Seems like so long ago I used to shoot uni sport 4/5 days a week.
It was a great time for me to develop my photography with top quality teams at Birmingham Uni. Hockey was my fave, mainly because the women’s 1s were the best team in the uni.
First year blew hot or cold. I suppose that’s the case for anyone learning without any guidance. I was capable of taking the kind of images the marketing department loved. However, taking some absolute rubbish in the process.
This was an image I did early on and they loved. I did start to learn that getting the clocktower in a sports shot was just about their favourite thing
I still love these two shots. I had bought a 70-200 2.8 by that stage. But the camera was my good old 3 fps 400D.
And here’s some of the rubbish
Shooting at night was always a nightmare at Birmingham. The floodlights were beyond dreadful and even in 2nd year when I had 2.8 sports lenses and the 7D it was still very difficult.
Second year was by far my best year. I was now being mentored by Matthew Ashton in the premier and football league. I had just done a few days at Wimbledon with Bob Martin. I had a 400mm 2.8 lent to me and I started to become much more consistent.
There were probably less “killer shots”. Marketing certainly thought so! It was a massive area for frustration for me. Looking back, I was working on technique and consistency under Matt’s guidance and it was far more important for me to improve on this.
Here’s just a few shots from different sports in 2nd year.
Hockey, well women’s first team hockey, along with my work in football for AMA, was where I really learned, developed and improved shooting full frame.
Target 1: get a solid set of action shots per game
2: Stock photography
All the big gun players there: Atkinson, Bray, Payne, Haycroft, Sharp and Page, it was one hell of a team
3: celebrations and goals
The order of priorities was different in football, I must add that.
I also took a lot of player profile style photos on the 400mm. I was still working for marketing of course so I felt they’d be useful to put on the online player profiles: marketing never did this. I think the other reason I did so many was because the women’s team were my team in the same way that Arsenal were (and are!) my team. There was definitely a sense of awe towards the girls: respect, admiration etc and so that’s why there were so many shots like the ones below.
The hockey girls won BUCS again. The match wasn’t about action shots. I needed celebrations, key moments etc
I had an amazing time covering the finals in Sheffield across all the sports.
I won the uni photography competition – £400 camera thanks very much
Note the clocktower being in it … its a shit photo who knows how I won with that.
I suppose this summed up marketing’s issue in year two. While I was taking technically very strong photos they were not as well suited to marketing as in year one. However, it was a great second year.
3rd year was nowhere near as good. I lost access to the 400mm and in sport you really need the right lenses. I did a lot more marketing photos for the gym and exercise classes. And lastly Birmingham had a really bad year in sport, the big teams lost big games.
Here’s a selection from my final year.
Huge hockey clashes in the premier league with GB captain Kate Walsh coming calling
The girls were on the end of a lot of bad luck that year and a lot of injuries. I’ve deleted all my pics from the BUCS final that they lost, again through bad luck more than anything else.
This photo kinda sums up their BUCS season. They were unbeaten for two years and lost 3 BUCS games in that season including the final in Sheffield.
I won another competition tho a proper one this time. Calumet’s sports photography comp
Great jump Joey!
I got to go to the Olympic test event because the athletics uni champs were held there
Pippa Woolven won gold for Brum
They also had other sports going on there including guess what?!
Danson rifles home a goal
Former Birmingham Uni player Susie Gilbert dives for the ball
Crista Cullen celebrates
Quite like those shots
The final match I shot at Birmingham was the cup final (equivalent of the FA Cup) for hockey
The girls had had a hard season but they are champions through and through and won the final meaning these were my final shots
A great way to finish.