Norwich Devils V Ipswich Cardinals

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Norwich Devils V Ipswich Cardinals

After 50+ days of sun and temperatures reaching over 30 degrees, the weather broke on game day and it felt more like late autumn than summer.  Strong winds and driving rain was going to be the theme of this game and have a big impact on it and my photography. This was and away game for the Devils and the weather was not going to make things any easier.

This was the first away game I had shot for the devils and it was a nice change of scenery.  It was good to see how another team hosted a game and made for a different setting for the match.  

The weather made its mark on this game.  Both teams struggled against the wind with kicks falling short or passes going long.  Despite the weather there were some good plays from each side.  The weather was a challenge for me too.  For a while the rain seemed to be intent on finding my lens and made for some soft images.  

The game was close and hard fought by both team but ultimately the Cardinals pulled away and won the game.   A disappointing end to the game for the Devils but, like always, they fought to the end and gave a great account of themselves.  Unlike the Devils I had to give up part way through the last quarter as my lens was so wet it was struggling to focus and was soaked seconds after trying to dry it.  

Although I didn't manage to shoot up until the final whistle, I still managed to get some great shot of the game.  Once again it was great to be out shooting with the Norwich Devils.

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Norwich Devils Vs Essex Spartans

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Norwich Devils Vs Essex Spartans

Another win for the Norwich Devils.  4 wins and 1 defeat in their first season back in the nation league.  Need I say any more?.....

Unfortunately, google has a preference for blogs with over 300 words so I will just have to write some more.  

This game was tense.  This game was close.  It was so close it would only take one mistake for either team to pull away on the scoreboard and win the game.  The hot weather was not helping and it was clearly a constant battle against fatigue. Each team lost yards to mistakes; emotion was running high on both teams and they were both hungry for this win.

In the last quarter the devils saw some brilliant action from their defence leading to the game turning their way.  Even so, there was only 3 points in it when the final whistle was blown.

I'm always amazed at how the teams keep up the pressure until the whistle is blown. A game you thought was won can suddenly turn.  A fumble, an intercept, a running back breaking free and leaving the defence behind can all turn a game around when things are this close.  Every second counts. Both offence and defensive teams keep pushing to get that final touchdown or give their offensive team a last touch of the ball.  With seconds left on the clock you can hear team members calling "It's not over, keep going, keep going" and the offensive team calling for the defence to get them the ball for one last play. This level of commitment and dedication is so motivational and worth aspiring to in everything we do.

Its not over until its over.

For me this game posed a couple of challenges.  Firstly, the strong and harsh light made for a difficult high contrast situation.  Balancing the image exposure was difficult with one side of a player in the dark and the other blown out and over exposed.  I did my best to manage this in camera and shot RAW to give me the best chance to find a better balance in post processing.  The second challenge was trying to find the ball.  I've shot the Norwich Devils enough now to know their team well and I have a good idea of who will have the ball.  The Essex Spartans, on the other hand, wore all black and I have never seen this team play.  The ball was not always obvious it and I found myself searching the field for it.

Once again, it was a great game, full of drama and edge of the seat swings in fortune.  I can't wait to see their next games and hope others will come along and support a local team showing amazing character on their return to the national stage.


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Marc & Lou's Wedding

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Marc & Lou's Wedding

There are a few moments which have a dramatic impact on our lives and, as a photographer, I always see it as an honour to be part of these moments.  Wedding days are one of these moments and I am so pleased to be trusted by Marc and Lou to document theirs.

Marc & Lou are a great couple.  We had a brilliant time on their wedding pre-shoot so it was wonderful to see them get married.  As with all weddings, the bridal party, grooms men and guests helped make the day memorable and it was great to be welcomed by Marc & Lou's family and friends.

The ceremony took place at the beautiful  St Mary's and St Margret's church.  When I arrived I was greeted by brilliantly played organ music and a church full of wonderful stained glass windows.  Despite the rain, there was no dampening down how happy everyone was to be there.


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Wedding ceremonies are always beautiful and full of emotion; wedding receptions are full of character and this reception was no different.  It was wonderful to see the guest relax and see how happy they were for Marc and Lou.

The reception took place at the gorgeous Norfolk Mead Hotel in Coltishall.  The team at the hotel put on another great reception and delicious wedding breakfast.  It was a shame the grounds were waterlogged but the inside of the venue made for some great photos and we made it out into the gardens for a few shots.

Time flew by quickly and, before I knew it, it was time for the final dance.  The day had been all about love.  Watching Marc and Lou have their first dance as a married couple you could truly see how much Marc and Lou loved each other.

I truly wish Lou and Marc all the best for the future.

I would like to also thank Steve Palmer, from A Memory Captured, for helping me throughout the day.  

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Devils Vs East Essex Sabres

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Devils Vs East Essex Sabres

I spend a lot of my time looking through a camera view finder.  It gives me a very constricted view, depending on the lens I am using.  When I shoot the devils I usually shoot using a long focal length with a very small field of view.  What you see in my photos is how I watch a devils game and finding the ball is like a "Where's Wally" book with all of the characters running around.  It isn't very often I want to put the camera down and just watch but this game was different.  The majority of the games I have watched had the devils winning with comfortable lead.  This game was different, the devils had to fight for every yard and the focus and desire to win, from both of the teams, was palpable.

Luckily, I didn't put the camera down.

For me, there is always a bigger story than just the game.  Every single game I attend leaves me impressed with the level of sportsmanship on display.  The teams spend hours battering each other on the field only to shake hands and then grab a photo of both teams together.  This game had another level of sportsmanship on show.  At the start of the game both teams, officials and support staff took a knee in the middle of the field for a minutes silence to remember a player from another team who recently passed away.  The Devils also took the time to add decal to their helmets as a sign of respect. The game was intense and a number of players were injured.  In another show of amazing sportsmanship the head coaches from each team went to their aid, irrespective of which team the injured player belonged to.  So many sports could learn from these American Football teams. 

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Meet the Devils

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Meet the Devils

The Norwich Devils have re-entered the National League off the back of hard work both on and off the pitch.  With the start of the new season the Devils received their new kit which was kindly sponsored by K Foley LimitedMacDonalds franchise owner.  The colours carry significant importance for the team.  The colours of the latest Devils kit are inspired by the kit worn when they won the Championship in 2002.  

So what better way to introduce the team to their new kit than holding a photo-shoot.  The images will be used in their team roster and on their social media.  The images are also there to help publicise K Foley Ltd sponsorship, so the MacDonald's Golden Arches are proudly worn and at the front of the image. The team is quite big so its taken some time to work through the images and I am pleased to be able to release the first set, head shots.

There are times, as a photographer, it is hard to get people to stand in front of a camera and look good.  I have to say this ins't an issue when working with the Norwich Devils.  Everyone was more than happy to step into the light and have their photo taken.  I hope I've done their enthusiasm justice in these shots.  Once again it was great to work with such a dedicated group of people who's passion for the sport is evident every time I meet them. 


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How I took the shots...

The shoot took place in a school sports hall.  Hopefully this isn't obvious from the images I have published.  It's always a challenge to get studio quality images when you are not in the studio. I set up three strobes; one on each side and a key light slightly above the subject and to their left.  The two lights to either side were contained in soft boxes with grids attached and the key light had a beauty dish attached, also with a grid.  

I set up around 6 meters from the wall and set my exposure for the strobes to try and crush the ambient light.  Unfortunately, the ambient light was brighter than I wanted and the background didn't drop off into black as cleanly as I had hoped.  Only one of my strobes has a high speed sync (HSS) option so I had to keep the shutter speed lower than I would have liked.  To get the final images I had to "fix it in post", not ideal but effective in this case.  Post processing in Photoshop made sure there was a clean background for the final images.

I chose to use the Canon 70-200mm F2.8 USM II lens as I was taking 6 shots per player; a head shot, half and a 3/4 length shot.  Three without a helmet, three wearing a helmet.  Having the focal range of 70 - 200mm allowed me to shoot from the same spot and not have to move for each shot.  The lens is also fantastically sharp and creates stunning shots.

I'm not the best Photoshop editor out there and find the process of selecting and masking a real pain, especially when you have 40+ images to work on.  Luckily the most recent release of Photoshop CC includes a feature called "Select Subject" which is accessible through the "Quick Selection Tool".  This sped the process up.  It did have an interesting effect on hair as the selection created a smooth line rather than trace hair perfectly.  After some failed attempts with the "refine edge" tool, I opted to create a darker layer of the portrait and blend in the edge of the hair and beards.  

I'm really pleased with how they have come out and I hope the team like them too.


Kit used

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