Marc Taylor Photography: Blog http://marctaylor.eu/blog en-us (C) Marc Taylor Photography marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Sun, 03 Feb 2013 10:45:00 GMT Sun, 03 Feb 2013 10:45:00 GMT The Lions of Lithuania http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2013/2/the-lions-of-lithuania Visit any country in the Baltics and you won’t have to look far to have a good weekend, throw in an International Futsal tournament and two history making England performances and you have a weekend that will live long in the memory.

Visiting Lithuania in January is not for the feint hearted, pack all your warm clothes you’ll be needing them, got down to -20 in the evening two nights running and the locals were telling me I should come back when it gets really cold!

So what of the Futsal, well, without wanting to send you off in the directions of other websites UEFA.com and TheFA.com have got the match details covered.

England found themselves in a preliminary qualifying group for Belgium 2014 and would need to negotiate safe passage past hosts Lithuania and Cyprus to qualify for the main round, a fete they’ve never achieved before.

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First up was Lithuania on Friday night, nobody I’d met in Kaunas the host city was aware the match was on, the hotel staff were none the wiser.  Asking at reception for directions to the Kaunas Sports Hall did cause something of a scene that felt disproportional to me declining there offer to get me a taxi, was only a 25 minute walk away at most looking at the map.......................with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight I think the concern that couldn’t quite be translated was more to do with the 1 in 2 winding hill I’d have to negotiate along with the plummeting temperatures.  The young lady could barely hide her genuine look of surprise when I returned after the game, I didn’t need asking twice when offered a brandy - now that's customer service!

Arriving at the sports hall an hour before kick off it there was already a sense of anticipation and a decent sized crowd building, it was clear these guys expected a performance from there national side. 

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As it was the three lions roared and the one goal winning margin doesn’t do justice to how well they played.  They also did it tough, very tough, England, 4-3 up with just over three minutes left on the clock were reduced to 4 men as Sam Murphy was sent off for a 2nd bookable offense.  Lithuania piled on the pressure, the fly keeper was deployed, they retained possession well and made England work hard to keep them at bay.  Every time they lost the ball they were organised enough to prevent England counter attacking and the noise of the fans was immense, whistles jeering, screams and more until England lost the ball the noise turned back to roars of encouragement.

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With 20 or seconds remaining on the clock, England had held out Lithuania for the two minutes of numerical advantage the sending off had afforded them, the England bench keen to get back to full strength threw on Stuart Cook of Manchester, it seems it happened a second or so to early, a 2nd yellow was shown to Cook, who’d been booked already for head butting a stray Lithuanian elbow (I kid you not!).  

End result two players banned ahead of Saturdays clash with Cyprus.  Both lads had, in my unreservedly biased English opinion had been harshly treated in circumstances where common sense could and should have been deployed.  Once the jubilation at the final whistle had passed and the warm down commenced both were visibly gutted, it was tough to see nobody wants to see lads missing out on playing on the biggest stage - especially not in circumstances like this.

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After a quick edit, uploading of pics and complimentary life saving hotel Brandy there are unconfirmed reports of a one man English celebration party in Kaunas.  Observations are the Full Monty sound track is cutting edge out here, two bars visited, two crowds of locals lapping it up, perhaps this is were 90’s DJs come to die!  Another random observation is its harder work than you’d imagine to convince the bar man deploying that very English pointing type technique having only grasped Yes No, Please and Thank You in the native tongue that you want a Lithuanian pint!  Stiff resistance is met, every available Dutch, German alternative is offered, instead decline them and as a last resort they throw in cans of Guinness as an option.  Have faith in your beer Lithuania!  Go back and order a 2nd pint and you get a look that suggests your trying to be funny and off you go through the negotiations once more!

So Saturday, the day of reckoning, Cyprus awaits, beat them and its all on for the main round in Turkey at the end of March.

I’d already booked in time to see the exceptionally talented photographer Richard Schofield, an English man based in Kaunas on Saturday morning.  A meeting worthy of its own piece that will shortly follow, but thankfully along with being a wonderfully interesting morning it also stopped the clock watching nervous wait for kick-off that would have otherwise have been the case!

Further concern from hotel reception as the young lady on reception jokingly asked if I’d learn’t my lesson about walking to the sports hall, the look of disbelieve turned to a smile - mad dogs and Englishmen are the only people who walk in this cold apparently she said in perfect English in suitably sarcastic tone.

Whilst Saturdays crowd was in the hundreds not the thousands of Friday night, it was an impressive turnout for a game with little local interest now that Lithuania had only the faintest of hopes of now qualifying.

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England coped well with the enforced changes, and looked in control of the first half, they raced to a 2-0 half time lead and seemingly in control.  Then the old adage of 2-0 up at half time being a dangerous score in football probably rings true in Futsal as well.  Cyprus threw the kitchen sink at England, quite literally but England held firm.  Cyprus keeper having tried to go fly himself gave way to an outfield fly keeper, but not until he’d engaged in some wonderful play acting!  Seemed the preferred choice of fly keeper couldn’t find his keepers shirt, first choice keeper Skampylis with nobody around him falls down in a heap making more noise than I’ve seen from lads on the Rugby pitch with genuine broken limbs!

To top it of, he’d break from the noise to have a cheeky look at the bench to see if the flykeeper was ready.  Cherry on the cake was, he was carried, yes carried off, gingerly lowered onto a seat and in the next attack the new flykeeper narrowly missed with a shot on goal, its a miracle, the original keeper is not only up and out of his seat, he’s leaping several feet in the air and then forgetting to limp as he charges down the touch line to gee-up the troops - tremendous stuff!

So England hold out, the lion roared!  It was apparent to anyone in that sports hall these lads believed, a nicer group of lads you couldn’t wish to meet, from the outside looking in it looks like a tight nit group.

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Congratulations lads, you did us proud.  Good luck in Turkey!

This photographer carried on the celebrations in town, once pics had been edited and uploaded and now customary hotel complimentary brandy consumed, same story as the night before, more tunes from the Full Monty and a reluctance to serve anything brewed locally!

Highly recommend Lithuania, theres a stack of cheap flights to get you there from the UK, Vilnius and Kaunas are charming cities, if I’m honest I warmed far more to Kaunas but thats not to say Vilnius isn’t worth a look, it certainly is.  Pints range from £1 to £3 depending on your ability to be persistent and go local and on the whole restaurant food is good, you can eat well for around £10 ahead, go to £20 ahead and your on fillet steaks and nice wines, but lower your expectations for breakfast - and you’ll still be disappointed!  Still its not a long wait till lunch.................!!!

    



 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2013/2/the-lions-of-lithuania Sun, 03 Feb 2013 10:44:44 GMT
Twitter Trends! http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/12/twitter-trends Its clearly reached that time in the Christmas break were I have to much time on my hands!  Anyhow I saw someone else having a look at there Twitter stats and couldn't help but have a look a my own.

I know your dying to know, but thanks to TweetStats.com I know now I tweet on average 3.5 time a day and have never tweeted between 3am and 5am, which I'm sure is a welcome relief to my followers given I talk little enough sense, sober and during daylight hours!

Anyhow from there it threw out a word cloud of the most popular words I use and here they are;

 

Hopefully there'll be a match on tomorrow and I can get back to taking pics.....................!!!

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) marc_taylor trends twitter word cloud http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/12/twitter-trends Wed, 26 Dec 2012 19:55:59 GMT
Christmas ordering deadline http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/12/christmas-ordering-deadline A quick reminder that the deadline for ordering physical products is midnight tonight (Sunday 16th December).  Anything ordered from tomorrow (Monday 17th December) onwards will then most likely be delivered after Christmas.

Sorry, as much as I'd love to be able to guarantee delivery right up until the last minute to accommodate people like myself who like to leave the Christmas shopping as late as physically possible, that's just not possible when factoring printing and postage times.

Obviously should you be really short and need an urgent presents digital downloads are always an option!  No need to gift wrap and you can deliver them to a loved one even as the turkey is being carved!

 

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/12/christmas-ordering-deadline Sun, 16 Dec 2012 11:07:23 GMT
Sunrise http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/11/sunrise I'm sure when setting out on the path of working for yourself we all think (perhaps naively!) we'll be in control of our own destiny, we'll start when we want, we'll finish when we want, we'll never miss an opportunity to photograph what we want when we want and so on and so on..............

Never works out that way, not for me anyway (and I can't complain!), how many freelancers turn down jobs to go and so some recreational shooting?  Can't be many!  When your not shooting your editing, when your not editing your invoicing, then there's the admin, then the phone rings or the e-mail dings and its off to another job and the cycle starts over.

Well today was one of those great days when I kicked back, packed the bag, grabbed a coffee, tripod and the dog and headed up to Rivington to catch a sunrise on a beautiful cold, crisp morning, well ok, I tell a lie, I got up an hour earlier than normal to get the admin done for the day, got there later than planned and grabbed the back end of a sunrise, before dashing off to another job!

Anyway, here's a few shots from Rivington this morning;

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Rivington Sunrise-2 Rivington Sunrise-3 Rivington Sunrise-4 Rivington Sunrise-5 Rivington Sunrise-6 Rivington Sunrise-7

 


To view larger versions, click here and browse

Cheers

Marc

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Marc Taylor Marc Taylor Sports Photographer Photography blue skies bolton chorley clouds colour horwich lancashire rivington rivington pike sun sunrise wigan http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/11/sunrise Fri, 30 Nov 2012 23:08:33 GMT
Not a vintage year for MTP blogs! http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/11/not-a-vintage-year-for-mtp-blogs So as we rapidly approach the end of the year, this neglected corner of my website once again is in my sights! 

The "monthly pics" died a death, mainly because 2012 has been a busy busy year, and partly because my good lady wife told me, she "got it" and saw what I was trying to do but it was quite possibly the naffest name she could possibly imagine - so I drew a line under it after March and never got around to replacing it or deleting it - my bad on the house keeping front!

So my end of year resolution is to blog more and who knows one day I may say something of interest! 

Cheers

Marc

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/11/not-a-vintage-year-for-mtp-blogs Thu, 29 Nov 2012 19:26:58 GMT
Monthly Pics - March http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/4/monthly_pics_-_march At the turn of the year friends were flooding every social network I happened to frequent with grand plans for there 2012 photography projects so not having the dedication for a 365 project, I opted to make my own up.

Each month I make a collection of my favourite shots of the month, one for each day of the month and come the end of the year I'll have my own 365 project conforming to none of the rules!  It won't be the best shots technically but those that for me captured the moment/mood/told the story.

So three months in and with my blog finally up and running in its shiney new home here I am telling anyone that cares to read about it!

Incase you missed it, Januarys are here and February Here

So here's what happened in March;

I kept a long standing promise to Wigan Robin Parks Reserve team lads to cover one of there games, I ruined there table topping form by witnessing them get knocked out of the North West Counties Reserves Cup, I've not been invited back!

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Manchester Futsal club went to town in there last home league game of the season knowing goal difference could be key winning 27-0 at home to East Coast, this is what the bench looks like when your losing by such a scoreline;

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I took a walk around Manchester after dark;

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Covered my first Championship Rugby League game at Leigh after cutting my teeth in the Northern Rail Cup;

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Saw cards galore in a bizarre game between Wigan Robin Park and Holker Old Boys - confusion reigned!

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Saw a great game between Manchester v Wales that finished 3-2 were Wales had Manchesters Futsal FA Cup Winning Coach from last season in there ranks pitting his wits against his successor and old squad;

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The champagne corks popped, firstly at The Reebok Stadium, Bolton, as Chorley won the Lancashire Trophy;

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And then at Crewe as Manchester Futsal Club won the title for the first time in there history;

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Wigan Robin Parks good league form continued with a win at Oldham, Ste Edwards rounding of a great month that saw him lift the player of the month award;

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Sadly the league form didn't roll over into the cup and they lost 3-1 after extra time against Norton in the Divisional Cup Final after taking the lead in normal time;

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And that as they say was March 2012.  All 31 pictures can be seen here.

Cheers

Marc

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/4/monthly_pics_-_march Wed, 18 Apr 2012 17:12:24 GMT
A hop, skip and a jump http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/4/a-hop-skip-and-a-jump For years I’ve known about the “92 Club” and people wearing the badge of honour that you get after visiting all 92 professional football grounds in England.  What I had been blissfully unaware of though was the world of the serious groundhopper, for those were 92 grounds simply isn’t enough “hopping” takes on a whole new context and offers up list of possibilities that is both daunting and seemingly impossible to ever complete!

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I’ve not idea how one gets into hopping, but clearly many are drawn into it either intentionally or unintentionally, perhaps one day you realise you’ve a fair few grounds under your belt and that’s it your away.  However you get into it, as the saying goes, “theres an app for that” whilst racking up a few myself I had a quick browse of Apples App store and found “Groundhopper”, tick off grounds you’ve been to, dates, memorable moments goals, pies, coffee, the choice is yours!  Currently it goes down to Step 4 of the Enlgish non-league pyramid (The BBC explain it much better than I for those blissfully unaware here) or in terms of actual leagues - Northern Premier League Division One homes of the likes of Lancaster City and there Giant Axe ground, cracking ground Wigan Robin Park won there 4-2, 13/12/2011 in the Lancashire Trophy ¼ final pics here since you asked!

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Two things struck me about the Groundhopper app*, firstly the level of detail you can plan your visits with military precision thanks to integrated satellite images and fixture lists and more importantly, the next update must surely include Step 5 of non-league football which will bring the North West Counties Premier Division listings, sorted if Wigan Robin Parks promotion bid goes to plan!

The app seemingly also future proofs itself, filled your boots with English Football?  Got them all?  Theres 34 other countries to go at and I’m guessing even the hardest of the hardcore will be going some by the time they tick off places like MFK Tatran Liptovský Mikuláš in Slovenska Futbalova Liga (Slovakias 2nd Division to you and I!), looks quite tidy from the satellite shot mind and there at home this weekend (14/14/2012) to LAFC Lučenec if your tempted 3.30 kick off and your in luck……………. Just down the road Ružomberok are at home to Košice and it’s a 5.30 kick off in the Corgoň liga (Slovakias top division).  Who knew this level of detail was only a couple of button clicks away, my good lady will be hiding my passport and camera if she gets wind of it!

Whilst I’m new to non-league football and it shows I’m sure, after almost two seasons of photographing, mainly in the North West Counties Division 1 I reckon I can pick your average “hopper” out of the crowd - Normally stood away from the regulars, has gone to great efforts to obtain a match day programme when told on the gate “they’ve sold out pal”, although most probably won’t have read it and it’ll have been slotted straight into an A4 document wallet for safe keeping.  If its an early kick off, come the 85th minute they’ll be stood at the closest point to the exit where the pitch is still visible, ready for a quick getaway, there’s that game at 3 to get to not far from here…………………..

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I’m sure as well the further down the non-league pyramid you go there’s every chance you’ll find yourself at a match where the “hoppers” out number fans of either side, a strange and unique footballing occurrence!

How many non-league grounds have I hopped?  I couldn’t possibly say, I’ve not been keeping count, but, oh go on if you insist - I’ve barely scratched the service, 12 out of 18 in North West Counties Division 1 (Wigan Robin Park, Atherton Collieries, Rochdale Town, Irlam, Cheadle Town, Daisy Hill, Holker Old Boys, Oldham Boro, Northwich Villa, Nelson, Leek CSOB, Ashton Town)  That leaves me “needing” Norton United, Abbey Hey, Eccleshall, Chadderton, Formby, AFC Darwen for a full set, subject to this seasons (2011/12) promotions and relegations of course.

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In the North West Counties Premier Division I’ve 3 from 22 (Bacup, Runcorn Town, Ramsbottom United) as it stands, although Ramsbottom look good for promotion so if Wigan Robin Park carry on there good form and go up that could leave me with 20 at least to “aim” at next season!

Further up the pyramid I’ve ticked off Lancaster City as discussed and Chorley FCs Victory Park although I was running the line there so it probably doesn’t count and well, I certainly don’t want to talk about it, although I will say I’ve long since stopped “running lines” after taking on board the advice of those stood in close proximity on the terraces!  I’ve also snuck in a trip to the ground at Lancashire FAs HQ in Leyland, I shall seek advice from the pro’s as to where such anomalies fit!

So if you’ve never ventured out into the welcoming world of non-league football, now’s as good a time as any, the weathers great, fixtures plentiful, there’s a whole other blog post I’m sure in the world that is non-league football and the great spectacles it delivers so I’ll leave that for another time.

Cheers

Marc

*I've no connection with the Groundhopper App, I'm sure others are available, it was just the first I found and did the job etc etc so I didn't pay to much attention on what else was on offer!

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Football Marc Taylor Sports Photographer Sports Photography ground hopping groundhopper groundhopping http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/4/a-hop-skip-and-a-jump Thu, 12 Apr 2012 12:22:51 GMT
Its been a while! http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/4/its-been-a-while I switched to a new platform for hosting my website after the last effort built in WordPress ground to a halt and was starting to struggle.

Here we have the added benefit of what I think is a slicker easier to navigate layout and now with the added benefit of e-commerce so you can buy and download images with either a personal use or commercial license.

All feedback welcome and of course any problems/issues you encounter then I'd be really grateful if you'd let me know.

All the old blog posts have been transferred across and should display either below or via the links to the right of this post.  (until more "recent" content knocks them off the list!

Cheers

Marc

 

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2012/4/its-been-a-while Mon, 02 Apr 2012 17:33:15 GMT
Loire Magazine Issue 1 http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/12/Loire-Magazine-Issue-1 Loire Magazine Issue 1 is available now, the magazine comprises of 100 pages of material featuring local and world music along with articles on clothes, football, futsal, rugby league, travel, photography and modern art.

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’d be lying if I claimed to be anything other than biased given I’ve a job lot of photos published in Issue 1 which can be found here – however its a superb piece of work, photos aside!

In an age of people forming views based on the 140 characters of Twitter or the sanitised views of the main stream media who’s pre-determined political position colours any articles before there written to read something put out by an independent publisher is something of a breath of fresh air.  Its also something of a throwback to the “fanzine” type magazine area the 30 somethings and above grew up with before this new fangled internet melarky became all the rage.

Signal Aurora

Editor at large Andrew Vaughan has been doing this sort of things for 25 plus years and this experience is clear to see as you flick through the pages of Loire.

For more information visit the Loire website, publishers Vaughan Media, contact the editor Andrew Vaughan directly via twitter or get in touch with me and I’ll help as best I can with any questions/queries.

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/12/Loire-Magazine-Issue-1 Sat, 03 Dec 2011 03:05:50 GMT
Goodbye winter – erm hello March http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/11/Goodbye-winter-erm-hello-March I cover a lot of games in National Conference, Rugby Leagues flagship amateur competition last weekend “we” said goodbye to Winter rugby as the last game was played before the switch to summer.

Ironically we said goodbye in weather that you’d typically associate with November in Yorkshire, rain was coming in sideways aided by a cutting wind that soaked all 897 speccies, officials, players and photographers to the bone – accept those with the foresight to place themselves in the window of the club house and set up a supply chain from there to the bar!

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So roll on next season “Summer Rugby” here we come, it’ll be barmy, short sleeve weather for all, except for when the season starts in March (earlier no doubt for those clubs in the Challenge Cup!) or when it ends in October when no doubt it’ll be a bit parky and if the final’s in Yorkshire I’ll assume raining to!

Oh hang-on then there’ll be all those Saturdays in “Summer” when it chucks it down and we all complain about the weather and don’t even get me started on those three Saturdays when it’ll be cracking the flags and we’ll all still be complaining about the weather………….!!!

From a photography point of view I’m glad we’ll keep those muddy weekends at the start and end of the season, they can often make for a atmospheric shot, but in all honesty I can’t wait for summer rugby, even if its raining at least it’ll be warm rain!

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The debate around the switch is politically charged, but one I’ve followed from a distance with interest, whilst the pro game and some parts of the amateur game of Rugby League have played in summer for some time, some have held fast in Winter – in fact some will continue to hold fast in Winter.  The National Conference however has decided to switch.

The arguments from either side would have you believe its seismic – perhaps it is and I miss the point, but to me it seems the argument is do you want an off season in November and December or 8 weeks spread over parts of May, June and July.  So for me it would seem to boil down to when you have your 8 week break, play in “Winter” you still get exposed to the sun and sun hardened pitches of early and late summers, play in “Summer” and you still get exposed to some pretty shoddy weather.

Don’t tell the traditionalists, but I’m all for it myself – roll on the BBQ summer of 2012 – just don’t forget the umbrella!

Cheers

Marc

PS – Congratulations to Hunslet Warriors, they ran out 18-14 victors over Wigan St Pats in what was a bruising encounter that was 8-8 after 80 minutes so an extra 20 minutes was played to determine the winner.  More photos from the game can be found here.

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Hunslet Warriors Photography Rugby Rugby league Sport Summer Wigan St Pats Winter http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/11/Goodbye-winter-erm-hello-March Tue, 29 Nov 2011 11:53:37 GMT
Ironman 2011 http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/10/Ironman-2011 For those not aware, Ironman UK is not some cheap franchise of a Hollywood blockbuster but a test of mental and physical endurance – a 2.6 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and finally a 26.2 mile run. Now anyone that’s met me will know that perhaps I’m not best qualified to make any sort of informed comment on any of the above disciplines!

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The peak of my sporting achievements are having once stumbled around the Great North Run before deciding that me and running didn’t get on, along with surviving a few seasons of Rugby League and I’ve discounted my football achievements as I think I racked up more post match pints than minutes on the pitch!

Having set out my “sporting legacy” you can now see how woefully unqualified I am to comment, however this is the internet qualifications go out of the window!

I first looked at the individual parts of Ironman and thought the cycling sounded a long way, the run, well we’ve established I barely did half that so fair play that’s a long way, but the swim, 2.6 miles? That hardly sounds on a par with the length or run and cycle, or does it?

Yes granted 2.6 miles trips of the tongue pretty quickly it was only as my mind wondered from the mind numbing boredom of a trip to the gym leading up to Ironman 2011 that I actually gave it much thought.  I’d done my usual 6km warm up on the bike, followed by random throwing about of weights and pushing/pulling of various machines for long enough to make me ache in the morning, followed by a 10 minute “warm down” on the treadmill were I sometimes run as far as 1.5km………I’d convert to miles but it sounds less!

Its at this point I reward myself with a dip in the pool followed by the only bit I actually enjoy, the 15 minutes split between the steam room and sauna! Having done 20 lengths of the 15m pool, off I trotted to the steam room. It was then the mental arithmetic started (it was fine tuned by use of my mobile phones calculator in the changing room if I’m honest!) anyhow, the long and short of it was I was around 230 lengths of my nice, warm, quiet pool short of 2.6 miles.

Pardon my French, but bloody hell! Its about now it dawned on me that not only is it a long way they also do it outside, in a “flash” that I’ll be honest I have to think twice about letting the dog go in let alone contemplate jumping in myself!

So joking aside I already had the utmost respect for anyone entering the Ironman, I now had added respect as I viewed the swimming aspect in a whole new light and that’s before I’d seen it first hand. I did cover the cycling stage of Ironman 2010, but this year wanted to see all three stages to get a real feel for it, plus its not every day an event of this magnitude lands on your door step I want to take every opportunity I could to bag some decent shots. With this in mind I pitched up at Pennington Flash in Leigh at 6am on a cold grey, almost typical English “summers” morning to watch the swimming start.

I have to say its all very civilised the competitors file down queing in an orderly fashion to get in the water, showing endless patience as people slowly acclimatise to the realities of open air swimming in a large Wigan lake.

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Competitors then swim out to the starting line, spirits, from the safety of dry land appear high and then it starts – and I’m not sure the still shot below does it justice, perhaps youtube does. However, it looked brutal! 1300 people kicking, swinging arms seemingly moving as one mass and in a manner that would have lifeguards at your local swimming pool breaking out into a sweat as they blew whistles if it were mass of young teenagers doing the same thing!

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Once warmed up by the swim its out of the lake and onto the bike, I can only presume it must be freezing to jump out of the water and almost straight onto a bike then to start propelling your wet frame through the cold Lancashire morning at speed on a bike – my old gran would have a fit if she saw this, there’s no way your doing this and not waking up with a cold in the morning she’d be saying!

On the bike competitors make there way out of the built up areas of Lancashire and up in to the West Pennine Moors for 110 miles of cycling with over 7000 feet of climbing to cope with – I’ll be honest, I’d be shattered doing it in the car! Watching these guys go hell for leather on the three circuits of the moors its impossible to have anything but respect.

Now cycling, how to photograph cycling? I rattled a few off with high shutter speeds looking to get clean crisp shots and it just doesn’t do it justice, after reviewing a few shots I was making them look static, hardly fair given the effort on there part!

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So time to dust off the panning technique that so rarely gets practiced……………. The problem I find with panning, and I’ll not bore you with techniques, is its hit and miss for me, some you bag and are delighted with, others you don’t and its frustrating, especially if that’s the person who goes on to win you’ve just captured as a blurry mess! Given it’s a photography blog, I’ll let a couple of shots do the talking and you can see the rest here if you like!

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I captured the start of the running, and these guys do make it look easy, again I’m no expert in the fine art of marathon running but they seemed to set off at a decent pace and it was about this point I made the call that I’d got the shots I’d come out for, it was time to head back to the gym followed by the pool to see if I could get any closer to that 2.6 mile swim – I did, by 3 lengths – I reckon in a mere 6 weeks or so I’ll have bagged enough lengths of the pool to clock up that “easy” 2.6 miles, well if you add them all up, not in one session!

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Anyone local to the north west should get out and support this in 2012, it’s a great event if you’ve not seen it before, both viewing at the change over points, along the track and I’m sure at the finish line (I’ve never made it that far!) make for great spectacles, its not often you see some of the worlds finest endurance athletes swim/cycle/run past your doorstep when you live in the sleepy back waters of the North West, go support them!

Good luck in Hawaii to the 50 who qualified.

Cheers Marc

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Cycling Endurance Event Ironman Ironman 2011 Ironman UK Marathon Photography Running Sport Swimming http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/10/Ironman-2011 Sun, 02 Oct 2011 01:44:15 GMT
Haigh Fest 2011 http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/8/Haigh-Fest-2011 Haigh Fest for those that missed it is the closing event to a weekend of live music on a stage erected at Haigh Hall, Wigan.  As I understand it, a music promoter currently Cuffe and Taylor put on two events, this year the good people of Wigan were treated to a night of The Corel and the The Cortineers along with a night of Jedward and Peter Andre – so something for all “tastes”!  As part of the deal for letting it go ahead Wigan Council then move in to put on Haigh Fest, an opportunity to showcase 12 local unsigned bands, 11 of this years coming from within the borough so about as local as it gets.

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I’m amazed at how big the event has grown, it has been several years since my last visit and much has changed, not least the location within Haigh Hall which makes a massive difference.  Instead of looking a little lost infront of the actual Hall, the stage now sits proudly in a big natural amphitheater on what I think my normally be the practice ground for the golf, the netting flanking both sides of the space certainly indicated some wayward golf shots were being catered for either that or no expense had been spared keeping the wild life in/out! 

Based on my last visit my expectations were realistic to say the least but Haigh Fest 2011 blew them away.  12 bands of varying styles but all of decent quality performing on what was possibly the biggest stage of their careers todate to a crowd of around 8/9 thousand people lapping up the sunshine and in a mood for a party!  Not all the music would normally be my cup of tea, but when served up live, for me personally I find most types of music to be very agreeable and the 12 acts at this years Haigh Fest didn’t disappoint.

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To pick out some highlights, unless I’m very much mistaken the young lady who sings in Faith in Fools with there “equal parts rap, rock and ska” is also a teacher, it certainly seemed that way by the gaggle of school aged kids that appeared at the crush barrier shouting “Miss Miss” – if so – fair play!  I’m sure being able to unleash the occasional bollocking in rap form would be an ideal tool in any teachers armory!

Smitten Kitten Sam Miller of Smitten Kitten took to the stage looking like a bloke who knew how to put a show on, I’m by no means an expert, but when you stride out on stage with hair down to your waist an unbuttoned frilly shirt and daring flares on, well your setting expectations that the crowd is about to be entertained and he didn’t disappoint!  Sam took the award for first artist to leave the stage mid act to get closer to the crowd, not sure which caused more of a risk to his well being – the surging crowd or the rush of photographers desperate to get “that shot”!

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Perhaps mid-festival fatigue had set in or perhaps in a world inhabited by Louis Walsh that has made most of us cynical when any band is described as having “catchy, upbeat tunes”, whatever the reason, I wasn’t sensing much energy in “the pit” as we waited for Finding Emo to take to the stage.  That lasted about three notes into the first song, then the place was transformed!  Not sure if it just struck the right note (terrible pun intended!) as it was the sort of music that went perfectly with an outdoor stage basked in glorious sunshine.  Whatever the reason these gents smashed it and went on to perform a stunning set that had the place bouncing.

The Lottery Winners The Lottery Winners are clearly seasoned performers and looked every bit at home on the big stage infront of a big and eager crowd and they pulled out a stunning set and I must admit I went home, fired up iTunes and snapped up “Paper Plate Faces” which is a superb single.  Its no surprise to read that in 2010 these guys were voted best unsigned band 2010, well except for the fact that nobody at that point had had the foresight to sign them up!  Front-man Thomas Ryland had a take me a leave me style that I thought was superb, plenty of entertaining banter between tracks and no expense spared with the unleashing of at least 7 or 8 balloons from the pound shop!

Jeramiah Ferrari The second to last act of the day was Jeramiah Ferrari and boy do these guys know how to put a show on!  Ryan Barton is not a front man short on confidence and he fed of the energy of the live crowd and put one hell of show on.  The “rock/reggae hybrid” was executed brilliantly and Barton was bouncing around like a live wire making use of seemingly every square inch of stage, tv gantrie and photography pit he could, in many ways they’d have been the perfect band to finish on but there was more to follow.  Look forward to seeing more of these guys in the future, I’m by no means an expert but they certainly look to me like a band going places.

Signal Aurora Now obviously there were 7 more bands;

All were all worth keeping an eye out for, heading over to there websites for a listen and getting along to watch a gig should you get chance, the above is just some personal memories of the day and well, if I were to ramble on about all 12 acts, even me old mam would have given up and gone of to read something else!!!

If you’ve never been keep an eye out for Haigh Fest 2012, an event well worth attending.  More of my pictures can be found here.

Cheers
Marc

EDIT, Since posting this blog orginally both Jeramiah Ferrari and Slydigs have both posted new music up on iTunes, well heading over there for a preview and hopefully you'll like it enough to buy!

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Facing Paige Faith in Fools Finding Emo Glassheads Haigh Hall Haighfest Haighfest 2011 Jeramiah Ferrari Last Chance Live Music Merry Hell Music Photography Second Son Signal Aurora Sly Digs Smitten Kitten The Lottery Winners Wigan Wigan Council http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/8/Haigh-Fest-2011 Thu, 25 Aug 2011 14:20:37 GMT
Futsal World Record http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/7/Futsal-World-Record On Saturday 2nd July I was lucky enough to be covering* Middlesbrough Futsal Clubs attempt to set a new world record for the longest ever continuous Futsal match their target was 36 hours.

36 hours, take a moment to think about what you can do in 36 hours, you could fly to Australia on a commercial flight and still have time to be half way back, you could watch 24 back to back football matches or 27 rugby matches – that would be the entire regular season matches for one club in Super League.   In the 36 hours between kickoff and the full time whistle the International Space Station orbited the earth 23 ½ times. Anyhow, you got the picture I’m sure, it’s a long time and there’s a lot you can do in 36 hours!

You could also, should you wish set a new world record for the longest ever Futsal match, well actually, technically, you can’t you’d have to go 36 hours and minute now to beat the record Middlesbrough Futsal Club have now set!

Even if you’ve never seen a Futsal game, no doubt you’ve read my earlier post on the sport and are equipped with a basic knowledge of what its all about…………. 

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You’ll know that squads consist of 12 players, you’ll know its physically demanding, players interchanging constantly, coaches rotating players at their disposal to both get the most out of them and to meet the tactical demands of the game and this is for two halves that are “only” 20 minutes each.  So imagine going into a match set to last 36 hours having had two players drop out in the hours before kick-off leaving you with 11v11 then for another to injure himself in the warm up by kicking the floor, who whilst played on was severely restricted in movement and having another player early on in the match rupture his Achilles tendon.

I’ll be honest, the mere thought of it, especially with depleted squads has me reaching for a sleeping bag and developing a limp as I head off to a darkened room to get some sleep!

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That’s just the players, being an attempt to set an official World Record you have to adhere by the strict rules laid out, that included playing the match under proper rules and that means you need referees!  4 of them in-fact.

I have a silent respect anyway for referees, it’s a tough job, one I can’t do, tried when I was 16 for a couple of seasons at football, there were times I was so bad I’d boo myself off!  But allow me for one second to break that silence and throw some praise in the direction of the Futsal referees I’ve met, not only do they have high tolerance levels of touch line photographers in the often cramped locations of sports halls but they also act as ambassadors for the sport.  I’ve had more than a few conversations myself seeking clarification of why things happen when they do, such as the 5 foul rule, red cards etc and have seen them either explaining the rules to fans when asked, during breaks in play, you just don’t get that in other sports I cover.

So to find four merry whistle blowers willing to prowl the touchline, keep the stats, make sure time keeping was adhered to in the strict manner required to set a new record and just generally raise spirits of flagging players with well timed banter is a fantastic achievement which not only speaks volumes for the individuals but for the spirit within the sport.

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Back to my silent respect before I get a reputation!

Praise must also be heaped in the direction of Damon Shaw manager and chairman of Middlesbrough Futsal Club for pulling it altogether and raising a decent sum of money for the charity Cash For Kids along with all those behind the scenes who didn’t take centre stage on the day but without, events like these just don’t happen.

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I’m sure the players now, more than 72 hours after the event starting to look back, perhaps even fondly(!) now the pains are easing and injuries healing of the memories they acquired during the event.  I bet each and everyone took away a “war story” or two along with more than a few injuries!

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I think my memory will be that despite the lack of sleep and amount of time playing, it was amazing how levels of intensity during the match ebbed and flowed.  I expected a steady pace, but events such as the race to be the first player to score a 100, when two players were tied on 99 each (The one left as Mr 99 is in the background of the picture below, no prizes for guessing who won that race!) injected levels of intensity you’d expect to see in a normal match not a marathon one!

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Then dotted throughout the game as players tired towards the end of their latest “stint” something would spark an infectious rush of blood and tackles would start to fly in before weary players looked thankfully to the touchlines to see their replacements rising out of sleeping bags and trudging to the touchline to take over!

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It was compelling watching and a pleasure to cover, my only regret is not getting there sooner, if there’s a next time I’m pitching up armed with sleeping bag and shall be found “resting” under the referees table in the hope they give me a kick every time it looks like its getting tasty out on court!

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So I shall finish there, before I need to start breaking this post up into chapters with a massive well done to all involved!

Cheers

Marc

*Well I say covering when in-fact I was the glory hunter who pitched up 24 hours into the event  so my stint was a mere 12 hours!

EDIT - This record has already been broken for those interested, Liverpool Managed 36 1/2 hours (pics here and yes I did it all!) and I believe there have also been successful events in Japan and Poland leading to the current record (yet to be verified!) being around 37 1/2 hours.

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) 36 Hours Cash for Kids Damon Shaw Futsal Futsal Referees Futsal World Record Middlesbrough Middlesbrough Futsal Club Photography Sport http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/7/Futsal-World-Record Wed, 06 Jul 2011 11:13:26 GMT
The Joys of Social Media http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/The-Joys-of-Social-Media Its seemingly impossible to escape social media in this day and age and it offers a great way for people like me to get our content out there on “the cheap” so to speak.  Whilst I’m sure some soldier on either oblivious to the likes of Facebook and Twitter or perhaps ignoring them and wearing that as some sort of badge of honour.  Perhaps gaining bragging rights among whatever social circle gets to hear about how they are flying against these new fangled modern trends.  Telling anyone who’ll listen that they live in a world devoid of the knowledge of what their friends, cousins, wife had for tea last night after she’d sent you a “friend” request having sat next to you at said friends wedding several years ago and are enjoying life all the more in the absence of this knowledge!

For those of us who’ve decided that not to embrace the opportunities offered by the ever growing forms of social media would represent a missed opportunity the question lurks in the back of our, well certainly mine, were do I draw the line?

There’s the obvious such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr – all shameless plugs, but that seems to be the name of the game!

If you’re a returning visitor you may have noticed the shiny new icons to the right of this post, we’re a simple click away from “connecting” or whatever our social paymasters call it these days!  Or perhaps you’ll notice the sharing buttons at the foot of this post allowing you to share/inform/bore the pants of people in your social network with next to no effort at all.

I do however feel the need to explain, my beloved Canon 70-200mm is in the repair shop this week after developing what can only be described as a “wobble” on the focusing ring so I’ve not been out and about this weekend taking photographs, clearly having time to insert various social network icons on your site is a clear indication your lacking better alternatives of things to do with your time!  Or perhaps it’s the guilt that whilst I’m not out shooting perhaps I should be scouring the site looking to make every improvement I can no matter how small.  Or perhaps I’ve wasted a couple of hours of my weekend that would have been better spent tending to the garden!

I think for me, for now, a line has been drawn, I’ll attempt to carry on blogging as my new best friend Google Analytics (more on that in another post!) tells me it’s a great way to drive traffic to the site.  But other than twitter and facebook I’m not seeing much benefit in peddling the same content to possibly the same people looking at it multiple times, although I have started to play more with Instragram on the iPhone………..

However bebo, path, myspace, color, foursquare, google+ etc.  for now I can’t see why I’d need you or how we’d get on, sorry about that!  Unless of course I’m missing the “next big thing”, if you think I am get in touch and I’ll be right on it……………………!!!

Cheers

Marc

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Facebook Flickr Instagram Marc Taylor Marc Taylor Sports Photographer Off Topic Social Media Sports Photography Twitter http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/The-Joys-of-Social-Media Mon, 27 Jun 2011 09:36:56 GMT
Futsal http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/Futsal If you’d asked me 12 months ago what Futsal was I’d have offered you a waffly answer around the fact I suspected it was some sort of variant of football, it wouldn’t have required to many probing questions to ascertain you’d exhausted my knowledge on the subject!

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Fast forward 12 months and I’ve just spent a great season following the trials and tribulations of Manchester Futsal Club having responded to an advert they posted looking for a club photographer.  Whilst the Grand Finals have just been and gone and apparently few were surprised Helvecia won there fourth title in succession there’s the Futsal Cup still to come – this weekend I’ll be heading to the Futsal Arena Birmingham to cover Liverpool Futsal Club in the qualifying tournament.

Whilst Helvecia may have won the Grand Final (again!) the general feeling was the gap was closing, Manchester despite losing 4-1 can quite rightly argue that the scoreline flattered there opponents and they gave them a good game, the expressions and reactions of Helvecia coaching staff and players to key decisions throughout the game certainly showed they knew they were in a game!

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In the Grand Final, whilst the scoreline reads Helvecia 5-2 Sheffield, at one point the game was delicately poised at 2-2 and Sheffield had more than a few opportunities to take the lead.  It will be interesting to see how close teams can get to loosening Helvecias grip on success at the Futsal Cup in Birmingham in July

So for those that don’t know and whilst I’m sure wikipedia or similar will explain it better, Futsal is a five a side variant of football, but not in the vain of five a side seen up and down the country in Power Leagues – this is more akin to thinking mans five a side!  Its not an uncommon site to see coach and assistant coach in deep discussions on the sidelines as the match unfolds, sliding fingers around ipads or moving counters around hand held white boards until a tactical agreement has been reached.

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I may not understand the technical side yet – and quite possibly never will but if pushed to find similarities with other sports I’d say its almost like a cross between ice hockey, basketball and five a side.  The focus is on skills, tactics are key and slow build ups bursting into breath taking action is very much the order of the day.

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A match consists of two 20 minute half’s, time is stopped when the ball is out of play and there is a limit on how long a keeper can keep possession and kick ins (there are no throw ins!) are also on a time limit.  The physically demanding nature of the sport is demonstrated in the number of substitutions, whilst theres only 5 on the court at any one time, a squad can be up to 12 players with rolling substitutions occurring throughout the game – its not uncommon in the dying minutes of a game to see the goalkeeper of a losing team substituted whilst in procession only to return to the field frantically as his team lose the ball for example, or some teams opt to do without a keeper altogether and go “fly”.

Next month (1st and 2nd July) there is a world record attempt in Middlesbrough that will attempt to play a game for 36 hours straight, curiosity may well get the better of me on that one having seen how physically demanding the 40 minute variant of the game is – pictures perhaps to follow!  Anyhow its all in the name of charity so well worthy of support.

Speaking of Middlesbrough, a special mention must go to the “Ultras” the most passionate and vocal fans I’ve encountered in amateur/semi pro sport if your near Middlesbrough or they come to a town near you its well worth taking in a match just to witness them first hand!

For those wanting to see more the FA have produced a great highlight video from last weekends action that’s well worth watching.

Still young enough to play?  Its well worth a try if your looking for something offering a little more depth than a five a side kick about, the standard in the FA North, Central and Southern leagues is high, details of clubs can be found here, the drop down navigates between the North, Central and Southern leagues.  For those wanting to dip there toe in the water at a lower standard it seems to me there are plenty of regional leagues to look at, drop a line to you local FA Futsal League club and I’m sure they’ll be only to grateful to help point you in the right direction.

My futsal pictures can be found here and with an unashamedly northern bias checkout the websites of;

All offer information and links to a whole host of Futsal related material.

Cheers

Marc

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) English FA Futsal Grand Finals Marc Taylor Marc Taylor Sports Photographer Photography Sport Sports Photography Surrey Surrey Sports Park http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/Futsal Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:52:00 GMT
Panning http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/Panning As I left the house on Sunday morning my good lady inquired were I was off to, we’d already had the conversation but in the noise and hubbub caused by two small children the detail is often lost!  I told her I was off Panning at Three Sisters, she shot me the confused look that, I guess, as with most married couples words are not always required, this look said “Panning?  And who the hell are the Three Sisters?”, the words that followed had me chuckling all the way to the car – “Well good luck I hope you find some and have fun!”.  One can only presume she thought I was off to the foothills of Wigan in search of golden nuggets that would secure our future, pay of the mortgage and fund that Canon 400mm lens I have my eye on……………………………

In reality I was at a loose end, had new Camera in hand and was desperate to shoot something, so having been let down badly by the rugby the previous day with three matches (yes three!) all called off, possibly falling fowl of the weather – can it be coincidental it was cracking the flags and perfect beer garden weather?  Anyhow, I was off in search of a photography fix and whilst on my wild goose chase in search of rugby I’d seen a race event advertised for the Sunday at The Three Sisters race track in Wigan.  Perfect, no excuses, it was time to practice that panning technique, something I’m keen to master but thus far have only dabbled with.

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I think I’ve been put off to date, because, whilst it sounds simple to execute I’ve only been partly pleased with my results thus far.  I’ve partly blamed badly executed technique on my part and put some of the problem down to only having tried it on cyclists and the problem with those fellas is they have to many moving parts, such as legs peddling away, so to much of the subject ends up blurred, well it does how I’ve been doing it anyhow!  So it was time to chance my arm at some motor sport.

The best laid plans and all that were left in tatters as my two little cherubs had eaten into my research time by keeping us up late on the Saturday evening and waking up early Sunday morning, so it was a quick recap via google on settings and technique and I was off.

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My first hurdle upon arriving was were to stand, now you can look at google maps and pick out corners, straights, chicanes and the like that you think will offer a decent vantage point until your hearts content, however, on the ground the reality is some what different and it’s a tad harder to get to your chosen spot than perhaps I’d anticipated.  Now the problem with race tracks is that by there nature there big and take some walking around, so first tip of the day, if your not familiar with the venue get there early, get there VERY early and be wearing comfy shoes as you’ll be walking a lot!  Second tip, be watered and fed, you can bet your bottom dollar that “the perfect spot” you find will be miles away from facilities – I failed on both counts so had sore feet, missed the first race and was hungry/thirsty for most of my stay!

I should probably have opted to shoot in manual, but, the light was variable so I chickened out and shot in TV, most of the articles I’d read suggested a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second, now I was hand holding and shooting with my Canon 70-200mm lens so ranged from 1/80 to 1/100 of a second mainly shooting at the 200mm end, but taking advantage of the IS on the lens set to mode 2, normally I’m shooting at shutter speeds fast enough to easily make the IS a redundant feature so it was nice to get it turned on for once.

I was relatively pleased with the results, considering the lack of practice, there will always be room for improvement and obviously there are plenty of blurry messes that won’t see the light of day unless I can find something particularly “arty” to do with them in post processing and claim it was meant to look like that…………………..

More from this set can be found here.

Cheers

Marc

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Marc Taylor Marc Taylor Sports Photographer Motorsport Panning Photography Racing Sport Sports Photography Technique Three Sisters Wigan http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/Panning Sun, 12 Jun 2011 13:48:29 GMT
Ladies Rugby http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/Ladies-Rugby Being a bloke I obviously have all the attributes required to quite easily come across as a chauvinist pig when talking about ladies sport so if I promise to tread carefully with this posting will you promise to cut me some slack?

So………………………….

A couple of weeks ago now I had the privilege to be present at Halton Ladies v Wigan St Pats ladies in the opening fixture of the Womens West National Conference.  For the Wigan based team this was there first competitive match and for many only there 2nd game of rugby following on from a pre-season friendly.

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I had no idea what to expect and if I’m honest was pleasantly surprised with what I encountered, unlike the male equivalent which as a player, spectator and photographer has always struck me as a very serious affair where winning seems to be far far more important than enjoyment.  Pep talks behind the sticks after conceding a try often talk about “smashing opponents”, “most important game of our lifes” or “putting bodies on the line”, exchanges of smiles and friendly banter between opponents are virtually non-existent, safe for the rare moment normally involving old war horses enjoying the final days of Autumn in there rugby career so to speak.

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The ladies game however is played in a totally different spirit, ok the collisions are possibly not as intense as those often seen in the male version but it still maintains a very physical presence that ensures respect for the players is equally justified as that given to there male counterparts, as I’m sure the young lady from St Pats whisked off to hospital to find she’d broken ribs will testify.  But, players smile, laughter (of the pleasant sort!) was heard, I’m sure I even heard compliments being exchanged between opponents as various skills were displayed and the match wore on.  That’s not to say the game wasn’t taken seriously though, Halton won, and won big, 68-8, the heads of the St Pats ladies never dropped, there was never the impression the game wasn’t being taken seriously yet there was what I can only describe as an “air of pleasantness” about the whole game that I’ve never witnessed in the male version of the game – outside of masters tournaments and pre-season friendlies.

IMG_8966 I for one hope it continues, at 2 ½ my daughter is clearly to young to play, if you’d asked me before hand would I want her to play, I’d have said no, in all honesty, yet afterwards it would be a resounding yes, if when she’s old enough the game is still played in the same spirit – about the biggest compliment I can pay to this or any other sport!

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Halton Ladies RLC Ladies Rugby Marc Taylor Marc Taylor Sports Photographer Photography Rugby Rugby league Sport Sports Photography Wigan Wigan St Pats http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/6/Ladies-Rugby Thu, 02 Jun 2011 13:37:38 GMT
Contrasting fortunes http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/5/Contrasting-fortunes The contrasting fortunes the end of any sporting season brings, offer up rich pickings for a sports photographer lucky enough to be present.  No doubt when my team, Wigan Athletic takes to the field in the “must win” game on Sunday come the full time whistle if they’ve lost there will no doubt be the sight of players consoling each other, slumping to the ground and probably wiping away the odd tear.  Should they win then of course there’ll be tears of joy, along with much badge kissing, chest thumping and over the top celebrations that any outsider looking in would probably see as misplaced given the cause for celebration is being the 4th or 5th worst team in the league rather than the 3rd worst!

Then you have the spectra that regardless of if they are tears of joy or sadness they will no doubt dry quicker than the transfer requests that will be slapped in on Monday morning by players feeling they deserve bigger and better, perhaps they have 6th or 7th worst team in there sights for next year!

Cynical – yes probably, the memories of Ellington’s transfer request on the eve of our first ever Premier League match or Chimbonda’s in the tunnel away at the Emirates whilst still in his kit upon the full time whistle at the end of our first ever Premier League season are still fresh.  Of course there’ve been many more since, not quite as dramatic, but the revolving door at the Wigan training ground does seem to spin at speed in the off-season and even once the season starts the suspicion remains that there’s one or two already seeing there future elsewhere………..

In contrast there is a certain honesty that I like and feel drawn to in semi-professional/amateur circles.  I was lucky enough to be invited by Saltney Town football club to cover two cup finals on consecutive weekends marking a superb end to the season for the club.  Thankfully they went on to win both, the first by 8-0 in a match that started as a competitive cup final, passed through the stage were opponents Llanuwchllyn, knew they were beaten and a few tackles flew in and then into the coasting towards the final whistle stage were every attack looked likely to serve up a goal.  It was a footballing master class, that said, with victory assured so early in the game it didn’t quite have that sense of relief the final whistle brings to the end of any cup final were the result has been in the balance.  Still the champagne corks popped and the well deserved celebrations ensued.  A link to my set from that match can be found here.

Fast forward six days and Saltney Town faced new opponents, in what from the off struck me as being a far more balanced affair, it had the ebb and flow early on of two teams not wanting to give anything away but still wanting to test there opponents.  It was like two heavy weight boxers jabbing each other in the early rounds of a fight – jabs never intended to knock out there opponent more a gentle reminder of what’s to come.   Castell Alun scored first in the 24th minute and if anything, this seemed to sting Saltney into life, the Castell Alun celebrations had barely finished when Saltney Town equalised 4 minutes later with a superbly taken goal and a “proper strikers” celebration – can be seen on my home page – Shane Parry one arm held aloft wheeling away towards celebrating team-mates.  Saltney had to wait until the 70th minute for the 2nd goal.  Parry scoring once more, this time with his head, setting up a tense 20 minute run in to the final whistle.  Players asking referee and “liners” seemingly every 30 seconds – “how long to go?”, which all culminates in an explosion of emotion upon the final whistle – its hard deciding what and how to photograph so’s not to miss anything!

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It was a superb experience and many thanks to Saltney Town manager Mark Edwards for the booking to cover it, was a privilege to be there and congratulations on your end of season double.  My photos from this cup final can be seen here.

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In contrast I’ve also been lucky enough to have photographed Manchester Futsal Club through what has, to date been an excellent season.  To set the scene, almost two weeks ago  MFC travelled to Middlesborough knowing a win would be enough to clinch the FA Futsal North League title.  Whilst Manchester have been in fine form throughout the season and built an exceptional squad they have been pushed close by Sheffield all the way and there was also the “Ultras” of Middlesborough to contend with!

You have to see first hand to really appreciate how so few can create so much noise and atmosphere as the Middlesborough Ultras do, I’ve never seen anything like it in semi-professional or amateur circles.

So it was against this backdrop needing victory that Manchester lost control of there own destiny, losing 3-2, at the time this left Sheffield 4 points behind with 2 games in hand and 3 points on offer for a win, Sheffield have subsequently eased past East Coast 20-1 and now a draw or better away at Tranmere this coming Sunday will clinch the title for them.

Whilst “just” the photographer who’s role is to capture the match action on a Sunday afternoon, go home, edit and upload the photos, impartiality for the afternoon had gone out of the window and I was gutted!  Then you have the players and staff, training 2/3 times a week, matches on a Sunday, plenty of friendlies to squeeze in to fill the blank weekends, along with the travel and time commitments coupled with working/university studies and you end up with very gutted!

There’s an argument that from a photography point of view, the losing side in any situation like this offers up an excellent opportunity for photographs, the range of emotions etched on players faces, the obvious black and white conversion opportunities, as it was, I stopped at this;

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I’d switched to a wider angle lens and well, getting to close felt like over stepping the mark so left it at this sort of distance.  Hopefully with the end of season play-offs and cup competitions on the horizon we’ll be back to photographs of celebrating!  The full set of photos from Middlesborough v MFC can be found here.

From a sporting perspective a big hats off to the Middlesborough manager Damon Shaw and his players, in a game with nothing but pride to play for they gave it everything, fair play gents – I hope to see the same from Man Utd, Spurs and Wolves at the weekend – however, Stoke have had a tough week, so be nice to see them coast to the finish line!

I’d like to round off this longer than intended post by thanking the players and officials at Saltney Town FC,  Llanuwchllyn FC, Castell Alun FC,  Manchester Futsal Club and Middlesborough Futsal Club for the roles they played in the matches outlined above and in particular to the people that booked me for each occasion – many thanks.

Cheers
Marc

PS – All future posting will be much shorter!

 

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marc.taylor@me.com (Marc Taylor Photography) Football Futsal Manchester Futsal Manchester Futsal Club Middlesborough Futsal Middlesborough Futsal Club Photography Saltney Town Sport Wigan Wigan Athletic http://marctaylor.eu/blog/2011/5/Contrasting-fortunes Fri, 20 May 2011 17:18:00 GMT