I’ve just spent much of the weekend at the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford and I was thinking how brilliant it was that there is at least one part of my professional field of expertise that hasn’t been overtaken by camera phone enthusiasts. You can have a phone-toting stalker shooting off pics of celebrities and selling them to magazines, natural history geeks with their shaky shots of rarely-spotted beetles and transport enthusiasts with camera coverage of steam trains, but I doubt there was one camera-wielding spectator in that stadium who managed to get a decent shot of Mo Farah on the home stretch. I know – I’ve tried before! But without the long lenses and press access to ground zero, there is no hope in hell that you’d be able to replicate some of the amazing images of athletics, football and cricket taken by the professionals.
I remember watching the Athletics Grand Prix at Crystal Palace in the early 90s and the guy next to me in the stands had a long lens and was trying to capture the athletes…. It wasn’t long before we realised that he was only shooting off when one of the female athletes was bending over. I elbowed him a few times as he went for the trigger, then I chose to drop my drink in his lap….