these days for match photographers is the prevalence of 4G mobile devices used by supporters which decimates the bandwidth for us photographers to transmit images during the pre-match, and half time periods. The only way to ensure you have a clean, issue free connection is via Ethernet. That being said, the ethernet connections on the one side of the pitch worked before the match, but all failed during the match - so bad news for all photographers on pitch side during play. Leicester City FC - please sort this out?
After returning to the photographers lounge and reviewing the match programme and updating my image documents for the match, I was off to capture the venue, supporters and team arrivals, however at the King Power Stadium - no press photographers are allowed in to the team arrival area as they call this the 'sterile area' - even with approved accreditation? No one, not even people accessing the changing rooms are allowed in this area - so no images of the teams arriving today.
As with all stadiums, I do a complete walk around to see what unique views I can capture as well as keeping an eye out for interesting stories that show of the day in a different light. Once I downloaded, edited, captioned and uploaded my pre-match images, I was off to the pitch again. Moving to a more secure area enabled me to leave my camera gear under the watchful supervision of the Stewards whilst I captured warm-up images. The forecast was cloudy but no rain so even and consistent light throughout albeit just getting darker.
With the whistle blown to start the match I was continuously watching the action on the pitch. On paper, Leicester City are the strongest side at the top of the pile in the Premiership but Stoke could cause an upset? During the match I stayed in one place due to the ethernet connection made earlier so I made best use of the action. Leicester took first blood with a goal from Drinkwater with a strike to the bottom left corner in the 42nd minute before half time. Leicester looked strong and were relentless. The opportunities continued for Leicester and Drinkwater assisted Vardy to take another goal in the 65th minute (this ended Vardy's 10 hour Premiership goal drought). Then finally in the 86th minute, Ulloa scored the last goal of the match (3-0) with a strike to the centre of the goal.
After downloading and captioning my images they were uploaded to the server. Shooting football for the wire services requires some multi-tasking skills as you are always trying to do a numbers of jobs simultaneously and also be very efficient in your workflow. We must constantly and simultaneously watch the action, capture images, download images, caption images, edit images and upload images to the news wire. It takes time to master the skill and it is high pressure work which I love since you are working full on from the whistle to an hour after the match ends.
As always, it was a pleasure to see the players perform from a close viewpoint and the match provided a selection of images which can be seen on the Action Plus Sports Images website.
Keywords: 2016, 23rd January, Action Plus, Barclays, Football, King Power Stadium, League, Leicester City, Premiership, Stoke City
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