Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 04/02/2012

Nice weather for… Siberian Tigers!

It took a friend to remind me that today was the start of what is arguably one of the best annual sporting spectacle.. the Rugby 6 Nations. I’ve not had the time, or focus, for the last few years to follow a local rugby team or the international matches but as Scotland vs England match is the first of the competition, I might make a note of the remaining games so I can enjoy the tournament in full. England’s performance has been a lot better than of recent years and despite being behind going into half-time, I feel we could well pull back as long as the pack apply the same amount of pressure on the Scottish team in the second half.

I went out photographing a slightly less well known sporting event first thing today.. the attendance must have been close to that at Murryfield* – the Children’s Football team that I photographed for last year played their first game of this year and I was there ready with my camera. A change of location, to kick off the season, we were on astro-turf which in light of the sub-zero temperatures was probably much better for the kids to play on. The pitches were surrounded by high fencing which actually plaid a factor in the games. Instead of the normal throw-in when a ball is kicked off, the players could use the wire meshing to bounce the ball off which added an extra element to the game.

From a photographic point of view, despite the incredible cold (my feet have only just thawed out some seven hours later), the sun was out and illuminating the pitches perfectly. I’ve not looked at the photos yet, but (without wanting to sound big headed) I suspect they will have come out well. As I’ve mentioned before, once the camera has been set correctly – looking at the histograms on the back of the camera to ensure that the levels are as you’d expect, then you shouldn’t need to make any adjustments to your camera – that’s what I did today. After checking the back of the camera to ensure that the yellow and white bibs some of the teams were wearing weren’t over exposed; this required pushing the exposure by minus two thirds of a stop (something I’ve found from experience both from football and also trying to photograph yellow flowers!) in other words underexposing the pictures – I then had to ensure that I wasn’t loosing anything on the left hand side of the histogram which denotes the dark levels of the images.

Snow has been falling whilst I’ve been writing this and it’s settling on the ground, if possible, Dear Reader, please please put food and (just as importantly) water out for the birds. Even if you don’t have dedicated bird feeders, put some scraps outside on any surfaces, not just on the ground but higher up – different birds forage at different heights, for example Dunnocks and Chaffinches eat from the ground, where are Great Tits and Blue Tits prefer to eat up in the bushes and trees. You don’t need to get the Sunday Silver, just a few scraps to help the out in these difficult conditions.

* the home of the Scottish Rugby team


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