Hello and happy new year.
It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here and the main reason being the world cup doesn’t happen every year. I should have done the top 10 world cup photos 4 years ago, but somehow that brilliant idea slipped through the many cracks of my skull. Therefore, I have taken this grand opportunity to show you my best of 2018:
World Cup 2018 edition.
For those of you know football and I mean you have a knowledge of who’s who beyond Messi and Ronaldo, you know who this is.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t know much about him until last year. Shows how much football I follow on a regular basis. He’s good, he plays for Liverpool, he’s Egyptian, and he’s Muslim.
The last part is important because his presence in Liverpool has changed the minds of the locals on how they feel about Muslims in their community.
I just spent 5 minutes writing about something you didn’t have to know in order to understand this photo. He’s famous. Period.
Unfortunately he got injured right before the world cup and no one knew how much he was going to play. I have already scheduled to shoot Egypt before his injury so I couldn’t get myself out of this match. The only reason I was there was to shoot Salah and luckily for me, he was on the bench. As you may well know at this point, if you want to get physically close to an athlete, get them when they are not playing. So as the Egyptian national anthem blared in the background, I placed myself right in front of him and shot him until I got it just right.
Sad because it’s the last time he will likely grace himself on a world cup pitch. Excited because I’m sure he’s going to play one more time. He’s Messi, he’s going to play until he’s 87.
I’ve always wanted to do multiple exposure shots at the world cup and I tried some last time with shitty results. I also realised that the D5 offers different blending mode for multiple exposure, one of which was “dark”.
As a tip, try different blending options on your camera when it comes to multiple exposure. Depending on the background, you might want to make some adjustments.
I was shooting from the tribune in this particular match and all I wanted was a shot of him with the ball heading towards the goal.
You can already imagine that I shot using multiple exposure for the entire match and this was the best one I got. By the way, it’s good to choose a plain background when you are multiple exposuring as your mistakes (ie moving the camera) won’t be so obvious.
I’m actually proud to say this, but I did this first. I was most likely the very first person to get this shot. A history lesson. I realised before the match started that the Belgium team was huddling right next to the bench. I snuck in, aimed the camera between the legs of one of the player and shot away. Since I got this shot, many people have tried and in the end, the team huddled on the pitch, making it impossible to get this shot. As for the technical stuff, when the sun is out and most of the background is la bright sky compared to the subject, make sure that you compensate for the sky as well. As a side note, I had this image printed big (40cm x 60cm) and it was really impressive. One of my favourite images of the tournament.
Most of the football matches in Europe happen during the evening. There are some variations, such as England playing their league matches quite early, but in most cases they start quite late. Therefore during the world cup when many matches happen during the middle of the day, I have the opportunity to shoot with hard light and shadows. Here, I was trying to get some nice looking shadows that dissected the pitch.
My darling Ronaldo. This was before the match started when Ronaldo came over to have a drink.. He was standing like he owned the place and I wanted to show that he really did. One other tip is that before the match starts, some of the players will come to the touchline to have one last drink or one last something. If you hang out long enough and before the ushers whisk you away to your seats, you can get quite interesting shots.
Until this shot, I haven’t gotten any interesting Pogba image. Although his interestingness has gone down the drain since he joined ManU, he’s still a very interesting looking guy. I wish he’d bring back his crazy hair though. He was having a drink before the match (again) and I was looking for that off the pitch shot. He was happy to oblige as he took his time splashing water into his mouth as well as all over his face. Shutter speed will be important in this IF you want the drops to hang mid air. If you want the water to be a bit more streaky, drop the shutter speed.
Penalty shoot outs are kind of tricky. There are two major decisions you have to make: To shoot the goal keeper or to shoot the kicker. Nothing really happens until the very end and you have to plan it out accordingly as things happen rather quickly after the last kick. For me, I have already gotten a shot during the shootouts between Russia and Spain and I didn’t want to do the same thing for this match. Therefore I decided to concentrate on the goalkeeper. When the final goal went in for Croatia, there was pandemonium which was happening right in front of me. Instead of focusing on the winning team, I had my focus set on the goalkeeper, because I wanted to see the look on his face as everything fell apart right before his eyes. I have an affinity for losing and sadness and this is the type of images I generally go for in a situation like this.
Similar to the one above. But this time I wanted to tell the story from the victor’s side. I often use either a super tele photo or a super wide angle. Therefore in most instances, the very popular 70-200 sits in my yellow vest. But it all depends on how far and close the subject is. So if you are really far away, you can use the 70-200 to take a “wide” shot. But what I do try to avoid is the typical agency shot where the entire body is in the frame, because for some reason that’s what their boss wants. It’s also important that your photo tells a story or person looking at it can make one on his/her own without having a caption telling you what the story is.
England is at its best when they lose. And lose they did against Croatia and I stuck around after the match shooting England fans. It’s not easy to shoot people crying, because depending on the angle, the tears don’t look obvious. I shot these two for about 5 minutes and wanted to get a moment when it was clear that they were in an emotional state. If you want to get a shot like this, you have to be quite observant. Some people will ball their eyes out forever and some won’t.
Now a famous story (kind of) is that I got the accreditation to shoot the final in Moscow on the pitch, but instead I decided to go to Zagreb. There were couple of reasons. I didn’t think I was going to get the accreditation to shoot the final. I also wanted to shoot something different as I shot from the tribune in 2010, on the pitch in 2014, and I didn’t want to repeat myself. Then the final risk I took was that had Croatia won, it will be crazy in Zagreb. And I also like flares and flares are not allowed in world cup stadiums. Even though Croatia lost, I do not regret going there because no one else got the shots that I got and that is very rare when it comes to a very big event like the world cup. Pretty much every angle is covered physically and conceptually. Going there was fun and I hardly told anyone about it as it was the big secret for No Hands 2.
That’s it. You will be able to see all these photos on paper when you buy the No Hands 2 world cup book at nohands2.com.
Of course this is an advertisement. :)
Happy new year once again and let’s make BLFS great again in 2019.