Along the way to renewing my love of photography, I saw an add in one of our independently owned metropolitan newspapers seeking a photographer to cover news and sporting event, mainly on the weekends, and so I decided to put in an expression of interest. I got a call for an interview, which I attended, but heard nothing back and assumed that they’d been swamped and selected a much younger photographer. Surprisingly, a few months later I got a phone call asking if I was still interested and I said yes. That was the beginning of around six years of interesting and hectic photography.
I started off using the E-1 and 50-200mm lens with 1.4x tele-extender and did very well considering how ‘low-powered’ it was compared to the Nikons/Canons of my peers. That said, it made me work harder for the results and I became far more adept at picking the ‘decisive moments’ in the action, rather than machine gunning away and hoping that I got the shot. Eventually when the E-3 came out, I upgraded from the E-1 and then replaced the 11-22mm, 14-54mm and 50-200mm with an 8mm f3.5, 7-14mm f4, 14-35mm f2, 35-100mm f2 and 90-250mm f2.8 lenses. My final camera was the E-5 when it came out.
The workload as a news and sports (especially sports) photographer can be extremely heavy and demanding. Not only do you have to coordinate your assignments so that you get to where you need to be at the right time, often having to travel from one side of the city to the other, once you’ve completed the day’s activities, you have to cull, edit, caption and submit all of your photos on the same day. That often meant some pretty late nights and early mornings.
In winter it was Australian Rules Football (big crowds, awkward parking and often miserable cold weather) and in summer it was cricket (small crowds, easy parking and often miserable hot weather). This was interspersed with news work of all varieties.
The one thing that I found with the news and sports work was that it improved and developed the way in which I approached and interacted with people to get the photographs. You had to show full confidence all the time, get people to pose for you and especially make them feel comfortable with what you were doing. Language barriers also had to be sometimes overcome with hand gestures and simple words.
But all things eventually come to an end and when we decided to move to South Gippsland, I had to give up the news and sports photography. In a way, I didn’t regret it, as the work eventually wears you down and you end up having little interest in picking up a camera for your own interest. I was the longest non-permanent staff photographer at the newspaper prior to my departure and I can see why there was such a turn around of photographers.
I did a year of sports photography in South Gippsland for the local football team, but that really made me realise that sports photography was a phase of my life that was now a part of my history. As I said to a friend of mine a while back, one of the reasons why I don’t want to do sports photography is that just involves you standing in the sidelines and not contributing to the outcomes etc and, at the end of the day, no one really cares whether you’re there or not.