DAVID ALIAGA/ The FIH World League Semi-Final held in Valencia is finished with a Great Britain victory over China. It’s been ten days shooting hockey. Four games a day, from midday until the setting sun, in Summer! It goes without saying that I got two things: a perfect tan and the best field hockey masterclass ever!! It wasn’t my very first time shooting this sport, and doing football almost every week during the year, the actions, positions, workflow are pretty close each other, but with such an amount of games per day I got some extra experience. First thing, deal with the sun light… in June. The hardest games to shoot were those between 11.30am and 3.00pm. With the sun high in the sky I had to carefully choose my position on the turf and managed several inconveniences: I was covering one team or the whole game? Did I want bench reactions or team celebrations? I was on assignment for a news agency or a stock one? Hopefully a field hockey game has four quarters of fifteen minutes each one, so I was able to move around the field but the sun was moving at the same time so… I had to keep an eye almost everywhere! I am going to give you an example. This picture of the Ireland v USA game held at 11.30am.
In this case I was shooting for an Irish news agency so I wanted Ireland’s attack, action pictures, individual shots, Ireland tears or joy, everything related with the Irish team performance. Once I knew my side of the field, I had to choose a corner. As you know I like to sit right on the pitch to get a low angle shot of the players – they look bigger and in hockey they are almost the whole time with their heads looking down so, doing this way is easier to get their face reactions -. Well, in that case FIH organization allowed the photographers only in one corner each side. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! And then, the sun light came. With this hard light conditions I had to shoot a lot. Why? Well, the more you shoot, the more choice you get. And sometimes you get pictures like the one above, and if you are lucky you get the faces pretty well exposed. One more thing, shooting is the half of the way. Edition is waiting at the photographers room. Highlights and shadows, contrast and levels are priorities when shooting with such a hard light.