Photographers' Blog

Editing thousands of cricket pictures a day

Sports and Action photography is all about timing. It’s about reacting. It’s about being in the right place at the right time and it’s about execution.

India's Gautam Gambhir is bowled by Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera during their ICC Cricket World Cup final match in Mumbai April 2, 2011.                          REUTERS/Philip Brown

These are all qualities of the athlete and those of the photographer covering them as well. Each sport has predictable and unpredictable moments. For instance, in cricket, photographers will have opportunities to capture jump shots, players diving to make the crease, diving to take a catch, diving to field the ball, a bowler leaping in the air as he bowls, a batsman screaming in joy on reaching his century, etc. Understanding the timing of these predictable actions allows a photographer to capture the peak moment; when the action is most dramatic.

Before I start editing I always have a brief chat with the photographers about what could be the day’s great picture. The staff never fail to deliver and meet expectations. I briefed two photographers covering matches from the quarter-finals onwards not to forget to look for emotion in the players and the fans. A good number of the best shots come from the crowd. I received a bunch of nice pictures of the crowd from the final.

A fan of the Sri Lankan cricket team reacts as he watches the ICC Cricket World Cup final match between Sri Lanka and India on a big screen at Galle Face Green in Colombo April 2, 2011. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

While editing pictures from the semi-final match between arch rivals India and Pakistan, I thought I should leave the confines of our New Delhi desk and photograph the match in Mohali. The Mohali semi-final match had a few news angles attached to it. Firstly, India and Pakistan were playing each other after a long time; secondly the Indian Prime Minister and his Pakistan counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani were watching the match in the stands after the latter accepted an invite from Manmohan Singh to watch the match. It was a historic moment where one could see the prime ministers of two nuclear-armed countries sitting side-by-side enjoying the game. But in the end, I am glad I edited their pictures.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (L) and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wave before the  World Cup cricket second semi-final between India and Pakistan in Mohali, India March 30, 2011.   REUTERS/Daniel Berehulak/POOL

It was difficult to juggle everything during the India-Pakistan semi-finals because sport was mixed up with politics. One of the two photographers covering the match called an hour before the match saying Getty Images would pool the pix of Indian and Pakistan Prime Ministers meeting with players of both countries on the field. I called my manager in Singapore to convey the message to him.

Clash of two cricketing titans

The second quarter-final of the cricket world cup was a clash between two huge teams. India, the world’s no. 1 team with its power batting lineup. Australia, three-time world champions who have reigned supreme over the game for 12 years. Whoever won, it would be a huge story. Whoever lost, it would be a huge story.

Police officers control a crowd of spectators outside Sardar Patel Stadium ahead of the Cricket World Cup 2011 quarter-final match between India and Australia, in Ahmedabad March 24, 2011.        REUTERS/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

We headed to the stadium at around 10am, well before the 2.30pm start. Traffic was backed up a long way. There was only one road leading to it and we weren’t sure if it was fans waving flags and blowing horns, buses and four wheel drives, scooters or the cops that were in charge. Fellow photographer Andrew Caballero-Reynolds got nervous because on his last 3 trips to stadiums, the vehicle he’s been in has blown a tire. Lucky we made it in one piece. There were thousands of fans queuing in the searing heat to get into the ground, watched over by the usual stick-wielding police in khaki suits.

I installed a remote camera high on a TV tower above the stands, hooked up by usb cable to a laptop, both powered by a 25m extension cord we rented for 150 rupees (about 4 dollars) from a local shop that usually rents them out for weddings. The remote would capture the action from a different angle and would fire whenever I wanted it to from my field side position. I had the laptop running on a data card so the pictures would automatically be downloaded and transmitted to our editing system live, so that we didn’t have to wait for the break inbetween innings to get the disk and edit pictures. It was going to provide some great pictures from the match.

Cricket snippets

We’re into March, and the ICC Cricket World Cup is well under way. Just 32 more days to go (yes, thirty-two!) until the tournament comes to a close with a final showdown in Mumbai on April 2.

Reuters’ lean mean team of photographers have fanned out across three countries in the subcontinent – India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka – as we get stuck into covering the first round of the tournament. Photographers Adnan Abidi, Andrew Biraj, Amit Dave, Andrew Caballero-Reynolds, Dinuka Liyanawatte, Rupak De Chowdhury, Danish Siddiqui and myself have started crisscrossing our territories. Philip Brown, who is on an “embed” with the English cricket team, has already covered two cities. Altaf Bhat in New Delhi is anchoring the operation as the main editor for the tournament with me lending a hand on days when I’m not on the move, shooting training or covering a match.

Covering cricket in the subcontinent is not as straightforward as one might think – for one thing, we’re worried about tight travel schedules and the possibility of flight delays – which thankfully haven’t happened yet.

2011 Cricket World Cup: Let’s play

People stand in queue to buy tickets for the cricket World Cup in Dhaka January 2, 2011. REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

As the cricket World Cup draws closer, the pulse rate of the players and their fans from the 14 participating nations is surely rising.

The build up to the quadrennial event, the equivalent of the FIFA soccer world cup, has been nothing short of spectacular. Despite the game grappling with a spot-fixing saga and an under-prepared Eden Gardens stadium in Kolkata losing the hosts a marquee match against England, the enthusiasm of having a “good game” seems to have taken over. Like the previous editions, the 10th ICC world cup will also see some of the great cricketers saying “Goodbye” to the gentleman’s game and all of them would want to lay their hands on the coveted trophy.

Fans will be seeing Ricky Ponting, Muthaiah Muralitharan, Sachin Tendulkar and probably Jacques Kallis for the last time at a world cup but it will be Sachin, who will want to etch his name on the winners’ trophy more than anyone else. The master blaster has achieved almost everything that is there to achieve in the game of cricket but the world cup has remained elusive.

Before a ball is bowled

Reuters Photographer Parivartan Sharma takes us to the town of Meerut, north of Delhi, where cricket balls are still being made the old-fashioned way – by hand. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup starting on February 19.

The Making Of A Cricket Ball – Cricket World Cup Preview from Vivek Prakash on Vimeo.

No turning back as Africa’s hour arrives

A local child carries a ball while playing soccer at a dirt field in Soweto, Johannesburg June 7, 2010. The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup kicks off on June 11.          REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The 2010 World Cup has been a memorable and momentous occasion not only for me, but for South Africa, the African continent and the rest of the world.

It has indeed been incredible. It has been a unifying factor, with people beginning to appreciate the importance of their national symbols such as flags.

Ghana's Samuel Inkoom runs with the South African flag after the team's victory over the United States in a 2010 World Cup second round match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 26, 2010.        REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

As a photographer for an institution such as Reuters, one can say that I have been privileged to be a part of this historic occasion. It was indeed a privilege to be among hordes of international media covering the event. I was here during the Confederations Cup, but the feeling of covering the World Cup is enormous – it is part of history.

How a simple tentacle became a media star

Sometimes I hold seminars about journalism – photo journalism in particular of course. Most of the time I start talking about the journalistic rule number one.

What is rule number one? Journalism works very simply. When a dog bites a man – this is not a story. Dogs bite men. Unless the man is Prince Charles or the President of the United States, nobody is interested. But the opposite case – when a man bites a dog – that’s a story. The story will be even bigger if the man who bites the dog is the U.S. President and the dog belongs to Prince Charles.

However, in the future I must change my seminars and change the picture from the dog to the octopus “Paul” — better known as the “octopus oracle” at the Sea Life Aquarium of Oberhausen, a former coal mining and steel producing city in western Germany.

from UK News:

Best of Britain: Fakes and spills

This week's Best of Britain brings us everything from highs and lows to fakes and spills.

Prince Harry falls off his horse as he plays polo in the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor's Island in New York, June 27, 2010.   REUTERS/Stephen Lovekin/Pool

Prince Harry falls off his horse as he plays polo in the Veuve Clicquot Manhattan Polo Classic on Governor's Island in New York, June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Stephen Lovekin/Pool

BRITAIN

Samantha Cameron poses with waxwork of her husband, Prime Minister David Cameron, at Madame Tussauds in London, July 1, 2010.  REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Samurais in South Africa

I arrived in South Africa with the Japan team filled with excitement and an acute feeling of anxiety. Never mind that I would be on the scene to cover the world’s biggest sporting event, and never mind that I would be competing against the top sports photographers from around the globe to get the best pictures. For a Reuters photographer like myself dedicated to a single team, when your team drops out of the competition, you’re finished. Like the defeated team, you go back to the hotel, pack your bags and spend the long flight home wondering what went wrong. Based on Japan’s lackluster showing in the East Asia Soccer Championship my expectation for Japan was three defeats in a row and no victories. Mine would be a short stay in South Africa.

A Japanese boy living in South Africa reacts as he watches Japan's national soccer team depart from South Africa at O.R. Tambo airport in Johannesburg June 30, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

But during Japan’s first match against Cameroon the Samurai Blue seemed to transform themselves in front of my eyes with Keisuke Honda’s goal being the catalyst. Japan was defeated by the Netherlands in their second match but the Samurais demonstrated the unity of the team in their performance and they were victorious against Denmark in their third match. In doing so they completely wiped out the image that I held of the Japan team before going into the competition. I was covering the world’s biggest sporting event, and I was going up against the top sports photographers, but in this World Cup Japan’s victory meant that the formidable teams of France and Italy and the even more formidable photographers accompanying them were going home. Not me.

Japan's Shinji Okazaki hugs Keisuke Honda (18) as they celebrate their victory against Denmark after their 2010 World Cup Group E soccer match at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 24, 2010. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

On June 29, 2010, Japan faced Paraguay in World Cup match 55. Even after extra time the game remained scoreless and a penalty shoot-out would determine the outcome. I moved into position according to the instructions of Chief Photographer UK and Ireland Dylan Martinez, the leader of the Reuters photographers for this match.

Looking ahead to England vs Germany

Photographers Dylan Martinez and Kai Pfaffenbach discuss what they expect from Sunday’s World Cup match between England and Germany.