January 17, 2012

The Ashes

Ashes emotion: jubilant England, dejected Australia

Hamish Blair
 © Getty Images
Enlarge

It's been too long since my last blog - not as much cricket in my working life for a while - but I'm back again.

For my first blog in a long time, I've picked a photo from the end of the 2010-11 Ashes. As an Aussie photographer, particularly during the final Ashes Test in Sydney, I had a lot of time to think about the fact that Andrew Strauss and the England team would, during the post-series presentation, be celebrating on the podium as the Australians looked on.

I wanted to try and sum that up in one photo. Video, as opposed to a still photo, can change focus or pan from one subject to another to show two different subjects over a few seconds of footage. There is always the opportunity to show winners and losers in two separate photos, but I was hoping for one photo that told the whole story.

Normally, for these presentations, the standard position to shoot from is head on, looking straight at the winning team to capture the celebrations straight down the barrel of the lens. The losing team normally stands to one side. I was fortunate as I had a few Getty Images colleagues with me, a couple of them were shooting the 'straight' shot, giving me the freedom to try something different.

My first thought was a photo that had England celebrating, with some glum Aussie cricketers' faces looking on. I quickly went off this idea. To see Aussie faces, it would mean looking across the England players, with the Aussies in the background. Because of the distance between the teams, focussing on England would mean the Aussies would be a long way out of focus in the background, and not recognisable. Focussing on the Aussies would most likely leave the England team a blurry mess in the foreground.

The baggy green is an iconic symbol of the Australian team, so I thought if I shot from behind them, looking across to England, that even if they were a little out of focus, the players in the baggy greens would clearly be the Aussie team. I also figured, given the England players would be celebrating, arms in the air and cheering, and the Aussies would be standing and just watching, even from behind, that there would be enough contrast between the teams to tell the story.

Of course, all this planning is great in theory, but until the teams are out there and in position, I couldn't be sure of all the angles and distances to see if it would work. As the presentations started, the first problem I came across was that the platform the England players were going to be on wasn't very high. I was going to be completely blocked by the Aussie heads. Luckily there was a drinks cooler on the field near by, so I grabbed that and dragged it over to stand on and get a slightly higher angle.

The other issue was that the Aussie players weren't standing still. I wanted a few baggy greens to look across from, so it required a bit of fine-tuning of my drinks-cooler position as they moved about. As the actual presentation took place some officials on the field moved right into the way, but luckily, after a yelped plea from me, they moved to one side and I was able to shoot my picture.

This was shot on a Canon 1D Mark IV with a 2.8, 70-200mm lens. The shutter speed was 1/800th of a second at an aperture of f5.6. I closed the aperture a little in order to prevent the Aussies in the foreground from being too far out of focus.

RELATED LINKS

Hamish Blair is a Melbourne-based photographer for Getty Images

RSS Feeds: Hamish Blair

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by PH on (May 5, 2012, 8:30 GMT)

this is a beautiful shot..bt as an aussie fan it summed up how we all felt at that moment...even nw aftr a gr8 summer full of gr8 victories this never fails to hurt!!! bt the picture nd the description is lovely!!!

Posted by S.Nandakumar on (May 2, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

I feel the pic would have been even better if the Aussies were looking down.This would have added more drama to the scene and clearly depicted the feeling of defeat among the Aussies. Great to see you back. Hoping for more !

Posted by faraz on (April 27, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

Totally loved each and every post of yours. Everytime I watch a match now, I would be thinking of how the players would be photographed and all that stuff. Your thinking is amazing, and it really shows in your work. Also, the fact that you share technical knowhow, hats off to you man. You are one amazing photographer, MATE!

Posted by siBzz on (January 21, 2012, 6:43 GMT)

Love this shot. This picture conveys what both teams were feeling very accurately.

Comments have now been closed for this article

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hamish Blair
Hamish Blair is a Melbourne-based Australian photographer who works for Getty Images. He covered his first Test match in 1996 and has spent a good deal of his career since following the Australian cricket team around the world. He has photographed over 100 Tests in the 13 years he has been shooting cricket.

All articles by this writer