Barclays Premiership Football - Stoke City FC v Everton FC

February 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Hello sports fans,

On Saturday afternoon, I travelled west to the Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City Football Club to photograph images of their home game against Everton 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 collected my parking pass before driving over to the media car park. It was likely to be a very wet and very windy day and it would be a very tough day to multi-task on pitch side during the game. After showing my accreditation at the media entrance I was shown to the photographers room where I collected my pass, photographers bib and a match programme. The photographers room is small in size and not really big enough for all the photographers to work. I set up my laptop walked on to pitch side to connect my ethernet cable in one of the pitch side sockets but this stadium does not have the ethernet connectors but another type so looks like its 4G today. They do provide cables that can be used for ethernet but too short for me.

The torrential rain and high winds started and this was an element to cover today showing how tough the players will find it out in the driving rain and wind. Large pools of water had already collected in the corner spots and venue staff were brushing the water out of the seating areas.

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 such as an Everton supporter in swimming trucks highlighting a charity. 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. I setup my laptop in a waterproof tent that I use to prevent sun glare on the screen and protect the very expensive laptop from the natural elements.

Thankfully the Britannia Stadium has a wide walkway from the tunnel to the dug outs which gave plenty of chances to capture the managers walking towards the dugouts and capturing the meet and greet between the managers. With the whistle blown to start the match I was continuously watching the action on the pitch. On paper, Everton are the strongest side but Stoke could cause an upset on home turf? During the match I stayed in one place due to setting up my laptop tent so I made best use of the action. From the start Everton looked strong and their first blood came as a result of a foul from the Stoke goalkeeper Butland which gifted Lukako a penalty and take Everton 0-1 up after 11 minutes. Everton supporters managed to hide a blue flare which was lit and thrown on to the pitch in celebration but all it did was delay the action on the pitch. The next goal came from a corner and Coleman headed the ball in the goal just before the half hour 0-2. Coleman was especially happy after celebrating the birth of his child overnight and this was highlighted in his celebration by pretending to cradle a baby and sucking his thumb. The punishment continued and before half time (41 mins) there was another Everton goal from Lennon ending the half time action (0-3). The second half stabilised but Stoke were unable to come back and make a difference.

Even after the final whistle has blown it is worth keeping an eye out for a story. As the players came off, Everton midfielder Bryan Oviedo took off his team shirt and made his way through the venue staff and stewards to personally hand it directly to a very young girl in the stands. A thoughtful action that I am sure she would remember for a long time.

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.


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