The measure of a man


My favourite photograph of me and Dad. It was also his favourite as well.

My favourite photograph of me and Dad. It was also his favourite as well.

Back around early 2010 I said to myself one day ‘I need to do something with my life’ and that something has to make me happy. For some unexplained reason at the time when I picked up a camera and fired a few frames with it for the very first time in years, it felt like I had been pulled out of the dark murky waters I was sinking into with my life and going know where. The first few conversations I had with my Dad that it was photography I wanted to pursue, my Dad’s reaction at the time was not all inspiring to quote “just stick to computers!”, after telling my Dad as a kid that I wanted to be a Ghostbuster to a Manchester United striker to Bill Gates he took my statement of ‘being a photographer’ brushed it under the carpet, of course in his eyes I was just going through a faze of ‘finding myself’

First contact

You see my Dad was a construction worker as well as a computer geek like me. However, he was an amazing photographer and even went to a photography school. He told me his photography started when he was a young solider in the Army serving under the ‘Royal Green Jackets’ regermint (today named as the Green Jackets) where he was stationed in Germany, Saudi Arabia and served in Northern Ireland. However, whilst in Saudi Arabia he started photographing marine fish in the Red Sea. The earliest memory I have of my Dad was when we as a family went to air shows in Duxford and watching him use his Cannon SLR and a series of roll films, at this time I was about 10 years old. He would (with a watchful eye) let me use his Cannon and I would go off snapping away not knowing at that age what I captured. A few days after the air shows, my Dad and I went to a local camera store to get the rolls of film developed.

I still remember him saying to me often in that store, “look at the pictures in the books and don’t wonder off”. Thanks to my Dad this would be my first couple of times going through photographs in book, knocking over tripods and holding many different old cameras with again a watchful eye from the store staff. When my Dad collected the developed film, he would ask me to give him a hand in constructing a large screen in the living room where a projector would be placed to show what my Dad captured, and one of those first moments I was star struck by photography. My Dad would even point out my photographs, mostly of my own shadow, my tiny feet, flair from the Sun and if I was lucky an actual air craft for which my Dad would point out with pride “see you got one”.

Many years later around 2010, photography especially sports, was more of an attraction then fixing computers. So when it looked like I was more interested in photography then computers, Dad would on occasion would be a little encouraging with me using a camera, but still wanting me to stick with computers as he thought it would be a safe bet then changing careers and leaving the safe-bet world of computer engineering. However, that safe-bet theory would go out of the window with the recession hitting our families hard. So when the first spark of passion for photography came into the fold I bought my first camera and lens and started out with landscapes, as most of us do. My Dad eventually noticed me having more fun and experimenting with a cameras that he could not help himself but be involved and encouraging me to keep capturing and study pictures in photography books and how the natural & artificial light reacts to your subjects. Although both fully knowing that this was at the time just a small hobby to start off with, I got strong impression that my Dad was…preparing me for something big.

Awaking the sleeping giant
During a number of career rough patches my Dad during those dark times I was in with finding work, being broke and in a state of depression, my Dad gave me encouragement and positivity not matter how hard a rejection was to come for me. However, in 2011, I asked myself ‘who do I want to be’ and ‘what makes me happy’ it soon came to me just by holding a camera and taking a few photos that ignited a bright spark of passion only by the ‘enjoyment’ of taking pictures that I knew what I wanted to do. My Dad took notice that I was spending all my weekends at my local part (Stockley Park) covering amateur football for hours. Despite him still saying that computers were a safe bet to stick with as a career, he would still show more encouragement when I held a camera and captured in ‘his eyes’ some great shots, all thanks to him for teaching me it at an early age. It just took a very long time to awake the sleeping giant.

One of many trips to the country side where my Dad would teach me how to photograph landscapes

One of many trips to the country side where my Dad would teach me how to photograph landscapes

From the first kick to the last:
From the very first game I covered to the last he saw me cover, my Dad was my ‘chief photo editor’. He would critique my work the day after every game and every event I covered. There would be times when we argued about images I wanted to submit to my blogs and laughed about them. My Dad striked on what he wanted me to submit and what he wanted me to throw away, I like to think this striked attitude towards critiquing my work made me a better photographer. Even during my worst times (outside photography) finding work, being broke thus not being able to afford better photographic equipment, my Dad would always give me that confidence and ‘kick up the ass’ to make better images with the amateur camera equipment I had at the time. Eventually with time I captured better and bigger games mostly around the ‘Non-League’ scene for all the time I was with my Dad and built up a reputation and a working portfolio that got me work more from local newspapers and publications.

My passion for sports photography grew rapidly and into my second year of it I got the opportunity to cover the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield for three days, although still using amateur photographic equipment at the time, to which my Dad was stunned and told all his work mates. It was the first impression I saw of my Dad that he noticed that other publications noticed something in me and wanted to hire me for my photographic work. Another favourite memory I have of my Dad was when I made The Sun newspaper in the ‘Goals’ pages showing my AFC Wimbledon winning shot photograph, he was so pleased he gave me a big hug, bought loads of copies and could not stop talking about it on Social Media and at work, to quote “your on your way my boy”

You see ever since the World Snooker I’ve always wanted to photograph the biggest games and events in the country but due to a lack of photographic equipment I was always turned down by major editors, although the local one’s said I had a great chance of making the ‘big time’. However, at the time, now finding more regular 9-5 work I saved up for months and ought more professional photographic equipment which resulted in better photographs. My Dad would also say ‘Your time will come son, I promise you it will, they do not know what they are missing’ and ‘you never know what’s round the corner’.

On November 2013 my Dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer to the brain called “Glioblastoma multiforme grade 4″, and thus became ‘inoperable’. For the four months I had with my Dad, his condition got worse and worse but he would always yell out when he could whilst sitting on the arm chair “Take fantastic photographs for me”, and when I got back he would be the first one to say “how did you get on son”. If I made the paper especially the front cover what would light up his day. Three of the last things he gave me was one, a Sunday Times 2014 Sports Calendar for which he signed up for as a gift surprise for me, secondly his last peace of advice.

‘You take the top 10 sporting photographs ever taken. You will never ever be able to recapture them again because the moment was there for that photographer. However, you can “try” to recreate it, but adapt it to your own style and thus producing a better photograph…do you understand?’

On Saturday the 15th February 2014 at 01:00am my Dad John Kenneth Fletcher passed away whilst being surrounded by his family. We all sat with him, I held his hand on my cheek and watched him take his last breath. The most difficult thing I have had to do was just before he passed away, was build up the courage with a broken heart to say “Thank you for everything Dad, thank you for giving me the value of ‘hard work’, teaching me computers and photography”. His strong heart kept him alive for a few more minutes until one last breath…

This was one of the very last text messages he was able to send me

This was one of the very last text messages he was able to send me

The third and final gift:
Two days after my Dad passed away, on Monday the 17th February a photographic agency contacted me based on finding my portfolio on Twitter asking if I was interested in covering local football matches for the remainder of the football season. After a week of negotiations and waiting to find out what I thought was another non-league match to cover for this agency, my first game for this agency was…Arsenal vs. Sunderland, a Premier League game!.

I must be completely honest that of course I was thrilled but could never express it at the time of the delight that this opportunity came my way. So I covered the game with massive butterfly’s in my stomach but was thought-out the match crushed that I would never be able to tell my Dad that I am finally photographing for an agency covering top flight football and watch face light up that I’ve made it into the ‘big time’. There were moments that I was in tears during the game trying my best to cover it, but as you can imagine my Dad was with me from the very start of my sports photography career and now that I have in his words ‘made it’ he was not there to see it.

Today, I think back to when he was “preparing me” for something big in the future, I guess this was it. His last gift to me.

John Kenneth Fletcher – Dad and my Chief Photo Editor
1954 – 2014
Dad

Pitchside Action: Cambridge United FC vs. Dartford FC

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Skrill Premier Conference
Clarence Park, St Albans Hertfordshire – Saturday 25th January 2014

Average camera settings thought out the match:
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 – 1/4000 sec
f/ stop: 2.8
ISO: 3200 – 6400
White balance: Auto
Priority: Manual

Not always what you expect
Aside from the paramedics arriving to attend an a fan who apparently colleges, a small fire at an industrial estate during the game which produced ash in the cloud. The game itself was equally entertaining with a final result of 3-3. Not the best floodlights to cover the game, but you make the best of what you have presented to you and this is how I got on.

Richard Money looking on at this players warming up - Click to open

Richard Money looking on at this players warming up – Click to open

No.30 Alex Woodyard competing with No.17 Liam Hughes - Click to open

No.30 Alex Woodyard competing with No.17 Liam Hughes – Click to open

No.25 Ryan Bird celebrating his second goal of the first half - Click to open

No.25 Ryan Bird celebrating his second goal of the first half – Click to open

No.10 Captain Elliot Bradbrook scoring the first goal of the game from the penalty - Click to open

No.10 Captain Elliot Bradbrook scoring the first goal of the game from the penalty – Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold competing with No.31 Jim Stevenson- Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold competing with No.31 Jim Stevenson- Click to open

No.29 Josh Gillies shooting passed the heavy Dartford defence - Click to open

No.29 Josh Gillies shooting passed the heavy Dartford defence – Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold competing against No.4 Tyrone Sterling - Click to oepn

No.24 Nathan Arnold competing against No.4 Tyrone Sterling – Click to oepn

No.1 Alan Julian screaming at this players to hold the defence during a very heavy storm - Click to open

No.1 Alan Julian screaming at this players to hold the defence during a very heavy storm – Click to open

2014 Dafabet Masters: Capturing the moments

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It had been 2011 since I last covered a major snooker event or any such an event, that event was the World Snooker Championship. Back then, and I still have the web address in my favourites. I did not have the best photographic equipment nor the experience, skills and knowledge. Since 2011, I faced a lot of hardships, however I worked my butt off to get to the photographic level I strive to become. So when 2014 come a nockin, I knew full well the Masters in my City was coming up and this time I was ready…really ready.

The arena four hours before the doors opens for the first day of the tournament - Click to open

The arena four hours before the doors opens for the first day of the tournament – Click to open

During my four days I put everything on the line, all my skills, knowledge and experience to hopefully walk away not only with some stunning shots which would be a testament to all the set-backs I have faced after the World Snooker, but to fill the void in my portfolio to show case my work stronger to catch the attention of sports photographic agencies.

Shaun Murphy using the rest to pot the red in the corner pocket - Click to open

Shaun Murphy using the rest to pot the red in the corner pocket – Click to open

Not just doing it for me:
With such an event like The Masters, you are very quickly aware that what you are about to cover will be huge. So one of the major things to do is very simple…stay calm, be alert, think first before anyone else and most importantly have fun.
However, covering the event was never easy for me at times. I faced lighting issues on few occasions and in one whole day I faced a high temperature, a broken zip on my camera bag which in the end had to be secured using with duck-tape until I got a new one the next day, and not eating for over nine hours. So a day as a sports photographer photographing such an event can be a little challenging, but you don’t let it beat you and you carry on producing your best. I got to meet and talk to the legends of the game, celebrities and current champions of the game, but never letting it faze me of what I came there to do, produce my best for me and for my dad. You see my Dad has an ‘inoperable brain tumor’ and as a fellow photographer, I always get him to critique my work the day after a game. So covering the Masters was not only a big deal for me, but a big deal for him to see me cover such an event, I can only hope I made him proud of me.

Masters Trophy - Click to open

Masters Trophy – Click to open

Its all about lighting and timing:
So during the four days I covered the event I posted a number photographs on social media. One of the results was I got a lot of questions on what was my camera settings. It’s only till now that I can reveal what my settings were. Here’s the thing, we as sports photographer capture fast action, ok, for sports like snooker, pool, golf etc. you kind of have to through the rule book out. So usually if it was fast paced like football, rugby, athletics you would shoot above 1/1000 of a second and depending on the light, if not so great, you would ideally set it maximum 3200. Well since this was a slow sport to capture, I set my shutter speed around 1/320 to 1/500 and my ISO at all times was 2500, and yet the action still stays sharp at such a low shutter speed. Why, because the players never get off from the table once they hit the ball. So you focus point is always on their eyes, not the cue or balls. Keeping dead still with a monopod and in time breath in and out the same time they pull the cue back and forward before the hit the ball. When you know when the player is about to hit the ball, usually they grip the cue a lot firmer that is your signal to get ready to click. But only click the second after they hit the ball. It’s all about lighting and time.

If you get the lighting right you will produce a proper exposure, if you get the timing right you will not only get the player in sharp focus but also the ball. It’s a technique I would advise practicing before you cover an event. You don’t want to miss time it like I did once on Friday, and nearly made Stephen Maguire miss the pocket. Which resulted in the referee Michaela Tabb giving me a warning the day after the match, saying I was ” too dangerous “, but you live and learn. Although an hour after I was given a little warning the next match was refereed by the lovely lady herself so I was even more ‘aware’ of my timings and sweated a bit. After the match I asked her was I OK she said…..I was great, which gave me such a relief.

Michaela Tabb checking the referee's score board - Click to open

Michaela Tabb checking the referee’s score board – Click to open

Alexandra Palace - Click to open

Alexandra Palace – Click to open

Stephen Maguire trying to see if he can 'clip' the red in front of the pink - Click to open

Stephen Maguire trying to see if he can ‘clip’ the red in front of the pink – Click to open

BBC Announcer Rob Walker entertaining the crowd - Click to open

BBC Announcer Rob Walker entertaining the crowd – Click to open

Mark Selby attempting to pot the black in the corner - Click to open

Mark Selby attempting to pot the black in the corner – Click to open

Stephen Maguire and Ronnie O'Sullivan watching closely on the cue ball - Click to open

Stephen Maguire and Ronnie O’Sullivan watching closely on the cue ball – Click to open

Marco Fu not impressed with his performance - Click to open

Marco Fu not impressed with his performance – Click to open

Neil Robertson taking on the black - Click to open

Neil Robertson taking on the black – Click to open

Shaun Murphy sharing a joke with Mark Selby on the in correction of the score board - Click to open

Shaun Murphy sharing a joke with Mark Selby on the in correction of the score board – Click to open

Ronnie O'Sullivan being interviewed by the media on his Semi-Final win against Ricky Walden - Click to open

Ronnie O’Sullivan being interviewed by the media on his Semi-Final win against Ricky Walden – Click to open

Referee Michaela Tabb hold two red balls - Click to open

Referee Michaela Tabb hold two red balls – Click to open

Steve Davis - Click to open

Steve Davis – Click to open

Stephen Maguire taking on the red in the corner - Click to open

Stephen Maguire taking on the red in the corner – Click to open

A full house Alexandra Palace arena - Click to open

A full house Alexandra Palace arena – Click to open

Mark Selby joking with the scorer when there was an error displaying the incorrect score for Mark Selby - Click to open

Mark Selby joking with the scorer when there was an error displaying the incorrect score for Mark Selby – Click to open

Stephen Maguire not pleased with his safety play - Click to open

Stephen Maguire not pleased with his safety play – Click to open

Ronnie O'Sullivan taking on the red in the corner - Click to open

Ronnie O’Sullivan taking on the red in the corner – Click to open

Next stop…hopefully Sheffield to cover a little tournament called the World Snooker Championships.

Pitchside Action: Cambridge United FC vs Luton Town FC


Skrill Premier Conference The R Costings Abbey Stadium, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire – Saturday 11th January 2014

Average camera settings throughout the match:
Shutter: 1/1000 – 1/3200 sec
f/ stop: 2.8
ISO: 3200 – 6400
White balance: Auto
Priority: Manual

Very big game I had to photograph, both teams not only were battling for the title win of the Conference League, but were drawn to play each other in the FA Trophy. The game ended an entertaining 2-2, here is how I got on.

No.24 Nathan Arnold reaching out to cross the ball - Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold reaching out to cross the ball – Click to open


No.29 Kane Ferdinhand competing against No.11 Harrison Dunk - Click to open

No.29 Kane Ferdinhand competing against No.11 Harrison Dunk – Click to open


No.5 Tom Bonner receives treatment from a possible broken ankle - Click to open

No.5 Tom Bonner receives treatment from a possible broken ankle – Click to open


No.3 Greg Taylor missed penalty - Click to open

No.3 Greg Taylor missed penalty – Click to open


No.16 GK saves the ball again from the ball hit the post from the penalty - Click to open

No.16 GK saves the ball again from the ball hit the post from the penalty – Click to open


No.2 Kevin Roberts low crossing the ball under No.20 David Viana - Click to open

No.2 Kevin Roberts low crossing the ball under No.20 David Viana – Click to open


No.10 Alex Wall pushing down No.6 Captain Ian Miller - Click to open

No.10 Alex Wall pushing down No.6 Captain Ian Miller – Click to open


Cambridge United Director of Football Jeremy George relieved of a score draw - Click to open

Cambridge United Director of Football Jeremy George relieved of a score draw – Click to open

Kick off 2014 the right way


Thanks to the weather I am unable to cover any football today. However, instead of putting my camera away I thought I’d at least kick off 2014 with some shots of my little brother Liam Fletcher using a large round reflector and available window light. Using a full frame Nikon D700 and mainly two prime lenses Nikon 50mm FX f/1.8G and the Nikon 35mm DX f/1.8G, Liam was positioned facing me whilst sitting on my desk chair, while I was sat on my bed.

Adobe Lightroom 3

Adobe Lightroom 3

Camera settings:

Firstly I set the Picture Control to Monochrome to give me that Black and White look and secondly to give me just that right amount of available light I set my ISO to 1250. Lastly photographing in Manual mode I set my f/ stop to the lowest range at 1.8 to give more detail in his eyes.

Liam Fletcher - Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Liam Fletcher – Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher


Liam Fletcher - Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Liam Fletcher – Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher


Liam Fletcher - Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Liam Fletcher – Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher


Liam Fletcher - Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Liam Fletcher – Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher


Liam Fletcher - Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Liam Fletcher – Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher


Liam Fletcher - Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Liam Fletcher – Photographed by John-Patrick Fletcher

Pitchside Action: St. Albans City FC vs Cambridge United FC

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FA Trophy 1st Round
Clarence Park, St Albans Hertfordshire – Saturday 14th December 2013

Average camera settings thought out the match:
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 – 1/3200 sec
f/ stop: 2.8
ISO: 3200 – 6400
White balance: Auto
Priority: Manual

Character is always a welcoming sight
There are a lot of Non League football grounds today that when they receive the welcoming funds from The FA, Chairmen, supports club or charity, they can use those funds to upgrade a part of their football ground. Unforutnaly some of the grounds I have visited have either internally or not replaced some piece of character that show off the charms of a football ground by some shiny new stand, terrace, gates etc.
Fortunately, visiting Clarence Park I was gobsmacked on not only the friendly atmosphere, welcoming staff & supports but some nice little characteristics of the ground I spotted when walking around the ground.

Clarence Park - Click to open

Clarence Park – Click to open

Boardroom - Click to open

Boardroom – Click to open

For sickness and in health for richer or poorer, we shall support City forever more - Click to open

For sickness and in health for richer or poorer, we shall support City forever more – Click to open

No pressure to miss the headline moment then! - Click to open

No pressure to miss the headline moment then! – Click to open

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire microphone - Click to open

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire microphone – Click to open

Club shop - Click to open

Club shop – Click to open

Young supporters - Click to open

Young supporters – Click to open

Home dugout - Click to open

Home dugout – Click to open

St. Albans City Shield - Click to open

St. Albans City Shield – Click to open

Here is the action

Tough defence - Click to open

Tough defence – Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold scoring the first goal - Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold scoring the first goal – Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold celebrating his goal of the game with No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke - Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold celebrating his goal of the game with No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke – Click to open

Captain No.5 Ben Martin sliding the ball to attack against Capitan No.5 Tom Bonner - Click to open

Captain No.5 Ben Martin sliding the ball to attack against Capitan No.5 Tom Bonner – Click to open

No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke stretching out to poke the ball for a goal - Click to open

No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke stretching out to poke the ball for a goal – Click to open

No.3 Lee Chappell chipping the ball over No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke - Click to open

No.3 Lee Chappell chipping the ball over No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke – Click to open

No.29 Josh Gillies taking the 25-yard free kick - Click to open

No.29 Josh Gillies taking the 25-yard free kick – Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold with a low cross to attack - Click to open

No.24 Nathan Arnold with a low cross to attack – Click to open

Here is the result

Front page of The Non-League Paper featuring my celebration photograph of No.24 Nathan Arnold and No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke - Click to open

Front page of The Non-League Paper featuring my celebration photograph of No.24 Nathan Arnold and No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke – Click to open

Pitchside Action: Hayes & Yeading United FC vs Tonbridge Angels FC

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Skrill Conference South League
Kingfield Stadium, Working Surrey – Saturday 7th December 2013

Average camera settings thought out the match:
Shutter Speed: 1/1000 – 1/3200 sec
f/ stop: 2.8 & 4 with a Nikon 1.4x Teleconverter
ISO: 3200 – 6400
White balance:
Auto Priority: Manual

Arriving at Kingfield Stadium covering Hayes & Yeading United is always a pleasure to photograph, both not only as a fan of the club but as a photographer and I always look forward to a decent victory from the Super Hayes. This match for me would hopefully tip the balance in my favour this time, as the last number of assignments I have covered Hayes & Yeading United for Trinity Southern they have unforutnaly not come out as the victors. However, it was a nice change of pace this season to hear that Hayes & Yeading United have ramped up the league table with their away victory’s whilst I was covering other teams in higher league divisions. This time being at home (or away in the case of the club), I would hope that a victory would be in my favour. I arrived at Kingfield Stadium about two hours before kick off to get at always an update on players performance, latest results, who might be playing in the match and the general ‘feel’ around the Hayes & Yeading United camp. The purpose of this was to give me a insight on how the team would perform during the game, and thus give me a little advantage against the other photographers on pitch side…in this case…I was the only photographer on pitch side. So with time to spear I fired off a couple of frames before kick-off…

Goal keeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz doing some pre-match training  - Click to open

Goal keeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz doing some pre-match training – Click to open

Heading practice from Defender Charlie Wassmer - Click to open

Heading practice from Defender Charlie Wassmer – Click to open

Coach Delroy Preddie always a character - Click to open

Coach Delroy Preddie always a character – Click to open

Here are the highlights:

No.4 Phil Appiah using his strength against No.4 Matty Harriott - Click to open

No.4 Phil Appiah using his strength against No.4 Matty Harriott – Click to open

No.8 Chris Piper out running No.7 Geoff Mitchell - Click to open

No.8 Chris Piper out running No.7 Geoff Mitchell – Click to open

Manager Phil Babb screaming at his players to perform better - Click to open

Manager Phil Babb screaming at his players to perform better – Click to open

No.4 Phil Appiah sliding the ball out over No.8 Frankie Merrifield - Click to open

No.4 Phil Appiah sliding the ball out over No.8 Frankie Merrifield – Click to open

No.9 Jake Reid scoring from the penalty spot - Click to open

No.9 Jake Reid scoring from the penalty spot – Click to open

No.11 Tom Bird out played by No.7 Henry Muggeridge - Click to open

No.11 Tom Bird out played by No.7 Henry Muggeridge – Click to open

Midfielder Jack Mills (centre) celebrating his 25-yard stunner with Captain Dean Inman (right) - Click to open

Midfielder Jack Mills (centre) celebrating his 25-yard stunner with Captain Dean Inman (right) – Click to open

No.10 Luke Williams takes the free-kick - Click to open

No.10 Luke Williams takes the free-kick – Click to open

No.7 Geoff Mitchell scoring through the legs of No.1 Clark Master - Click to open

No.7 Geoff Mitchell scoring through the legs of No.1 Clark Master – Click to open

Assistant Manager Tristan Lewis celebrates his sides victory with a hug with Midfielder Luke Williams - Click to open

Assistant Manager Tristan Lewis celebrates his sides victory with a hug with Midfielder Luke Williams – Click to open

If you would like a digital or print copy of any of the photographs displayed above for commercial use, please email me at jpfcollection@hotmail.co.uk

Pitchside Action: Cambridge United FC vs Woking FC

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Skrill Premier Conference The R Costings Abbey Stadium, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire – Saturday 24th November 2013

No.5 Joe Parkinson kicking the ball out of defence against No.6 Ian Miller kicking the ball out - Click to open

No.5 Joe Parkinson kicking the ball out of defence against No.6 Ian Miller kicking the ball out – Click to open

Average camera settings throughout the match:
Shutter: 1/1000 – 1/3200 sec
f/ stop: 2.8
ISO: 6400
White balance: Auto
Priority: Manual

When in first you don’t succeed, keep snapping for god sakes
You know when you want to ‘try something different for a change’ and it all goes up the swanny…well thanks to not following my usual routine and pitching myself on the left side of the attacking Cambridge team. The result of this was two goals missed it thanks to defenders in the way and the celebrations towards the fans and not facing me. So I guess throughout the match I was pissed!. However, when going though the 1st half shots during the half-time break, I found a nice little gem of a celebration from the second goal. I guess there is someone above looking after me as some how No.11 Harrison Dunk, suddenly turned around facing his team mates, thus facing me and SNAP!. So I guess it was not so bad in the end. Also as a thank you from Cambridge United, I received the latest club scarf for my photographic work for the club which made my week.

No.21 Kwesi Appiah toe poking the ball over No.18 Sam Beasant - Click to open

No.21 Kwesi Appiah toe poking the ball over No.18 Sam Beasant – Click to open

No.11 Harrison Dunk celebrating his 2nd goal - Click to open

No.11 Harrison Dunk celebrating his 2nd goal – Click to open

Loving the Cambridge United Nike boots. Smart colour match - Click to open

Loving the Cambridge United Nike boots. Smart colour match – Click to open

No.14 Richard Tait crossing the passed passed No.5 Joe McNerney - Click to open

No.14 Richard Tait crossing the passed passed No.5 Joe McNerney – Click to open

Naughty boy - Click to open

Naughty boy – Click to open

No.2 Adam Newton kicking the ball passed No.9 Adam Cunnington - Click to open

No.2 Adam Newton kicking the ball passed No.9 Adam Cunnington – Click to open

No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke holding the ball against No.3 John Nutter - Click to open

No.19 Delano Sam-Yorke holding the ball against No.3 John Nutter – Click to open

No.4 Josh Coulson striking the ball passed a series of Woking defenders - Click to open

No.4 Josh Coulson striking the ball passed a series of Woking defenders – Click to open

No.9 Adam Cunnington striking the ball for goal  - Click to open

No.9 Adam Cunnington striking the ball for goal – Click to open

15. Mike Cestor lobbing the ball over No.14 Richard Tait - Click to open

15. Mike Cestor lobbing the ball over No.14 Richard Tait – Click to open

No.9 Adam Cunnington battling with No.15 Mike Cestor - Click to open

No.9 Adam Cunnington battling with No.15 Mike Cestor – Click to open

Publications:

The Non-League Paper

The Non-League Paper

Cambridge United Official Website

Cambridge United Official Website

Cambridge United Official Website

Cambridge United Official Website

Pitchside Action: Barnet FC vs Cambridge United FC

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Skrill Premier Conference
The Hive Stadium, Harrow, London – Saturday 16th November 2013

The Hive Stadium an hour before kick off - Click to open

The Hive Stadium an hour before kick off – Click to open

Average camera settings throughout the match:
Shutter: 1/6400 – 1/8000 sec
f/ stop: 2.8
ISO: 6400
White balance: Auto
Priority: Auto & Manual

It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter
A few positives was to come out of the this match for me even before I arrived. Firstly, the teams were amongst the best in the league and I was going to use my new camera for the game. The new camera was a Nikon D700 which bagged an impressive 8 FPS, 6400 ISO and it was full frame (FX). So when I fired a few frames at some players I noticed a shocking difference when comparing it to my other camera the D300s. So beaming like a Cheshire Cat I went out and the creativity juices started to flow through. The only downside to the match was that it was very cold.

Arriving at The Hive only took me an hour to travel so it was for a change a short distance to a game. The place was rocking with a few supporters turning up early and the police arriving in large numbers before the majority of both sets of fans would arrive. The atmosphere was electric not only with the delighted for the club that yet again BT Sport broadcasting the match LIVE at The Hive, but a lot of excitement around the club that both teams needed a win.

For the match, I was hired by Cambridge United FC to be their club photographer for the night to cover not only the match but also the away supporters, for which I was delighted that they turned up with over a thousand with families and great positively. The usage of the photographs will be displayed on the clubs website, social media and print format.

Here are the highlights:

Richard Money being interviewed by BT Sport before kick off - Click to open

Richard Money being interviewed by BT Sport before kick off – Click to open

Cambridge United fans before kick off - Click to open

Cambridge United fans before kick off – Click to open

BT Sport crew prepare before kick-off - Click to open

BT Sport crew prepare before kick-off – Click to open

Barnet FC Mascot entertaining the crowd - Click to open

Barnet FC Mascot entertaining the crowd – Click to open

No.9 Adam Cunnington battling with No.6 Jack Saville - Click to open

No.9 Adam Cunnington battling with No.6 Jack Saville – Click to open

No.18 Luke Berry amongst the Barnet midfield - Click to open

No.18 Luke Berry amongst the Barnet midfield – Click to open

No.18 Luke Berry trying to take control of the ball over No.15 Kieron Cadogan - Click to open

No.18 Luke Berry trying to take control of the ball over No.15 Kieron Cadogan – Click to open

One of the annoying things about photographing from the side-lines is the linesmen getting in the way of good photographic moment - Click to open

One of the annoying things about photographing from the side-lines is the linesmen getting in the way of good photographic moment – Click to open

However, I moved to my original spot on the left corner ending facing the Cambridge attack - Click to open

However, I moved to my original spot on the left corner ending facing the Cambridge attack – Click to open

No.21 Kwesi Appiah controlling the ball against No.30 David Stephens - Click to open

No.21 Kwesi Appiah controlling the ball against No.30 David Stephens – Click to open

Captain/Player Manager No.1 Edgar Davids - Click to open

Captain/Player Manager No.1 Edgar Davids – Click to open

Cambridge United supporters during the match - Click to open

Cambridge United supporters during the match – Click to open

No.21 Kwesi Appiah scoring his second goal of the night for Cambridge United. I missed the first goal due to the linesmen in the way when I was on the side of the pitch. So I learned from my first mistake this time. - Click to open

No.21 Kwesi Appiah scoring his second goal of the night for Cambridge United. I missed the first goal due to the linesmen in the way when I was on the side of the pitch. So I learned from my first mistake this time. – Click to open

No.18 Luke Berry curling the ball for goal - Click to open

No.18 Luke Berry curling the ball for goal – Click to open

No.11 Harrison Dunk striking for goal - Click to open

No.11 Harrison Dunk striking for goal – Click to open

Young ball boy watching the away supporters - Click to open

Young ball boy watching the away supporters – Click to open

No.29 Graham Stack celebrating his 'Movember' attempt, a lot better then mine - Click to open

No.29 Graham Stack celebrating his ‘Movember’ attempt, a lot better then mine – Click to open

A volley from No.14 Richard Tait nearly gave Cambridge United the lead in the game - Click to open

A volley from No.14 Richard Tait nearly gave Cambridge United the lead in the game – Click to open

Smoke flair from the Barnet supporters stand which produced a little more drama - Click to open

Smoke flair from the Barnet supporters stand which produced a little more drama – Click to open

Me wearing in the white hat (if it was not the first thing you noticed anyway).

Me wearing in the white hat (if it was not the first thing you noticed anyway).

After the final whistle I heard happened to pack my gear away as usual then noticed behind me a small scuffle broke out and caused a large number of police trying to control and move along with supporters. On a personally level I found it emotionally difficult to photograph such moments that any other sensible person would just stay clear and into safety. For me as a photographer, ignoring my emotions and fear, I felt it was my duty to recorded these moments.

Police controlling the crowd after the final whistle blew - Click to open

Police controlling the crowd after the final whistle blew – Click to open

Police controlling the crowd after the final whistle blew - Click to open

Police controlling the crowd after the final whistle blew – Click to open

Police controlling the crowd after the final whistle blew - Click to open

Police controlling the crowd after the final whistle blew – Click to open

I like to thank Barnet FC for their fantastic hospitality and support throughout the day. Cambridge United supporters for allowing me to photograph them and the Metropolitan Police for their quick response in controlling the incident after the game.

Pitchside Action: Wycombe Wanderers FC vs. Crew Alexandra FC

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FA Cup 1st Round
Adams Park Stadium, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire – Saturday 9th November 2013

No.2 Marvin McCoy - Click to open

No.2 Marvin McCoy – Click to open

Average camera settings throughout the match:
Shutter: 1/1000 – 1/3200 sec
f/ stop: 2.8
ISO: 3200
White balance: Auto
Priority: Aperture

Maximum ISO from now on…
Arriving at Adams Park it was to be the first time I had to cover a match in the dark. This gave be both hope and dread. First the dread part, it would be cold wet windy…time to ‘man up’. The hope part was (more luck) was the fact that I would be covering my first night match of the season with ‘Football League’ standard floodlights, much brighter than any non-league ground which allowed my camera to go just above 1/000. Another good thing is soon I will be purchasing another camera, which has double the ISO and faster FPS. With the capability of covering a game of up to 6400, it would be even possible to shoot in the dark side of the moon ;).
Also shooting at night for the first time this season gave me some possible creative idea’s to try later on in the season, so watch this space…

The game I was covering was the 1st round of the FA Cup, so it was ‘Cup Fever’ time although the lack of supporters attending the match I would forgive what with the amount of rain and cold wind coming over. However, since I was covering Wycombe Wanderers they did score an equalizer which lifted the ground and the atmosphere. So your first question would be…did I get the goal…no, thanks to the Crew Alexandra sub jogging in front of me just at the moment No.7 Paris Cowan-Hall scored from a header. To add insult to injury he celebrated away from me, so my focal range could not cover, all I could do is watch (cry). During the day I was suffering with a terrible ‘Man flu’, but with disposable tissues at the ready, I manned up and struggled through.

Here are the highlights

New FA Cup ball - Click to open

New FA Cup ball – Click to open

Young Wycombe fans - Click to open

Young Wycombe fans – Click to open

No.20 Steven Craig doing some shooting practice - Click to open

No.20 Steven Craig doing some shooting practice – Click to open

No.29 Matt McClure doing some shooting practice - Click to open

No.29 Matt McClure doing some shooting practice – Click to open

No.28 Billy Knott - Click to open

No.28 Billy Knott – Click to open

No.4 Harry Davis holds the ball against No.29 Matt McClure - Click to open

No.4 Harry Davis holds the ball against No.29 Matt McClure – Click to open

Nike Boots - Click to open

Work boots – Click to open

Referee D Phillips - Click to open

Referee D Phillips – Click to open

No.7 Dean Morgan holding the ball against No.42 Anthony Grant - Click to open

No.7 Dean Morgan holding the ball against No.42 Anthony Grant – Click to open

No.42 Anthony Grant holding the ball against No.29 Matt Matt McClure - Click to open

No.42 Anthony Grant holding the ball against No.29 Matt McClure – Click to open

No.3 Kelvin Mellor not pleased with the referee's choice not giving the free kick - Click to open

No.3 Kelvin Mellor not pleased with the Referee D. Phillips choice not giving the free kick – Click to open

No.11 Sam Wood - Click to open

No.11 Sam Wood – Click to open

No.29 Matt McClure being held by No.6 Adam Dugdale whilst performing a bicycle kick - Click to open

No.29 Matt McClure being held by No.6 Adam Dugdale whilst performing a bicycle kick – Click to open

No.7 Dean Morgan upset with his missed chance to put Wycombe Wanderers ahead - Click to open

No.7 Dean Morgan upset with his missed chance to put Wycombe Wanderers ahead – Click to open

No.28 Billy Knott striking the ball passed No.2 Matt Tootle - Click to open

No.28 Billy Knott striking the ball passed No.2 Matt Tootle – Click to open

Young Crew Alexandra going crazy as his team scores the first goal during FA Cup 1st Round tie - Click to open

Young Crew Alexandra going crazy as his team scores the first goal during FA Cup 1st Round tie – Click to open

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