May 4th, a day I have been waiting for for nearly a year. Today means that I get to go to Twickenham and hang out with 80,000 or so rugby loving military friends and family, while doing a job I love. What could be better? I meet the rest of the official Army vs Navy...
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It is a year since the Commonwealth Games in Australia. It was an incredible experience to see so many athletes prepare and compete for their dreams while I achieved one of mine. I thought it would be cool to reflect on the photographs that captured my favorite moments from the event.
Left to right, from top left.
And go… It was the first event of the games. There were several different positions I could take pictures from, I had to choose four making sure I wouldn’t disrupt the event or take out any athletes when moving from place to place. There was bright Broadwater sunshine as we positioned ourselves on the jetty for the Men’s start. A minute before the whistle the heavens opened. Thankfully (unlike a lot of the seasoned professionals) I had a mac tied round my waist. I threw it over a handful of us but we were still soaked in seconds. A clap of thunder ended the downpour just as the athletes dived in. This dramatic change in weather made for incredible light. This photograph features Tom Bishop who placed 19th.
Gymnastics. It was a dark venue, lots of different things going on. Getty had the best positions locked down but being 5’2″ is sometimes an advantage when you chat and those around you are happy for their lenses to go straight over your head. Like many of the sports I was new to photographing Gymnastics and trying to work out angles was all important. I experimented a little trying to see if I could get something different and learnt a lot in the process. The first images is Latalia Bevan of Wales on the Uneven Bars. The second image is of Rhys McClenaghan as he took a breath before his Gold-winning Pommel Horse performance. I will never forget how overwhelmed he was.
Micky Yule. There is nothing quite like being in an auditorium that quietly and patiently waits for each competitor to take the stage in turn. That sense of anticipation. Will that attempt will result in success? When Micky sat up and screamed down the lens in the most guttural way it really moved me. I was lucky enough to meet Micky a few weeks later and ask him about the roar, which was born of utter frustration. I also heard his truly inspirational story – www.mickyyule.com
Water, baby. I love swimming and was massively excited for this fast paced medal-tastic evening. I enjoy swimming as a participant and spectator, all of a sudden I was photographing some of my idols. The photo shows Chloe Tutton bossing breaststroke for a Bronze. It was interesting for another reason as I sat on the photography bleachers with blind photographer Andrew Follows and his guide dog Leo (who was gorgeous to be around).
Baller. Netball is so rapid and it really surprised me. The last time I played I remember a lot of standing around and not moving too fast in case you fell over on the gravel court. The first thing you learn when you are looking to take photos at an event such as the Commonwealth Games is the branding placement is important and I like this picture simply because of the way the ball bounced, and how they are striving to reach it. I can’t wait for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool this coming summer.
Sliding doors It was day nine of super early starts with late late nights. It was the first afternoon where I was scheduled some time off. A nap by the glistening Gold Coast shoreline was calling but so was my only chance to witness the likes of Dina Asher-Smith and Katarina Johnson-Thompson compete. Even though the desire to wiggle my toes in the sand was strong, Athletics won and I am so glad it did.
Left: Heptathlete Holly McArthur who was 18 at the time of competing for Scotland. Centre: Zharnel Hughes going across the line in the 200m Men’s Final – he was subsequently disqualified during his victory lap for arm jostling. Right: Usain Bolt before presenting medals for the 200m Women’s Final.
Process & Patience. I am fascinated by mindset, and how athletes retain composure during competition. This photographs features Tom Daley and Daniel Goodfellow as they wait to climb the final flight of stairs before dive four of the Men’s Synchronised 10m Platform Final, an event in which they won Gold. Tom was very gracious with his time afterwards, and because of that I have a great photo of him looking straight at me while holding his medal. But to me, the image here has something else and I love the feel more.
The rules are the rules. Beach Volleyball is so much fun, and a sport where there is a bit of too and fro between the officials and players, a definite cauldron-like feel. This photograph was taken during a Semi Final match as the sun was setting at Coolangatta Beachfront and features brothers Ben O’Dea and Sam O’Dea. I am looking forward to photographing Beach Volleyball again at some point and learning the rules! Find the game info here.
Rugby Sevens. The sevens took place over the last weekend of the games, and although I will be forever gutted that I wasn’t at the netball to witness the Roses epic win, Rugby Sevens felt like a homecoming for me. I had decanted from my hotel to my best friend’s house round the corner from Robina Stadium and I was around a sport I know inside out with some familiar faces. The stadium was buzzing. Both England teams took home a bronze and it was a perfect end to my Commonwealth Games experience.
Thanks for reading.
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