Ryu: My top 10 + 1 of 2011

Happy new year. In case you haven’t noticed, this is the year of the dragon which means that things will be great for me as I was born in the year of the dragon. Just to make sure that Matt and David don’t sulk too much as it is not their year, I am contemplating being nice to them this year.  As a true practitioner of altruism, I often like give to the less fortunate sports photographers.  :)

I thought I do my top 10 as well (sampling, not copying of ideas), but then decided that it’s probably not that interesting if I did the same thing as brother Matt. My penchant for one-upmanship took over me and this is also a hint to the brand new section which will be introduced quite soon here at BLFS.

Here are my 10 + 1 for 2011.

PSG v Auxerre








This is Pastore, the new superstar in the making who plays for PSG in France. He’s also got a very long neck and he’s a handsome guy if you can get over how long his neck is. What I realised recently is that you can get really close to a player just before kickoff when they give the warmups back to the trainer.  And that’s exactly when I got this shot.  I like this photo because for several reason, but the main reason is that it’s got this great pattern of light reflecting on the rain drops on my lens. I also like it because it’s at the tail end of a “blue time” of the sky. I also like it because I really like my new 14-24mm lens.

Trophee Eric Bompard 2011








As you may already know, I get bored. I get bored so easily that having to take the same shot of a same event over and over drives me bonkers. To keep my sanity, I try to switch things around and find out what I can do to make something marginally more interesting. Sometimes the solution could be angles, changing the background, or changing shutter speed. I got this shot A) out of pure luck and B) because I knew I could get something like this. After couple of minutes of diddling with the shutter speed, I found out that with the white background and what the girls were wearing (rhinestone + slow shutterspeed = cool shots), I could get something different. I think I got this when they were warming up before they began their competition.  Lucky me.

Olympique Lyonnais v Real Madrid








For only one reason: It’s Zidane. I’ve never had the chance to shoot him when he was plying his trade on the pitch. I got this shot as I’m waiting for the players to come out for the warm ups and he just casually saunters by me. I started sweating weirdly and there he was. My favourite football player of all time sitting there and acting all calm. We all know that he’s crazy and I wanted to get a shot of him doing exactly the opposite. Cool head Zizou. Love him.

Beach Soccer World Cup 2011







It was my very first and likely my very last time at the beach soccer world cup. I don’t want to end up with another repair bill of 300+ EUR just because I’m forced to spend time caking myself in sand. I like this because I really wanted to get this kind of shot. In the media room of this tournament, there were shots from previous tournaments. The one that caught my eye was all the aerial stuff. If you see this game in action, it’s all about air time. Kind of like Sepak Takraw on the beach without the net. So, I tried for about two or three matches trying to get the air to air combat. Needless to say, I got it and I was happy to move on with my life.

Homeless World Cup 2011 Paris







The best sporting event I shot this year by far. It was so emotional and so exciting. I wish normal football was like this: short and sweet. Football played by real people representing their country and playing for their future. Just so you know, these people aren’t homeless by the time they are playing in this tournament. They have to get out of homelessness and only then you get to participate. You can only participate in one homeless world cup in your lifetime. So it’s a true “one and done”. They are not professionals but they play with a passion that is unparalleled to the professional game. I like this shot because I got it just moments after the final whistle and I also like the contrast of the yellow on green. Great tournament.

Borussia Dortmund v Hamburger SV








This image is on the front page of my website. Since I’ve shot this, I’ve been telling people they should goto Dortmund and see this in real life. This scene happens almost every weekend there.  It literally is a wall of people and I wanted to get a shot with just the Dortmund players in the frame. Not an easy task.  But right after the goal, as they were walking back to their own half, I got most of them in the frame and focused on the wall and got this shot. But it’s worth it to go see it with your own eyes. Amazing atmosphere and more amazing is that they are Germans. :)

Evian Masters 2011







My first foray into golf. As I have mentioned last year in one of my blog posts, it’s the toughest sports I’ve covered. All the walking with all the gear. On top of that I forgot my monopod. I wanted to get a bird’s eye view shot of a golfer and his tee shot.  But I quickly found out that those shots were lame.  As I was pondering what to do next, this golfer came and was staring down the course before her tee. It made sense to me and I took the shot.

PSG v Lille

Champagne, championship, celebration and I wanted in BW. Few months before this shot was taken, I walked into one of the media rooms at some match and saw a BW sports image.  I believe it was one my Japanese colleague’s desktop image.  Thought it looked cool and I reminded myself to shoot a sporting event in BW for a special occasion. The moment was there as Lille won their first championship since the 1960’s. In celebration moments, there usually aren’t any rules.  Get in close and you’ll get the shots you want.  But needless to say, it sucks getting champagne off your gear.

Inter Milan v Cagliari








I don’t like the feet of the defender being cut off, but the sheer athletic ability of Nagatomo is simply awesome. Some thought it was photoshopped, but sadly it wasn’t. :)

Judo Grand Slam Paris 2011







In any sports, the moment of “winning” is a special moment. It defies the end of the match and you also get to see the loser doing something dramatic like lying down or sobbing.  This was one of those moments. I’d like to add more, but there’s not much I can.  One thing I can add is to keep your eyes peeled open with a sports like judo as the match can be finished in a blink of an eye.

Vannes v Grenoble








This is the + 1 and an important one for me. I shot this match the day after the tsunami hit Japan. It wasn’t an exciting match by any means and I thought I’d try to get a shot that expressed how I felt that day. Feeling helpless for not being able to help my country and the devastation that took place the day prior, this image felt like it best represented myself and my country.


*Please Read Below*
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3 thoughts on “Ryu: My top 10 + 1 of 2011

  1. I love all of them. They all show the great photographer you are. And thanks for the explanations, it helps knowing your story behind the images.

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