On the Thursday before England's trip to Cardiff I was in Swansea for a preview feature on Roberto Martinez, the manager of Swansea, whose team played Fulham in the FA Cup on Saturday.
You may ask what this has to do with the rugby in Cardiff. Well, not a lot, except geographically it worked out well.
It allowed me to go to the England and Wales training sessions at the Millennium Stadium on Friday, but for the media it's a complete misnomer - we only get ten minutes of it, one at 10 am the other at 2 pm. The photographers only get to see the warm up - maybe they think if we stay too long we might capture some secret game plan they're plotting. The ridiculous thing is there is nothing they could do that would show up in a still picture - I think it's simply that they don't like the media being there at all.
The Millennium stadium from a photographer's perspective is the complete opposite of Twickenham. At England's home of rugby the photographers are permitted to go all round the pitch, while every time I go to Cardiff there seems to be some new restriction about where we can and can't go.
Photographers have to sit in pre-designated positions. There is also a TV camera that runs all the way up and down one side of the pitch in front of the advertising boards. If (as we used to be allowed to do) we sat the other side of the boards we're told it would be a health and safety issue.
Twickenham also has a moving TV camera - but there are no health and safety problems there!
I think it's just an excuse to put us photographers at the ends of the pitch behind the posts. I don't mean to sound like a moaner (all photographers moan), but the more we are restricted as to where we can go, the more the pictures will suffer. You would think the people in charge at the Millennium Stadium would want the best picture coverage possible.
Anyway, onto my proper job. I was using two Nikon D3 cameras - one with a 500mm F4.0 lens the other with a 70mm-200mm zoom. This picture of Steven Jones was at 1/640 second at F4.0 on the 500mm lens. I like it because the picture could be used on the day of the match, while it would also be perfect if we did a feature on Jones in the future (which we might well do if Wales keep winning).
If Wales are pushing for the Grand Slam I'll be back in Cardiff for the last match of the Six Nations against Ireland. I just wonder where they will let us go!Reuse content