The story behind a canvas wrap
Walk into the main lounge at Southport & Birkdale Sports Club and you’ll see a large canvas wrap of this photograph on the wall. It sits next to one of the doors that lead out onto the patio, which overlooks the cricket ground.
As Southport & Birkdale is often used as an “out ground” by Lancashire County Cricket Club, the lounge receives hundreds of visitors a year. The club is also a popular venue for events and this is the most commented on photo of the six that I have hanging around the main lounge.
My other five canvas wraps show senior cricket, mens hockey, ladies hockey, tennis and squash – all the sports that are played at Southport & Birkdale Sports Club.
So many people have told me that this photograph perfectly captures the spirit of junior cricket. Everyone who sees it smiles. It still makes me smile every time I see it.
This canvas wrap shows two Under 11 cricketers in action, with the Ormskirk wicket keeper stumping the Southport & Birkdale batsman. The fact that they both played wicket keeper for Lancashire CCC at their age level added to the rivalry and the noise they both made.
Until the club asked me to photograph some junior cricket, I don’t even remember watching a junior match here (and we’ve been members for 25 years.) Now, I probably prefer it to senior cricket. Junior cricketers play with such passion and determination; it is a pleasure to capture the action. They are ambitious and are not afraid to take risks.
Most junior cricket is played in the early evening, during the week. With Southport being on the west coast of England, it means we get lovely golden light on the ground as the sun starts to dip towards the Irish Sea. This means I can use some really high shutter speeds that freeze the action.
The camera I use for sports photography lets me fire the shutter at 12 frames a second, at speeds of up to 1/8,000 of a second, which is how I can freeze bales flying up in the air.
I used a monopod to give the camera extra stability and opened the 300 mm lens up to its maximum aperture of f2.8. This is how I get the out of focus background – an effect known as “bokeh”, which makes the two cricketers apparently pop out of the picture.
To get the most benefit out of a monopod, you need to stand with your legs at shoulder-width apart and, with the monopod at a slight angle forwards, lean in towards the camera. That way, you are effectively becoming two thirds of a tripod. It’s also a comfortable position to stand in for long periods of time.
When I sent Amazing Internet, my website designers, a large selection of my photographs for the landing page of my new website a few years ago, this was the photograph they chose as the very first. Even after my recent update of landing page photographs, it’s still the very first that you will see at www.wainmat.co.uk
This photograph won me a Silver Bar from The Guild of Photographers and both sets of parents have a replica of the canvas wrap. It is a photograph that has served me well.
More examples of our Sports and Events photography can be seen here
Equipment and Settings
Taken with a Canon Eos 1Dx and a Canon 300 mm f2.8L II lens on a Gitzo monopod. Exposure 1/6400 second at f2.8. ISO 200.