David Ashdown's Sports Picture Diary: Charity auction football match

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The Independent Online

It was raining again! I seem to be cursed. During the sporting events I have covered over the last three weekends it has rained horribly, and this weekend was by far the worst.

I was trying to take pictures in East Molesey near Hampton Court of the Hook Venturers Veterans v Rocks Lane football match, why you may ask? Every Christmas The Independent hold a charity auction where the readers bid for our expertise, the winning bid for lot 17 was for a published match report and I went along so there was a picture to illustrate the event. Now getting back to using one's expertise!

The conditions were so bad - it was not just the wind and rain but there was also very little light to work with. It can be hard to work at a Premier League ground when it rains but one can sit down and the stands afford some protection plus they have flood lights. The reverse was the case at East Molesey yesterday. I was trying to use two Nikon D3 cameras, one with a 300mm F2.8 lens and the other with a 70mm-200mm zoom lens, plus I had a bag with a small zoom in it, and an umbrella. I had a waterproof cover over the 300mm lens and while it may keep it dry, it makes it hard to use quickly. And thank goodness for auto focus as I couldn't see anything clearly through the view finder due to the water.

I gave up with the long lens midway through the first half. I found a dry spot under an old rotting cricket side screen to leave it wrapped up (Ah Cricket - now there's a thought - warmth, sunshine and they don't play in the rain! A truly sensible sport!)

One of the good things about an event like this is that no one cares about where you go or what you do. As the rain hammered down relentlessly I thought why not try and do something a bit different - after all when will I do a match like this again!

The netting on the goals was quite wide so I was able to poke a lens through it, the picture above was taken on a Nikon D3 camera at 1/400 second with a 24mm-700mm F2.8 zoom lens set at 24mm with an aperture of F3.5. I was holding the camera with one hand and the umbrella with the other - not a good idea. It got caught in the net, then it turned inside out - it must have looked very funny - if they ever make the film 'Carry On Snapping' I'm their man! But it did make for an interesting picture and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

I would like to say it makes my job much more satisfying to get a nice picture in adverse conditions, but give me a bit of sun and no rain any day, although I wouldn't have so much to write about.

Must check the weather forecast for next weekend - you never know, the sun might shine!

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