David Ashdown's sports picture diary: England v Kazakhstan

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The Independent Football

David Ashdown was at Wembley for the England v Kazakhstan World Cup Qualifier where he was reminded of the constraints of working for a newspaper.

I was at Wembley for the England v Kazakhstan World Cup Qualifier and while you may think that football is easy to photograph - the answer to that is both yes and no.

The match started at 5.15pm, which was not ideal as the first edition of the Independent-on-Sunday normally goes just after 6.30pm, a time when the match was still going on. Therefore the first edition was held back until 7.30pm, which means sending as many pictures as possible at half time, and hopefully some goals.

Unfortunately England failed to break the deadlock in the first half - and then went and scored five in the second! This meant having to try and send pictures while the second half was still in full flow. It was rather difficult as it meant doing two things at once - looking at the computer to send some pictures while keeping an eye on what was happening in the match. Having eyes like a chameleon and four arms would be very useful!

What any photographer wants to do is just concentrate of taking pictures, and put all one's effort into that, and then take some time to edit the pictures afterwards. Still that's newspapers are all about - time - or the lack of it!

When covering football matches I try and sit away from the main news agencies - what's the point in getting the same picture as they do? All football grounds are different - at some you can only sit by the goals while at others you can sit down the side as well, which is the case at Wembley. I decided to sit just past the eighteen yard box on the opposite side to the dugouts. It was the end England were attacking and I also had a clear view of the other end. Sitting opposite the managers also means I have an excellent view if they start to leap about if it all starts to go wrong.

In this picture Theo Walcott has gone round the Kazakhstan defender, the goal is in the background, and it gives the feel that one more turn and he is heading for it. It was taken on a Nikon D3 at 1/800 second with a 70mm-200mm F2.8 lens at F4.5 at 200mm. I was using two cameras - one with the zoom, the other with a 500mm lens, good for taking pictured of the other end and the far side of the field etc.

The pictures most often used by newspapers are of the main incidents from the game and not pictures like this, but I will always try and cover as much as I can, and sit where I can best do that. Thank goodness not all matches start at 5.15, meaning I leave the computer alone until the action is over.

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