Well, I’m at an undisclosed location somewhere in this world. If it wasn’t for the NDA, I’d tell you where, but because there is a NDA, I can’t. Yes, you’re allowed to guess, but I won’t tell you where I am. ;)
In any case, what I want to talk about is football. European season is well underway in most leagues and aside from strikes in Spain and Italy, we are now footballing. Soccering, if you ask Matt. :)
But today, I’d like to talk about the smaller football. Five a side and such. In Brazil it’s called futsal, just so you can tell you friends that you learned something from this site.
About two weeks ago, I shot the Homeless World Cup which was held in Paris, France. Had no intention of shooting it, because I thought I was way too big to be shooting an event with amateur athletes. But obviously, I realised that A) I’m an idiot and B) as expected I know nothing. I found myself dumb founded by the quality of football show cased during the week and to top it off, the games were hell of a lot more emotionally charged than the professional counterpart. There were multiple points during the week that it felt as though there were lots of dust in the air…
But, this is a sports photography website and therefore I am going to go into specifics in what to expect when shooting the small ball.
1. Boards, those damn boards.
Five a side as well as most indoor football games are played with boards. They surround the pitch and they do serve an integral tactical element when playing small ball. You can play off the wall as well as cornering an opponent. But from a sports photographer point of view, it’s pure nightmare. They are high and they obscure plenty of action. If you are in a similar predicament as I am, there are two options. Either you use a wide angle lens to get over the wall or get yourself a stool like the Walk Stool to give yourself a good angle on the action. You can stand, but it will give you a very bad angle.
2. Just like basketball
Small football is…small. Which means that the pitch itself is small as well. Which means the 400 f2.8 or 300 f2.8 is absolutely useless. I’d leave those at home and equip yourself with 200mm being the longest and a widest lens that you own. The action is more east-west than north-south. Meaning a lot of horizontal action rather than a vertical one. You will be whipping your camera left and right throughout the day, just like shooting basketball. And just like basketball, I completely ignored the action on the other end of the pitch.
3. Time flies
In most cases, this type of football is very short. The Homeless World Cup was 14 minutes long per match. This is about 1/3 of a normal football match, but the action is as exciting or even more so than normal football. To quote Vin Diesel, the shit is fast and furious. Be prepared mentally and pre-plan the shots you want to take and be aware when and where the emotional highs and lows will take place. Since things happen so quickly, if you don’t pay attention you will be left with nothing.
Just so you know, I talked a bit more about the Homeless World Cup in the next podcast. So, please tune in. Needless to say, it was a great tournament and I had a great time. As a professional photographer who shoot professional sports, you don’t really sit and think about what sports mean for the everyday person. The positive impact a sport can have on a person is immense, especially in a context of the Homeless World Cup. Although I probably won’t have that many opportunity to shoot amateur sports in the future (that’s just how it is with work at the moment), I cannot wait to shoot an even like the Homeless World Cup in the near future.
PS This blog post has not been sponsored by the Homeless World Cup. :)
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