Updated: Mar 3
The month of March started off on the wrong foot for Fleetwood Town as they suffered a 2-0 defeat away at promotion hopefuls Wigan Athletic in their rearranged Sky Bet League One clash, but here's my view from behind the lens to take you through my thought process from start to finish.
The match took place at the DW Stadium on Tuesday 1 March 2022, and let's say on a professional level, I didn't have my best match behind the camera, but it sure will be an experience I learn from going forward.
For this game, I stuck with my set up with my Canon EOS 1DX MK1 camera body on my 70-200mm and then my 1DX MK2 camera body on my 300mm f2.8. I will eventually switch them around however I just feel so comfortable with the MK1 set up that it's something I don't want to mess around with at this stage of the season.
My matchday started off with a pleasant 40 minute drive from Blackpool to Wigan. With the sunshine out all day on the Fylde Coast, I was just hoping it was going to stay dry for the match in the evening and thankfully my prayers were listened to! On arrival it was a short walk across the bridge to the Main Reception to collect my accreditation and bib from the steward, who also guided me to the Media Room - which I have to say smelt amazing as I walked into the room (this was down to the meat & potato and steak pies that were sat on the side waiting the media).
Before sitting down for a bite to eat, it's important for any photographer working for an agency or for themselves to start their "story" of the match and that means getting general view stadium shots before players or any fans arrive inside the ground. It's an impressive setup at the DW Stadium - yes it's used for the Rugby matches swell - but getting shots inside at the ground allowed me to test lighting, get my creativity going as well as get a feel of places to sit during the game. Here are some of the stadium shots:
Due to some stadiums in the EFL still following COVID guidelines, on this occasion Fleetwood Town's dressing room wasn't in the normal away team changing room, it was in the far left corner (last photo) and with it being very dark and not much room to capture players, I didn't manage to get them walking in, but the next best thing is to get the team warming up and after enjoying my lovely meat & potato pie - thank you to the Wigan catering staff - I then took to the field to get my camera settings right for kick-off and also adapt any of my presets to make life as easy as possible for myself when it came to editing images live during the game.
This was a tricky experience as the ground staff didn't put on all the lights until the players went off the field for their final preparations and this made me think twice about my settings and my seating positioning because what if the lights stayed the same? Would that affect where I sat? If the other lights came on, would that upset my presets / editing styles for the game? All these things were going through my head on the night and it's something you will need to think about at games, especially if the lights aren't amazing at the sporting event you're shooting.
You'd have to say Fleetwood started off the game well against second place, Wigan Athletic and had a good chance to open the scoring when winger Shayden Morris' shot across goal was well saved by Ben Amos in the Latics sticks. Carl Johnson in the middle created another good opportunity for Town but it's fair to say Wigan soaked up the early pressure and made the visitors pay for their missed chances late in the first half.
The opening goal for the hosts came in the 37th minute when Will Keane slotted the ball home from 12-yards after defender Callum Johnson was judged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area. Hard to see from my angle down the other end, but there wasn't too many complaints - maybe distance from the original shot is the only point you could give - but nether less, it was a cooly taken penalty as Keane's effort nestled in the top corner giving Alex Cairns - the Town keeper - no chance!
Wigan doubled their lead five minutes later through James McClean. He did well to get one-on-one with the defender and once again, calmly finding the bottom right hand corner with his left foot. You have to say Wigan did deserve their goals, but for the second you could say there was a foul in the build up on Town's left back, but the Referee nor his official saw anything. The half ended and Fleetwood had a mountain to climb!
Well, the second half didn't have much to offer. Fleetwood made a few half-time substitutes but none of them had an affect on the game in terms of turning the tie back in their favour but with Paddy Lane - who has been on fire this season for the Cod Army - out injured after going off in the Portsmouth match holding his hamstring - it's going to be a tough few weeks for Fleetwood and head coach, Stephen Crainey.
As I said earlier, with the lights, they changed colour / warmth throughout the match and for me editing the images pitchside, it was constantly adapting my exposure and white balance. I did set the white balance but with the conditions changing every 15-20 minutes, I decided to leave my white balance on AUTO and adjust things in Lightroom. Having shot at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge the week before, it was a different world that's for sure in terms of shooting and lighting conditions, but it's all part of the experience.
The match ended on a sour note for both Clubs as a player from each side was shown a straight red card. Wigan's goalscorer McClean was shown the card as well as Fleetwood striker Joe Garner - who used to play for the Latics - for a tussle around the host's penalty area. With the game over in the 97th minute, it was a silly thing to do as they could be a defining moment for Wigan who are looking to automatic promotion, and also Fleetwood who are looking to keep their League One status.
It's another tough game for Fleetwood Town this weekend as they welcome Ipswich to Highbury Stadium on Saturday 5 March 2022 (3pm KO) and it's a game that the Cods will want to avoid defeat as their games in hand are running out, with Sunderland to come the following Tuesday night at the Stadium of Light.
Thank you for reading this matchday blog. This is something I will continue to do to give you more of an insight into my routine. If you have any questions or comments, please sign-up and leave a message below.
WHAT CAMERA GEAR DO I USE FOR MY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Throughout this month, I was using my Canon EOS 1DX Mark One camera body with the Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS II USM lens, along side my new Canon EOS 1DX MKII with Canon EF 300mm f2.8 L IS USM lens. I take my stadium shots and wider angle frames on either camera body, using the Canon EF 24-105mm f4 lens. If you would like to see what I use, please click on the links. If you'd like to know more on my camera set-up, please leave me message or find me on social media. Thank you!
Sam Fielding / SLF-Studios
Photos are owned by PRiME Media Images