NFL American Football International Cincinnati Bengals -v- Washington Redskins Wembley

October 31, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Hello sports fans,

After a busy Saturday shooting the Rock Solid obstacle race for a colleague, I travelled very early down to Wembley for the NFL to capture images of the 2016 National Football League (NFL) American Football International Series game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins on behalf of Action Plus Sports Images.

As with most of my trips to Wembley,  I opt for using public transport to get to Wembley Stadium and its only a short ride on the Underground. I arrived nice and early and was able to capture a number of stadium shots and general views setting the scene without fans to distract the viewer. The London fog was thick in the morning and it was not possible to see the famous arch over the stadium which adds to the character of playing in London for all the American picture agencies looking to that 'traditional' view. Also, with the early arrival before accreditation check-in, no other photographers were on site and so I believe I was the only accreditated photographer to capture these images. Photographer accreditation opened at 9:30am even though the match kicked off at 1:30pm. As usual they were late in allowing us photographers through security checks but once through, I collected my accreditation and off the the photographers media room which is only a short walk to the pitch entrance. The media room is split in to two areas and can cater for approximately 60 photographers and the room has large TV screens to see the game and fresh food was served as we entered. Food and traditional New York deli packed lunches were also provided so a taste of the USA during the breaks. After setting up my laptop, I was out to capture general stadium views and fan images. The maze of corridors, lifts and stairs makes finding the best places difficult at best so I was able to request a personal escort to the upper tiers through the VIP lounges that displayed all the splendour that an international event warranted. The NFL put on a great show for the fans outside the stadium with various football activities and a very large NFL shop where fans can buy all types of NFL memorabilia including football shirts of all the NFL teams not just those two competing today. The fans had made a real effort to dress up in their team colours and face paint. It was great to see so many photo opportunities.

After coming back to the media room and downloading the images from the morning, it was time to take on some food to last the day.After a short break, I was out refreshed and prepared for the game. I placed myself next to the Bengals entrance on to the pitch. As the home team, the Bengals make the most of their team introductions to the fans with smoke, flames and cheerleaders. They enter under a specially made Bengals arch with displays of London tourist attractions as part of the arch. As the players entered, I decided to use a remote camera with a fisheye lens mounted on a monopod lifted over my head to about 10 feet. As nearly every other photographer was at head height or going low, this provided a unique viewpoint. As usual, after both teams were on the pitch, the national anthems were sung and the game begin.

As with shooting at Premiership football, we aim to be high enough to shoot over the sideline electronic advertising boards but low enough not to impinge on paying spectators. The great thing here is that we can move at any time to any location around the pitch to capture our shots. American football is split in to four quarters (each of 15minutes) so you would imagine that this would be a quick game, but games do go on for up to 3 hours allowing for stoppages of play and half time. Thankfully, this makes it possible to shoot back to the media room and download, caption, edit and send images on the news wire. 

This game proved all action with both teams evenly matched going back and forth. The game produced a number of touch down and when the final whistle was blown it was 27-27 which meant extra time. This is an additional 15 minutes to see which team can score a decider point to win the game. Both team fought valiantly and after extra time, the game entire in a draw which is very unusual for a NFL game. The fans through out the whole game made the whole game a sporting spectacular and really got in to the spirit of a family friendly sporting spectacle (I have to say, miles apart from an experience at a english football match).

It was a great sporting spectacle and only on pitch side do you really appreciate how tough this sport is and seeing the injuries they receive. Seeing and capturing the sporting action, supporters and cheerleaders over the course of the game enabled me to get some great images of the day and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. 

The event images have been uploaded to the Action Plus Sports Images, so please take a look at them. 

Regards

Xcite Images

 

 

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