David Ashdown's Sports Picture Diary: England v Italy

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The Independent Online

It's that time of the year again! Six Nations rugby and England's first match is at Twickenham against Italy, a nice easy one for them to start off with, as in they should win with ease.

I have a pass that allows me to move up and down the east side of the pitch behind the advertising boards. I always position myself at the end that England will be attacking, in the hope that they will! Sadly that has not always been the cast lately.

I have to take my computer with me so that I can send my first half picture at half time. We have a photographers room at the south end of the ground but getting in and out from the pitch during the break takes to long that I tend to sit on my lens case and send them from there.

I was using two Nikon D3 cameras with a 500mm F4.0 lens and a 70-200mm F2.8 zoom lens. Most of the pictures will come from the 500mm lens. I only use the zoom when the play is very close, as in a try near the corner. Anything over about twenty-five meters away and it has to be the big lens.

Sometimes one can get caught out if there is a sudden change of direction in the play coming up to the try line. The players are getting bigger and bigger in the view finder, and with no time to put down the 500mm and pick up the zoom I could end up with nothing.

This picture of Harry Ellis scoring his second try is a good example. It was taken at 1/640 second at F4.0 with the 500mm. It's almost full frame; the bottom of Andrea Masi's legs are cut off as the run of play was very quick. One second the players are small in the view finder, the next they're almost at the try line. I stuck with the 500mm as I had no time to do anything else - better to have as much of the players as possible than nothing at all!

It was my best picture of the day and England won but it didn't get in the paper because they played so badly. They won because Italy were worse and that's what the pictures in newspapers must reflect - but it can be frustrating at times.

Next weekend it's off to Cardiff. If England score try's like this and win, I can be quite sure that any pictures like this will make it into print!

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