Shooting soccer with the Olympus E-P1

A friend co-founded and writes for a Berlin-based English language soccer magazine called No Dice, and I volunteered to accompany him as photographer at a number of games in exotic locations (Basse Terre in Guadeloupe, Oslo and, er, Dublin). We were both going to be at these locations at the right time anyway, so it suited. I’m posting some of the shots that were published as well as some others I that liked from the matches, as well as a little about how and why I took them.

Guadeloupe 2nd league, Vieux-Fort vs. Petit-Bourg

No Dice magazine is characterised by a very high standard of photography in my opinion, so I took it as quite a challenge to come up with some decent shots. I didn’t have the gear to, or necessarily want to, tightly fill the frame with sharp shots of players and goals but rather wanted to capture the smell and flavour of each match.

Speaking of which, that’s a sugar cane plantation belonging to Rhum Bologne in the left background:

Lots of these type of games take place late in the evening at poorly-lit stadiums also, so bright lenses were important. I brought a few primes to each game, but the shots I liked most came from the OM.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, manually focussed with focus assist permanently on. I’d focus on my subject in the magnified centre portion of the frame and guess framing, cropping as necessary as the shots were for the web only. For wider angle shots, I brought along the Panasonic 14mm or 20mm.

 

League of Ireland Premier Division, Shelbourne FC vs. Sligo Rovers

The pro photographers at the games were typically Canikon guys, and I managed to hang with them for some of the games where we got in as press. I don’t think much attention was paid to me! One pro at the Shelbourne vs Sligo Rovers match was using a GH3 and 12-35 f/2.8 for crowd shots in addition to his Canikon zoom. We exchanged nods, I think he realised how difficult I had it compared to him with only 20 and 50mm to choose from! This game ran into darkness, and I noticed that I was the only one still shooting with my 50/1.8 at the end, although that may be because the pros had already mailed in their shots and retired to the bar!

The crowd and atmosphere at these “off-the-beaten-track” soccer games is fantastic. Local foods are often cooked on site, and local drinks are imbibed in bars or at stalls in the grounds. I’m definitely not the world’s biggest soccer fan, not close, but I had a really great time at these games.

Vinny and his teddybears have been to every Sherlbourne FC home and away match for six and a half years.

The matches all took place within a period of 6 months or so, and served as a beneficial project and learning experience for me.

Norwegian 2. Divisjon Group 2, Frigg vs. Strømsgodset II

We had a wonderful clear afternoon in Oslo to watch this match, with a small crowd in a very friendly and accessible stadium.


The gear I used for all these shots was Olympus E-P1, OM.Zuiko 50mm f/1.8, Panasonic 14mm and 20mm.

Links to Stephen’s articles are below. They are well worth a read as Stephen has a very entertaining writing style even to a soccer-philistine like me. On a serious note, the last article is a worthy exploration of the current sad the state of Irish domestic soccer:

Out of the Guadeloupe in Basse Terre

Fearsome Frigg firepower flattens feeble foes

Sligo talk the talk at charming Tolka

One last shot, as we were leaving the stadium in Basse Terre to wander back home through the tropical streets we came across this fanatastic scene:

Busáras, Dublin

As an old, but not “properly” old building, Dublin’s main bus terminal, Busáras (Irish, literally “bus building”) is maligned by many. As I pass it twice a day almost every day, I’ve gotten quite interested in it and have come to appreciate it a quite a lot.

Front

It’s quite a hard subject to photograph, as it’s surrounded on all four sides by a mixture of road traffic, Luas light rail vehicles and overhead utility lines.

From Amiens St

Unfortunately, the building is very closed off from the street, with access through only one side.

Western elevation

It is really quite detailed, with each frontage presenting a range of decoration from minimalist to really quite detailed. From Amien Street, a heavy slab of Portland stone cladding bookends the main office accommodation.

Slab

Some of a decorative features include a set of primary coloured canopies on the top occupied floor, barely visible from street level.

Decorative canopies

As I get a chance I will be updating this post.

Heritage Boat Association in Maynooth

Recently, the Irish Heritage Boat Association stopped off in Maynooth Harbour for a few days. The HBA do a wonderful job in keeping Ireland’s inland waterways heritage alive and it’s really great to see them passing through.

Heritage Boat Association in Maynooth 1

The vessels’ imposing bulk and dark, rugged features make for a dramatic nighttime scene, especially when a number of vessels are rafted together in a normally empty harbour.

Heritage Boat Association in Maynooth 2

Each boat has a fascinating history, some well over 100 years old. The most common classe of boats are M & E. M boats were Motorised (first 30 Ms are converted horse barges, have pointier bows), E boats were maintenance boats on Ireland’s inland waterways (Engineering), while other heritage boats are less common. All have interesting and varied histories, for example 4E in the foreground was built in 1896, having started life as a horse-drawn boat before being fitted with an engine, before being stripped of the engine again. More info on boat names and classes.

Heritage Boat Association in Maynooth 3

With the Royal Canal reopened as far as the Shannon, these wonderful boats can now travel the vast majority of the routes they would have plied trade on back in the day.

Heritage Boat Association in Maynooth 4

Some more photos of the boats in Maynooth are on the HBA site.

First post

This blog was started as a means to catalogue some photos I have taken and liked and which have spilled over from flickr.com and 500px. I find the format of these sites a little too immediate, i.e. one is always hesitant to upload anything but the newest and best for fear of absence of likes, favourites or comments.

I am lucky to be in a position to explore and shoot around Dublin, a city that I love, and hope to share some findings here. I find myself taking mainly urban photos in colour, although I really enjoy other people’s street photography. Perhaps I will see differently and start taking some more street photos in the classical style.

I like WordPress, having used WordPress.org for a paying gig, ClearSnow.ie (winter maintenance for Ireland). I have copied Alan P. and his excellent blog Alan P. in Hong Kong in selecting the Ari theme (also available Ari for WordPress.org). Thank you for reading.

Front Square Trinity College Dublin