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Technical

Canon and UEFA EURO 2012TM

June 2012

This is the first chance I’ve had to shoot properly with the EOS-1D X and I’ve got to say I’m blown away by it. In terms of quality it is absolutely amazing. It feels fantastic, looks brilliant and the LCD screen is clear and sharp, with amazing detail. In fact, it’s probably the best camera I have ever used. Can you tell I want one?

I was at the [EURO 2012] quarter-final match between England and Italy, perhaps the most important game of the whole tournament for us. A lot was riding on it, not only on the [England] players to do the job and get through to the semi-finals, but also on the photographers to deliver images that would make front page news. As it turned out, it was quite a boring match, with England not exactly shining against the Italians. This made it hard work for us, as the Italians ended up with much of the possession.

Working for The Times, naturally enough I wanted to get shots of England on the attack. But, because they only had about 30% possession of the ball, most of the action was down the other end of the pitch from where I was positioned. I shot much of the 90 minutes on the EF400mm f/2.8L IS USM [lens] and relied on my ‘wire-man’ back in London to crop the images to suit. The full-frame sensor on the EOS-1D X is fantastic and you can crop quite aggressively into a picture and still come out with a really good quality image. It gave me lots of confidence in the camera – I just left it on JPEG and shot at its default settings. When I get to know it a bit better I will customise it to my tastes using the Custom Functions, but because I had no time to get to know it properly… I placed my faith in Canon!

I did a lot of running during this game, especially when it came to extra time. For the first 90 minutes I had my ‘spot’ all sorted with bag, lens case (upturned it doubles up as a seat) and laptop set up to transmit images while I was shooting. But then we went into extra time and all hell broke loose as about 80 photographers all rushed down to the goal. I left all my kit, grabbed just the camera, monopod and 400mm lens and ran down the other end of the pitch to shoot England in the first 15 minutes. Then, when the whistle blew, I ran back up to the other end for when they changed ends for the second half. It’s one way to get fit I suppose!

All the critical pictures happened at the end of the game, so I got really busy in the last 10 minutes when it finally went to penalties. I was absolutely exhausted by then. And to be honest, I was worn out anyway after all the travelling I’ve been doing going from one country to another. The whole trip has been unbelievable. It’s been great, but very demanding. After the match had finally finished I still didn’t get to bed until 5:30am…

When Italy was taking the penalties I was focusing on the [England] goalkeeper [Joe Hart], and when England were shooting I was trying to capture the players’ faces. Some of the players are more expressive than others – [England captain] Steven Gerrard is always great for pictures as he wears his emotions all over his face.

In terms of workflow, I shoot and drop the unedited images into a virtual dropbox on the laptop, positioned pitch-side next to all my gear. I then send them back in batches to a ‘wire-man’ in London who then crops and tidies them up in Photoshop before adding captions and then submitting to the picture desk. As photographers we have no time during a match to perform all those duties, so it’s a two-man effort with us at the side of the pitch shooting, and a man back at base dealing with the deluge of images that come in!

As the game is going on I’m taking [memory] cards in and out, dropping them into the computer and sending them back while I’m shooting. Speed is critical in this business, and the camera is the vital link in the chain. Now that I’ve had a taste of the EOS-1D X, and seen how fast it is at focusing and shooting big bursts, I’m going to have to get one.

Biography: Bradley Ormesher

Bradley Ormesher

Bradley Ormesher is a staff sports photographer for The Times newspaper. Born and bred in Southport, England, 49-year-old Bradley studied photography at Southport College of Art before he started working with his father, Harry Ormesher, a famous fashion photographer, in his studio. He then freelanced for the Daily Express and Sunday People newspapers in Manchester. He later joined Today newspaper and worked there for 10 years before joining the Daily Mirror in 1995. Bradley is the only two-time winner of the Barclays Photographer of the Season award for his coverage of the English Barclays Premier League. In April 2012 he was shortlisted as one of only 10 photographers in the Barclays Photographer of the 20 seasons Award.





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