David Ashdown's Sports Picture Diary: England v New Zealand

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The Independent Online

I was at Twickenham and it was raining yet again! The last four weekends have been almost unbelievable - wet wet wet! But I must not dwell on it too much, it just makes my job that much harder to do. And it was certainly hard for the England rugby team - yet another defeat.

Normally when I go to Twickenham I will position myself near the try line that England will be attacking, which this time was the north end. My thinking was that England's best half would be the first, and New Zealand would be much stronger in the second, so I would be able to stay at the north end for the duration of the match.

As I had a running pass on the west side I was able to move up and down the pitch, trying to keep up with the play. All I left at the north end was my seat and computer, tucked in under the advertising boards away from the rain. I had to try and send some pictures at half time - not easy in the rain, sitting on my lens case with a cover over my head trying to protect the computer. It must have looked very funny hunched up and headless, but its not very amusing from my point of view I can tell you - but needs must!

I was using two Nikon D3 cameras, one with a 500mm F4.0 lens and the other with a 70mm-200mm F2.8 zoom. The Nikon D3 camera has three ways to set the exposure - the shutter, the lens and the sensitivity of the CCD chip that records the image. If I had been using a film camera I would have been using the ISO rating, which is still used so that one has a guide to work with. On the cameras before the D3, the higher the IOS the worse the quality of the picture. Since the launch of the D3 this is no longer an issue as the camera has a variable IOS setting. I set the shutter speed at 1/640 second on both cameras, and the lenses were wide open. Therefore the IOS can go from 800 to 5000 depending on what part of the pitch the play is in. This means the exposure will always be correct.

This picture of Ma'a Nonu scoring a try was taken with the 500mm lens. He ran half the length of the pitch so I was able to follow him all the way. It's not the conventional angle for a try picture as you can't see his face. But with the flying ribbons in his hair and the ball about to hit the ground it works for me.

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