Rugby is a fun sport to shoot. The Jacksonville Axemen took on the Rhode Island Rebellion for a spot in the finals competition. I set out to shoot tight shots of the action to see the dirt, grimaces, and pain on the faces of the players.
I shot the game with a Canon Mark 5D Mark 3 body and a Canon 400mm, f2.8 IS lens. The sun was setting on the home side so I positioned myself facing the sinking sun. This gave a nice rim light on the players for separation.
The trick here is to expose for the player and let the background exposure fall where it may. That’s why you will see most of the backgrounds a lighter exposure than the exposure on the player.
A tackle “football” game with no pads or helmets is brutal and you can see it in the faces of the players.
Jacksonville completely out maned Rhode Island with superior size and speed. The Axemen were able to break a few long runs in the process.
Notice how large the ball is. Kicking can be erratic as best.
I’m far from understanding all the nuances of this game but it is fun for a sports photographer to shoot. I think I accomplished my goal of shooting tight shots of the up close action. Hope you enjoy. Gray
Rugby is a brutal sport. I decided to go out and shoot our local Rugby League, the Jacksonville Axemen. This was a self project as I wanted to experiment a little with my Canon 5D Mark 3 camera. The 5D3 was linked up to a Canon 400mm L, IS, 2.8 lens. The combination proved to be very effective. I think what I was really looking for was to see if I wanted to add the Canon 1DX to my equipment for my sports work. The 1DX is a 5D3 on steroids but with a cost of near $7k and that is money on steroids. This is not my first outing with this combination as I shot the Jaguars and FSU last year with it. The Rugby photos have some huge crops, more than I might normally do, but I needed to see how the files would hold up. Here are some images from the match:
I haven’t shot Rugby since the mid 80’s but I figured if I can shoot American football and soccer this shouldn’t be too difficult. This comes under the category of ice hockey for me, I just don’t understand all the rules.
What I did figure out was that when a player is tackled the defensive player tries to hold the runner down on the ground as long as he can and by any means he can until his defensive players get back in position. A finger to the eyes/face seems routine as seen in above photo.
These guys aren’t small either. That’s a big dude in the above photo and there are three defensive players trying to take him down.
I had a lot of photos with the runners and closed eyes. I guess that is to protect the eyes since there are no helmets or facemasks.
Most every play is a running play except when they punt. They get 6 downs but a punt before the 6th down is like a pass. If the punt goes forward and out-of-bounds the offensive team get to move up to where it went out, but if it gets intercepted before the punt goes out-of-bounds then that is a turnover. I could be wrong but that is the way I figured it. Every running play starts usually with a lateral or series of laterals to running backs. No whistles stop the play when a player goes down so the action is constant.
Like I mentioned earlier these photos have some pretty heavy crops and from what I can tell the file holds up pretty well. I just need to get a 1DX in my hands for comparison.
I plan to study the rules a little more before the next outing so I do a better job of anticipating the action. Hope you enjoy the photos of a sport I really know nothing about.