Cardiff, and when you ‘need to go’

Posted on January 25, 2012

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Sorry – no pictures today to go with the post, for those who are not familiar with rules here in England.. Football photography is very strictly regulated so I am not able to publish any of those images on my blog!!

Tuesday evening had be drive down to Cardiff for the Carling Cup Semi-Final between Cardiff and Crystal Palace. So, it was another evening of shooting the sport where people run around the field chasing a ball.. usually where far from where you are sitting and trying to take pictures of them. As you can probably guess, football (or soccer) isn’t one of my favourite sports to photograph – but in England it is quite hard to get away from it.

Normal procedure before the game at the Stadium – get your pass, photo-bip and meal voucher. Off to the rather stinky press-room – smelled like most of the photographers hadn’t washed their waterproofs for few weeks 😉 And when the air-con is warming the room.. not the freshest place to be. Short queue at the food-stall – today’s dinner Meat Pie and bottle of water, eat it quickly and then head pitch-side. Who should I follow – the tie is 1-0 to Crystal Palace.. go for the home team Cardiff and home they score.. or look for Palace to finish the tie?? I decide to go for Cardiff… but wait, the teams are swapping ends.. oh well – then I shall go for Crystal Palace.

After about 10 minutes.. yes, you guessed it – the goal was scored at the other end, never mind.. still plenty of game left to go and surely there will be more goals – WRONG! Another 110 minutes of football follows in the rain, and there aren’t even that many decent chances to score.. *sigh* I am wet, cold – and my memory card readers is playing up.. nice 🙂

OK – we go for penalty shoot out. Which basically means that the previous 120 minutes of photographs is useless.. no use.. might just as well not taken them. The story will be about the penalties.. am I on the right side, will they celebrate this way, shoot the goalie or the shooter?? What if the home team win – I better pack my stuff incase there is a pitch invasion.. and to top it all up I NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET!!

I manage to get couple of OK shots of the goalie celebrating a save or two.. when the home team wins.. they run to the opposite direction from me.. so I got lots of players backs.. there is a half-hearted pitch invasion, I grab my gear and walk across the pitch to the press-room and then rush to the toilet to ‘relieve’ myself.

Quick edit of photos – send them onwards, down to the parking lot, KFC meal.. and then two hour drive home. Once again the football shoot has been postponed – have been looking forward to it for weeks and now it’ll be at least another week before it can be done due to my weekend assignment in Spain..

NOW !! The question for those of you who might do sports photography (in bigger events). Sometimes it is not possible to move around after you have taken your place – not until the event is over. But what if you REALLY need to go to the toilet for ‘number 1 or 2’ – how do you cope with it. You can hardly whoop a bottle out and do your business in front of 30000 people, toilets are far away and stewards aren’t too happy to let you go through during the game.. Any thoughts, helpful hints.. all gladly received at this end of the screen.

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Posted in: Football, Photography