June 27, 2001

Through the Lens - the one-day wonders

Paul McGregor

One-day cricket is the best!

Henry Olonga
Zimbabwe - will brighten the occasion
Photo CricInfo

Well, before complaints come flooding in or wiser voices point out the error of the above statement, let me say that from a photographer's angle, pardon the pun, one-day cricket played in coloured clothing and under lights is the best. Why?

Some of the answers are obvious. Cricket is normally played in whites, so the appearance of coloured uniforms gives the photographer something else to capture. The vivid yellow of the Australians against the rich red of the Zimbabweans is an extra challenge. Colours bring an added dimension to the coverage. And there is revenue generation for the photographer. One-day uniforms often change, sometimes subtly, sometimes less so, and with the constant demand for up-to-date quality images, there is no shortage of work for the lensman.

Photographing the one-day game played in colours requires the photographer to make adjustments to obtain the "correct" exposure. Slight over-exposure is normally used when photographing cricketers in whites, to combat the effect of glare from the clothing. But with coloured clothing, for example the rich green of Pakistan, the photographer may under-expose, to reduce the risk of misleading exposure readings. In both cases the photographer must cater for the effect of light on the players' clothing.

Photography under lights can also produce spectacular results, providing opportunities that simply don't exist by day. The image you see here of Trent Bridge, Nottingham, taken at the recent lively encounter between Pakistan and Australia in the NatWest series, shows the ground bathed in the fading light of day, while the increasing influence of the eight floodlights creates a remarkable effect.

Trent Bridge
Trent Bridge under lights
Photo CricInfo

The aim was to show the ground under lights, but without creating silhouettes of the players, or making the picture so dark that it is difficult to spot the stands. An image taken about 30 minutes later would not have shown such a spectacular sky, but would have drawn a more dramatic contrast between the artificial lights and the darkening night.

Exposing for images in low light is not always easy, and care must be taken in judging exactly what you want the end result to be before releasing the shutter.

Test cricket sorts out the cricket lovers amongst the photographic fraternity from those who just turn up to do the job. Most sports photographers aren't keen on the longer version of the game, and see the one-day bash as tolerable at a time when there is no football to photograph. For those of us who love cricket in all its forms, the limited-overs version is another opportunity to show how much the game has to offer.