“For me, it was always going to be about getting better photos.”
– Me, if I was Tim in About Time
How often do I wish I could go back in time, just a few minutes, and take a shot again? More times per game than Edin Džeko’s had the same thought across his whole career. My sob stories about all the Pulitzer Prize winning images that got away are many and varied. Is this because I’m a terrible photographer? Maybe, but I don’t think so. It’s more likely to be because shooting football is hard. A lot of pro sports photographers will tell you that.
There is, however, a distinction between the balls-ups that can be put down to bad luck and those that are almost entirely self-inflicted idiocy.
In the luck category, there is one granddaddy to rule them all. That sinking feeling when something truly amazing happens right in front of you, but, after clicking away excitedly, you check to see what you’ve got only to discover there’s not a single frame in focus…
“That photo always makes me smile when I see it!”
The second biggest luck fail is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are degrees to this of course, ranging from a couple of feet too far to the left to get a good angle right through to sitting at the wrong bloody end (AKA The Curse of Enzo™).
On the own goal front, getting caught tweeting as a crucial goal is scored at your end is an unforgivable cardinal sin. As the raucous celebration happens right in front of you, all you can do is watch with a wry smile and suffer in your jocks. Bonus points if it’s a TV game and the whole sorry incident is beamed nationwide into every home.
Turning up wearing the wrong glasses is another trap for young players. ‘Hmmmm why are all these photos so dark?’ *Plays with settings* …20 minutes later the penny drops – I’m wearing transitions and most of my first half shots are now overexposed…
“That’s probably the best footy picture ever taken of me.”
But all that frustration is worth it when you’ve captured that perfect action shot. A huge smile spreads across your dial. You know, the instant the shutter clicks, when you’ve got an absolute classic. It’s at joyous times like these when I’m reminded how great life can be, and also that I forgot to put the SD card back in after half time.
Football photography really is a wonderful hobby though. You meet great people, get amazing opportunities to be pitchside for historic sporting moments and it’s a good way to find your creative self.
And best of all is the feeling of knowing how much your photos mean to the people you captured in time…
“Imagine that what happens in the game, I miss much of it, even what I do. To be able to see my expressions, or having the ball… it’s amazing. Photos are a way to travel to the past… In a few years, I am pretty sure I will be watching the pictures with tears on the face remembering that exact moment.”