Touring with the Legends Football League the last few months(2013/2014) has been a lot of fun for me. Getting to meet so many extraordinary female athletes all around the country as well as all their exceptional coaches, support staff and fans has been a huge pleasure. The debut season in Australia was also a huge success filling out the stadiums more than expected and we also managed to have very successful TV ratings on 7mate, so much so that the figures outnumbered the mens A-league games.
As the Director of Photography for LFL Australia I was required to tour with the LFL event staff interstate to each of the games. In fact I wrote most of this blog post while sitting on a plane flying between Perth and the various other cities that are home to the teams in the league. Those being Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. They already have an Adelaide team in training for next season and still the chance of another team to join the mix!
SO WHAT DO I DO?
I am part of the core event staff on game-day and I help in a number of ways, and the first part of my responsibility is to photograph the commercial aspect of things. So I’m shooting the players for the posters and all the promotional material. So all those game-day programs, flyers, and even billboards that you have seen are all the result of my work. A lot of the images have made their way to the newspapers and magazines as well both here and overseas.
Then once game-time comes around, the second part of my main responsibility is to photograph the action on the field. I’m certainly no expert when it comes to sports photography, but I had to learn fast. Shooting the promotional content with a specific lighting setup was right down my alley, but having to switch my mentality to a sports shooter to shoot the games was something new for me. Mind you, I’m not a complete stranger to it. I have been attending training sessions of the local W.A. Angels in preparation for the commencement of the league so that brought be somewhat up to speed. I think just starting to understand the game more was important for me. My background shooting live events such as motorsport was certainly a help in getting the job done. Combine all that with the right equipment for the job thanks to Camera Electronic and I was pretty set.
There was a further third aspect to my role as Director of Photography. I did a lot of filming during the day for the TV broadcast, such as green screen player introductions and interviews which you would have seen on the big screen as well as the TV broadcast on 7Mate. I also put my Steadicam to work and filmed certain content before, during and after the game. That was certainly a tricky task to juggle at times when I was meant to be shooting stills as well. Sometimes I was switching between stills and filming mid-game, and jumping in and out of a steadicam rig doesn’t happen instantaneously but I managed to get very quick at it and get everything we needed.
WHATS THE SCHEDULE LIKE?
All games are played on a Saturday evening, kicking off at 8pm, so I board a plane in Perth on the Friday unless of course the game is in Perth. The time I leave all depends on what flights are available. Sometimes It would be a late morning flight which means I’ll be able to get a good sleep that night but other flights have been quite late in the day and we don’t check-in to the hotel at our destination until after midnight.
Game day is pretty full on. We are all at the stadium by 8:30am and we have to start firing on all cylinders straight away and we need to keep the revs up for the whole day. I don’t think we have ever left the stadium before 12am the following day. It’s a lot of work setting up and preparing for the game, but it’s also a bit of work packing up everything so we can all leave and go home. I have to download a bunch of footage and images after the game to multiple hard drives and even with USB3.0 it still takes a lot of time.
A majority of the time we had an early flight on Sunday morning back to Perth but that slowly changed to be later in the day so we could recover a bit more from an intense day.
WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR DO I TAKE?
Well first up there’s my Camera bag, a Flipside 400AW from Lowepro. That comes on the plane with me as carry-on luggage. This is where my camera bodies and lenses live. Inside I have my Canon 5DMKIII and a Canon 1DX. In the glass department I bring along a 16-35mm 2.8 L, 24-70mm 2.8 L, and a 70-200mm 2.8 L IS. Also in the bag is obviously plenty of high speed compact flash and SD memory cards, lens filters, a light meter, spare batteries, lens cloths and that about covers it.
As a second carry-on item is the 400C. That’s Canons official solid travel case for the enormous 400mm 2.8 L lens which I have started to adopt as “My Baby”. That bad boy is used to shoot the game-day action. The size of the 400C carry case only just qualifies as a carry-on baggage item. Given most airlines have a single carry-on item policy, this has to be taken on the plane by my travel partner and fellow LFL Australia colleague; Armando.
The additional 300mm 2.8 L lens you see in the images above was an additional lens provided to me courtesy of Camera Electronic and was used by my second shooter Karl Pearce at the Perth games.
Then there’s my Macbook Pro. This qualifies as an additional personal item that can be brought onto the plane. My Macbook bag obviously carries the power cable, a phone charger, Sandisk USB3 memory card reader, apple mouse, external USB3.0 hard drive and whatever paperwork and flight itinerary information I need for that trip.
Lastly I have a checked-in baggage item which contains some clothes and the usual toiletries etc. My checked-in baggage item is actually a Manfrotto tripod bag that came with my video tripod I bought a couple years back. I need to use this bag as it is the only bag that will fit my Cullman Titan monopod in. It’s a decent size monopod and is far too long for any of my suitcases. I also use this bag to transport light stands on other work trips as light stands are also too big for a suitcase, and I don’t like the tiny cheap flimsy light stands that do fit.
For the gear heads out there here’s the main part of the list:
Lowepro Flipside 400AW (Main camera bag)
Canon 400C (lens case)
Canon 16-35mm 2.8 L
Canon 24-70mm 2.8 L
Canon 70-200mm 2.8 L
Canon 400mm 2.8 L
Sekonic L-358 Light Meter
4 x 32gig Sandisk Extreme 60mb/s Compact Flash cards
2 x 32gig Lexar SD Cards
Military Grade Memory Card Hard Case
B+W ND filter 0.9 (3 stops) 77mm
B+W Circular Polariser 77mm
6 x Canon camera body spare batteries
Cullman Titan Monopod 90
Macbook Pro, running Mavericks, 2.6Ghz Intel Core i7, 8GB Ram
Sandisk USB3.0 memory card reader
iphone 4 usb charger
iphone 5 usb charger
So there you have it, a little insight into my tour with the Legends Football League last season. Hope you enjoyed it guys and if you didn’t see it, watch out for next season!
B&W BTS Photos by Dean Goodwin