GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography: Blog en-us VilleVuorinen [email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:14:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:14:00 GMT GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography: Blog 80 120 More than just photography These days the work of a photographer can be so much more than just photography.

When I want to deliver more than just the still images for the client...

Little example from last nights Korisliiga game in Finland.

Gear : 

Canon 1DX mkII + 70-200mm (still images)

Canon 1DX - 17-40mm (still images - behind backboard)

Canon 1DX - 200mm (still images - over the basket)

Canon XF300 camcorder 

GoPro 6

Pocketwizard Plus III triggers

With all five cameras - capturing the same action - to provide more content.

Sometimes you need to live up to the #DoMore

Below you will see the five different views that I captured of Vilpas Vikings player John Jordan floating to the hoop. Naturally the three still cameras all have a sequence of about 12 images of the play, the ones on show are just to give the viewpoints of the different cameras.

Image 1 - taken with 70-200mm from the baseline:

Multi_02Multi_02 Image 2 - taken with 17-40mm from behind the backboard - remote trigger :




Image 3 - taken with 200mm from above the basket - remote trigger
























Video 1 and 2 - Canon XF300 on the baseline and GoPro6 under the basket.



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) action assignment basketball blog camera canon dome dunk gopro grind korisliiga multicamera photo photography pocketwizard remote salo slam sports sports photography video vilpas work Thu, 14 Dec 2017 14:34:42 GMT
The road less travelled Driving to Switzerland for BeachEuro2016

Sometimes you get the request (this time I was late to get on the ball) for a job on a short notice, so with flight prices through the roof, and weeks car parking at the airport going well into three figures. Some photographers would give up as there would be no profit, others would ask the client for four times as much as their normal rate - and some, just find the economical way to make a profit and keep prices normal for clients.

This is what happened to me, as I noticed less than two weeks before a tournament - that it was happening (yes, my fault and I should be better!). Few quick enquiries and clients were happy that someone was offering them images ... and so it was planning time.

Quick search came out with flights/car parking/rental car/hotel/etc - came up to close to £1500. But hey! the tournament is only in Switzerland, and I live in the UK - so what about driving?? I've driven further away for jobs....

So, Petrol/Road Tolls/EuroTunnel/Hotel ... and all of a sudden I was looking at the costs being near £550. This was much easier expense to cover with the payments from my clients - and I still would end up making a decent profit from the job. Although eating out in Switzerland isn't the cheapest for a week!

Departure from home, HR8 postcode, afternoon on Sunday - non-stop driving to Folkestone EuroTunnel .. quick bite of Moroccan Meatballs and into the train (delayed by an hour). Out of the train around midnight in Calais - non-stop for about 500km, with fresh air breaks as I had to jump out of the car to pay for the road tolls. Luckily this was night time and roads were empty... I do LOVE driving on the French roads, driving is so much quieter than the British rumbling roads.

Around 4.20am stopping at a service station (no two hour limits for parking here!) - plenty of other travellers taking a nap in their cars. So pull on the duvet and two hours of sleep. Good as new ... drive through some small French villages to the Swiss boarder. Boarder guards looking at me funnily with my bike packed into the car and explaining that I am off to Biel for Beach Volleyball. But in the end this stretched to a ten minute chat ... very quiet crossing this one, so I was the only one there.

Off the motorway in Switzerland and through some mountain roads... LOVELY SCENERY!!... and down to Biel. Two hours before check-in time to the Hotel. So taking advantage of this one and go for a little cycling around the lake. What a way to end the journey/start the day.

Is driving 700 miles a great way to go to every job?? Probably not, but for me - it beats the stress and hassle of flying. No worrying about the weight limits, connecting flights, what kind of rental car I get... Maybe I should move somewhere in southern Germany... would be pretty easy driving to most countries in Europe :-)

I do understand that as photographers we probably should always pass our expenses (whatever they may be) to our clients - but with the ever tightening budgets everywhere. I do not mind looking for ways to keep my clients happy.. and keep making a profit myself.

Now - looking forward to GREAT five days of covering BeachEuro2016 (European Championships in Beach Volleyball) here in Biel - and after today's first photo-session in the training... it's all looking good at the moment!!

Let the games begin!!


p.s Car is now parked at the garage of the hotel, while in Biel - I will move with the bicycle. Great way for an unfit photographer to try to keep himself in some sort of shape.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Biel assignment beach beacheuro2016 blog driving eurobeach2016 photo photography sports sports photography switzerland travel volleyball work Tue, 31 May 2016 19:49:43 GMT
Erik Murphy on his first year abroad! Erik Murphy is someone whom I've followed for the past years - and was lucky enough to catch-up with him in Istanbul after a EuroCup game.

It was couple of years ago when I first heard the surname Murphy, in association with Finnish basketball. While covering the FIBA EuroBasket U20's B-division in Sofia, Bulgaria.. Alex Murphy was taking his first steps with the Finnish 'Susijengi'. It was after this that I looked up more about the Murphy's and noticed his older brother Erik .. playing for Florida Gators at the time.


I must admit that I am not a great follower or even fan of NCAA or NBA basketball - so do forgive me my ignorance on this subject. But when Erik came to play with the Susijengi in 2014 - even if he probably wasn't quite suited for European style of game to start with, I definitely liked what I saw through the viewfinder (as a photographer, that's how I see my games). As the summer went on, and Finland enjoyed their first outing in World Cup.. and after many chats with Erik over the summer. I was just hoping for him to sign for an European team for the domestic season - so there would be a chance to see him play. (flights across the pond aren't cheap - so unfortunately his D-league season passed me by).


Summer 2015 once again saw Erik play with the 'Wolves' - always ready to have a work and wearing his blue 'Gators' baseball cap.. this summer Erik was leaner and fitter than in 2014 and it showed in the way he contributed to the team on the court. 

So when he signed for Besiktas in Istanbul during the summer (coached at the time by Finnish National team Head Coach Henrik Dettmann) - I knew I had to get to visit him in Istanbul. Early November saw my visit to Istanbul - for a EuroCup game vs Szolnok. After the practise on day 1 of my visit, you guessed it - Erik walked out of the training with his Gators cap on. Quick exchange of hellos, before Erik jumped into his car and 'confidently' drove into the rush-hour traffic in Istanbul.


Following day was the game day, Erik played the first 14 minutes of the game (no-sub) - gave me a nice dunk to capture.. and in the end was second top scorer for his team. After the game - caught up with him, to talk about playing abroad for the first year, what he thinks of Istanbul/Turkey.. as well as Finland's chances of hosting a group at the EuroBasket2017.

Finnish basketball will enjoy Erik's game for many years to come - and don't be surprised if one year you'll see Finland's starting five being read out and you see three Murphy's on the score sheet!

Next time Erik - it'll be Maksalaatikkoa and Lättyjä for dinner :-)

Murphy on deserts, driving and basketball in TurkeyMurphy on deserts, driving and basketball in Turkey

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Besiktas Erik EuroBasket2017 EuroCup Istanbul Murphy Susijengi Turkey assignment basketball blog photography sports sports photography travel Fri, 06 Nov 2015 16:33:24 GMT
It's not supposed to be easy When all else fails, follow the locals!

Another long work day abroad, just to get your mind at ease that I am not sitting by the pool and enjoying a Turkish holiday ;-)

Up early in the morning, catching up on invoicing and other correspondence - then cross Istanbul in the Metro (two lines) to catch-up with Finnish Men's National team Head Coach Henrik Dettmann, first meeting with Turkish security then at the gate of the apartment complex. After four phone calls, I was taken on a golf buggy down through the garage and up on the lift.... they do make things complicated sometimes.

Quick interview and photo-session with the coach, as well as catching-up on stuff... even when this is mostly work, it is always nice to have a more relaxed chat with people on the road.

Erik Murphy post game videoErik Murphy post game video

Then back across town on the Metro (just missed rush-hour!) - lunch.. shower and off to the Sinan Erdem Spor Salonu for the evenings EuroCup game.

Aah, the entry wasn't easy. Instructions were to use a door on the RIGHT hand side of the Arena.. slight language barrier with security .. whom all sent me in different direction. After trying all doors with anyone guarding them, and always been sent to one direction or next.. I did what I should have done to start with.  Stand outside the dark doors of Media Entry and wait for local press... they always know who to call and contact. So after five minutes, I was following three journalist and a door was opened to them and I just followed them in SUCCESS!! 

Erik MurphyErik MurphyMurphy 14 points in EuroCup

Off to the press seats, get wi-fi code, accreditation badge, chat with the locals - high five the players I know.. the usual prep to a game.

Cover the game, concentrate on Murphy - nice dunk inside the first five minutes, I knew that was the picture! Although if Murphy would have made the flying dunk to start 3rd Q with.. that would have been even better. Post game video interviews (one below - two more to follow in the next two days). Great game by Erik - on the court from start and one of the key players for Besiktas tonight.

Arena was a bit like when I visited Sasu Salin in Ljubljana for some EuroCup games - tough to fill a 14000 Arena for a regular season game. But the Besiktas fans we GREAT!! making noise well before tip-off, and when DJ tried to play music.. they whistled so he would turn it down and the fans could keep singing ... some REALLY great fan culture!! Thumbs up from this traveling photographer!

Quick drive to get something to eat with players - off to the hotel, edit material.. and after few hours of sleep - Havalimani Ataturk and flying back to Birmingham.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroCup assignment basketball blog photography sports sports photography travel Thu, 05 Nov 2015 06:00:00 GMT
No delights yet in Istanbul Return to old haunts in Istanbul!

As a photographer you get used to things not always going smoothly, or as you'd expected them to. So it came as no surprise today that I ended up spending two hours outside the Sinan Erdem Sport Salonu in Istanbul, instead of inside it. But the weather was nice, and there was a little exercise park across the road - so got my own fix of practise done (no hoops though!).

At the end of training, managed to catch up quickly with Erik Murphy and Lassi Tuovi - Murphy headed quickly to the evening traffic in Istanbul - and Tuovi and I went inside the Arena for a quick interview on video.

Sinan Erdem Sport SalonuSinan Erdem Sport SalonuBack here for the first time since 2010

It was a strange feeling, last time I left this building was after the Final whistle of the FIBA2010 World Championships - after photographing the tournament in Turkey. On this trip I am staying in the same hotel, walking the same route to the venue... it is a trip down the memory lane.

Tomorrow should hopefully be a busier day, with a surprise interview to be done in the morning - and then Besiktas EuroCup basketball in the evening, capturing 'Susi-Erkki' (Erik Murphy) playing for the Turkish team. But - there is still the wait to hear from the Media Person in regards to the accreditation for the evenings game tomorrow.......

Lassi Tuovi - BesiktasLassi Tuovi - Besiktas

For now - interview with Lassi Tuovi to start the Istanbul work part of the trip.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Besiktas Erik Istanbul Lassi Murphy Tuovi Turkey assignment basketball interview photography sports sports photography travel video Tue, 03 Nov 2015 20:04:24 GMT
I'm back - and now it's Istanbul Let's see if one can return to some Blog posting of the usual non-sense....

And what better place to start than sitting in the same hotel where I stayed during the FIBA World Championships 2010 in Istanbul.... It's a return to Blogging and back to one of the first big tournaments I covered (guess that's up for debate).

It was your usual travel day - nice drive through the fog back in England to the airport, then it was time to 'Fly like Kobe' .. with the Turkish Airlines. Come on, one covers hoops week-in week-out, I had to check this airline out ;-)

With long legs and economy class seating.. I wasn't feeling like bouncing the ball to the fellow passengers, and they didn't look like they were up for it. In flight meal... less said the better (would be nice to have it hot??). No Minions on the entertainment set.. even if it was advertised on the magazine. The little things that disappoint a frequent traveller.

Flight was smooth, so all safely and in one piece in Istanbul Airport - the usual taxing of 15 minutes to the bus, and then 5 minutes to the terminal on the bus. Luckily the airport made us from Britain feel very welcome, with all the little potholes on the tarmac.. it was just like driving a car back home.

Passport control was nice and quick - and as a Finn, no need to get a Visa to get to Turkey!!! 

Airport Hotel for the three night stay, but no shuttle bus after 22.30 in the evening (and my arrival was at 23.30 due to Turkey holding on to Summer Time for a week longer... due to the General Elections). So a very disappointed Taxi driver .. who had waited for three hours, and then got a ride for five minutes to the closest hotel. I don't understand much Turkish, but he wasn't best pleased... after my ride he was back at the end of 800 Taxi's waiting at the airport.

Quick room service pasta once in, which at least was warm.. if rather tasteless. Now time to chill for few hours.. hopefully tomorrow photographing the Besiktas training session ahead of Wednesdays game.

Good night from Istanbul .. hopefully tomorrow we'll spice the Blog with some pictures!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) assignment basketball blog photography sports sports photography travel Mon, 02 Nov 2015 22:24:11 GMT
Year 2014 - March March 2014 - travels, UWCL and BBL


March has become synonymous with Cyprus and Women’s Cyprus Cup - four four years there has been a two week trop to Larnaca to cover some of the best Women’s International football teams for various clients.


And sometimes the weather has been treating us for some early spring sunshine.

Same again this year - 12 days of training/games covered and players caught up with in Larnaca, Nicosia and Ayia Napa.




From Larnaca it was straight up to Scotland to cover a rare meeting of Finnish players in Scottish Premier League - as Teemu Pukki and Aleksei Eremenko Jr faced in Kilmarnock vs Celtic.

Often I’ve stayed at hotels close to the venue where I’ve worked - but never have I been able to see the pitch/court from my hotel room window…. before the trip to Kilmarnock that is.


Year2014-March-01Year2014-March-01Teemu Pukki ja Alexei Eremenko / SPL / 14/03/2014 / Kilmarnock vs Celtic, Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, Skotlanti


With the weather warming up - there was also increasing amount of Birmingham City Ladies games/events to cover. Another day spent inside the St Andrew’s and taking portrait images of BCLFC players - before once again hopping on a plane and going AGAIN to Ljubljana to catch up with Sasu Salin!




Once again - directly from the airport to cover Women’s Champions League action, as BCLFC edged past Arsenal to reach the Semi-Finals of the competition! A truly memorable evening at St Andrew’s (even if it was cold).


Before the month was over little bit of traveling with high fever and hours of driving from Manchester to Glasgow and back home. But it was worth it to cover Volleyball EuroCup Final in Paris and BBL Trophy Final in Glasgow.




Once again - few more images to remind what March 2014 was like, looking through the lens.



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Sun, 21 Dec 2014 20:21:04 GMT
Year 2014 - February Second month of the year - this month really had only one event to consider for images.

Having covered the rise of Finnish Basketball over the past years, the one BIG event in February of 2014 was the FIBA World Cup 2014 Wild Card announcement and World Cup draw.

​A trip I probably will remember for a while - heading to Barcelona on the day of the Wild Card announcement, I had a change of planes in Zurich and as I checked Twitter and news. My timeline was full of 'Finland granted one of the Wild Cards for Spain2014'. 

Funnily enough the other passengers in the plane looked at me funnily as I punched the air and had a big grin on my face on the flight to Barcelona. This meant busy few days in Spain for me - talking to the Finnish Head Coach and Chairman, and doing the video interviews for Finnish Media.

Also sitting at the Media Tribune with my camera and capturing the moment when 'Finland' was drawn into the same group with Team USA. As a photographer you should of course concentrate on your work and not let the emotions get to you - but after Finland had been drawn, I did allow myself a little pumping of fist - just something you can't help when following a team so closely for a long time.

But - just so this month would not be only a one event re-cap, there was the kit launch event for Birmingham City Ladies at St Andrew's to photograph. This also enjoyable for reasons of having been traveling with the team for few years, and getting to know some of the players. Then the jobs/games come also something 'personal' to you, as it is not for a client.. it is also for 'you'. Good times and pictures with Karen Carney and Kirsty Linnett at the stadium - and also with Mary Earps (who unfortunately left the club before the season properly started).

Still - couple of great events that will stay with me for a long time, and looking at the picture with 'FINLAND' drawn at the venue in Barcelona.. still gives me a chill down the spine. Little was I to know that this was just the start of something special with Susijengi over the summer of 2014!



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) BCLFC Bilbao Birmingham Carney City FC Karen Kirsty Ladies Linnett Spain2014 assignment barcelona basketball blog draw fiba kit launch memories photography special sports sports photography susijengi travel work Sat, 20 Dec 2014 19:42:06 GMT
Year 2014 - January January 2014 - Volleyball starts the year off


Busy 2014 is almost behind us - and what better way to end it than looking back at what the year has had to offer.

So in the coming days, I will try to post a page per month from my travels (read WORK!) over the past 12 months and post some of the images that I think are worth remembering the year by.


We start from January and straight to work on the 2nd of January - and the location of years first visit was Poprad in Slovakia and Finnish Men’s Volleyball National team attempting to qualify to the World Championships later in the year.

Memories start from the drive from Poland to Slovakia and battling through some mountain roads during holiday season, with 1000’s of Polish people heading for ski-holidays.

And a hotel room where the bed was made for Hobbits and the dog in the neighbouring room barking every night.


The tournament went great from team Finland and in the end they celebrated the qualification to World Championships before the last ball was struck in the final game against the hosts on Sunday evening in Arena Poprad. Nice arena, with good lights - and what is important in tournaments, a shopping mall with restaurants next door!.

Honestly the year, photography and sports-wise - could not have gotten a better start, a Finnish team making its way to the World Championships… even at the time I think I mentioned that the coming 12 months would have a LOT to live up to, if this was how the year started.


Otherwise January offered the normal events that come around this time of the year, BBL Cup Final at the NIA, NBA London games at the O2, Birmingham City Ladies FC starting their pre-season training.. and the usual mix of covering English soccer and BBL basketball, so in my terms a month with very little traveling outside of UK.


So here are five images from the January 2014 - that show how the year started from photography point of view for me.


Finnish Mens National team celebrate qualifying to World Championships.Finnish Mens National team celebrate qualifying to World Championships.Finland-Slovakia - European Qualification for World Championships 2014 - Arena Poprad, Poprad, Slovakia - 05/01/2014 -©Ville Vuorinen 1 - Finnish National Volleyball team gather for a team picture to celebrate winning spot in World Cup 2014 !!

Tuomas Sammelvuo (Finnish Head Coach) - lets out a Lions roar as Finland clinch the place in World Cup 2014.Tuomas Sammelvuo (Finnish Head Coach) - lets out a Lions roar as Finland clinch the place in World Cup 2014.Finland-Slovakia - European Qualification for World Championships 2014 - Arena Poprad, Poprad, Slovakia - 05/01/2014 - ©Ville Vuorinen 2 - Head Coach Tuomas Sammelvuo roars after Finland clinch the point needed to qualify for World Cup 2014.

Kirsty Linnett of Birmingham City Ladies FC at the teams first pre-season training in January 2014Kirsty Linnett of Birmingham City Ladies FC at the teams first pre-season training in January 2014Kirsty Linnett of Birmingham City Ladies FC at the teams first pre-season training in January 2014 3 - Kirsty Linnett at Birmingham City Ladies FC pre-season training in late January.

Two BBL legends (Charles Smith and Drew Sullivan) go head-to-head in BBL Cup Final 2014 in front of a almost sell out NIA in Birmingham as Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles played for the seasons first Trophy.Two BBL legends (Charles Smith and Drew Sullivan) go head-to-head in BBL Cup Final 2014 in front of a almost sell out NIA in Birmingham as Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles played for the seasons first Trophy.Two BBL legends (Charles Smith and Drew Sullivan) go head-to-head in BBL Cup Final 2014 in front of a almost sell out NIA in Birmingham as Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles played for the seasons first Trophy. 4 - Charles Smith and Drew Sullivan - two BBL legends, faced off yet in another Cup Final.

Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternoster falls to his knees and raises his hands in celebration as his team clinch the thrilling Cup Final win at the NIA in Birmingham.Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternoster falls to his knees and raises his hands in celebration as his team clinch the thrilling Cup Final win at the NIA in Birmingham.Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternoster falls to his knees and raises his hands in celebration as his team clinch the thrilling Cup Final win at the NIA in Birmingham. 5 - Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro celebrates his teams BBL Cup 2014 - win in front of an almost sell-out NIA.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) BBL Biirmingham Canon Charles Smith Cup Drew Sullivan Final Finland NIA Poprad Rob Paternostro Slovakia Tuomas Sammelvuo Volleyball assignment basketball bclfc blog kirsty linnett photo photography soccer sports sports photography travel work Fri, 19 Dec 2014 14:14:21 GMT
Volleyball in Italy !! Great sport and faith in humanity restored !

As someone who travels a lot after work (and I know there are fellow photographers who judge me for this) - I see and experience a lot of good things, as well as my fair share of bad things and challenges. 

Trip to Busto Arsizio in Italy gave me plenty of both - so here is a short recap of my 23 hours in Northern Italy.

Last minute look at game schedules pointed me to Finnish team LP Salon Viesti starting their FIRST EVER Champions League campaign in Pala Yamamay in Busto Arzisio in Italy. So a EuroCup basketball game in Antwerp was changed to a volleyball game in Italy. Arriving to Milan airport (with the flu) at 11am on Wednesday morning, I checked into the airport hotel and crashed to bed.


Then it was the usual last minute emails to potential clients about the game and after an hour of relaxing in the Sauna and by the pool (this gives more glorious view of my traveling life!) - it was time to head to town and find the venue. Short train ride to Busto Arsizio - to which I assumed to be the station named in the signs above the doors of the station (Busto Arsizio) - and I started to walk, in the rain, towards what I thought was the direction of the Arena

Two and half hours before the game started, so that should have been plenty of time, unfortunately yours truly managed to get lost.. well, not lost but just not finding the Arena. No worries, I might have been soaking wet - but still knew the way back to the train station, so just walk back there and get a Taxi... right?!?


WRONG!!! Arriving to the station, I see no taxis waiting outside the station - OK, just go inside and find a number for a taxi. Oh, lucky me - I was given TWO numbers to call. After about 15 minutes of trying, and no answer (theme of the day, from the room service at the hotel!).. I walked to the little cafe at the station to ask the owner to call me a taxi. As a local, he must get asked this often... he tries for 20 minutes.. still no answer.

By now the game is only 45 minutes away from starting - you can forgive me to start to get a little worried that I might not make it to this Arena in a city with no taxis and no map (and as you will find out - the map would have been little use!). So, there I am in the middle of Busto Arsizio train station soaking wet, and desperately mouthing 'Pala Yamamay... Yamamay... Yamamay...'

Action VolleyballAction VolleyballAction Volleyball

Frienly customer tries to be helpful and decides to speak to me in German..."Pala Yamamay, zwei minute.."  This perks me up, two minute.. really!?! This is followed by everyone at the cafe joining in the discussion, in usually animated Italian style... in Italian (so I am left wondering what is said). Then I am taken to a group of teenagers and few of them speak English... "Pala Yamamay...??" they helpfully take out their smartphones and plot the route... walking time 2 DAYS 2 HOURS!! By now I am starting to wonder if this is even the right country!

But, just when things look faith in the goodness of humanity is restored. A stranger walks next to me and says.. " I know where it is ... and I can take you there!"... after a quick conversation, I find out his name and that he is waiting for his girlfriend to come on a train and once she arrives they can take me to Pala Yamamay.

Five minutes later I am sitting in a car with Davide and his girlfriend (if I remember correctly, Gabriela) and speeding through the wet streets of town I had started not to like too much. OK - we did get lost, but in ten minutes I am walking in through the doors of Pala Yamamay!! Before leaving the car, Davide says that he might have some friends at the game who can help me after the game.. or just give him a call.

Eyes on the ballEyes on the ballEyes on the ball

Now - without Davide's help.. I do not know how I would ever have made it to the game!! But.. I do still have to get back FROM the game.

After the game.. I get a lift with the Finnish team to their hotel, from where I can call a Taxi, so does this mean there are taxis in this town? Arriving to the hotel (nice hotel) around 11pm the reception calls a taxi for me. I get talking to a Lebanese doctor while waiting for my taxi.. which takes 35 minutes to arrive.. and in the end, probably isn't a taxi - but just someone with a fancy car who wants to make few extra Euros. The driver also looks like a big tough guy.. so I doubt there will be haggling of the price he will tell me once we get to my hotel :-)

Safely at the hotel around midnight... I order a Parma Ham, Rocket and Mozzarella salad to the room, edit few images and crash to bed for four hours of sleep before starting my journey back home.

OH - the game of Volleyball!!

Loved the game, and ALWAYS love coming to photograph this sport, there is so much emotion and so much action and different angles to cover it from. And the Italian fans... once I get too old to work as a photographer, I'll just travel to games of some of the teams I've photographed to experience this as a fan and despite Busto Arsizio not becoming my favourite city.. I will come here to see their volleyball team!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) busto arsizio champions finland italy league lentopallo lp photography salo sports suomi travel viesti volleyball yamamay Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:20:28 GMT
Just a normal weekend Weekends are great?? Right?!

When the Mon-Fri 9to5 crowd chat excitedly on Friday about the weekend and time-off, for myself - the excitement is of a different kind, sports are waking up from the mid-week hibernation in the UK and it's time to get some serious work done!!

Here is a little re-cap of a quite 'normal' weekend - which just happens to be this weekend gone by.

Friday : Off to done some Head-Shots and Action stuff in a basketball game in Leeds - having trundled along the English roads for enough years, I know that to be sure to get to Leeds by 4pm, I better start driving at 10am (for those who don't know - this journey SHOULD take about 3 hours). My motto is that it's always better to be 2 hours early than 5 minutes late at a job.

Once again the M42 and M1 were true to their Friday form - and the drive from Worcester to Leeds took me SIX hours, but - I got there on time.

Set-up my lights, I had forgotten my backdrop stand - but but of gaffer-tape and clamps on the walls and all was good! Photograph the players, then the game.. and back down the motorways to get some sleep. Smooth driving most of the way - apart from SatNav directing me to a road that was closed (Thanks TomTom!!). 

Arrive home around 1.45am - shower, bed !

Saturday : Alarm rings at 6.45am.. off to our local French bakery, baguette, serrano ham, pain au chocolat.. and then off to Loughborough University to cover the opening day of WBBL. Head shots..action shots and also a Men's BBL game to end the evening with.

Luckily for this day I had some help from a fellow photographer (Hvala !!) - long day at the University from around 9am until 9.30pm. And this is without a break in the games/head-shots. So my diet was mainly the baguette and serrano ham.. flushed down with coke and red bull. Who says you can't live healthy and have a busy work schedule ;-)

Back home and just make it there before midnight.. shower.. bed!

Sunday : Alarm once again at 6.45 - French bakery closed today, not good!! So just a quick bite to eat before heading out. Three WBBL games to cover and in between rushing to Birmingham City Ladies in Solihull (and once again help from a friend).

Set-up in Loughborough - yes, we had to change to different room/venue from Saturday :-) Go through the first team of head-shots and then down the M42 to Solihull. Cover the footy game there, edit game-gallery for the client and up the M42 to Loughborough to cover the last WBBL game of the weekend.

Studio gear nicely packed away - stuff into the car (it's still in the car today - Tuesday) and fight my way through Sunday traffic back home. Shower... bed...

Monday : Not going to wake-up early!! But once I do - it's time to look at about 5000 images on the computer. Time to get some serious image editing done, lots of head-shots, action shots.. now this is the part of Sports Photographers job that you don't see. We sit alone in our office/living room/bedroom and spend hours shifting through the images, archiving them, uploading them....

But !! It is a job I love, a job that will never make me rich in monetary values... but the people I meet, the games I cover.. it is something I love and am very fortunate to be able to call a 'job'.

During the weekend I spent about :

- 20 hours driving

- 18 hours sleeping (three nights)

- 24 hours photographing games

- 10 hours editing images (Monday)

My diet was :

- 1 baguette

- 8 slices of Serrano Ham

- 2 Pain Au Chocolat

- 3 'Grab Bags' of crisps

- 4 cans of Red Bull

- 6 litres of water

- 1 yoghurt

- 1 cheese burger

- 1 bowl of cereal

- 2 bottles of Coke

And that is all I ate from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening - yes, it is a healthy lifestyle !!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) BBL Canon FA WSL WBBL assignment basketball blog football leeds loughborough photo photography soccer solihull sports sports photography travel work Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:12:08 GMT
Spain2014 - Day 2 The journey continues - or begins. (Suomeksi taas Englannin osan lopussa!!)

Long Wednesday - firstly a visit to Korispiste shop in Helsinki to pick up some all important 'Susijengi' gear. I know as accredited photographers we should not 'represent' or 'support' any nation. But I guess my t-shirt under the photo vest will go (plus I am working for the Finnish Basketball here!).

With Susijengi in Spain2014!!With Susijengi in Spain2014!!With Susijengi in Spain2014!!

Then to the airport to video and photograph the players arriving - few smiles as players saw me checking in for a flight in Finland, they are more used to seeing me once they arrive to Tirana or some small town in Romania :-) But Finland.. why would a Finnish person take a flight from there! Flights with Lufthansa were OK (as we got to Bilbao and got our luggage!) - but the 'sightseeing tour' of Frankfurt Airport we could have done without.

-Off the plane - coach to the terminal, long walk through the terminal, coach to the plane... and AND!! we get on the same flipping plane we just left, same cabin crew, etc. And the funny thing is that out luggage was taken off the plane.. and then put back in .. one by one. Oh well :-)

With Susijengi in Spain2014!!With Susijengi in Spain2014!!With Susijengi in Spain2014!!

11pm arrival to Bilbao airport - about 28 degrees and humid outside. Drive to the hotel (not staying with the team) - edit the first batch of images and deliver them to clients. Then SLEEP!

Thursday morning - off to BEC and picked-up accreditation for the FIBA Spain2014 Group Stages (need Finland to progress to get anything further). Quick walk around the Media areas, Ukraine were training so no access to court side. Nice little chat with Sakis (my FIBA Europe contact) while at the Arena.. always nice to see familiar faces.

Attempted to get to USA practise - but despite the last 15 minutes supposed to be open - the four Finnish journalists (we were the only ones there!!) didn't get in. But - we stuck outside and myself and fellow photographer took the FIRST pictures of Team USA in Bilbao. Nice gesture by James Harden to stop-by and pose for a picture with a little Spanish boy... really was one of those little things that will make someones day!

Quick bite of Pixtos to eat - still haven't made my mind up about them.. are they dinner food, breakfast, lunch, snack?? Or maybe everything? Then Finland training - typical big tournament open end to training, most players just sit about waiting for the interviews - so rather challenging for us photographers. Quick interview with Koivari and little chat with Rannikko and Salin.

Then off to edit videos and pictures - before meeting Meral by the 'Guggeli' - afternoon drinks and then Meral gave her 'fans point of view' on video. That bit is only for those who understand Finnish... sorry!

With Susijengi in Spain2014!!With Susijengi in Spain2014!!With Susijengi in Spain2014!!

Still another training session to go today - it's been a nice opening for Spain2014 in Bilbao!!

Bilbaoon ja heti työn makuun

Keskiviikko oli pitkä päivä - ensin hieman Susi-vaatteita Korispisteestä reissuun mukaan, sitten kentälle odoittelemaan Susijengiä kameroiden kanssa. Videota ja still-kuvaa kertyi mukavasti - vaikka tietenkin yritin myös pysyä taka-alalla koska matkustus-päivät kuitenkin pelaajille hieman rauhoitettuja, toisaalta kuinka paljon pelaajat katsovat että minä olen 'mediaa' ja kuinka paljon 'osa joukkuetta'??

Joillekin pelaajille (oikeastaan kaikille) outo kokemus nähdä minut kentällä Suomessa - yleensä he näkevät minut bussin ikkunasta kun istuskelen odoittamassa heitä Tiranassa tai jossakin 'keskellä ei mitään' kaupungissa Euroopan rajojen sisällä. Mutta - ensimmäinen kerta näinpäin!

Lennot OK - laukut kaikilla perille Bilbaoon, ja kaupan päälle kiertoajelu Frankfurtin lentokentällä... koneesta ulos, bussilla terminaaliin, pika-vauhtia terminaalin toiseen päätyyn kävelyä, taas bussiin ja sitten noustaan samaan koneeseen josta juuri 30 minuuttia sitten poistuttiin. No - ainakin lentoemännät tiesivät mitä juomia halusimme toisella lennolla :-)

Bilbaoon yhdentoista aikoihin.. suoraan hotellille, editoimaan kuvia/videoita.. ne asiakkaille ja sitten nukkumaan.

Torstaina aamulla suoraan BEC Arenalla - STT-Lehtikuvan kaverit autossa mukana. Akkreditoinnit haettu ja Spain2014 laukut saatu mukaan. Tapasin siellä arenan uumenissa myös FIBA Europe kontaktini.. ja mukava oli tavata taas eri oloissa... koripallo piirit kuitenkin aika pienet, ja tuttuja tulee nähtyä (joskus enemmän kuin vaimoa) peleissä ja turnauksissa. Ukrainan treenien takia ei kentälle ollut asiaa - mutta se nähdään myöhemmin illalla.

Ensin yritys sitten USAn treeneihin - mutta jostakin syystä heidän treenien viimeiset 15min eivät olleet avoinna (kovat paineet Suomi-otteluun!) - joten sitten oltiin 'paparazzi' modessa ja otettiin kuvia hallin ulkopuolella. Iso Kudos James Hardenille joka pysähtyi matkalla bussiin ja poseerasi kuviin pikku Espanjalaisen pojan kanssa!! Hieno ele pelaajalta jonka ei todellakaan tarvinnut pysähtyä.. ja varmasti teki pikku poikaan vaikutuksen!a

Suomen treenit sitten kuvattavana - Koivari, Salin, Rannikko... nopeat jutustelut siinä kaikkien kanssa, ja Murphyn videointi Aamulehdelle. Lisää editointia ja sitten 'Merkkua' tapaamaan Guggelin eteen. Tästä eteenpäin, se ei ole enään Guggenheim Museo.. vaan ystävällisesti 'Guggeli'. Mukava iltapäivä tapaaminen taas yhden tutun kanssa (ja pieni veto Jenkki pelistä - jos häviän niin sitten olen kokkausvuorossa myöhemmin Bilbaon reissun aikana!! Se että lähtisinkö syömään jos voitan vedon....). Tehtiin myös nopea video-klippi.. hieman fanin-näkökulmaa MM-kisoihin.. ja terveisiä myös Sasu Salinille!!

Merkku - Fans Point of View - Day 01Bit of fun with a familiar Finnish Basketball player - as I caught up with her on the rainy streets of Bilbao.

Pieni iloinen video klippi - huumorilla tehty, tutun pelaajan kanssa Bilbaossa MM-kisojen aaton aattona!!

Sitten lisää editointia.. nopea 'bite to eat' ja kohta taas kohti treeni-kuvaamista..

Näin on Bilbaon reissu alkanut - hyvä näin ja tästä on kiva jatkaa!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) assignment basketball bilbao blog guggeli meral photography salin sasu spain2014 sports photography susijengi training travel video Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:51:37 GMT
Spain2014 - Day 1 Let's give this a try ! (Suomeksi lopussa!)

So - another tournament journey begins, off to Spain2014 with Susijengi! Long days and long nights ahead, but maybe I'll find time to share the my views of the tournament here.

Tuesday was the first day - early morning drive to Birmingham International and flights via Frankfurt to Helsinki. Things got to a bumpy start, with flight time BHX-FRA 1hr 15min - time from landing at FRA to get to the Terminal 1hr 10min. And I never knew there was Terminal C in Frankfurt!! Then again, it was about as far as Great Malvern from Worcester.

Still plenty of transfer time, so safely to the second flight to Helsinki - a bit delayed so missed my 'Shirt pick-up' in Helsinki. But these things happen.

Funnily enough I am staying at an airport hotel, where I used to work as a Chef over 20 years ago... so as well as being a bit of a throwback - it also makes me feel rather old ;-) Last time I stayed at these rooms was after doing a late shift in the kitchen downstairs, and having the breakfast shift the following day.

Weather in Finland has turned - it's pouring down with rain, which is good.. I was starting to get the impression that Finland had changed into some warm paradise and I needed to move back here.

Wednesday - time to pick-up some 'Wolf-clothes' and then head to the airport and fly with the team to Bilbao!!

Suomeksi (huonolla Suomella) !!

Kun kuitenkin Susijengin otteita kuvaan ja seuraan - niin koitetaan myös Suomeksi pitää tätä tarinaa elossa.

Edessä siis kesän viimeinen reissu - takana valmistavat ottelut MM-kisoihin, Naisten EM-karsinta, U20 EM, U18 EM... ja nyt sitten edessä MM-2014 Bilbaossa (ja Barcelonassa)

Tiistai aamuna matka normaaliin tapaan alkoi aamu-ruuhkassa Birminghamin kentälle (ja Suomalaisille tiedoksi, ruuhka ei ole se kun edessä oleva auto vilauttaa jarruvaloja!!). Hieman yli tunnin pituisen Frankfurtin lennon jälkeen sitten mentiinkin etanan vauhdilla, tai ehkä etanatkin ovat nopeampia, laskeutumisesta terminaaliin - se missä lento kesti 80 minuuttia, laskeutumisesta terminaaliin kesti 75 minuuttia. Ja sitten kaiken huipuksi löysin itseni Terminaali C:n puolella - ja sieltä sitten toinen maraton-matka Helsingin lennon portille. Toisaalta - pieni liikunta lentojen välillä on ehkä terveellistä.

Helsinkiin saavuttua (myöhässä) - Rantasipi hotelliin kentän lähellä, pieni dejavu kun itse viimeksi tässä hotellissa yövyin - niin silloin työskentelin alakerran keittiössä Ravintola kokkina. Tuosta aikaa onkin jo vierähtänyt yli 20 vuotta... se pistää miettimään, JOS olisin vieläkin täällä töissä niin minkälainen elämä minulla olisi. Luultavasti olisin mukana Susijengien fani-porukassa matkaamassa Bilbaoon kannustamaan joukkuetta... nyt kun matkustan sinne kuvaamaan ja videoimaan heitä. Tietysti myös varmasti asuisin mukavassa omakoti talossa jossa lämpötila sisällä ei vaihtele samaan tahtiin kuin ulkona (Britessä vielä opetellaan rakentamaan kunnon asuntoja ;-)

Onneksi Suomessa auringon paiste on vaihtunut tähän kaatosateeseen - viimeisten kolmen reissun jälkeen alkoi jo hieman muutto takaisin Suomeen houkuttelemaan, sen verran mukavat kelit täällä tänä kesänä ollut. Ja ehkä tuolla alakerrassa olisi kokin hommia tarjolla?

Keskiviikkona - parit Susijengi vaatteet noudettava Malmilta, jotakin pientä itselle ja eiköhän parit kaveritkin ansaitse jotakin. Sitten takaisin kentälle ja joukkueen kanssa kohti Bilbaon MM-karkeloita.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Spain WorldCup assignment basketball bilbao blog canon googabu helsinki photography spain2014 sports sports photography susijengi travel wolfpack Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:21:17 GMT
From the road - part 2 How to 'kill' time when you have eight hour stop-over at an airport!?

That - for sure could make a good Blog entry for me :-) And one of the things, is to update the Blog!

13 days spent in Sarajevo for the FIBA Europe U20's B-division - about 40 games covered, too many pancakes for breakfast, becoming a regular at 'iChicken', listening to the Hotel CD for about 1000 times - talking to people from Bosnia, Finland, Netherlands, Cyprus, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, USA...

All in all it was a good couple of weeks spent covering the first bigger tournament of basketball this summer. There is certain appeal in the B-division tournaments, that you just don't get at A-division/EuroBasket/World Championships/Olympics. Things are perhaps a little less formal, players/coaches/etc are still all approachable and there are no big 'egos' around (or the tight security that keeps things separated in bigger events).

Photography wise, naturally these events offer challenges with the lighting at the venues. But todays cameras can handle them nicely - and it's just a question of getting your settings right during the first couple of days.

Now - it's a brief (about 30 hours) visit to home, before heading out to Sofia for the U18's B-division tournament. However this trip will not be 13 days in Sofia.. it'll break-up after the first days for a three day trip to Leipzig in Germany.. and my first look at covering Susijengi (Team Finland) this summer... and it ends with the flights to Helsinki to cover the Finland vs Lithuania game at the Helsinki Ice Rink!

Hopefully from the next two weeks - I can give the Blog some extra colour in the shape of images. But if you want to check out some of my photos of basketball courts... feel free to browse to my Instagram thingy "Basketballviews' will find me there!

Now - only another FOUR hours to wait at Munich Airport!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Canon Europe FIBA Munich airport assignment basketball blog photography sports sports photography travel work Mon, 21 Jul 2014 16:08:04 GMT
From the road - part 1 Hello from Sarajevo !!

(I would have liked to add few photos to go with this - but as you will read, the Wi-Fi isn't really up for such demanding jobs!)


It is now little over a week into my Summer Travels with various photography assignments, covering events, games and tournaments around continental Europe. So far I have managed to visit four countries  - and still have another 10 days here in Bosnia.


When you travel around, you notice things that are different in each country - whether it’s about the culture, transport, food, cost of things.. And when you spend your time 90% on your own, there is plenty of time to muse over the ‘little things’. Which I of course will bore my wife with once the travels are done and dusted :-)


So here is my first list of the good, the bad and the annoying things I’ve seen (please remember that these are only my own individual opinions and not based on any research..)


- Munich Airport has great 24 hour Free Wi-Fi, brilliant for us who travel on business and need to stay connected!


- Using your own mobile abroad, without additional costs is brilliants, that is thanks to the network I am with (no advertising!)


- Flying with one airline a lot means you get to know their in-flight free food choice before the plane even takes off - yes, I’ll have the chicken wrap (again) please!


- Finland has lots and lots of trees.


- Ring road/Motorway away from Finnish capital Helsinki (population about one million??) has four lanes!!


- Ring road/Motorway around Birmingham in England (population about four million, plus converge of major UK roads) has three lanes!!


- People driving from the M42 to M5 should take better care of their cars - during the last four trips from Birmingham Airport to home, it has been 20 minutes faster to drive via Bromsgrove than using the motorway, due to a broken down vehicle on that section of M5.


- Having Frequent Flyer card gives you access through the Fast Lane at Airport Security - during summer holiday season that lets you get past the 30 minute queue of holiday makers (me like!).


- Flights from Birmingham ALWAYS end up on the furthest spot at Munich airport - so please be prepared for the bus journey to the terminal.


- If you are doing photos or videos for a client from a game/tournament, I would advice you to stay somewhere else than the hotel where all the teams are staying. Somehow hotel Wi-Fi’s are programmed to give priority to the players updating their Facebook status - than you sending your large video/image files.


- I do NOT like people smoking indoors !! And people in certain countries do enjoy smoking everywhere… breakfast table, reception, the game venues … sorry guys, it just gives me a headache.


- When the venue you cover games in does not have A/C - it is OK that the temperatures outside are not the usual 35 to 40 degrees. It still gets warm enough…


- Finding somewhere to eat at 11.30pm, after 13 hours of working without a break… it can at times be challenging (good for losing weight?).


- If your Wi-Fi signal is either not working or weak in your hotel room - but when you open the door to your room, the Wi-Fi is flying fast. It makes you wonder what your door has been made out of??


- Why does it always take the photographer to go and ask a venue whether more lights could be turned on, for all the lights to be on at a venue??


- British football teams get their own buffet and walled of section for breakfast at hotels.


- You might not get a burger at all places in Bosnia - but you sure as heck get a Burek (and they are nice!)


But as always, I am enjoying my time on the road - meeting coaches and players or new friends at events and having chats with them in the the hotel, at the games - whether it is about how their team is doing, time spent at the hotel or certain players... it has been a fun and let's hope it continues like that for the coming few months!!


Now - time to edit few more images and before I know it... it's another three game day at Skenderija Arena at centre of Sarajevo

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) airport assignment basketball blog bosnia finland helsinki hotel photography sports photography transit travel wi-fi work Sat, 12 Jul 2014 07:49:47 GMT
52 days, over 100 games, 37 flights, 14 hotels, 14 countries The title of the entry starts to describe my coming two months quite well - join me for the 'adventure' !!

There are numerous reasons why I love my job as a Sports Photographer, you get the best seats in the house for some great games, you meet different people, explore new countries, experience different cultures... all this while getting paid.

Then there are other things, which I still personally feel like I do enjoy - but others shake their heads when they hear about them. The getting up at 3am to catch an early flight, staying up until 3am to edit that set of photos or exclusive interview, sitting at airports waiting for connecting flights, doing a big tournament and not having anything to eat for twelve hours and then eating a pizza at 1am...

Every summer my clients fill my schedule with single games and larger tournaments around Europe - so I thought that perhaps it would be an idea to shed some light to what my summer looks like from behind the lens.

As I write this, it is the last day before the start of the long two month stint of living on the road. Somehow it makes you feel slightly emotional sitting in your own home office and being surrounded my your 'mess'. For the next two months, I will be staring at hotel room walls and having uncomfortable work stations (which my back will surely reward me at the end of it all!).

A quick look at my calendar showed that the following months will have approximately the schedule detailed below :

- 52 days abroad (out of 68)

- 14 hotels

- 37 flights

- 14 countries

- 100 games (on top of this, training sessions, press conferences..)


- 5 days spent at home (mainly doing laundry)

So why do I do this? Simple answer, if there is such a thing, would be that I love my work and all this makes me happy. Yes, all these games/events will be work, so you do need to approach them professionally and there is some pressure to get the images/interviews/videos that your clients need. But when you love holding the camera and strive to capture the special images for your clients.. it gives you a buzz like nothing else.

Having established a working relationship with many of these clients for many years, it also helps to make things run smoothly. And it means that the teams/organisations have many people whom I have grown to know over the years... so one could almost use the quote that many Finnish basketball players say to me (one of the teams/players I cover the most!).. 'It is time to spend some time with the "Summer Family"...'

Hopefully over the coming weeks I will be able to regularly update the Blog with various entries from the road.. and spice them up with few photos, so you don't have to just read the dry words.

But now - I will head to my garden for a while... just lay back and enjoy a good book for a while.



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Canon Europe FIBA assignment blog flights photography sports sports photography travel work Wed, 02 Jul 2014 10:41:16 GMT
Bank Holiday football Bank Holiday Sunday in the sunshine - and the third Birmingham City Ladies vs Arsenal game of the season !!

As a photographer, I do try to distance myself from the teams/players who I photograph - at least for the duration of the game time. What happens after the game can be more relaxed and having a friendly relationship with the players helps both sides when photographing profile/headshot images.

Birmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED - www.googabucreations.comBirmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED - Birmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

On the other hand when you talk to the players before/after the games, you do also start to live the game on the sidelines and you can often hear me mumble about a certain refereeing call/poor shot by a player. Although I have to admit, I am not qualified to judge any calls/decisions made on the pitch/court.

It was sunny day at Solihull Moors for the THIRD game between Arsenal and Birmingham - nice lighting with bit of hazy cloud in the sky to diffuse the harsh mid-day sunshine. Especially with the way the Moors pitch is - the sun comes from a nasty angle during the day time kick-offs. Luckily for me, for the WSL games I am quite free to choose my position pitch-side to adjust the shooting angle to the sunshine.

Birmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED - www.googabucreations.comBirmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED - Birmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

Few nice images of the Blues goal celebrations, few images of the referee (whom both sets of teams were rather unhappy with!) as he did influence the game probably with few decisions. I know - we photographers are there to mainly take images of the players, but if the referees come involved in the game with their calls/talking to players. Then yes, i will point my lens at them as they also become part of the 'story of the game'. Sometimes the action also takes place on the sidelines of the game - as the picture of Marcus Bignot and Jade Moore (below) shows - coaching staff sometimes call players over to give them instructions, and once in a while you manage to snap an image at the right time to make it look amusing.

As in most games - there are winners and losers, and it is often the losing teams players that offer the more emotional images after the final whistle. And looking at the Birmingham City players at the end of the game - it was their faces that were captured in the frames as they sat in the middle of the pitch.

Birmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED - www.googabucreations.comBirmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED - Birmingham City Ladies FC - Arsenal Ladies - FA Women's Cup - 1/4 Final - 04/05/2014 - Solihull Moors, West Midlands - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

From a photographers point of view - it is weather like we had yesterday that show WHY we should have football played during the summer and not during the winter. Luckily the Women's League already has seen the 'light' and does so... unfortunately the men seem a bit more stubborn ;-)


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) FA Cup birmingham city fc football jade ladies moore moors photography soccer solihull sports sports photography women Mon, 05 May 2014 13:10:31 GMT
Women's Champions League with BCLFC ​Last weekend I was privileged enough to travel with the Birmingham City Ladies FC to their UWCL semi-final 2nd leg in Tyreso, Sweden. Here are few random thoughts and couple of images from the journey and game in Sweden!

Covering sport is something that I love to do - and feel very lucky to be able to call my job! And it isn't always the BIG occasions like World Championships or Olympics that necessarily are the greatest events to cover. Even if they have the high profile and big shots competing there with their cameras.

Seger celebrating !!Seger celebrating !!- Tyreso FF - Birmingham City Ladies FC - UEFA Champions League - 27/04/2014 - TyresoVallen, Tyreso, Sweden - - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

Often for me it is the sports where I can somehow relate/interact with the players whom I photograph, and Birmingham City Ladies FC is one of those clients for me. I have been covering their games for the last 5 or 6 years now, and as well as capturing some momentous occasions on the pitch - I have been granted access behind the scenes as well, and it is these images that often stay between myself and the club/player in question, that make photographing so rewarding.

Klingenberg, Seger and LawleyKlingenberg, Seger and Lawley- Tyreso FF - Birmingham City Ladies FC - UEFA Champions League - 27/04/2014 - TyresoVallen, Tyreso, Sweden - - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

On the most recent trip to Sweden, it is true that the game didn't go the way the club would have wanted - and defensive displays do challenge photographer in me to look for other ways to cover the game than the usual celebration images after scoring goals. Some of the best images this time came during the 'off-time'. And perhaps I got to know something more of the personalities behind the players as well - and for me, that in some ways gives an extra insight to the players and it is nice not to just think of them as players on the pitch - but also as someone you can have a nice chat after the game, etc. Although in one way it also makes my job a bit more difficult, as I do share the coach/plane back with the players - and am sure to hear about it if there is something 'wrong' with an image I have published ;-)

Linnett gets away from defenders.Linnett gets away from defenders.- Tyreso FF - Birmingham City Ladies FC - UEFA Champions League - 27/04/2014 - TyresoVallen, Tyreso, Sweden - - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

Here in this Blog entry you will see few of my favourite images from the pitch during the game - my favourite image must the one of Tyreso FF captain Caroline Seger lifting her arms up in the after the final whistle with the background of Yellow&Red flags of the fans in the stands. One of those images that for me will go into the archives and always be shown to new potential clients when pitching for work covering Women's football!

Another image is of Tyreso FF players Seger and Klingenberg trying to get the attention of Birmingham City's Mel Lawley after a tightly contested ball - although Seger ran more to hold Klingenberg back in the situation!

Make not of the name : Jessica Carter!Make not of the name : Jessica Carter!- Tyreso FF - Birmingham City Ladies FC - UEFA Champions League - 27/04/2014 - TyresoVallen, Tyreso, Sweden - - ©Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED -

Hopefully you will enjoy these images - and sorry for not sharing a full gallery of 100's of images for your enjoyment, but knowing the players.. they would just snap the good ones for their profile images without telling me :-)

It is after capturing images like this, and sharing a journey like this with the team - that I am often reminded why I love my work.. and as some wise man once said "Find a work that you love doing, and you never work a day in your life". Perhaps that is where I am at this very moment...

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) assignment bclfc birmingham blog champions city fc ff football game ladies league photography soccer sports sweden travel tyreso uwcl women's football Tue, 29 Apr 2014 15:08:13 GMT
LIKES don't pay wages! In this age of Social Media - how important is a 'like', 'favourite', 'retweet', 'comment'!?

As photographers we all post some of our images online every now and then, and as human beings we want our images to be 'liked' - isn't it embedded into our brains to want our friends and strangers to like what we do?!

Myself, I cover lots of Women's Football and Basketball - so most people who follow me on various Social Media sites, tend to be followers of these sports and I guess there is the occasional photographer as well who thinks it's worth following me. Depending on the season that is going on, the 'likes' and 'followers' keep changing - when I make posts about Women's Football for three weeks.. the basketball fans disappear, and the other way around. The other week I covered some basketball in Romania - their Cup Final 4 weekend - and as well as covering the game for clients, I took few images of cheerleaders and posted them on my Blog and Fecebook/Twitter accounts. Photographers who cover basketball - don't try to tell me you never snap images of the cheerleaders. After all, in the last World Championships for basketball - I spent minutes taking pictures of fellow photographers who posed with the Cheerleading squad after the Final!!

So as usual, I post my Blog entry and few images and video online for the odd stranger who comes to read about my ramblings. I get the usual likes from couple of friends, family and few basketball fans. The next day I include a picture of a cheerleader into my image gallery, and head to Facebook/Twitter to post a link to the Blog article (and include few images on FB post).

Next time I log-on to Facebook, instead of the usual one notification from some random person inviting me to play FarmVille or BurstABubble.. I have 58 new notifications! - WOW !! am I Mr Popular or what, I think to myself. As I said, we all like it when people like what we post ;-) Looking at the comments/likes/share/retweets - they are 98% about the photo of the Cheerleader (and one invite to play CandyCrush). Luckily for me, the cheerleader herself had also liked the image - so at least she approved of it. In the next couple of days, the Gallery gets over 2000 visits, I get 100's of likes/comments. 

This is all very nice, but deep down inside I think to myself - I was at this event to cover basketball and what gets most likes is the picture of a Cheerleader! Now, my clients paid me for the images from the game itself - and they were happy with what I provided for them. But the people out there in the World Wide Web.. they didn't care too much about the nice Slam Dunk image, or the two players celebrating the Cup win... all they wanted to see was Cheerleaders.. Although to be fair - there were people who did also like the game images .. but these were in the 'tens', instead of 'hundreds'.

But - do 'likes', 'retweets' and 'comments' actually help me to pay my bills, fill up the car, buy a new lens, fly to Spain?? Unfortunately the answer is no - at least last time I checked in my local supermarket - 1000 Likes on Facebook wasn't accepted as a payment, and my usual choice of airline doesn't offer the chance to pay for a flight with Twitter 'retweets'.

In a funny way this made me feel a bit better about the fact that only very few of my posts get a big number of likes/shares/retweets - as much as it gives a little boost to your ego that your work gets 'liked'. In the end, the real rewards are when you get paid for the images you take for the clients. No matter if your image goes viral and gets millions of views/likes - the opinion of your client is still more important than any 'like' 'retweet' 'share' or 'comment' on Social Media.

Notice how I didn't use the image of the cheerleader as the cover photo - this means less likes for the article ;-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) basketball blog like media photo photography retweet share social sports work Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:45:59 GMT
Romanian Cup - Final 4 weekend in Ploiesti! (part 2) Romaniei Cup Final 4 - Champions 2014 Energia Rovinari !!

Two days, four games - it has been another good trip to Romania, and the Cup winners are Energia Rovinari - despite scoring only FOUR points in the opening 12 minutes!!

First game of the day saw the hosts Asesoft take a comfortable win over Pitesti - in a game that never really got going. And after shooting 23 times and missed from downtown in the Semi-Final.. it was fitting that the first shot from downtown went in today.

When one pictures says more than 1000 words!When one pictures says more than 1000 words!When one pictures says more than 1000 words!

Finnish player Gerald Lee top scored with 21 points for the home team - and his thoughts of the Cup weekend on the video interview.

Gerald Lee Jr - Cup Final 4 thoughts.Gerald Lee Jr - Cup Final 4 thoughts.

Final was a noisy affair - with both sets of fans keeping the photographers ears ringing through the 40 minutes. In the end, it all came down to couple of free throws .. which according to one 'expert witness' on court side should not even been awarded.

And before you start to think that I am saying myself to be an expert.. No - this person really DOES know what happens on the court!!

Where there are winners, the are also runners-up.Where there are winners, the are also runners-up.Where there are winners, the are also runners-up.

Still Energia Rovinari celebrated in the end - and the lowest placed team in the Final 4 took the Trophy home with them. Asesoft will think on this weekend as they slowly prepare for the play-offs, where in the first round they will face Energia Rovinari!!

And what else would you want from a Final game - except few nice celebration images!!


So I leave you with these pictures, and get my four hours of sleep before heading out to the airport and catching an early bird flight to Birmingham via Frankfurt.. and straight to Women's FA Cup action over there.

Thank you once again Romania - it has been great to cover couple of more games here, and meet some old friends (not that I am saying these friends are old.. but you know what I mean!!)

Until next time.... vă mulțumesc și la revedere !!


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Asesoft Basketball Cup Final Four Gerald Jr Lee Ploiesti Romania Rovinari basketball blog photography sports travel Sat, 12 Apr 2014 19:21:16 GMT
Romanian Cup - Final 4 weekend in Ploiesti! After my first trip to Romania - who would have thought that a year later, I am here for the 6th time!

My first Blog entry from Romania got some local people talking - as I mentioned driving on dark roads and coming across horses and carriages, and yes it was different.. but even then I liked it. Now.. on my sixth visit here.. it's starting to be one of my most visited countries.

This weekend I am here covering the Romanian Cup Final 4 weekend in Ploiesti - mainly thanks to Susijengi player Gerald Lee Jr playing for the host team. And as well as covering the games, there is another reason for my visits to see Finnish players abroad... but that will come clearer once the summer goes on :-) But for all the Finnish fans, as well as English speaking readers... it should be well worth the wait!

Although I do love coming here for games, I do have to say that Ploiesti never treats me well with the weather - third visit to this city.. and it's either been freezing cold or raining every time! (unlike Pitesti where I only have sunny memories..)

After flying across most of Europe - I arrived at my 'Ploiesti home' at Hotel Central .. pouring it down from the sky, so I am glad that basketball is an indoor sport! Headed to the Arena to catch up with 'Junnu' and have a good chat about tomorrow's Semi-Final game. As well as looking ahead to a BIG summer for Finnish Basketball.

Gerald Lee Jr - Romanian Cup Final 4 WeekendGerald Lee Jr - Romanian Cup Final 4 Weekend

As the interview is in Finnish - I'll translate few bits of it (hopefully 'G' will be OK with my translations!). Firstly I asked about how he feels ahead of the game tomorrow evening.

"I am feeling good, we've gotten a good week of practise under us - in preparation for these games. We also clinched the regular season (finishing at the top of the table), which was one of our goals for this season.."

Home court advantage, and winning the regular season.. is CSU Asesoft Ploiesti the favourite to win the Cup?

"Probably in other peoples eyes we are, but inside the team we concentrate on our own doings and try not to pay too much attention to the talk. Our game has gotten better in the recent weeks, especially on the defence... so that's where start from tomorrow as well."

What sort of opponent is Energia Rovinari??

"They are a good team, they have three Americans who can score, as well as a big Serbian who is also a scoring threat and grabs rebounds.

How about two games in two days?? A smile comes on Gerald's face as he replies.

"Luckily I got used to that sort of schedule during EuroBasket2013 in Slovenia... I think we had four games in row.."

For the Finnish fans.. you can watch the video interview in Finnish!

Now - hoping for a bit less rain tomorrow.. and of course looking forward to some exciting basketball action!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2014 CSU Asesoft Ploiesti Gerald Lee assignment basketball blog interview photography ploiesti romania sports sports photography susijengi travel video Thu, 10 Apr 2014 19:03:25 GMT
Photographer burn-out At times - one should learn to ease off and know what is too much !!

Last weekend was a great for me as a Photographer - I got to cover two great events, and also made a nice profit from these events. On the other hand, working through the weekend with minimal sleep and with proper case of flu/fever - that made the 48 hours a little tougher than it should have been.

​My first event to cover was the CEV Cup Final in Paris on Saturday evening, after covering a local game on Friday evening - I caught four hours of sleep before driving 120 miles from Birmingham to Manchester to catch a flight to Paris. Over in Paris - few hours of rest before heading to the Arena and cover the game and do the post game interviews on video for National media back 'home'. Covering Volleyball was great after few months away from it - as a sport it gives you so many angles to shoot from and the emotion players display after each point makes our job as photographers that little bit easier!

Emotional weekend in Paris and Glasgow.Emotional weekend in Paris and Glasgow.Emotional weekend in Paris and Glasgow.

The viewpoint that I was covering the game from, was a certain player - so I didn't need to concern myself with all of the action. Unfortunately this players team lost the game, which reduced the amount of clients who would have wanted pictures by one or two. But it was nice to be back on the sidelines of a volleyball court.

Late finish meant I rushed to the last train of the night to get to the Hotel - after two hours of Parisienne traffic, I got to the Hotel at 1.45am. Still few videos and images to edit and finally to bed at 2.30am, unfortunately this was also the night that clocks went forward by an hour. So it was actually 3.30am. Wake-up call at 5.30am - off to the airport to catch the early bird flight to Manchester. Luckily flight was on time and after landing in Manchester - it was about 250 mile drive up to Glasgow to my next event.

Arriving at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow at 11.30am - just 30 minutes ahead of the tip-off for BBL Trophy basketball event. So straight to work - by now the weekend was catching up with me and I was feeling slightly tired. Next 6 hours was spent covering the games on the court and crowd off the the court. When I walked up the stairs to the Media section after the game... I felt more like a 96 year old man.. than the 40 year old that I am.

Unfortunately in my 'stupidity' I had also decided to drive back home during Sunday evening - so little over 5 hours of M74 and M6 awaited me.. fever running through my head and having had two hours of sleep. It was one of the longest five hours on the road in the last year!

When i finally pulled in front of my house at 11.30pm... I was drained, hungry, exhausted, sick, tired, aching.. BUT, I had had two brilliant days of doing what I love to do. But now.. 48 hours later, I am still paying the price of working myself to the point of collapse.

Now - I know there are photographers out there who shout at the screen. "You should get your clients to put you up in a hotel" "You don't charge enough if you don't stay in a hotel before/after a job" .. The thing is for both jobs I WAS offered a hotel by the client, before and after the event dates. So it was my own choice to turn it down.. although, next time I just might take up that offer ;-)

And to end with a lighter note.. it was good to see that some of my friends managed to take it 'easy' at work over the weekend ;-)

Taking it easy at work!Taking it easy at work!Taking it easy at work!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) arena assignment basketball bbl blog cev emirates glasgow paris photographer photography sports travel trophy volleyball work Tue, 01 Apr 2014 18:21:15 GMT
Photography the hard way Sometimes you an assignment that reminds you of how good you have it!

Last night I covered a game for a friend of mine - regional football league final, which really made me realise how good many professional photographers have it in regards to the conditions (read : lighting) they have it. And despite all of that, many of us still like to complain a little about it, either in silence or to fellow photographers.

Football is something I tend to stay away from covering in England, but this week I covered two games. One at St Andrew's (home of Birmingham City FC) and another at Boldmere. Game at St Andrew's I managed to cover using ISO3200-5000 at 1/1000 and f3.2-f4.0, game Boldmere, well - ISO was upped to 12800 and 1/800 and f2.8-f3.5 and even that was only in few spots of the ground.

These two experiences just made me think how things actually get a whole lot easier for photographers as they move up to cover more professional leagues. Looking at a Premier League game on TV and seeing 8 photographers sitting next to one another, pointing their lenses the same way, with identical focal length lenses.. in a well light stadium. Now where is the challenge in that :-) (apart from the game being extremely boring!)

Sitting in a misty, partially light non-league ground, with possibly not the most expensive camera body and no f2.8 lens at hand - now that is where you challenge to get some good images.

So - respect to the photographers who go to these poorly light venues with a Canon 400D and a Sigma 18-200mm lens (camera and lens mentioned just as example - and it was also what I started with myself!)  and come away with good photos. And note to self - do not complain next time the light is just a little bit off 'perfect'!!

Due to images from both games being sent for clients - unfortunately I am not able to post samples of images, but here is an image of the Boldmere ground in five images, taken in little over a second at f4, 1/640 and ISO128000, to show not only that the light isn't the brightest - but that it also comes in waves.

As for the game covered last night, definitely more entertaining than the professional level of the game in this country....

Now you see it, Now you don't.Now you see it, Now you don't.Now you see it, Now you don't.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) blog boldmere football high iso lighting photography soccer sports technique Fri, 28 Mar 2014 11:00:44 GMT
Cyprus Cup - England and Finland looking forward to opening games England and Finland looking forward to opening games in Cyprus Cup 2014 !

My third Cyprus Cup started on Tuesday with a visit to the training sessions of Finland and England. Both teams are naturally preparing for their qualifying campaigns for the FIFA World Cup in Canada and this is their last chance to fine-tune things.

During the 120 minutes of training, I swapped between Finland and England training - while also checking out Canada training on the next pitch. Both England and Finland are familiar teams to me, as I've covered many of their games and see many England players during the WSL season. And despite players moving away from BCLFC, it was nice to get warm greetings from Laura Bassett as England arrived to the training centre.

Finland training in Cyprus 2014Finland training in Cyprus 2014Finland training in Cyprus 2014

Finnish coach Andree Jeglertz said that there is a positive feeling in the camp after their win against Scotland in a friendly that was played back in Finland few weeks ago - but added that there were still things the team wanted to improve upon as they head to their opening World Cup qualifier vs Hungary in the beginning of April.

He also added that the Finns had changed their formation/system and Cyprus Cup gives him and the team a good chance to get things working smoothly, also the addition of few new faces to the team is something the Finns will look to integrate.

The Finns first opponents are Canada, the two teams met last year in an entertaining game in Cyprus Cup, which Canada won, so what sort of opponent is Canada? Coach Jeglertz compared their playing style to that of U.S.A, a physical, aggressive and skilled team. 

Annikka Kukkonen of Finland also rates Canadian team "They are in the Top 10 in the world, so they will definitely be a tough opponent. But at the same time their style of playing suits us, and we've usually played quite well against them,"

Jade Moore ahead of Italy match.Jade Moore ahead of Italy match.

I asked her what she thinks of playing in an International tournament just before the domestic season "I guess few players might have the pre-season in their legs still, and that might show on the pitch. But it is always great to get to play these (International) matches, so I always enjoy coming here to play".

Swapping camp to the England training pitch, where I asked Jade Moore about the timing of the tournament.

"I think it is good to have a friendly tournament before the WSL season starts, hopefully this will give all the girls the chance to get to full match fitness and get good minutes in the competitive matches."

England are the reigning champions in Cyprus Cup, so are England planning to take the trophy back to England again?

England training in Cyprus Cup 2014.England training in Cyprus Cup 2014.England training in Cyprus Cup 2014.

"Of course that would be nice if we get to the Final to regain the Trophy and take it back home, but this tournament is also about learning new things and getting to know all the players and staff"

So, tomorrow the games start and teams get their first taste of action, Finland take on Canada in the opening game in Nicosia - this one followed by England vs Italy under the floodlights in Larnaca. These games in my schedule, the other two groups of course kick-off tomorrow.

All Images © Ville Vuorinen / GooGaBu Nordic Creations Ltd - No use of images allowed without written permission, normal payment rates apply



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2014 annikka bassett cup cyprus england football helmarit jade kukkonen larnaca laura moore photography soccer sports women's Tue, 04 Mar 2014 19:16:30 GMT
Devon Van Oostrum comments GB funding On my work trip to Bilbao, Spain - I had the chance to visit GB Men's International player Devon Van Oostrum and ask him few questions about EuroBasket Qualification Draw, GB Basketball funding cut and his time in Spain.

Devon Van Oostrum talks about GB funding cutDevon Van Oostrum talks about his time in Spain, GB teams news over the past 48 hours or so - in regards to funding cut and their luck in EuroBasket2015 draw

Very busy and dramatic 24 hours or so for British Basketball earlier this week, firstly the draw for EuroBasket 2015 qualification in Barcelona - where Team GB were placed into a three team group with Iceland and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Especially Bosnia is a team that Devon knows much about, and has played with some of the players and coach. Iceland is a bit lesser known factor - but despite everything, qualification to Ukraine 2015 is the only goal for DVO and GB team.

Before the fans really got to digest the draw results, the second news of the week came in the form of UK Sport withdrawing all funding from the GB Basketball program. I am sure one could talk for hours about the rights and wrongs about the decision, as has been widely done by the basketball community in the UK (thanks for totally spamming my Twitter/FB timelines over the last day or so ;-) ). Hear what Devon has to say about it, especially after his age group finally gave the GB U20's promotion to the A-division last summer.

Lastly - how does he rate his own performances here in Spain this season, one year older, one more year in the same team..

Thanks for Devon for taking time to catch up last night, before the team tonight fly off to their Cup game - and next time.. if there are two cathedrals in the city you live in, please specify which one we should meet by :-) Oh - and I'll see you in April/May time again, hopefully a game and some cooking to be done that time around!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Basketball Devon Van Oostrum GB Team bilbao interview legacy spain video Thu, 06 Feb 2014 08:24:13 GMT
Canon 200mm f1.8 - still the best! One of the first advices I received when thinking of becoming a photographer was "Buying good lenses is longer term investment than buying a new camera body"

And now looking back at it, it sure was a good advice and from my lenses one lens is above all else - and that is the Canon 200mm f1.8. From the outside the lens looks VERY well used, and it has had a very long life. The paint is starting to flake off, the lens hood doesn't attach properly without bit of gaffer-tape, the rubber seal is a bit loose.. so looking at it from the outside, most photographers have a little smile on their face when I pull that out during a game.

Canon 200mm f1.8Canon 200mm f1.8Canon 200mm f1.8 - still gets the job done!

Luckily it is the quality of images that matters, and not what the lens looks like! And the image from my Canon 200mm f1.8 are some of the sharpest I get from any lens that I own, and let's just say that I love shooting it at f1.8 during basketball games :-)

But it isn't just using the lens at 200mm f1.8 that I love this for - I can happily attach a 1.4x or 2.0x converter to the lens and still get good images, one summer the lens was my choice for covering cricket (with the 2.0x converter). During lower league football games I love the versatility of using it with the converter and then when it get 'pitch black' - use it to shoot the goal mouth action at 200mm f1.8.

Canon 200mm f1.8 - Jorge Calvo/Leicester RidersCanon 200mm f1.8 - Jorge Calvo/Leicester RidersCanon 200mm f1.8 - Jorge Calvo/Leicester Riders

Personally I am probably not the best person to shoot with prime lenses - as I do like the flexibility that something like a 70-200mm zoom gives me during a basketball game, this gives me the chance to cover the whole 'drive' from the three point line to the basket - with one lens. But at times when an assignment comes and client advice is to get pictures of 'Red number 11' - then I definitely will use the 200mm f1.8 for at least two quarters, on one body. As these shoots often end up as advertising/promotional images - so the better the subjects separation from the background, the happier the client is (in most cases).

With the basketball season in full swing, I took the Canon 200mm f1.8 for an outing at Birmingham Knights game in the BBL last Saturday. In the UK we have to contend with dark gyms, so any extra light you can get to your sensor.. it is much appreciated (although the Canon 1DX does keep my images clean on very high ISO). So it was great shooting at f1.8 , 1/1250 , ISO4000-6400 at the game. Rarely do I manage to keep my shutter speeds that high in games over here.

Canon 200mm f1.8 Canon 200mm f1.8 Canon 200mm f1.8

As with any old lens, there is a draw back - with no repair centres willing to look at the lens (well, they look at it - but won't clean/repair it). So there is always the chance that one day the lens will stop working, and then I will have a very heavy/expensive 'paper weight' in my office :-) But copies of the Canon 200mm f1.8 do still pop up for sale every now and then.. and at those prices, I can still buy another 2 copies of Canon 200mm f1.8 for the price it would cost me to buy a new Canon 200mm f2 (and I'd lose that little bit from f1.8 to f2). So for now - I'll happily keep carrying my 'brick' with me and enjoying the images it produces, hopefully I will get another few years out of it.. just such a shame that older lenses stop being supported/repaired by Canon after new models come out, as sometimes.. just sometimes - the older lenses still produce better images than the new ones...

So even when this lens is working well into it's second decade - it still produces crisp/sharp images, so come on Canon you know you want to bring this lens back!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 200mm Canon Canon 200mm f1.8 L-lens basketball blog f1.8 lens old lens photography sports sports photography Tue, 28 Jan 2014 13:46:55 GMT
My 'Picture of the Year 2013' Years change, pictures live on - what made me smile in 2013 !?

Recent weeks have been full of 'Best of the Year' stories/images, requests to send images for various places as my my best shots of the year. The unfortunate thing for me is that as I live in the UK, and the SJA here ask for the images to have been published in the British Publication - my images really have no chance to enter these competitions (not that I think there would be chance of winning). Due to the fact that Basketball and Women's Football rarely get a mention in the UK press - and then my other set of images is for Finnish clients, so only published in Finland (or elsewhere on the continent/North America).

Earlier in the week I thought back to the year gone by, and what I had photographed during it - and IF I would have had a chance, what would I personally have chosen to send in as 'my best image of 2013' in Sports. Some of the memorable moments I covered over the year were : 

- Finnish U19 Women's Football team only losing a single game - and qualifying to the World Championships

- EuroVolley 2013 in Denmark, especially the Final at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen

- U20's FIBA European Championships in Romania and Bulgaria

- Women's Floorball World Championships

- EuroLeague Final 4 and NBA games in London

- "Winter Game" in Grenoble, France

And many more that I haven't mentioned here. So where did I take images that I personally thought stood out from the rest?? Over the year there have been two images that have stuck in my mind.. neither really action from a game, but both capture the raw emotion that sports generates and which we photographers aim to capture.

If I may be so bold as to ask you, the reader, to look at the images below - and read the story that goes with it. Then if you have an opinion on which image YOU would choose as the better of the two.. please leave a comment here, on Facebook, Twitter.. Thank You!

Image 1 :

Captured in January at the NIA in Birmingham - during the BBL Cup Final. The image shows Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro hugging his son after the final whistle has gone and Riders have won their first trophy under his management and beaten Newcastle Eagles. What caught my eye in the image was the clear joy, as well as the family aspect of celebration. Add to this the background of celebrating Leicester Riders fans and few of the players, it was one of those images where I was 'in the right place, at the right time'.

As the game drew to a close, it looked like the Riders were going to win - so I chose a place opposite their bench, so I could shoot with the fans at the background and hopefully have the players/coaches facing me as they rushed to the court to celebrate. Luckily for me, the last attack was at the other end of the court, so my view towards the bench was un-obstructed and once Rob took hold of his son - I knew that this was going to be 'the' celebration image from this event.

So - one of the two images, is Rob Paternostro and Leicester Riders celebrating their 2013 BBL Cup win at the NIA

Leicester Riders and Rob Paternostro - BBL Cup 2013 celebration.Leicester Riders and Rob Paternostro - BBL Cup 2013 celebration.Leicester Riders and Rob Paternostro - BBL Cup 2013 celebration.

Image 2 :

Yes, another basketball related image - this time from EuroBasket 2013 and the Double-OT game between Finland and Russia in Koper, Slovenia. This image shows Finnish player Hanno Mottola celebrating his three pointer over Russia's Soklov - while Petteri Koponen enters the image on the right.

Those who know me, also know that I have followed the Finnish 'Susijengi' for few years and covered their games - and often I do end up half living the game with the team. But - still remembering that I am there at the games to capture the events with the camera. Choosing this particular image from all the big moments of Slovenia2013 was a tough one. And even once I settled for this image sequence, it was hard to single out one image from the 15 or so images. The sequence of image of this start with Mottola rising over Soklov to release the three pointer, and the celebration only took a second - but that was one of those times when you just keep the shutter pressed down and let the camera go at 14fps. In the sequence there are images where Mottola and Soklov are more isolated - and Mottola starts to celebrate while Soklov spreads his arms as in asking 'What could I have done to stop that??'. 

The reason for choosing this image was that it still show Soklov in the image looking downbeat, Mottola still has the emotion shining from his face and Koponen smiling. Having Koponen and Mottola in this image also made it special for me, with Mottola being the legend/veteran player in the Finnish team, and Koponen is the new star player of the team, so it almost is like having the two greats of Finnish game at a vey poignant time in the game in the same frame. 

Of course only 24 hours from this image, I captured Mottola going down injured to the ground, which ended his tournament - that image could also have been chosen as one of the 'best' of the year, for different reasons.

Game Day 04 - Finland vs Russia - Koper, Slovenia / EuroBasket 2013 / 08/09/2013 / Bonifika Arena, Koper, Slovenia / © Ville Vuorinen / NO UNPAID USE ALLOWEDGame Day 04 - Finland vs Russia - Koper, Slovenia / EuroBasket 2013 / 08/09/2013 / Bonifika Arena, Koper, Slovenia / © Ville Vuorinen / NO UNPAID USE ALLOWEDGame Day 04 - Finland vs Russia - Koper, Slovenia / EuroBasket 2013 / 08/09/2013 / Bonifika Arena, Koper, Slovenia / © Ville Vuorinen / NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED

So there you have it - my own choices for the two images I would have chosen for 'Picture of the Year 2013' competitions - what do you think?

As always, thanks for reading and taking time to visit my Blog!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Birmingham Hanno Koper Koponen Leicester Mottola NIA Paternostro Petteri Riders Rob Susijengi basketball bbl british emotion eurobasket2013 league photography slovenia2013 sports the Wed, 22 Jan 2014 19:37:11 GMT
Remote camera in basketball #2 Each court, basket and game is different !

Second part of the 'Remote camera in basketball' is about the challenges and unexpected issues that can come around when going to a new venue for the first time. You can't know what the lighting is like, although with today's cameras we can deal with most situations/lighting conditions, you don't know if the basket is suitable for attaching you camera, you can be thrown back with the shatter-proof backboard..

Naturally some of these issues can be researched by looking at pictures from the games that have been played in this venue, quick Google Search or visit to the clubs website is often all you need. After a while you start to know the various types of baskets, and how you can attach your camera to this particular set-up. But what you might not be able to see if the condition of the backboard and all the scratches/reflections on it - unless you are lucky enough that the local photographers also use remote cameras, in which case you can look at their images :-)

For me, the last two weeks offered two chances to use remotes in European club competitions (EuroChallenge and EuroCup) - and both times I was really looking forward to getting some good pictures. Also, both times I was faced with different challenges  - so instead of posting you some good samples of images, this post is about the unexpected things that can happen when attempting to install a remote and photograph a game

First example is from my game in Denmark, all set up for installing the camera behind the backboard, I arrive to the venue at 2.30pm (game starts at 7.30pm) and I have my window cleaning stuff with me. The baskets in this venue are ones that get lowered from the ceiling, so the attaching method was a new one to me. Limited options to attach the arms to and with TV microphones, also limited angle to set it up.

BakkenREmoteBakken Remote Set-upBakken Bears, remote camera set-up

It takes me a little longer than usual to get everything set-up, and I use three MagicArms as I want to be very safe in the knowledge that my rig will stay up there. The Danish team has a 'beast of a man' who enjoys some hard slam dunks.. so to make sure his hanging from the basket doesn't detach my camera, etc.

After setting the camera and cleaning the boards - I take few test shots with myself on the other side of the glass, slightly hazy but it looks good enough so that I should be able to get few nice shots as long as the players perform. One more check and tightening of the MagicArms to make sure all is good. While up doing the final checks, behind the basket the Match Day crew are testing their smoke machine - and as the smoke rises up, I get covered in the haze. I laugh this off, not thinking about it too much (MISTAKE!!).

I cover the game and know that there were few plays that should give brilliant shots, so eagerly I climb up after the game and retrieve my camera. Ingest the images from the card and start browsing in PhotoMechanic.. and all the images are hazy or with greys blur. I scroll the image back to the 'test shot' of myself before the game. hazy, but OK. But all images from the game are totally un-usable, apart from maybe few that are OK for some background images for posters i make. I check the camera, it was on MF, and all was left on M, WB was set.. then I look at the lens. It has a coating of something greyish on it, I then get back to the backboard and climb up - and the backboard also has a very thin greys layer. The smoke machine had been tested so many times before the game that a small film of the 'smoke' had clung to the lens/board. Thus making my images look greyish/blurred.

What I learned from this, if a smoke machine is used behind the basket - either make sure you go up there AFTER they have done their multiple testing, or at least go and wipe your lens and the board again after this!!

You live and you learn from each job you do - and this is one of the reasons why I don't like to promise images from remote cameras if I do not know the venue/basket/attachments/board. Hopefully this coming weekend will see couple a bit more successful events covered with remotes.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) bakken basketball bears blog denmark photography pocket wizard remote sports sports photography tutorial Thu, 28 Nov 2013 10:04:16 GMT
Ploiesti-Khimki - no remote, but a good evening! Another trip to EuroCup game is coming to an end !!

Trip to Ploiesti was to cover Finnish players Petteri Koponen (Khimki) and Gerald Lee Jr (Ploiesti) - and it was also going to be a game to try the behind the board remote camera. All was agreed with the club and I came early to the venue to set things up, but there are two (well two main) kinds of baskets and this one was with the more loose struts at the back - and when you attach the camera-rig there, there is quite a bit of movement sideways. And I have never used a remote in this type of basket before, so I wasn't quite comfortable doing it here for the first time... so a slight set back as I could not do this.

Gerald Lee Jr and Petteri Koponen

In the game it was mostly the aim to capture the two Finns, preferably in the same frame - and with these players playing very different places, they weren't always co-operating and being close to each other. Still - whether by luck or skill, I did get few shots of them together in the game and of course the 'pose' before the game.

©Ville VuorinenPetsku and JunnuPetteri Koponen (left) and Gerald Lee Jr (right) before the game in Ploiesti.

Post game - quick interviews with both players (video embedded here in Finnish!!) - then off to have dinner with the players. Reason I could never be a good reporter, my relationship with the players is too friendly.. I couldn't be critical enough when needed ;-) But - a nice last evening in Romania with a  good dinner and great company, even if the food did take hours to get to the table. And me being an ex-Chef, I would have been getting a mighty telling off from the boss is I ever had taken this long to serve food to the customers.

Tomorrow - or actually today, heading back home for few hours before the next trip abroad! And by the way, UK based clients... I am more than happy to work for you as well, but you know it won't be for free.. so please feel free to get in touch :-)

©Ville VuorinenKoponen and LeeJunnu and Petsku during the EuroCup game in Ploiesti.

It's been a great trip, from last nights 'Romanian evening' dinner with some of the staff from Asesoft Ploiesti, while watching Romania-Greece on the TV and eating my 'Which came first, the Egg or the Chicken" dinner. To tonights game and dinner afterwards... met some great new people on this trip and some old friends were met again, and unfortunately some that I had hoped to meet.. we could arrange the time. Still leaves something for the next trip I make here.

Now - Good Night from Ploiesti!

By the way : All Images © Ville Vuorinen / No unauthorised use allowed !!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Gerald Koponen Lee Petteri assignment basketball eurocup game photography ploiesti romania sports sports photography susijengi Wed, 20 Nov 2013 23:01:38 GMT
Koponen ready for Ploiesti test Another EuroCup adventure - and this time to Romania !

Before the game, I caught up with Finnish player Petteri Koponen and asked about his thoughts ahead of facing Asesoft Ploiesti here in Romania - here is the interview clip I made at the team hotel yesterday evening.. (sorry - but it's in Finnish)

Elikka Suomeksi kanssa - nama EuroCup matkat jatkuu ja talla viikolla ollaan Romaniassa todistamassa Junnun ja Petskun kohtaamista. Kavaisin nopeasti eilen illalla Petteria jututtamassa, seka Ploiestin treeneissa juttelemassa (viime kaudella Katajassa pelaneelle) Jonte Flowersille. Tassa nyt Koposen pienet ennako katseet taman illan peliin. Petskulla kunnon 'Movember' menossa... :-)

Koponen - Ploiesti pelin ennakko

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) eurocup interview khimki koponen movember petteri ploiesti video Wed, 20 Nov 2013 14:03:12 GMT
Blues end 2013 in style !! End of another season with the Blues Women's team....

If your season ends, you might as well end in it in style - and that's just what Blues Ladies did in their Last 16 game in Women's Champions League at St Andrew's.

Quick start and 2-0 up on the night, 4-0 on aggregate - it looked like plain sailing, but the opponents from Russia has something else in mind. Two quick goals and it was 2-2 on the night, could this be like last year when the girls lost a 2-0 lead??

After the break, Kirsty Linnett settled the nerves, Kerys Harrop and Melissa Lawley added some more comfort.. as the home team ran away with a 5-2 win on the night.


A mixed season covering the team, Cup runs ended too soon, games in WSL didn't go quite as well as hoped.. but the Champions League campaign is something that has given everyone (me included) a massive boost.

Now the girls head for their winter breaks, some apparently heading to Thailand to enjoy the sunshine... for me, no holidays but more games and travels with work :-)

So - with the end of 2013 with one team... I leave it with this image from last night and interviews with Bass, Kirsty and David.

Many thanks for a season of more memories with the team - hope you'll have me back for 2014 !!

ablues-blosablues-blosBirmingham City Ladies FC - Champions League Last 16 game - St Andrew's Stadium, Birmingham, United Kingdom - ©Ville Vuorinen/BCLFC - NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) action bclfc birmingham blues champions city football game interview ladies league photography sports video Thu, 14 Nov 2013 13:00:26 GMT
Finn wins - as the Finns lose It was an evening for Bears... for Bakken Bears to be more precise!

Here a quick video interview with Bakken Bears head coach Ville Tuominen, the Finnish coach of Danish team Bakken Bears. Helped by his knowledge of many of Kataja players - and a good core of players, the Danish champions are 2-0 in the group in EuroChallenge.

Even if I was working for the Finnish clients at the game, I could not resists grabbing few words with Ville after the game - and he was more than happy to talk to me, and who wouldn't after his team scored over 100 points in their home opener for 2013 EuroChallenge.

Interview is in Finnish - sorry to disappoint all the English or Danish readers who've made it here.

Apart from all the traffic jams in the UK, Germany or Denmark.. or the delayed flights, or the couple of days without having a proper meal.. I did enjoy my visit to Bears. Friendly club and great support from the fans during the game.. good luck to you in the remaining games in EuroChallenge, and who knows - we might meet again!

For now - I'll leave basketball for the rest of the week, and shift focus to covering football for the next four days : Women's Champions League, U21 Euro qualifying and Wales vs Finland. But don't worry, I'll be back to the more usual basketball next week.. with a trip to Romania, meeting friends on and off the court!

Ville Tuominen - Bakken BearsHead Coach of Bakken Bears after their win over Kataja in EuroChallenge.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) bakken basketball bears denmark eurochallenge interview joensuu kataja photography sports Wed, 13 Nov 2013 13:37:28 GMT
Remote camera in basketball One my recent sets of images received more comments than I am used to getting..

So this post is bit of technique, photography and basketball chatter - I know, weird mix but I hope you can live with it., 

When you take images of anything for a long time, your images can start to all look the 'same'. So different angles and compositions are something that you start to look for. You search the internet for images of your chosen sport and see what others do - and take inspiration from those. First by trying to imitate what they do, and then once you get more confident - possibly adding your own twist so that your images stand out.

Personally I have been photographing basketball since the first days I started to photograph sports, luckily for me the various leagues I photograph all have their own characteristics so the end results are slightly different from one game to the next. In some leagues the game doesn't 'move' as much, so you do not get the running through the channels, other teams shoot more from the long range, women's game is different to men's.. and so and so on.

Every now and then I get the chance to experiment with remote cameras behind the backboards, to get a view from above the rim as the players are rising towards the rim. Often fans and other photographers ask how I do this and what equipment I use. So this season I am going 'above the rim' more often than usual - and try to document the techniques and results (and hopefully improvements) I get during the following eight months or so.

As this is the first post, we better start with the equipment I use :

Camera : Canon 1DX  - personally I prefer to shoot with a full frame camera behind the backboard, as I want to capture a wide enough field of view from rather close-up. The high fps (frames per second) rate also means I have better chance to capture JUST the right moment when the player is rising or touching the rim.

Lens :  Canon 16-35mm f2.8 II  - this for me gives a nice field of view, I often end up going to the wider end of the range. A lot depends on where I place my camera behind the board. In many games my camera is the only one up there, but in bigger tournaments the 'best' places go for the 'big fish' and I get to use a different point of view.

Attaching the camera : Manfrotto Magic Arm 244RC with SuperClamps - this is the version with the Friction Arm, instead of the lever one. The reason I use this is that the lever version can be more easily knocked and loosened by a stray ball. Where as the friction arms tightening wheel will not more. Depending on the event, I use either two or three of these to secure the camera up behind the board - camera on one and then one or two arms securing the camera arm.

Triggers : PocketWizard Plus II - these are perfect for your normal events. For bigger tournaments I like to have PocketWizard MultiMax, just so I can set the 'channels' to be different from all the other photographers, and preventing my camera being triggered by someone else's PW.

Other equipment : Black gaffer tape (preferably black on both sides), insulation tape, black non-reflective cardboard, swiss army knife/scissors, window cleaner, paper towels.

To end the first entry - here is an image of my set-up attached to the frame in a recent game at Leicester Riders game.

Remote Set-Up at Leicester RidersRemote Set-Up at Leicester RidersLeicester Riders - Worcester Wolves / BBL Cup 1/4 Final game / 02.11.2013 / John Sandford Sports Centre, Leicester, United Kingdom / ©Ville Vuorinen / NO UNPAID USE ALLOWED / Please contact for rights to use the image

As always, these are just the way I personally have found things to work the best - and in no way meant to be the ONLY way that this can be done. And who knows, maybe in the coming months you will see me totally changing my opinions and views - and totally disregard anything that I might have mentioned in this post. That's why I love photography, you constantly learn from your own mistakes and advice received from others...

Until next time - hope you enjoyed a little of what I've written here :-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) above basket basketball hoops photography pocket remote rim sports technique trigger tutorial viewpoint wizard Tue, 05 Nov 2013 12:41:59 GMT
Sun is out, the fans are here - Spain beware! HUGE game for Susijengi tonight at the Stozice Arena !

Eurobasket train keeps on trundling along - and it's a massive game for Susijengi vs Spain tonight.. but here are some good omens for the game coming up later on in the afternoon.

- Susijengi played well in the warmth of Koper, so to my delight I woke up to a hot Ljubljana (well Domzale) morning on Saturday. It almost was as warm in Koper. Maybe it was the cold weather and nil-atmosphere on Thursday that threw the Finnish game off tracks ;-)

- The Fans! A plane load of Finnish fans have arrived on a specially chartered flight from Helsinki to support the Susijengi for the last two games in the second week of competition. And we know what difference the Susijengi support can bring!

- After the defeat to Italy, the Finns came back with one of their best games here - the Double-OT win over Russia. So more of that today.. and it's all possible.

- Last but not least, I made sure that I wear my odd pair of socks (not going for colourful this time) of one black and one grey sock on. Finns haven't lost in Slovenia when I've had this colour combination of socks. 

The last one on the list just goes to show, it's been an extremely long summer on the road for me.. my reasoning is losing even the last bits of connection to reality. Although, if the Finns do win tonight.. then I might get to ask the whole team to wear odd pairs of socks while they play.

This summer really has been one long stint at hotels, trains, buses, rental cars, games, training sessions, media days.. a quick calculation shows that from the last 75 days.. I have spent 60 !!! abroad on various tournaments of games. While it has been really great and I've met some brilliant people and seen some extra ordinary games.. now it really starts to feel like maybe it would be good to spend some time at home as well. But that's going to take a while.. as I won't get any days home before the end of the month, which will make it 75 of the 90 days spent abroad. 

That must get close to me being exempt from taxation in the UK :-) I must get over some limit of working long enough abroad to not have to pay taxes...

So - five more hour and the ball rises in up in one of the biggest games of the year for Susijengi.. let's hope we hear the big support from the Finnish fans tonight!

For me - the fun never stops, images to edit, videos to go through.. 


p.s Good to have been spotted so many times in Ljubljana yesterday - somehow people seem to pick me from the crowd. Rumours keep flying around ;-)


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2013 assignment basketball blog eurobasket ljubljana photo photography slovenia sports sports photography travel work Sat, 14 Sep 2013 10:42:43 GMT
First round over, Good Bye Koper - Hello Ljubljana EuroBasket train moved onward to Ljubljana yesterday - and on the train was Susijengi!

Time to draw a bit of breath after the first stages of EuroBasket2013 - the week in Koper was one of the most memorable ones I've spent in my career covering sports. With wins over Turkey and Sweden - the week got the perfect start, small stuttering in the Italy game, but what an end to the week with the nail-biter against Russia and then the huge performance against Greece.

To take a win when heading to Ljubljana for Round Two - that makes all the difference here, both for the Finns and Greeks.

It might sound like bit of repetition, but having been around this Susijengi for the past seven or so years - it has been so great to see these players (some whom I've started to know quite well) reach this level of performance here in Slovenia (and in the years leading to here) and the game really being talked about in the main stream media in Finland.

Few individual bits I will always remember from the last week :

- "Hakkaa Paalle" shouts during the O.T vs Russia

- The Fan Meet after the Sweden game

- Fans singing "Happy Birthday' to Hanno and Teemu before the tip-off.

- Hanno's celebration after the 3 pointer vs Russia

- THE win over Greece

And - last but not least, the great and helpful organisation/volunteers at Koper, things couldn't have been better from my point of view. As someone mentioned, having Finland's group stages in Koper.. it was like winning the lottery :-) Great venue, great town... great games and great time!!

During those days, hopefully I did manage to capture some images of games that have been spreading around - that tell the story on the court and off the court, after all - I am here to work, not just to enjoy the games ;-)

One thing in this tournament is different to ones I've done in the past - over here, I cover only the games I have been asked to cover. No matter how tempting the Greece vs Turkey games was, the cameras stayed in the bags and I just watched it in the Media Room.

Arrival to Ljubljana was greeted by fog/wind/rain and cold weather, for the first time in 10 days I had to wear trousers instead of shorts, long sleeves and jackets instead of t-shirts. The venue is bigger, the athmosphere less personal and more work-like... far away are the sea-front walks and smoothies.. now it's rain in Ljubljana and fighting for spaces in the photographers positions :-)

Tomorrow - we start all over again, with Finland vs Croatia!! Will my stay in Slovenia end next Tuesday, or will Susijengi 'force' me to stay here for an extra week still??? 

To be continued......



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2013 EuroBasket FIBA FInland Koper Ljubljana Slovenia Suomi assignment basketball blog photography sports sports photography susijengi travel Wed, 11 Sep 2013 12:57:39 GMT
I was there!!! When professionalism and close ties to the team come to test.

There was talk amongst the Finnish press-pack in Koper today after the game, that we once again witnessed Finnish sporting history and these are the kind of days that we thrive to see and dream about when we cover the third tier of local push-ball (which is what most of us see on regular bases). But then you have these days, when you can say ' I WAS THERE!!... ' when Finland beat Turkey in the EuroBasket2013.


Before the game, even I was thinking.. lose by less than double digits, and that's an OK result vs the silver medalists from World Championships 2010. But when the rims at Bonifika Arena started to bounce 99% of the shots out... you knew it was going to be an interesting evening. On a side note - the rims and new Molten balls.. not the best ones I have seen!!

Even when Finland took a 19 point lead, there was that little doubtful voice at the back of your mind.... we can't beat Turkey, or can we?? It was the 12 players of Finland who believed they could do it - so what one little photographer thinks, doesn't mean a damn thing. And when the final whistle blew.. the over 1000 strong Finnish traveling support could scream the lungs out.. and the Susijengi (Wolf Pack) replied with arms raised towards their supporters. 


It had been a magical afternoon, with the Finnish national anthem being sung louder than in most games in Finland, the fans obviously having caught some Medittaranean feeling as their support was vocal through the whole 40 minutes. And to see veteran Hedo Turkoglu (whom I am a great fan of!) look towards the Finnish fans in despair after sitting down on the bench...


After the game, it was celebrations for 30 minutes for the players - or so the word went at the Mixed Zone, and then the attention turned to the next game vs Sweden. Which funnily enough now probably is even more important - as if Finland lose that.. then this Turkey win loses some of it's importance/meaning. And we all know how Finland vs Sweden games can go in sports ;-)

Sitting here in my little 'mountain retreat' - I feel million miles away from the hustle and bustle of EuroBasket, although the lights of Koper can be seen from a ridge near-by. So it is time to re-charge batteries for tomorrow... both for the cameras and myself, and it is only Day 2 of the tournament (or four if you count the pre-tournament work days).

Just to make this post worth your visit - a cheerleader picture and game image to give it some colour!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Basketball EuroBasket2013 Fans Finland Game Koper Koripallo Slovenia Suomi Susijengi Turkey Win photography sports photography Wed, 04 Sep 2013 20:43:40 GMT
Long road traveled, it's all been for this!! Tomorrow is the first day of EuroBasket 2013 - this has been what the past months have been building up for!

This summer has seen me travel with various National basketball teams around Europe, and the map has been dotted with places like Pitesti in Romania, Albena in Bulgaria, Helsinki in Finland, Pau in France, Zaragoza in Spain, Vilnius in Lithuania....

It has all been with teams preparing for this autumn's EuroBasket - there have been some good games, there have been some poor games where the two teams looked to be from different planets in terms of quality on the court.

For myself, it has been yet another summer when I have been privileged to learn the fine art of photographing basketball - and tomorrow is when the REAL DEAL starts for myself.. as well as the teams. When the ball rises at 2.30pm local time in Koper in the game between Finland and Turkey..

Image-wise, there have been many great captures during these games.. some rare moments that I had thought never to see certain player perform.

Now, after two days in Koper, Slovenia - shooting practise sessions, media meets.. it's GAME TIME! 

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Tue, 03 Sep 2013 20:20:59 GMT
Bad day in the office! Saturday was a tough day - and one that can be classified as a 'bad day'

When photographing tournaments (big or small) - you want to be on your best as the decisive games start at the end of it. But the issue for photographers is that by that time you've most likely have spent two/three weeks covering the same teams at the same arena - so where as that lay-up by Devon Van Oostrum looked great on the first day, when you capture the same lay-up for 50th time.. it somehow doesn't look that special any more. (I would like to add, this is no fault of the player, but more of in the eye of the photographer).



Yesterday the FIBA Europe Men's U20 B-division reached it's Semi-Final stages, and the two winners of these games would gain promotion to the A-division - so you expect hard fought games, some great action and hopefully to be in the right place to catch emotions at the final whistle.

It would be great to say that this was exactly what I captured yesterday - but for some reason I feel that either I was in the wrong corner at the right time or the celebrations seemed to go the other way. So it was 80 minutes of basketball frustration for myself behind the camera.


Maybe it is good to have days like this once in a while, gets you back to basics and wakes you up a little to try harder the following day. Also shows that photography is a profession where you need to keep learning every day - challenge yourself and it will NEVER be easy. Another day today, with the 3rd place play-off and Final to come - need to step up my game and learn from yesterday.

Today is also the FINAL DAY of three weeks of working on the Continent - it'll be nice to get home tomorrow and just in time to catch my Wife's birthday.. it's not a bad way to return home :-) Plus - it's getting a bit chilly here in Romania, only 29 degrees at 9am this morning - the Winter Is Coming ;-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Pitesti Romania assignment basketball blog learning photo photography sports sports photography travel work Sun, 21 Jul 2013 08:46:31 GMT
I love to travel.. After a relaxing week at home - it was time to hit the road!

5am wake-up call, and it was the start of my three week road-trip. No trouble on the way to Albena, Bulgaria..

First leg was flight from Birmingham to Dusseldorf, nice change to receive an 'Actimel' and apples in the plane, not a cheese sandwich for a change :-) 50 minute transit in Germany, stuck on the non-Schengen area, €3.20 for water.. nice!

Next, two hour flight Dusseldorf-Bucharest (yes, I know Bucharest is in Romania) - land in 28 degree sunshine, looking forward to 4 hours on the road. Get the rental car, SatNav on (limited road info!) and start driving. Enjoying the Romanian highways, well worth paying the 13 LEI Road Toll for traffic free journey! We need more Toll Roads in the UK!! Good that I had some local currency, otherwise might have been an awkward situation at the toll booth :-)

And if any of my Romanian friends know what is the going rate for an iPhone 5 at the road-side petrol station.. do let me know :-) Young guys standing outside the station as I pull out and showing me the latest mobile phones for sale.. Who says traveling is boring.

Eventually get to Romanian-Bulgarian border, passports checked on myself and the car - get the Bulgarian Toll charge paid and last 90 minutes on small roads with locals stuck to my bumper as I obviously am not speeding enough. Once again, having Bulgarian currency readily available.. saves time and hassle.

Last 400 meters is interesting, road just keeps on getting smaller and bumpier - but yes, eventually there is my Guest House. Very friendly owner greets me at the gate and explains everything.

Quick trip to local supermarket to get something to drink and eat.. and time to hit the sack, it's been a long day on the road. Tomorrow - start of the U20's Women B-division EuroBasket!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Albena Bulgaria EuroBasket FIBA Romania U20 assignment basketball blog drive photography sports sports photography travel Wed, 03 Jul 2013 19:47:38 GMT
What to pack for three week assignment!! How to pack for three weeks on assignment??

Tomorrow morning I'll be heading out for three weeks on the Continent, covering tournaments in Bulgaria and Romania - so three weeks living from a suitcase and covering both still images and video interviews. What does one pack for a trip like that?? One thing is for sure, with temperatures hitting high 30's (celcius) - you will not have enough clothes with you, so no matter how many pairs of socks, underwear or t-shirts I pack - there is still the need to use laundry services at some point, although sometimes it will work out cheaper to buy new clothes than have them washed by laundry service :-)


Roughly my clothes for this trip are :

- 4 pairs of shorts - 10 pairs of underwear - 10 pairs of socks - 13 t-shirts - 5 long sleeves - 3 pairs of shoes - 2 jackets - toiletries, etc

Good thing about going to warm climates is that packing can be done relatively lightly, as there is no need for heavy winter jackets, or wet weather gear (indoor sports being covered).

How about the camera gear? This will allow me capture the game action, as well as have a small set-up for a portable 'Speedlight-studio' for the occasional portrait image on the go. For the Men's tournament, the Magic Arms can be used to attach a backboard camera for couple of days - in case high flying action is to be expected. For the video, sure I could use the 1DX to record it, but I personally prefer the smoother use of a camcorder, which also can allow the capture of game footage (if permitted).


- 2 * Canon 1DX - 16-35mm - 24-70mm - 70-200mm - (in case of football job 400mm) - 3 * flash gun - Pocket Wizards - memory cards/reader - MacBook Pro 15" - USB Superdrive - Thunderbolt external hard-drive 1TB - 2 * Manfrotto Magic Arm - Sony camcorder - 2 * tripod (once strong/other lighter one) - screen wipes - batteries (AAA) - various chargers - Canon G11 (for random snaps) - ExpoDisc (for White Balance) - lead/connectors - lens cleaning gear - black canvas backdrop with clamps 

There will inevitably be some free-time as well, so for that I have prepared with :


Neil Gaiman "NeverWhere" (book) - RIchard Dawkins "Selfish Gene" (book) - Cloud Atlas (DVD) - 4 * Martial Arts DVD - Tai Chi instructional DVD - music on iPhone (in the Cloud)

There are many (apart from getting paid) benefits in having traveled the Continent widely over the past years, on this trip I will be passing through three countries (Germany, Romania and Bulgaria) - and having some of the local currency helps at your arrival. Sure, most airports have an ATM where you can withdraw money, but going to a small corner-shop in Romania with a 100 LEI note, will not be so easy when you only want a bottle of soda and chocolate. Luckily for this trip, I have found plenty of Euros and both Romanian and Bulgarian currency worth around £30. So an ATM will not be the first thing I need to find once landing.

Hopefully this Blog page will be updated regularly over the coming weeks with various musings from the games, finding places to eat, capturing images, talking to players, spending time on the beach...  so do come around and see how three of suitcase-living will go :-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Bulgaria FIBA U20's Romania assignment basketball blog flights hotel on the road photo photography sports sports photography travel work Tue, 02 Jul 2013 10:38:38 GMT
Longest Day of the year - in every sense Friday certainly lived up to the title of the 'Longest Day of the Year'

Back in my native Finland, people celebrate Midsummer (or Juhannus) with 99.7% of people taking time off from work, and generally relaxing. I must have done something wrong when I moved away from there - and this year, the Midsummer/Longest Day of the Year.. it certainly lived up to its name, here my 25 hour day.

After midweek game covering Team Canada in Paderborn, Germany it was soon time to head back home to England, so a long drive was on the cards. Alarm rang at 6am (this would be 5am UK time) in the morning, pack final things into bags, have early breakfast and hit the road. First stage, Bad Lippspringe to Calais - total distance 560 kilometers. All goes smoothly until we start to close Antwerp, definitely something wrong here with 96 minute delays. Taking some detours we avoided most of the traffic, but this delay did mean we would miss our train from Calais to Folkestone. Luckily EuroTunnel are flexible and gave a place on the next available train across. Cold (half frozen) chicken burger from the burger van at Calais EuroTunnel wasn't maybe the best lunch ever either :-)

30 minute crossing and we are back in the UK, I have an evening game to catch in Bristol - but my wife would naturally want to go home instead of having to sit and wait for three hours in the middle of nowhere. Traffic-gods were not on our side to start with, M25 had over 2 HOURS of delays from Junction 9 onwards - once again some detours (thankful for the LIVE updates on the SatNav.. this is why I pay the £40/year for them!) and we somehow emerge on the M4 going westbound. Question is, can we make it Great Malvern, or is it straight to Bristol??


At the Swindon junction it is decision time, and despite it adding another two hours to the drive - the car is now pointing towards home. More delays on the A419.. and clock is ticking dangerously fast. Weaving through the last roundabouts - we pull up in front of our house around 6.30pm. Quickly run inside to grab the video-camera (there was a work reason for needing to come home as well) - get one suitcase out of the car, say goodbye to the wife.. and two minutes after stopping.. I was on the move again, after having completed the 260 miles on busy Friday afternoon roads.

Next, the reasonable drive of 70 miles down to Bristol - which should take me around an hour and 20 minutes.. leaving me 10 minutes before the tip-off at the venue. Friday early evening request show on BBC Radio 2 keeps me 'rocking' down the M5.. I get to the game just in time to watch a Devon Van Oostrum -show for the first 20 minutes. Somehow I manage to stay awake and work video/stills during the game, hopefully made some sense in the post-game interviews, before the last drive of the Longest Day of the Year.. 70 miles up the M5 to home.

Engine switches off couple of minute before midnight, after about 800 miles (1250 kilometers) of roads through FIVE countries, 15 hours sitting in the car, four quarters of International basketball - it was time to, EDIT SOME PICTURES !!

Next time someone points out how great it must be to travel to all these countries and work - I might just pull out this journey to tell them exactly HOW glamorous it is.. Then again, next trip is for 2 1/2 weeks in a nice hotel with a spa and the Arena's less than a kilometer away from the Hotel - so maybe there is some glamour hidden behind all the long hours spent on the roads :-)


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 800 miles GB basketball M25 M5 Team GB antwerp assignment basketball commute devon van oostrum driving jam london photography sports sports photography traffic travel Sat, 22 Jun 2013 13:00:37 GMT
Continental Clash 2013, and breaking photography rules Last four days were spent inside the new Worcester Arena - for GB Wheelchair Basketball !!

Four day tournament in Worcester, here's what it was all about - in my own random words.

I was covering the Continental Clash 2013 for GB Wheelchair Basketball, producing them 'Game Highlight videos and Post-game interviews' - as well as replenishing my stock images of GB players. It was a two game per day routine for the video highlights, so video game 1 (usually 9.30am or 11.30am tip-off) - then conduct post game interviews on video with two players and coach. As the Arena emptied of players and fans, it allowed me some quiet time to sit and first extract the footage to my hard drive and then edit it and upload it. With the client being Team GB, naturally the footage was also aimed towards the action of the British team.

With Worcester suffering from slow internet (or my Wifi did, as well as Arena Wifi) - by the time the first game footage was getting published on YouTube - the second GB game of the day was usually about to start. And if not, that gave me the chance to shoot some ball with Worcester Wolves players Stanley Ocitti and Carlos Fernandez - and in any case, when will I next get a chance to shoot hoops at the Worcester Arena??

As well as videoing the game - it was great to be able to talk to the GB players after the games, who I have to say were all rather natural in front of the camera.

During the games I usually took one quarter of the game to shoot some still images, so that I could get pictures of the new players in GB squad for my archives. But this is sort of where the 'breaking of rules' happened, not sure what your preferences in shooting sports are - but personally I like to always get as low down as possible to capture the action from the low-angle. Having covered Wheelchair basketball before, biggest event was the 2010 World Championships in Birmingham (I think it was 2010.. or 2011??). This is one sport where to be able to capture a good number of images, you do tend to want to shoot from a slightly higher point of view, I would go as far as saying that you should stand up - but somewhere between the 'Yoga Position' and standing up. This week though I was in the lucky position to use the low angle to do my shooting all the time, as there was no pressure to capture a certain amount of images per game, I could go more for the point of view that I personally preferred in the images. Guess you can make up your own mind in whether the angle works or not, by looking through the 50 or so images in the Slide Show underneath.

This was also my first event covered at the Worcester Arena, where I hopefully will spend few evenings during the 2013-14 BBL season - all apart from the last game were played with full lighting across all courts, where as the last one - I guess was played under TV-lighting. And from having a chat to the couple of other photographers and doing my own little test prior to the game.. I would say that the TV spot-lights in the ceiling could do with bit of adjustment. The court was in six different lighting sections, under the basket was a dark as anything as the spot light didn't quite shine that low, then you had the brightness in the 'paint', between three point line and half way, you had shade, centre circle well light... and then repeat the sequence to the other basket. Will be interesting to see the lighting they will use at the venue for Wolves games... but then again, maybe all this fuzz about the lights in down to my own inability to deal with the challenging conditions.. so up and onwards with the learning.

Next up - Team GB Women U20's game in Wales this coming weekend...

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Continental Clash GB Team action arena basketball blog photography rules of photography sports sports photography wheelchair wheelchair basketball worcester worcester arena Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:54:44 GMT
Finnish salmiakki and Women's football in France Saturday with 'Suomalaista jalkapalloa and Salmiakki'

Traveling to cover football games abroad is something of a tricky thing to plan for as a photographer, with weight restrictions and luggage restrictions on the airlines. You always have to plan carefully to make sure everything fits, but still usually have to make a compromise or two in what to leave out of the luggage.


Few recent trips of mine have been to Luxembourg and France - which has allowed me to drive to the games from the UK, so no such dilemmas on these trips. Just pack everything to the back of the car, and cross the Channel with the EuroTunnel. Although, having said that about flights, recently it has helped to be a 'frequent flyer' with a specific airline, which allows me to take extra luggage on my air-travels as well.

Last night I covered the Women's International match between France and Finland here in Valenciennes, a rare occasion in an international football game - as I was the ONLY photographer covering FInland's attack in the game. It felt rather lonely sitting on my own at one of the stadium, and with most of the action at the other end, it wasn't an action packed game either. So most of the game was covered with my 400mm lens - apart from the teams lining up and team photo, I think my 70-200mm only took about 20 'keepers' in the match. 


Another debut photographed for the Finnish team with Natalia Kuikka getting her first cap - there's been couple of those this winter/spring to capture, for Men and Women. After the game, the usual post-game interview with the coach and wishing him and the team good luck for EURO2013 - which feels funny not to be covering, after covering every game for the Women this year (so far), I won't be there for the BIGGEST event of it all.

Before the game I got my 'Finnish goods delivery' - couple of boxes of Salmiakki (MMMM... ) and also a signed Finland shirt, which will join other signed shirts on my office wall very soon! a-blog-val-03


Few observations about attending a game in France :

Parking - easy as! Just pulled next to a apartment block across the road from the Stadium and left the car there. No need to pay for parking, and only three minutes walk to the press door!

Press entry - after Friday's walk-about, at least I knew where this was. Standing there for few minutes and receive my accreditation/photo-bip.

Wi-Fi code - didn't find it anywhere, but received it from the Finnish press officer. Worked great pitch-side and no trouble wiring off images during half-time.

Entry to the pitch - Problematic when I unfortunately do not speak French (no signposts either), but helpful staff escorted me to the right entry through various doors and tunnels.

Photo positions - Great to be allowed next to the advertising boards, shot one half from the side-line and other from the end, and being the only one covering Finland - I had the freedom to choose where to sit :-)

Lighting - It was a sunny evening, bit of shade/sun fun at the start of 2nd half, but in general very constant. With the light fading towards the end of the game, ISO 1250 with 1/1000 and f3.5.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) France Helmarit International Jalkapallo Soccer Suomi Valenciennes blog football photography sports sports photography travel Mon, 03 Jun 2013 08:05:13 GMT
500GB of video, 70GB of images and very little sleep Hello !!

Welcome to another look into the wonderful life of a Sports Photographer, last four days have been full-on work from 7am until 3am - and in that time, plenty of material has been produced to various clients.

The Bank Holiday weekend was spent photographing the Women's Invitational at Surrey Sports Park in Guildford - with Greece, Germany, Israel and Team GB taking part. Great to see the Arena pretty much Sold Out for Sunday and Monday - and also that there were quite a few younger fans in the crowd, which meant that the noise levels of support were pretty good! Helped of course by TWO over-time games on Saturday :-)

For me the it was always an early arrival to SSP - edit some pictures while team train on the court. Games start, shoot still images of all the team, with Team GB the main client for the event. After Team GB games I also did the post game interviews, on video, of two players and the coach. As well as the still images, I had a camcorder running all through the games to capture some brief video clips to add to the interviews.

Full house enjoyed the action at SSPa-gb-blog1

After the games, it was a 30 minute drive to the hotel - where rest of the 'crew' seemed to enjoy a nice dinner and relaxing evening.. where as myself.. well, import the video clips, edit the videos - edit images, and find a take away somewhere :-) Nice that the hotel room had two teaspoons, this helped me eat my noodles on Sunday.. in emergency cases I have been known to use my toothbrush to eat noodles - challenging, but can be done.

In these smaller events, the interaction with players is also a part of why I love these events - and at least for now, there aren't that many people covering the sport.. so your face gets known pretty soon, and Social Media helps as well.. On Sunday I got a 'tweet' asking if I was at the game, and say Hi to certain players.. then you say Hi to them and..  just a nice little interaction that sports that still have athletes who are approachable.

Greece won the GB Invitational Tournamenta-gb-blog2

Monday - as usual in UK events, once the game is over, the media rarely get much time to finish their work at the desks - hardly had I done the interviews, before the tables and court were being rolled away. Would be nice to get an extra 30 minutes before being 'chased' away. Long drive back home, back to editing the video interviews and few pictures and leave the rest for Tuesday morning.

Get 95% of everything sorted on Tuesday afternoon - and then it is off to Birmingham City Ladies for their FA WSL game versus Chelsea. Typical luck - all weekend it has been sunny and I have been locked inside a sports arena, then when I have a game outdoors.. it's 8 degrees and raining (although it did not rain during the game!). I mean come on!! End of May and it is 8 degrees outside.. all the while they are enjoying 28 degree heat-wave in Finland *sigh*

Great game of Women's footy - with Blues coming away with a nice 2-1 win.. and any of you out there interested, look for the game highlights on ESPN/YouTube.. Jo Potters goal... you won't see many better than that!!

Greece vs Germany actiona-gb-blog03

Wednesday gives me time to take stock of things - clean the lenses, charge camera batteries, empty hard-drives and archive all images from the weekend. In the here is the total what was captured over the weekend :

Video : 280 minutes of footage, divided into 11 player interview clips, 3 highlight/interview clips and few bits not be mentioned yet :-)

Photos : 70 gigabytes of JPEG images (not sure how many 1000's is that), from One Media Day, Six basketball games and one football game

Another productive weekend, with hopefully some happy clients at the end of it - I sure enjoyed covering the games, meeting people and just doing what I love doing.. capturing sporting events!!! Tomorrow - off to new challenges, Women's International football in France... looking forward to it already!

OH !! and for those who've bothered to read ALL the way here - a little friendly advice if you are in the crowd as a fan. We photographers DO point our lenses to you every now and then, and we love it when you celebrate your team scoring. But a piece a advice, please do think of HOW HIGH your shirt lifts up when you raise your hands and jump up and down.. especially if you have decided to NOT wear a bra. Nothing wrong with this, but lets just say that those images of crowd can hardly be published.. although you all did seem celebrating and oblivious to your 'wardrobe malfunction' during this time...  And to those who have asked me to publish those images... SHAME ON YOU :-)


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) FA WSL Surrey Sports Park Team GB assignment basketball blog football photo photography sports sports photographer sports photography women's basketball women's football work Wed, 29 May 2013 16:15:10 GMT
One day done - Team GB Women start with a win So - first day of games behind me at the Surrey Sports Park, how was it?

Saturday, start of a long weekend in Guildford, nice and late start to the day and an easy drive to Guildford. Arrive well in time for the opening game between Germany and Greece, set myself up on the Media Table - another benefit found for the use of a "Pelicase' - it's nice and hard and protects your laptop nicely from stray balls :-)

Plenty of familiar faces around the arena as well, so got to chat to people before the start. Team pictures of both teams before the tip-off, wish BBL teams were as organised when I take their pictures (hint for next season ;-) ). Game itself is quite one-sided but entertaining enough - and some decent action shots from it.

TeamGB-TeamIsrael-158 copy

As the game finishes, I remember that for once I get to stay at the same venue for the whole three days - so as I've set my White Balance/Exposure/etc, I have my cameras set for the next three days.. brilliant! It almost makes things sounds a little too easy for me. Well, maybe that's being a bit too confident.. but it is nice to know that cameras are set for the whole long weekend.

Germany-Greece-82 copy

Images from this game can wait until a bit later, so bit of time to catch my breath before the next game. Team GB vs Israel, always a nice question mark with these games, will the Israeli security guards want to ask for my passport. I'll always remember them asking me for it in a Women's handball game in Finland .. many moons ago. Since then - I've always smiled when I've known that an Israeli game is in my schedule.

No problems this time - team pictures once again, and a presentation to snap as well. For the game - I am going with both video and still images, with still images the main point. GB in control of the game and Stef Collins gives plenty of nice action shots, then again - she will get her 100th cap tomorrow.. so there must be a reason for her appearances in the squad.

TeamGB-TeamIsrael-143 copy

Few pictures quickly shot off during half-time, more after the final whistle - this also while dashing for couple of minutes to do three post-game interviews for Team GB website. Couple of more specific requests from the Team GB media before heading out to find my hotel.

30 minute drive to the Hotel, check-in... and not sure what this means, but I've been given a disabled room, go and figure. Straight to work in - video still importing, call from Team GB to get a Stef Collins' video comments written down and sent to them. Video finally imported, edit the interviews - go through the game footage to insert scoring runs to the interviews. Feedback from fans has been that watching 'talking heads' for three minutes is quite tedious, so hopefully this livens the footage slightly.

Germany-Greece-92 copy

After another hour of work - the video is rendering, ready to start uploading at 10.20pm - all uploaded around 11pm. Now time to look at the pictures, shift through the 100's of them - mark the ones to edit, ditch the poor ones. Then start editing - crop/straighten/contrast/rename.. crop/contrast/rename...repeat...repeat...repeat.. After this, still adding the keywords and player names to the images. 2am.. images edited.. renamed.. keyworded and uploading, time to have something to eat (first time that I have something since breakfast). Shower.. sleep..

All in a good days worth of work - really enjoyed it and hope that the next two days offer more of the same (with maybe a little break somewhere for dinner ;-) )

All images © Ville Vuorinen/GooGaBu Nordic Creations LTD - No Unpaid Use Allowed - Please contact for usage rights

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Great Britain Guildford International Invitational Stef Collins Surrey Sports Park Team GB Team GB Women assignment basketball germany greece israel photo photography sports sports photography travel women's basketball Sun, 26 May 2013 11:38:45 GMT
Team GB Women - getting ready for the games With the Media-Day behind - it is now all eyes on this weekends Invitational in SSP !!

Thursday saw me attending the Team GB Women's basketball teams Media Day at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford. After covering similar events and games for Team Finland for a long time, initial feelings were strange to be covering another team in the same way. Although this opportunity only has arisen due to their regular guy being called to cover NBA games in the U.S of A (someone tell how to get myself there for a game or two.. any help Petteri Koponen???)

Bright and early at SSP yesterday, quick shoot around during practise, then some head-shots as well as video interviews to conduct as the morning progressed. All worked nice and smooth, got the pictures done and interviews worked out great as well!


Another 3 hours to drive back home - and then hitting the screen editing videos/pictures - all delivered, sleep!

From Saturday to Monday - my home will be Surrey Sports Park, as I cover all games that will be played there. Should be different, with new team, new players to cover.. who knows, when the first GB games tips-off - I might look at the squad and ask myself "where is Taru Tuukkanen or Tiina Sten??"

Great opportunity to cover Team GB and hopefully provide them with images in the lead-up to EuroBasket 2013 in France, which unfortunately have to pass. Shame - but can't be everywhere at once :-)

If time allows, and if the pictures and stories are up to scratch - there should be few Blog entries over the coming days over here. So.. come around and check what's happening in Women's basketball in the UK...

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) GB International Surrey Sports Park Team Team, GB Women Women's basketball basketball blog photography sports photography Fri, 24 May 2013 15:32:59 GMT
Gigapan, basketball, football and fighting birds Where has the last month and bit disappeared?

Apologies for not posting anything in the past month, as so often happens - when there are interesting things to write about, you don't have the time as you rush around from one job to the next. But now - it's finally time to take stock of the last few days (whole month would bore most of you).

Weekend gone by was one of those where things just didn't stop at all, it was non-stop all the way through. Here a little write-up about it with some comments from along the way.

Friday :

Late call-up for Euroleague Final Four in London, shooting for the MVP magazine - as well as doing a Gigapan crowd image from both days. Early departure from WR13 to London, to meet-up with Euroleague and the O2 venue management to clear the use of my equipment at the game. Productive meetings with Carla and James - and all cleared to use the backstage to shoot the image from.


Nice central position for this one, but decided to leave the top-tier out of the image due to it not being totally packed. Image was taken during the second game, between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Only used the 200mm, not with the extender as normal - and I do think the image is a bit clearer and cleaner.


The games themselves - first one not quite up to expectations, second one a nice close thriller. With the games over, it was time for another 2 and 1/2 hours of driving - and a rarity to start with, there was no queues to drive out of the parking lot. Usually one gets stuck after events at the O2. During the drive, laptop on the passenger seats works on the Gigapan - no moment lost! Getting home - continue editing few images from the games and the Gigapan until about 5am.. then crash to bed.

Saturday :

Alarm clock rings at 6am - an hour of sleep!! Back to work on the Gigapan, few adjustments done again and while the computer 'thinks' I head for a quick walk and morning session on Tai-Chi as the sun rises over the hills.. a rare moment of tranquility during the weekend.

Grab my gear, laptop still working on images.. drive to Birmingham to catch the coach to ... LONDON (why didn't I stay there :-) ) with Birmingham City Ladies as they travel to face Arsenal at Borehamwood. Somehow I manage to stay awake and edit the Gigapan during the drive - usually I would get car-sick. Game in London - good pics of Birmingham's penalty and celebration.. only to see Arsenal score twice at the other end. So the best pictures of the game were of three birds fighting by the Arsenal goal. I wonder if I could enter them in a 'wildlife picture competition' ??


Back home around 8pm - and straight to work again, Gigapan uploaded and few footy images edited. Time to relax for a while - before sneaking back to work for few more hours.. finally at 3am it gets too much.

Sunday :

Is the weekend over yet?? Another early departure to London and the O2 - it is Final's day at the 2013 Euroleague Final Four, another roast chicken lunch at the press room, chat with few photographers about the games and all sorts of things.. We then get out photo-bibs.. and Sunday's theme is 'Pretty in Pink'.

The O2 is filling up nicely and this bodes well for the Gigapan image - I shoot the first two quarters of the Final, then dash up on the lift to the higher floors.. set-up my equipment and start snapping.  With the game so close, I only spend about 13 minutes taking the Gigapan - must be some sort of personal record in taking an image of that size. Then running back down - and to my delight finding that my seat is still free at the photo-positions. Should really learn to shut-up about the positions until after the event - this time I was afraid that being in the last row, I would be shooting peoples heads in front of me - but when half of the photographers do not turn up for the event.. there was plenty of space. During the 3rd placed game - the second row (which was reserved for photographers) was taken up by the CSKA Moscow fans who wanted a better view of the court.

Mad dash to the court at the end to take pictures of the celebrations - then to the press room to start editing 20-30 pics for the MVP magazine, and.. yes, another drive from London to WR13.

Late night meant that all places to get a quick bite to eat, were closed - even my last hope of KFC had closed 4 minutes before I got there. Oh well - a plain bacon and egg sandwich will have to be enough for the drive home. Engine switches off at 2.20am - and I quietly climb to my 'office' - it's image editing time. Gigapan on the go again - and by 5.30am, it is in a stage I am happy to leave it for few hours.

Monday :

8.30am wake-up.. a whole day spent on Gigapan - the amount of time it takes to stitch it and just clean-up little bits here and there. You wouldn't think of it, but when the file size you work with is around 5-8 GIGABYTES! Even the smallest bit of 'paint' 'letters' will take few minutes for the computer to 'think' about.

As for the rest of the week ... although the word 'rest' must be a poor joke. Villa Park on Tuesday evening.. Everton on Wednesday.. do I need to go on :-)

So - there was plenty of driving, 1000's of images taken and few of them edited.. old friends seen again, new friends made, there were celebrations, there was disappointments, there was traffic jams, as well as empty roads, nice meals and empty stomachs.. and naturally - very little sleep.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX Canon Euroleague FInal Four Gigapan London assignment basketball blog crowd photo photography sports sports photography Tue, 14 May 2013 13:32:17 GMT
The long road travelled How one email changed a 8 mile job into a 1000 mile round trip to Luxembourg !!

Peculiar how my life has changed over the last 10 years or so - at one point a call from work meant that it probably was going to be another double-shift in the hot kitchen somewhere, this is a story of how my work life goes these days... enjoy!

Monday morning - early morning drive to the airport, and for once it is not me flying off somewhere. Dropping my wife off to enjoy a two week winter 'break' in Norway - for me the next three days should give time to sort out some image archives, finish the VAT receipts and get invoices ready for the month.

Returning home around 11am from the airport, switch on the computer.. email from a regular client with a header "Luxembourg-Finland". I wonder what game are we talking about, as far as I know I am not attending any games like this in the near future (I did attend one last July). Open the email .. "Hi - I know we hadn't discussed this, but are you by any chance covering tomorrow evenings Luxembourg-Finland international in Luxembourg?"

I raise my eyebrows, nope.. I hadn't planned on it, my plan was to cover Worcester Wolves vs Newcastle Eagles in the BBL - a mere 8 mile drive from my house. But, work is work.. and this a very good client, so I reply.

"Hi, hadn't planned to be there, but let me check the prices for travel and I'll get back to you. Happy to cover it if I can."

Quick look around on EuroTunnel - return trip for £46 going Tuesday mid-day and coming back Wednesday mid-day. That settles it, I am going!! Few emails later, I have booked my train and hotel - good thing I had stayed in Luxembourg earlier, I knew which hotel to go for straight away.

Early to bed on Monday, and 5.30am wake-up .. with everything packed the previous evening, it was just a case of lifting it all to the car and heading towards Folkestone EuroTunnel terminal. Rather uneventful drive until one hits the M25 - roadworks and delays.. one careless drive right in front of me decided to move from the slow lane to the middle-lane.. even if there was a HUGE truck next to her. I watched and honked the horn as her car went partly under the truck before bouncing back to her own lane. Near miss for her and luckily I had kept my distance to the truck which had to break suddenly.. as I pass the smaller car... the driver still drives slowly with one hand on the wheel.. while smoking a cigarette..

Rest of the journey was LOT less eventful, sun was shining on the French side as I stopped at my 'regular' Carrefour station on the way to Belgium. And I eventually get to Luxembourg and the stadium at 6pm (kick-off 7.30pm). Straight to the press room, check the Wi-Fi, tell the clients I've safely made it and am in the stadium, all ready for the game.

Quickly chat to the Finnish F.A photographer before the game, head out, see the Finnish head coach Mixu Paatelainen walk past me.. last time I saw him was in Edinburgh .. just as he was about to accept the Finland job and we had dinner in Frankie&Benny's and had a quick photo-shoot by the 'famous bridge'.

Cover the game, get good goal/cele shots of the Finland goals, including the first ever goal for Aleksander Ring.. that's a nice one for the clients and Finnish papers! Game over, stay pitch side to wire off last of the images, head to the Hotel (2 minute drive), most places in Luxembourg are closed by now, so I am glad I still have couple of sandwiches and bananas left from my 'drive lunch pack'. Quick shower, and hit the sack...

Alarm rings at 5.30am...'deja vu'...  check-out, hotel once again 'forgets' to charge my €20 for the parking, nice! Drive through Luxembourg, Belgium and France to arrive in Calais. EuroTunnel AGAIN has delays.. well, not too bothered as this give me time to walk around and stretch myself before the British leg of the drive. Sleep through the tunnel.. and then hit the road in the UK.

M25 - honestly, can't they just build few extra lanes on that road! 55 minutes to move 2 miles, and no accident.. although I do have to admit that the sun was shining so that is a rare event in the UK, so no wonder the drivers were slightly disorientated :-) After a 4 hour drive, I finally make it home around 5pm, straight to the computer and edit the 'archive' material for the clients...

So - to conclude things, it was a 30 hour assignment, on a 14 hour warning, distance driven 1042 miles, traffic jams 2 1/2 hours, two EuroTunnel trips, 90 minutes of football, 6 hours of sleep and plenty of sandwiches and bananas. AND !! Most Importantly, one VERY happy customer at the end of it all...

Yes, some of you might think I am crazy to take assignments like this - but for me, I enjoy what I do for living and getting paid to do it.. makes it even better ;-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2013 assignment blog drive football luxembourg m25 photo photography sports photo sports photography travel work Mon, 01 Apr 2013 15:56:41 GMT
From Cyprus to Cardiff - it's Women's FA Cup time!! After two great weeks in Cyprus - it was a cold return to domestic game with Cardiff City and Birmingham City facing each other in the 5th round tie of Women's FA Cup.

Fourteen days of sunshine and warmth was replaced by cold winds and cloudy weather at the Cardiff City Ladies home ground, as I traveled down to Wales for the start of Birmingham City Ladies FA Cup adventures of 2013.

For once, it wasn't the cozy travel on the team coach - as it was quicker to drive myself down to Cardiff for the game. Arriving there well in time, possibly earlier than most men's games I attend :-) There was time to catch up with few players and backroom staff before the game.

Ground at Cardiff was open, and surrounded by an athletics track - and on a windy day, it felt rather chilly when the sun went away. This also gave the 'nice' challenge to photographing the game in very changeable conditions, one minute it was strong sunshine, then cloudy, then really cloudy and once again strong sunshine. But then again, these are the reasons why photography is such a great job.. it always presents you with a challenge.

Game!! Never know what to expect from seasons first competitive match, and I expected Cardiff to come on strong and take advantage of Birmingham's lack of match practice. Rather even in the opening minutes, but it was Birmingham (can't say Blues, as they we wearing pink!!) who struck first. Rachel Williams back from England duty connected well with a strong header to sink the ball into the Cardiff net.

Cardiff however didn't give up, beautifully struck ball from long way - flew over the stretched Birmingham City keeper to send the Blues into celebrations.. 1-1.

Birmingham kept on pressing and pressing, and had chances to score and extend their lead - but few good saves and woodwork kept the scores at 1-1, until... two more strikes from Williams made it 3-1 and in reality the tie was over there and then.

From my own view - Cardiff gave a good game to Birmingham and did challenge at times very well. Birmingham (as I do follow them around a lot).. few rusty flakes to still shake off before they will fire on all cylinders. Williams up front seemed lively and full of running - from new signings Mel was given a full game to run out and her speed and crosses will delight the Birmingham fans during the season, Katie came on in the second half and could have possibly grabbed a goal herself, but she provided a nice build-up to the third goal. From the 'old faces' defence seemed solid again, and will be tough to break for any WSL team. Midfield .. Jade Moore will give plenty of head-aches (literally ;-) ) to many a WSL player.. and she has earned the re-call to England squad as well. Izzy seemed faster than in previous seasons - so is she the one to give that bit of creativity from the midfield that Birmingham need??

Good start to the season for Birmingham, next up Arsenal.. not in the Conti Cup... but FA Cup on the 31st of March... interesting!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Birmingham City Ladies Cardiff City FA Cup bclfc football footy photography soccer sports women's football Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:19:46 GMT
Cyprus Cup 2013 - it's been fun, now back to reality 2013 Cyprus Cup was is finally coming to an end - here's a longish re-cap of the weeks

It was a late call for me to get here this year, but thanks to Facebook - well a message via Facebook - I did eventually choose to book the travels here. But there was a small hitch in the plans, the BBL Trophy Final in Glasgow on the Saturday in the middle of Cyprus Cup - something I could not miss covering either, but we'll get to that later.

Monday the 4th, drive up to Manchester and catch the 'pensioner express' to Pafos - quiet flight and once landed, a long drive to the accommodation to Larnaca. Why fly to Pafos then you ask?? Well, I needed to catch the last available flight away from Cyprus on Friday, which happens to be the flight from Pafos to Manchester. Cypriot roads tend to me nice and empty around 10pm - so an enjoyable drive.

It was straight to work on the Tuesday, training session for Finland - few familiar faces in the team, and many new ones. The first week followed a pattern of training - game day - training - game day..  The area I was staying at was definitely designed mainly for tourists, and this being still the off-season - it was rather quiet and during the evenings the restaurants seemed very empty. Nice little take away around the corner though, with a friendly Spurs fan cooking up the meals, we had few football chats during the weeks here.

Friday was quickly approaching, and that meant a hectic day for me. First it was the morning game to cover, the Canada-Finland later on - from which I had to shoot off early, and make a mad drive across the island in the rental Chevrolet Matiz (not a car you expect to reach 100km/h speeds. So without a map/sat-nav - I just hope I won't take any wrong turns, as there isn't much time to spare. Arrive to the airport in Pafos, only hand luggage, so walk through the security - sit down and... "Your EasyJet flight... is ready for boarding"

Back in Manchester around midnight, check into a road side hotel - meet up with Mr Mansoor in the morning and drive the three hours to Glasgow. Straight to setting the lights at the Arena, and then it's six hours of photography full-on. Quick edit and send the pictures to clients - and head down south again. Drop Mansoor off at J31 and continue down to home - where I arrive just before 1am. About 6 hours of sleep, and then drive off to Gatwick to catch a flight back to Cyprus, luckily this time I have my wife keeping me company as she joins me for the second week in Cyprus. (by now - some of you must have your head spinning with the comings and goings).

Arrive to Larnaca airport around 7pm - still nice and warm, back to the same apartment as week one. It almost feels like I am coming 'home' here, and just had a quick job in the UK to cover. Maybe the warm and sunny weather has something to do with me at least wanting this to be home :-) Take-away from my little Spurs fan again, who isn't too happy today (Spurs had lost to Liverpool) - although the fact that QPR are still in the relegation zone seems to keep him smiling.

No rest for me thought, I spent the whole flight editing images from the BBL trophy Final - and continued that during Monday morning at the hotel. Get those finished, and then it is straight to the next games over in Larnaca GZS Stadium, with Finland - although I do manage an earlier game between England and New Zealand in Nicosia. And this was good, as I had 'hidden' my Monopod and Camping Chair to the parking lot of the Nicosia stadium, as those were something I couldn't take with me as hand luggage. So the excitement was on, would I still have them waiting for me.. or had someone found them?? And low and behold - there they were, right where I had left them. Either the Cypriot are very honest, or I had hidden them well enough :-)

Next couple of days have more games, more walks on the beach and plenty of sunshine.. covering the games is tough at both kick-off times. The day games have the strong sun to contend with, and shooting into the sun is not much fun. Evening games on the other hand have the floodlights to think about, and at least in one stadium they create 'dark spots' - making it hard to photograph from certain positions. Also - day time games you shoot in shorts and t-shirs - evening games you wrap up in couple of layers of clothing.

Tuesday I manage to get access to England training session, as well as been granted time to talk to couple of Birmingham City Ladies players at their hotel - good to catch up with few Blues players (who will see me more than enough in the coming months...). Wednesday is 'Final's Day' - with Finland playing at the furthest venue possible, which in Cyprus means a 40 minute drive from the Hotel - makes my Glasgow to Worcester drive seem.. well...

Final game is England vs Canada - some English school kids get excited to the 'camera man'. They ask who I support.. I say that neither team really.. then they ask me where I am from.. Finland seems to make couple of them baffled.. but luckily at least one of them knows where/what Finland is. Then they ask me to say 'England'... not quite sure why.. but once I say that I live in England.. I seem to get their approval and be left in peace :-)

Final once again is the only game that sees more photographers attending it, game itself isn't a classic - 1-0 to England and that's the end of the tournament. Thursday is spent editing last images, sending them to clients - making sure everyone is taken care of. Then in the evening it is time to relax, and go and enjoy a nice steak at HOBO's - well worth it if you come to visit Cyprus. Then an evening movie on one of the few English language channels on out TV "Dubai One' - Jim Carrey movie on Thursday.. 'Number 23'.

Friday - travel day again. Going to check out from the Hotel soon, head to Nicosia for the day, evening flight back home and drive from Gatwick... and Saturday sees me back to BBL duties at Heat vs Riders. 

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Cyprus Cup assignment photography sports travel womens football Fri, 15 Mar 2013 08:42:16 GMT
Game Day, which didn't go as planned Game day - the best day of the week!!

Game days are long mornings/afternoons waiting for the game time, you walk around the city trying to kill some time. If you are lucky, you might have few moments before the game to grab dinner. Although the way games start, this usually is a long shot - more than likely you'll just grab something to eat when/where you can.

Spending time on the computer going through old files is also quite a normal way to spend an afternoon, sometimes you find old pictures that you've all forgotten about.. at times they remind you that perhaps you weren't quite as good a photographer in the beginning of your career than you thought :-)

Today was a good day to walk around town, light snow falling, plenty of cows (not live ones) to look at, little walk along the harbour.. yes, I could get used to this. Then back to the Guest House, five hours until tip-off at the Arena. Check Email, FB, Twitter.. there seems to be numerous requests from Finland to take pictures of the BK Ventspils Cheerleaders?? This usually means an extra 700-800 views on the Blog post (if I post the images).

The game - what can one say about it, good first 15 minutes - but then the tune changed. Kataja were in control of the game (IMHO) but with the gap hovering a 7 points, they failed to capitalise on the poor shooting of the home team and the led stayed at 7 until the half-time.. where a bigger lead was on offer.


Coming back to the game Donald Sims hit huge three pointers and soon the game had turned from +7 to -7 for the visitors. Kataja failing to hit the mark during the third quarter - the game slipped away from them.. and in the end it was disappointed faces all around.. as it was a winnable game. But at the same time Medias defeated Karsiyaka - leaving Kataja a door open to the last 8. With two home games to come - it is still all wide open in the group.

For me - it is a 1am departure from the Guest House, 3 hour drive to the airport to catch and early flight back to UK - and tomorrow afternoon (weather permitting) I have a University Football game to cover... no rest for the photographer!

And as we post this, it is Riga Airport for me - Guest House owners were extremely nice and stayed up until 1am when I was departing and even prepared me breakfast, so I got a nice meal before starting the drive to the airport. Crazy fog on the way as temperatures slid between 0 and -11 and tons of deer on the roadside so it was a slow journey with a banging migrane to go with it as well.

Big thank you to Karjalainen and Kataja for having me along on this EuroChallenge adventure - it has been great being a part of this journey and witness the games in Romania, Cyprus, Turkey, Romania (again) and Latvia. Been great talking to the players and staff - I will be in touch with all those who've asked for pictures of themselves from these games.

Some of you I will hopefully see during the summer - and others... well, if you come and play on the continent, don't be surprised if you see a familiar face waiting for you when you arrive to some long forgotten town in the middle of nowhere :-)

For now - one journey is at an end...or is it ????....

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) basketaball blog eurochallenge joensuu jukka toijala kataja latvia toikka travel ventspils Wed, 13 Feb 2013 02:29:43 GMT
Ventspils - more EuroChallenge, last one?? Latvia - and EuroChallenge game with Joensuun Kataja, fifth away game of the season with the team!-

Early morning wake-up at 3am on Sunday, catching the red-eye to Frankfurt and then to Riga - it tells you something about my travels as I thought that this was going to be my first visit to Latvia. But as I got to the airport, I realised that I have been to Latvia before - couple of years ago I was in Riga for Latvia vs Finland basketball game. Hmm - funny how the memory fades and travels all just blur into one continental pot.


Hire car from the airport and then drive through a blizzard to Ventspils - about 2 hour drive on the pot hole filled motorways. For my UK based friends, the snow didn't stop traffic here.. even if we had few inches of it and all roads were white with snow. ;-)


Arrive to Ventspils - find the guest house, and lets just say that after the last two trips (Romania and Turkey), the standard of accommodation has fallen considerably. I have a portable heater in the room, which just about heats the room where the bed is, but the room with the table, sofa and TV.. well, I keep the door closed there and only go there in my outdoor clothes. One good thing about the heater - it was handy for heating up my pizza that I bought from the local RIMI.


Never judge a town/city from the way it looks on Sunday evening - that's something I've learned in my travels. And this town.. Sunday evening is.. well, during my 2 hour walk, I might have met about 10 people on the streets. And I didn't find anything that looked like a restaurant that was open.. yes, my own stupidity of not checking place online before!!

Luckily the RIMI was open so I got some pizza to heat on the radiator and some drinks. Evening was spent watching streams of Simpsons and Family Guy on the laptop.. the local TV didn't inspire me too much, there was a show where they measured women's bra sizes.. but it was all in some foreign language so didn't bother with it.


Monday - first to have breakfast (I seem to be the only person staying here) - the owner doesn't speak English, so little communication issues, but we survive and I get something to eat. Then a little walk to the beach (wrong time of year!!) and then to check out the basketball arena, off to Narvessen (that's one for all the Norwegians!!) for a polse-menu!! 

Basketball seems a big thing in this town, and with the posters all over the town - they know there is a game over here tomorrow evening. Even the cows seem to be fixed on following sports in this town.. as one of the pictures shows.


Kataja only arrive to Ventspils later on today, but I'll head to their evening training and do the usual rounds of pictures and video interviews. And if time allows, maybe I'll get a chance to grab a bite of something hot to eat tonight... although the teams training times often get in the way of that.

So far so good in Latvia - and Ventspils which is a city full of big empty houses.. which might be occupied and lively during the summer season when the beach might be more hospitable.

For now - over and out from here.. more to follow later :-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) assignment basketball joensuu kataja latvia photography sports travel ventspils Mon, 11 Feb 2013 13:17:34 GMT
Shooting portraits with England players Few days break from Blog writing - and now back with few images from earlier this year.

Finding time to experiment/try new things with portraits/sportraits and athletes can be difficult, especially if you are wanting to try something new. You would need to agree the time with the athlete, so you could have the time to adjust the lights to get the results you really want. So, what do you do when you have about 15 seconds per player, to get some low-light portrait / sportrait images of basketball players that are ready to get on the court to do their warm-up.

First of all, you ask for a friendly photographer (in this case the talented Mr Mansoor!) to pose for few moments to get the lighting sort of right - although with the players being different heights, etc. You might not get the light exactly where you would have liked it, note to self - get the friend stand on something to make them taller :-)

These images were taken backstage at the BBL Cup Final in Birmingham's National Indoor Arena, where there was luckily a black curtain that was ideal for the backdrop of the images. As what I was after was players on a totally dark background, with strong shadows. Few different settings were used for the pictures, I had two lights (one left or the subject, one right) as well as a flash on top of the camera on a low setting just to light up a bit of the nose area. I kept switching between two lights + flash and one light + flash.


England-09 With the players, I tried to mix&match it a little, shoot from the left and have the light coming from the front/back, shoot from the right and have the light coming from left/right, shoot straight on with light from various directions. Some of the lighting worked OK, others were straight into the 'delete' folder. In some images, the shadows are a tad bit too harsh, or maybe that could be a matter of taste?

But taking images at these types of situations is not allowing you as much creativity as you have in a studio setting - with the time being very limited, you do not have time to adjust this light a notch up/down, move the lights - you need to work fast and efficient and hopefully display something that the clients next time deem worth spending more time on.



A big thanks for all the players who were 'game' for this quick snapping of pictures, including Tayo Ogendengbe, Orlan Jackman, Mike Tuck, Adrien Sturt, David "TinTin' Watts... You should have received your own copies of the images, if you have asked for them.

As always, photographing is a constant learning curve - every day you see something that you don't know and want to learn to do, only your imagination really is the limit in what you can do (well - that and some good taste and keeping things with-in the law ;-) ). In the coming months, there should be more experiments, with different athletes in different situations/lighting for portraits. So hopefully you'll keep on coming back to have a look at those Blog entries as well

Possibly the favourite image of mine is the ones with Orlan Jackman - he seemed to have a natural willingness and skill to pose for the images and even had in mind the way he was going to pose. As my instructions to the players were 'act as you want - be creative - impulsive'. But the stare from behind the ball, yes it has been done millions of times before by others - but it does not always mean that it can't work one more time :-) There is also a B&W version of the 'stare' - and with the shadows, etc, it really gives a nice contrast and feel to the image.

It's nice sometimes to get away from 'just' shooting the game, keeps your mind fresh and gives you new perspectives to your work. More of these to come in the weeks ahead - and always happy to hear from players who would like something 'different' photographed for their own portfolios.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Birmingham David Watts England International Mansoon Ahmed Mike Tuck NIA Orlan Orlan Jackman Tayo Ogedengbe backstage basketball experiment lighting low light', portrait sportrait studio Sun, 03 Feb 2013 12:39:22 GMT
One of the BEST atmosphere in a game EVER!! If there would be heaven and if I would have been dead - I think I had just experienced the Basketball Heaven!!

Who knows how many games of basketball I see every year, and there have been some great games there in the past years - World Championship Finals, Olympic Finals, NBA games, domestic games... and so on. It takes some beating to get to the TOP 3 games that I've seen (not as a game, but as the atmosphere inside the venue, but tonight in the EuroChallenge game at Karsiyaka.. it went straight into the TOP 3 (or at least VERY close).

Often it happens that when the favourite takes a big lead inside the first minutes, the games goes a bit flat - but these Turkish fans!!! MAN!! They just kept on jumping up and down, singing and chanting - only other game that I can think of to be on the same level all through out the game was in 2010 - World Championships game between Turkey and Greece in Ankara. But this Pinar Karsiyaka crowd of 4500 gave a good account of themselves, and if I would have to choose a place to come and support a basketball team.. I could do a lot worse than Karsiyaka in Izmir!

The game - well, not much need to talk about that - Pinar took the lead early on and Kataja were always chasing it from then on. The visitors did get into the game as it went on, but by then they were only trying to keep the gap to a minimum - but they gave a good performance against a team that regularly competes against EuroLeague team in the Turkish League. It is never nice to lose a game.. but this time there was no shame in it.

After the game the players of Kataja were in awe of the crowd, yes - they were all disappointed to lose a game of basketball.. but if you watch the interview of Jonte Flowers.. and his answer to what it was like to play in front of a crowd like this. No matter how I would explain it myself.. his expression and words tell it better than I ever could!! (so, that's a hint to watch the video ;-)

INTERVIEWS WITH : Jukka Toijala (in Finnish), Jonte Flowers (in English) and Petri Virtanen (in Finnish) :


Even the experience coach Jukka Toijala said in the post game interview that the game went into his Top5 games, as an atmosphere - and that comes from a coach who has been here and there with Team Finland and in domestic terms. 

From Media point of view - Internet was a struggle, luckily first of all found someone to give me the password (well, they didn't give it to me - they logged me in). But with the tight dead-lines back in Finland for the papers - they wanted images straight away.. Maybe it was all the singing and jumping up and down that caused the Wi-FI signal to get lost.. Luckily it 'sort of' came back for a brief moment on the third quarter so I managed to wire off couple of pictures quickly.

Then after the game.. Wi-Fi was lost again.. so it was a mad rush to get back to the Hotel.. along the now familiar roads.. over the bridge (that's a three lane Motorway with no pedestrian walkway) - through the dark alleys.. under the Izban tracks and back into my cozy hotel room.

If you guys have never seen Pinar Karsiyaka fans - I recommend you to do a quick search on YouTube for their fan-videos.. search for Pinar vs Galatasaray .. and maybe add keywords (Kill them all). Worth two minutes of your time to watch that, I guarantee it!!

Now.. chill for the evening - late afternoon flight tomorrow back to Birmingham, so maybe time for a visit to the Spa once again.. and I'll try to make a small Game Gallery of tonights game for you tomorrow as well

So we close this EuroChallenge journey with the words : THANK YOU THE FANS OF PINAR KARSIYAKA FOR A GREAT EVENING!!!!!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroChallenge FIBA Joensuun Kataja Pinar Karsiyaka Turkey atmosphere basketball fans sports Tue, 29 Jan 2013 22:29:01 GMT
Getting ready for Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkey Monday - just walks and training session with Kataja.

Another day spent in a hotel/abroad - first it was breakfast on the top floor of the Hotel, with nice views across Izmir in the morning sunshine. Then a walk to the Arena (not the easiest as I had to walk on a Motorway, over some road barriers and dodge the traffic as I ran across the road. But - that's how the locals seemed to do it, so why not! (I'll try to take some pictures of the walk today!).

Talking about my walks - it seems I once again look like a local person, people tend to stop me and ask 'something'. Shame my Turkish is non-existent so I can't help them.. but at least I blend in.

Walk to the Arena takes about 35-40minutes - and unless I figure out the non-numbered local buses, that is the fastest way to get there. 

Afternoon was spent, once again, by the pool and in the Sauna and Steam Room... I do make this traveling sound really hard work don't I?? Talking with locals, sitting by the pool, relaxing in the Sauna.. it's harder than you think ;-)



The team only arrived to Izmir late last night, so it was straight to the training - and as always, I was there waiting for them as the team coach comes in a police escort to the Arena. Quick 'hello's' and smiles as the team find out that I am once again here to cover the game.

The arena looks NICE - looks like a proper basketball venue, couldn't ask for much better to be honest. Very light training for the team, just to get the stiffness out of the legs - before they head to the hotel. Unfortunately they are NOT staying at the same hotel as I am, so it means a mad dash across the dark motorways to the hotel and get pictures quickly edited and sent to the newspaper.

No other choice than to order Room Service, going for the hotel speciality 'Anemon Kebab' - not bad meal that late in the evening. And while eat my meal, the video interviews render next to me on the laptop. Put the videos to upload to the clients - and then there is just time to read for a quick while.. and time to call it a day.

Tuesday is Game Day !! Perhaps a little sightseeing to start with (not the touristy bit, just the local neighbourhood) - another visit to the Sauna and the game tips-off at 8pm.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Cigli EuroChallenge FIBA Izmir Joensuun Kataja Kataja Pinar Karsiyaka Turkey basketball sports travel Tue, 29 Jan 2013 08:03:06 GMT
Planes, chicken salesman and random meetings in a Sauna Another Sunday spent flying over the Continental Europe...

It is another week with Joensuun Kataja in EuroChallenge for me, here's the journey to Izmir.. with the people I met on the way.

Alarm rings at 4am, the wind is howling and it's raining - just the weather to make you want to get out of bed and head for hours of flights over the skies of Europe. Arrive to the airport in time, check-in.. first part of the travel : Birmingham to Munich !!  Sitting next to a British man on the plane.. and he is going to Austria for a ski holiday.. and tells me, possibly, more than I need to know of his plans for the next two weeks. Then again, sometimes it is good to be the listener :-) Short flight, and I wish him a nice holiday as we enter the terminal building in Munich.

This airport is starting to get very familiar to me - I know where the quiet gates are, so I head there for an hour of reading and eating my lunch pack. Next up - flight from Munich to Izmir. An older British gentleman seems to be sitting next to me, but he is busy asking the stewardess whether we'll be served food.. he explains that he only got something very small on his first flight and is rather hungry now.

As the flight goes on, we start to talk.. (as seems to be the case with me and flights :-) ) He is heading to Turkey to finalise the order of some equipment that he has manufactured.. that makes Chickens more profitable.. I am now well taught in the productivity and life span of chickens.. What use that information will be for me in the future.. who knows. But as long as he can prove a 2.5% increase in productivity.. the lucrative deal is on. I do mention that I am on a job to photograph some basketball in Turkey, which he finds interesting (for about 30 seconds) - before showing his iPhone camera.. which is much too complicated for him,,, but takes brilliant pictures. Deep down inside I give a silent sigh ;-)

Quite a bumpy flight.. but we get to Izmir in one piece - pick up the luggage, and head for the Metro. The Izban takes me directly from the airport to the Hotel (well, the right stop and 200 meters to walk). Check-In.. head out to hunt dinner.. 'Cheesy Chicken'.. yeap, that's my dinner tonight, and as I am starving - it tastes good.

Little rest and then I can't delay it anymore, down to the Spa/Sauna for the evening.. first few lengths of the pool.. then to test the Sauna's. I manage to out-sit the two men who are in there.. and am left with the single persistent female.. who luckily agrees to have some water thrown to the rocks.. NICE! 

We can't have two without the third - so once again the conversation starts to flow.. talk about London (as most foreigners, she LOVES London). And as she is local (just there to use the gym, pool, sauna) I try to ask where should I go to eat, what to see, etc.. during my couple of days in Izmir. All in all, a satisfying end to the day.. Sauna, Steam Room, Swim.. there aren't many better ways to end a long day or traveling.

Tomorrow - time to check out the Arena in the morning, hopefully catch up with the team at some point. With any luck they are staying at the same hotel that I am, as this is the closest (still not that close) to the Arena and VERY nice. 

Very nice return to Turkey - where I last visited in 2010, for the World Championships in Basketball... good memories of those days.. getting my Turkey game-shirt signed by Turgoglu.. good times :-)

Now - after a long day, time to call it a day.. and see what channels the hotel TV has to offer!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) assignment blog photo sports photography travel work Sun, 27 Jan 2013 20:09:39 GMT
GigaPan - new adventures for 2013 - BBL, Premier League, NBA, and many more?? A while ago I got offered a chance to talk about GigaPan images - and slowly but surely the idea has caught on with clients.

Now, the word 'GigaPan' - first might not mean anything to most of us, but when you read about what it is - you probably have seen one somewhere already. Probably the most famous one is from the first inauguration of Barack Obama few years ago, since then many images have been taken of cityscapes and more recently in sporting events and concerts.

Basically one 'GigaPan' image is composed and stitched out of 100's of images, to make one HUGE image - in which the crowd can zoom in to the stands and find themselves, their friends or celebrities in the crowd. One of the first PUBLIC image I've made was from the BBL Cup Final this January, and the response was quite overwhelming - the fans just LOVED the image, the comments I've received via Twitter, Facebook and Email.. One could not ask for better feedback to show to potential new customers when pitching the idea to them.

The largest image I've made so far was stitched out of 566 images - and trust me, it takes time and patience to let the computer work it out and align the images, then to mask unwanted parts out, stitch it to the final image, open in PhotoShop to check details, save it once more.. and finally convert and upload it to the public to view. Let's say it was one long sleepless night with Red Bull or two consumed along the way :-)



Taking an image has at times proven difficult, first of all you can not move the equipment while the image is being taken.. otherwise it will all go pear-shaped. Most of the clubs and venues are extremely accommodating and space is not an issue, and being amongst the crowd.. the fans already start to ask me what I am doing and where can they see the image. In other venues (you have to remember, I live in the UK.. Health and Safety capital of the World) despite clearing everything with the organisers - you get the Venue Manager chasing you with a broomstick saying that in the 10 meter square where you are.. someone might trip over the tripod..



On average the time to take a single set of images takes from 25 minutes to 45 minutes, and I like to have two rounds from the same spot.. give the image more clarity and also reduces the amount of 'ghosts' in the final image. So taking one image is time consuming, as you keep an eye that every image gets taken and no 'holes' are left in the final image.

In the coming months, hopefully there will be numerous 'GigaPan' images that I will take for clients, some will just post them for fans to zoom in and take snapshots of interesting things, others will add the option for fans to 'tag' themselves on Facebook, there will also be competitions with-in the images as the clarity is good enough to make out what the client wants the fans to find out. It should be exciting times, and hopefully something will catch on even bigger for the 2013-14 season in many sports.

(I almost itch to start naming possible clients - but.. understandably they all want to keep it a secret until they are ready to unveil it themselves to their fans.... it's sort of like being with a team in the team hotel and not being able to report who did what and so forth..)

Hopefully you will find yourself in one of the events I will cover with a GigaPan image - and do zoom in on yourself, your friends.. or just try to find something silly/funny in the crowd.. you know there will always be something there :-)


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2013 BBL Detroit Pistons GigaPan Leicester Riders NBA London NBA London Live 2013 New York Knicks Newcastle Eagles O2 basketball crowd photography sports sports photography Thu, 24 Jan 2013 14:46:06 GMT
Great game, tough defeat - plenty of emotions Yet again a game that reminds why basketball is such an exciting game !!

From the Finnish point of you, that game had everything, except the win - from the point of you of the Gaz Metan Medias (and their fans) it was a nail-biting that ended almost perfectly.

Before we get to the game - it was once again a long day waiting for the evening tip-off, my fourth day in Medias. With the sun shining, I decided to take a longer walk in the town and it seemed like the place had come alive - on the first walk on Saturday evening.. I couldn't have guessed that there were so many shops around (although I am still not sure what all of them sell). Plenty of people around the market area.. nice little walk to break the monotony of hotel life on the road.



Game started at 6pm, so that meant there was no time for Sauna before the game, or dinner - got invited to travel to the game on the team coach, which was nice and saved me from looking for a parking spot near the venue. Everyone in pretty good spirits before the game, but there was that 'waiting feeling' that probably comes around before most games for many teams.

The game...

Opening points go to Kataja and they look comfortable, but Gaz Metan Medias take the quarter from there on Shiloh and Lilov doing the damage as Kataja fail to grab any rebounds under their own basket or at the offensive end of the court. We have a double-digit lead for the home team.. could the game be over so soon? Kataja's big American (Fields) seems to struggle with his movement - but from what I've read from fan forums (yes, the most reliable source of information) he might be carrying an injury??


Second quarter - not much seems to change, Medias can't miss from three point range and end the quarter with almost 70% shooting from down-town. Kataja's response seems to be to hit the iron, only Kanervo giving any long range threat for the visitors - I am very surprised by the shooting of veteran Virtanen.. he doesn't seem to find his range at all. The home team snatch the last two points of the half, which displeases coach Toijala on the sidelines.

Third quarter/Fourth quarter - small signs that Kataja might make a game out of it, they slowly claw away at the lead and soon make it a one-basket-game. But some silly/easy individual mistakes .. I lost count of the times they gave the ball away on a poor pass while on the attack, some baffling passes (looking from the photographer point of view). It almost looked like they were rushed into making the pass and every time there was a Medias player waiting to intercept the pass. Not the way you win close games... Both team trade baskets, but Kataja just fail to get the basket/point that would put them ahead.. you feel that it they were to do it.. it could be the game winning moment.

In the final minute - Kanervo hits a clutch three... Kataja take the lead inside the last minute! Nothing for Medias from their attack, Kanervo to the line for two.. makes one out of two.. Medias behind by two.. quickly up the court.. Shiloh shoots a three from WAYYY DOWNTOWN... WHOOSH!! And that's Medias back in front with only seconds on the clock. You look at the situation - about 4 seconds on the clock, Kataja time-out.. it is possible to make a shot or get fouled..


Once again Medias defend like mad, Kataja inbound the ball.. and it touches no-one as it sails out of bounds. Can't say whether it was the play that was called or what.. but just seemed like a rushed decision in that situation. Medias ball, Kataja foul, free-throws.. tactical miss, Hail Mary by Kataja.. Gaz Metan Medias win the game!

Looking back at it, it was a game like the one in Cyprus for Kataja - one they feel like they should/could have won if they would have played at their own level all through out the game. For Medias, a narrow escape - which gives them hope they might have a say in the group. But winning by such a small margin can be costly as well, if they end at equal points with Kataja in the end??

Crowd!! No matter how often I come to the Eastern European countries, the fans KNOW how to support their teams!!! In the last week or so I have been to three different types of games. Fist was the BBL Cup Final in Birmingham, about 7000 fans watching the game - some noise here and there during the game, but nothing that made the hairs at the back of your neck stand up. Then, the NBA London Live 2013 game at the O2 Arena in London, 17000 fans watching the game - at times you could hear a pin drop, there was sound.. but mainly when someone performed a Slam-Dunk. Then, last but not least - EuroChallenge game in Medias, Romania, about 800 fans (correct me if wrong).. mad noise almost all through out the game, and was really impressed with the way they cheered on their own player after he missed first free-throw out of two.. never seen support like that before!!


Coach ride back to the hotel was a quiet one, some players talking and asking about Shiloh's three pointer and how he shot it. But the general mood was one of disappointment - retire to the hotel room, edit the pictures/videos. Not in the mood for dinner (yes, even I get affected by these defeats, and I am not part of the team). The evening doesn't get any better for me as I watch a stream of Aston Villa vs Bradford in the League Cup (good quality stream of Sky Sports :-)) ..after that game I shut things down.. it just wasn't my day sporting-wise..

Wednesday - long say of waiting/travel, heading back to home for couple of days. Will be nice to get to my own bed, see my wife and have some home cooked food (even if I am the one who does the cooking). On Sunday - it's destination Izmir,Turkey.. as the EuroChallenge tour continues!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2013 Emotions EuroChallenge Gaz Metan Medias Joensuun Kataja Medias Romania basketball blog defeat photography sports sports photography thriller travel work Wed, 23 Jan 2013 18:42:36 GMT
Back to Romania - with Kataja ! Oh Boy - so I find myself back in Romania... who would have thought :-)

It is sometimes strange where the sport of Basketball takes me - few months ago I was in Romania.. and now I am back here again. Another trip with Kataja basketball club, as they continue their unexpected journey to the Last 16 of the EuroChallenge.

This time the journey has taken me to the small town of Medias in Transylvania (nope - no sign of Dracula yet, still time though!!). Arriving here early, which was just as well, due to all the snow chaos in over Europe in the recent days. Airport - new one for me!! Sibiu.. nice new airport.. gets only five flights landing there a day. Very helpful car rental people as well - they had warmed up my car for on the evening of my arrival.

Drive from Sibiu to Medias was entertaining, there seemed to be a 50 mile roadwork going on - with a 40km/h speed limit.. which seemed to be only for me. It was 90km/h for the locals :-)

Hotel is great, and also one of the only ones in the town where I am staying - swimming pool, three different saunas (hence my threesome post of FB the other night). Thank goodness there is also a decent restaurant here - otherwise I am not quite sure I would get dinner, nearest restaurant seems to be a fair distance from here.

For a change the team is staying at the same hotel as I am - so every walk out of the room is an adventure to see what various team members are up to.. mostly they need to sit in reception of hallways.. to get a decent Wi-Fi signal.. maybe I am stealing it all with my pictures and videos.. "Sorry guys!"

As well as reporting/videoing/photographing the game - I got another 'duty' today.. drive the backroom staff to the nearest Supermarket to help them buy few essentials for the players. But - driving in my lovely Dacia - only the local cars are good enough for me.. I am not complaining :-)

Today was the first day of work here - with the Kataja evening training session at the Arena, yet another smallish venue but really nice condition. Training seemed to my eyes a nice and relaxed one.. stretching, shooting and running through few set-plays - afterwards quick video interviews with coach Toijala and two players (Fields and Makalainen), before heading back to the Hotel.. edit pictures/videos and send them onwards to the clients.

Another dinner at the Hotel restaurant in the evening - and flippin heck - the portion sizes in this Hotel are something else... both days I've come away from there feeling like I've eaten an Elephant.. and the prices.. PHEW!! I think today's dinner (with drinks) came to a grand total of £3. Can't say that they are charging us too much - but then again, the hotel mainly caters for Romanian people.. so prices aren't inflated to tourist standards.



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroChallenge FIBA Medias Romania assignment basketball joensuun Kataja photo photography sports sports photography travel work Tue, 22 Jan 2013 07:32:28 GMT

With the year slowly turning to 2013, I took a trip to Slovenia to look at the city of Koper - where Finland will be based for the Group Stages of EuroBasket 2013. To be honest, the trip itself was to cover some Adriatic League basketball in Ljubljana.. so this is just a little extra for the Finnish basketball fans (and maybe some others who are interested).

City of Koper is situated about an hours drive from Ljubljana, by the sea - the Arena itself (does NOT look like an Arena from the road-side!!) is perhaps a 5-10 minute walk from the beach promenade and we were lucky enough to get inside during the visit. So here is my little thoughts on the place.. after few hours spent there.

Hotels/Accommodation : From looking at the maps, it looks like the town only has about 3 or 4 hotels, which might already be booked out. But there is a wide selection of 'private accommodation' available as well, so it might be worth your time to look at that option as well. All the hotels in the town are well with-in walking distance from the Arena.

MEMORIES FROM LITHUANIA - AND LOOKING FORWARD TO SLOVENIA 2013 (with a laugh or two on the way ;-)



With-in short driving distance from Koper, you have more choices of accommodation - with beach resorts dotted around the coast. And you might even consider staying on the Italian side in Trieste.. regular buses connect the two cities and it won't cost you too much (just check that the last bus leaves after the game is over!).

Looking at the Hotel situation, it looks similar to Alytus in Lithuania for the teams - which means that the team hotels will be out of town (but I can't say this for sure.. just a feeling).

Bars/Restaurants : It was mid-December during the visit, so a sea-side town is not at its most liveliest at that time of the year, few restaurants dotted around the sea front, serving Pizza's and fresh seafood and at least during my brief visit the prices were MUCH cheaper than in Ljubljana. For the basketball fans, beer might be something you want to drink, and I think it was about 60-80 cents cheaper in Koper than in Ljubljana.. so good for you :-)

There is also couple of walking streets from the sea side to the Tito Square in town, where you find the Tourist Information Office and few more cafes/restaurants.

Pizza 33 outside Koper has a bit of Slovenian basketball connection.. ;-)

Beaches : There is a small 'The City Beach of Koper' on the North side of the town, but from the looks of it - the main beaches are outside of the town.

Arena : the Bonifika Arena, part of a sports complex just outside the center of town, it looks 'cozy' enough to hold the Group Stages of EuroBasket - although for the 'big' games of Turkey vs Greece... they could possibly sell another 5000 tickets. On the video you will see footage from inside the venue to give you a better idea what it will be like. There will be a clear separation between the 'upper stands' and then the lower stands that will be pulled out.

From the brief visit, I HOPE that the organizers will place the 'fan park/zone' somewhere near the sea front - there is a spacious parking area and the promenade.. that looks like a perfect place for it.

All in all - from my point of view after the brief visit, fans will enjoy their time in Koper, it is small enough to be 'cozy' - but there are enough places to eat/drink/relax in between the games. In choices of places to eat.. more than Alytus in Lithuania! Traveling to Koper, flights might be cheaper to Trieste in Italy, and the transfer time will also be quicker than from Ljubljana in Slovenia - but either is a decent choice in my view. Unless you NEED to stay in Koper, why not hire a car and look at the Hotels outside of the town centre.. you might even get a beach at your hotel.

This post was possibly even more about the video, with few memories from Lithuania and EuroBasket 2011 - and looking forward to EuroBasket 2013, and maybe even learning few words in Slovenian!!


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroBasket 2013 Hanno Mottola basketball interviews koper koripallo petteri koponen photography sasu salin slovenia slovenia 2013 susijengi teemu rannikko video Sun, 23 Dec 2012 18:39:18 GMT
From Ljubljana - with 3 O.T's What can you say after that?? 3 O.T's and a home win.. WOW!!

It was quite a game at the Stozice Arena in Ljubljana on Monday (almost went until Tuesday!) - missed shots, controversial refereeing calls, last second baskets, good tactical play and both teams starting to lose players due to five fouls by the end.

But, today did have something else in store as well - a trip to Koper, where Finland will play their Group Stage in EuroBasket 2013. So - for Finnish basketball fans.. there is something special in store over the Xmas period.. hopefully you'll find time to come and have a look at it :-)

Back to the game - seeing it through the camera lens once again, it is tough to call how each play went, etc. What stuck in my mind from the game was the amount of EASY missed shots from both teams, and couple of refereeing calls that went to the home team (and would have gone the other way if the game was played in Podgorica)

INTERVIEW (in Finnish - Suomeksi) with SASU SALIN :


It was almost like the crowd knew that the game was going to go on for a while, and saved their voices until the O.T - until then the Arena was pretty quiet for most parts.. some photographers only arrived to the game during the 3rd quarter.. but I bet they still got plenty of images from the game ;-)

From the Finnish players point of view.. good game for the Ljubljana players, unfortunately Gerald Lee got into early foul trouble (thought that his 4th and 5th came quite easy). Especially Ranniko's 1 out of 2 FT and charge for the rebound to make it extra two points.. with Ljubljana trailing by 2 with 15 seconds to go on second O.T

After the game, the Olimpija players got to pose with various Miss Slovenia winners ... and the press seemed to enjoy that as well.. at least judging by the amount of press who stayed behind and photographers.

TEEMU RANNIKKO (in Finnish - Suomeksi) INTERVIEW :


Quick comments from the Ljubljana Finns, unfortunately Gerald Lee seemed to 'sneak' out and I failed to get comments from him after the game - but, suppose it is understandable after a bitter defeat like this.. (although players do often try to avoid me after their team loses.. I wonder if it is because I have a video camera??)

On the way home from the game.. first I see car with the name 'Salin' passing me... "HONK THE HORN!!".. then a car with the name "Rannikko" passes me.. more "HONK THE HORN"... "FLASH THE LIGHTS".. seems to make Rannikko slow down.. and radio the info to his team mate in the 'leading car'. Good end to the trip in Slovenia... now, only all the pictures to go through.. the video to edit.. and catch a flight back home on Tuesday.. this is how the last foreign travel of the year ended.. with a TRIPLE OVER TIME!!

Thanks for following my adventures through this Blog over the past year.. we'll continue with Joensuun Kataja in the last 16 of EuroChallenge in January (well that's with the foreign travels.. more Blog stuff to come before that).


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Arena Stozice basketball ljubljana olimpija photography sasu salin sports teemu rannikko triple over time Tue, 18 Dec 2012 01:41:53 GMT
Slovenia - with Sasu Salin Ljubljana - in December...

Greetings from Ljubljana - and the host city for the 2013 EuroBasket.. my travels once again take me to Slovenia to meet up with Finnish International players, whom we have three playing for Olimpija Ljubljana.

After an eventful travel day on Saturday, when I realised at 1am (when I had checked in to my hotel at London LUTON) that my flight to Ljubljana departed froM STANSTED airport.. NOT LUTON!! Good that I checked, as it meant an extra hour of driving in the morning.. I keep saying to myself that I travel too much!

Sunday morning it was a meeting with all three players in the morning for a 'brunch' - as they were interviewed, and as the photographer I was also invited for the meal.  Nice little place, which I can recommend for anyone staying in Ljubljana during EuroBasket 2013 (comes well recommended by the Finns over here..). After long interviews, and few shots of the players near the city centre.. it was back to the hotel.

In the evening it was time to visit the training sessions of Ljubljana and Buducnost at the Stozice Arena - know the secret codes to get to the parking space at press entrance.. and in we go. Sit through the Ljubljana training - talk to the players .. one video that i KNOW i can publish.. the other one.. let's see if Emir will be happy with the video as Teemu Rannikko and Sasu Salin ask him questions ;-)

No training for Buducnost - at least not that we saw any - and there might be reasons for that, but I'll ask Gerald Lee about those tomorrow - so something for you all to wait for :-)

But - here's the 'main' feature of this article - few bits from Sasu Salin about the game against Buducnost.. and Teemu Rannikko couldn't resist coming over for a while either...

SASU SALIN (in Finnish/Suomeksi) talks about the BIG game against Buducnost :


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Ljubljana Slovenia basketball interview sasu salin sports teemu rannikko Sun, 16 Dec 2012 22:20:20 GMT
Kataja win in Romania - see you Tuesday! It was a HUGE win for Joensuun Kataja on Tuesday night in Romania!!

For all you fans out there, I know you managed to find some pirated online streams to this game and guessing that you lived every moment of it watching the stream stop/buffer and then start again.. and maybe you even caught a sight of me photographing the game??

It is always great to photograph a game where the team you photograph, does well and tonight was one of those nights. Strong start for Kataja with some big three pointers reigning down from Flowers, Smith was bossing the backcourt effectively and fishing some fouls for the Romanian team. Nenonen was facing up the Romanians big guys and getting under their skin, veteran Virtanen did his work quietly but raked up big points.. They often say that it takes a team effort to win a game, and despite some individual outstanding performances.. this was a TEAM victory for Kataja.

Opposition coach had blamed the weather and referees for the defeat in Joensuu - but this time the weather was Romanian.. and referees (I think) had a decent game.

Apart from a two/three minute spell in the second quarter, the game was always in Kataja's control, the 10-0 run for the home team did question the resolve of Kataja - but after Virtanen sunk a free-throw to end the dry spell.. Kataja went their own way and never looked like losing the game.


Plenty of smiles and high-fives from Kataja players and staff after the game, they seem like a nice bunch and it would be nice to get more chances to cover their games (in European games or even in Finland).

After the game I chatted with the American players of Kataja about the forth-coming game in Russia - which I unfortunately can not cover :-(  About the visa costs/regulations and so forth.

The post game interviews are with Mr Smith, Coach Toijala and a repeat appearance from Mr Flowers (or you call him Zontti??). Few quick comments about the game.. and everyone has a little message to the fans of Kataja Basketball club ahead of next weeks game... might be worth a quick listen if you have time...

For me - I now have.. three hours before I need to wake-up and start my long drive to Bucharest, a 6am flight to Birmingham via Amsterdam.. client meeting in the afternoon.. two days in the UK and then off to Switzeland for 11 days, leaving basketball aside for a week, and doing the Floorball World Championships. As much as I do love hoops - it is refreshing to have a break from it for a while.

Few stand-out shots from the game... and if I get lots of hits/comments/requests.. I'll post a 'montage' of "Zontti' Flowers doing a Slam-Dunk.

Sorry to stick all the videos into one.. I know, laziness :-)

A big thank you for the clients in FInland for wanting images, the players and staff of Kataja for having me around.. and of course.. YOU the fans for coming over to the Blog and having a look around.. 

Until next time!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 EuroChallenge Joensuun Kataja Ploiesti Romania assignment basketball koripallo photography sports travel Tue, 27 Nov 2012 21:34:44 GMT
Romania, EuroChallenge - Joensuun Kataja Yes - a new country to tick-off the list of visited place ROMANIA !

Easy flights this time, car-rental no problem, Sat-Nav shows main roads (so still bit of navigating to do) - all good to go!

Drive from the airport to Targoviste was... eventful :-) I have never seen so many cows and sheep on the road side, it was almost like in UK/Finland you take your dog for a walk.. well, in Romania you take your cow for a walk. And the amount of horse-drawn carriages.. I lost count how many I overtook on the roads... something I am not used to.. but it's all charming in its own way.

After little over an hour on the bumpy roads of 'backwater Romania' - I made it Targoviste.. now it was the tough part, find the hotel without Sat-Nav. First stop - a big hotel in the city centre.. they must be able to help me.. WRONG!! I speak no Romanian.. they speak no English.. no help there. So, pay the £5 for Internet on my mobile.. Google Maps to the rescue and I am at the hotel.



Sunday evening - everything is closed so just a snack from Carrefour (sort of like Tesco or K-Market), and then to the Sauna!! I live in England so Sauna is not something I get enough of (being Finnish).. so it was great to relax in a Sauna after a long day of travel.. bit of swimming and jacuzzi.. hard life this traveling photographer ;-)

Monday morning - time to walk around the town/city - looks like nice enough a place, small shops everywhere, lots of little bakeries to get fresh buns and 'things'. Still, no-one speaks English, but it all works very well by pointing at what I want.. (guessing dinner will be pizza). Walked around to the Arena where Kataja play tomorrow - typical Eastern European 'seen better days' venue, but for someone living in England.. these places look like palaces.

Snap few 'tourist' pictures, head to the hotel for mid-afternoon break - walking on the streets is hard work you know :-) In the evening time to head out to Kataja training session - that is if they make it here on the small roads, as I believe they are staying in another town. 

UPDATE @!! (*£*$£@*$£****$$$@@** Insert your own choice of sweat words)

So, all ready for the evening - I decide to look at the Romanian teams website... what is this name of the Arena you say you play at?? It certainly isn't the one from FIBA website.. which I used to check the venue.. make my travel bookings. And what do I find out.. that the game is not even in the town I am staying.. it's 60 kilometers away.. this just takes the mickey! Now there's an hour and half drive to there.. and back.. while trying to keep to dead-lines of the clients. Sometimes.. just sometimes you would like to have things done the easy way :-(



Early departure then to look for the enigmatic Arena Brazi, after an hour of studying Google Maps - I thought I might have the route memorised. Luckily the route was pretty simple, with only few turns to negotiate.

So - arriving to the village where the Arena is supposed to be, right next to a HUGE industrial power station. No sign of the Arena.. only some older houses and lots of men standing around.. doing nothing except looking at me funnily when I drive past them. I must admit that during this trip, it is one of the times when I really have felt like a foreigner in this country. Having driven through the whole village - no sign of anything even remotely looking like a place where they could play basketball.

U-turn and head back the way I came - this place is about 1 kilometre wide, so there can't be too many places where an Arena can hide.. then I spotted the floodlights (or something brighter) and yes, there it was.. like a sore thumb sticking out of the landscape :-)

Park the car - and I am an hour early there.. getting freezing outside.. and I get the attention of the security guard and his dog next door.. back into the car and play some games on the computer while waiting for Kataja to arrive.


Time of training (after I get my order of Salmiakki from the coach!! Thanks Toikka!!) video and photograph the training, do the interviews and talk to Pieti Poikola about Pyrinto/Basketball and traveling in India. Good interviews with Toijala, Nenonen and Flowers.. and team seems to be confident ahead of the game. Knowing it will be a big game and that the home team has a lot to prove after they lost the first meeting in Joensuu (listen to Nenonen's comments about that).





Then a mad-dash through the back roads between Ploiesti and Targoviste.. lots of Police about stopping speeding cars.. no horses or cows this time.. just empty roads and few drunken people weaving in the middle of the road. Phone rings in the middle of the drive.. it's the paper from Finland asking if I have sent the pictures yet.. no, as I explain that FIBA had the wrong Arena/Town as the place where the game will be held, so now I need to drive 60 kilometres to the hotel..


Back at the hotel, rushed editing of 25 pictures.. and then fighting with the Internet connection to get the pictures uploaded (while standing and sitting in the reception). Images sent, time to relax a little - now it is only the Blog and three interviews to finish and upload… (and I don't get paid for these - this is just so that YOU the FANS get to see something!!)


Nice receptionist helps me out with dinner plans, as I ask whether there is anywhere near-by that is open.. she shakes her head and thinks.. Luckily local Pizza place has a website so she shows (and translates) what Pizza's they have and orders one over the phone.. 20 minutes of video editing and I get a call that Pizza is ready in the reception.. NICE!!!


So, sitting in my Hotel room, getting close to midnight, eating my Pizza Diavola… good time to chill and slowly ready to pack in the evening, tomorrow is a new day and hopefully the guys of Kataja come out of the game with the big W they want/need!!


Thanks for reading - and hope you enjoyed my random notes of the day...


Videos loaded while standing in the hallway of the hotel - between floors 1 and 2.. seems to have the best connection over here... go and figure..

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroChallenge Flowers Joensuun Kataja Kataja Nenonen Romania Targoviste Toijala basketball interviews koripallo photography sports training travel video Mon, 26 Nov 2012 22:17:02 GMT
Above the Rim - part 1 Hopefully start of something new on the Blog, with the Above the Rim post..

Basketball sometimes is a sport better photographed from positions from where the fans rarely themselves see the action - so what better place to place the camera than behind the backboard.


In the last two weeks I have placed a camera behind the basket in couple of games, and where as you will get more frames that are unusable than usable frames. Sometimes the shifting through the pictures is worth it, as hopefully some of the images in this series will demonstrate.

Apart from the set-up of the camera and setting it up, the most important thing you need is for the players to 'co-operate' with you and perform some high flying action. For this, the photographers in some other leagues are better equipped than what I have at the domestic BBL - although having said that, there are few players who will perform!! (but despite them telling me to be ready at a certain game - nothing!!!)


Best pictures do not always come from the game itself, but from the practice before the game - players are more relaxed and perform for the audience at times (and you do not get anyone blocking the rising players face). In this post I have included the picture of Devan Bailey of Manchester Giants to show the image from a warm-up. Perhaps not an image for publication - but something the player himself might enjoy to have in his archives.


Other images :

Image 1 : From Newcastle Eagles vs Manchester Giants, David Aliu is rising towards the basket with the sweeping hand of Kareem Maddox poised to block the shot

Image 2 : From Surrey Heat vs Glasgow Rocks, Peter Simek this time going up - and Kieron Achara coming to perform defensive duties.

Image 3 : Another one from Heat vs Rocks, with Julius Joseph just having left the ground.

So - to start with a small selection of images from couple of games in the past weeks - if interest is shown in these types of images, hopefully this will be a twice a month section here in the Blog, showing the best of the past weeks images. Not every game produces images that are usable - good example of that was two weeks ago a game between Riders and Raiders.. not a single frame that I thought worth editing/posting. Very much a 'hit&miss' type of shooting this one.


Apologies for Watermarking most of the images - from past experience it seems that players (and fans) are very happy to snap pictures for use on the Facebook/Twitter pages, I know they do ruin some of the impact of the pictures.. but it is only to protect the images. (Happy to hear from players if they enjoy the images - or want to know if I have any of them..)

All images © Ville Vuorinen   - No unauthorized use allowed - always ask for permission before copying the images, Thank You !

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) BBL British Basketball League David Aliu Devan Bailey Glasgow Rocks Kieron Achara Manchester Giants Newcastle Eagles Surrey Heat basketball creative photography remote camera sports Thu, 22 Nov 2012 18:52:05 GMT
Gerald Lee, EuroCup and Road to Hell Some days are tougher than others, and I'll count November 20th 2012 as one of these days...

25 hours, 1000 miles (1600 kilometers), 1 basketball game, 2 Finnish Internationals and one tired me...

That's the day in nutshell - here a little longer story of the day, report of Spirou Basket vs Buducnost and interview with Gerald Lee Jr. It all starts in the morning of the 20th of November, 5.30am.

Wake-up few minutes before the alarm goes off, gather the clothes in the dark, prepare couple of bagels and bottles of juice for the drive. Throw the bags and blankets to the car, and off to the first leg of the trip - down to Folkestone for EuroTunnel. Fighting through the M25 traffic, only to find out that the trains have been delayed and mine is 2 hours late.. could've slept some more.


Catch a bit of sleep in the car, then cross the Channel to the French side.. tune the radio to RFM or MNM and drive towards Charleroi in Belgium. All going well and looks like I'll arrive two hours before tip-off, except once I cross to Belgium.. the phone rings.

(translated) "Hi... where are you??" says the person on the other end.

"On the motorway..." I answer.

Cut the long conversation short, it was Meral who had her lift to the game called-off by her friend (apparently typically Belgian) - so I agreed to make a little detour to Brussels to pick her up. It was nice to go and pick her up - it gave me someone to talk to for a while before and after the game.. and help me with the French speaking reception. Although it took a while to find her on the street we agreed to meet upon.. but after that it was all smooth sailing.


At the Arena, through the press doors and get our seats .. and enjoy a quick bite to eat. Then.. it's game time!! Game report from the notes of Meral Bedretdin.. nice to have someone who knows more about the game doing these. Or at least I count a Finnish Women's International players to know more about the game than I do... following bits are from her notes..

Pre-Game :

- Checked-out the cheerleaders... bit of grooving to the beat of "Call Me Maybe" (this might be lost to all but few people ;-) ) and most importantly.. GOT SOMETHING TO EAT!!

Game : Both teams pretty even at the early exchanges of the game, although despite the quarter ending even - it felt like the home team were the more dominant team on the court. No help for the opposition from the home fans - the drums have been noticed and heard :-) From Buducnost - the player that has caught my eye in the first ten is number 15 (Aleksa Popovic) - done some good individual plays on the court.


Second quarter, much better from the Montenegro - as well as Junnu (Gerald Lee). Aleksa Popovic still on a different level to the rest of the players - I feel like I am finding a new favourite player, let's hope that the third quarter will give us some smoother passing and play.

Third quarter, all even once again, despite the visitors holding the lead. Easy buckets at both ends of the court, as mistakes pile-up on the defense. Finally we see some shots starting to sink from both teams.

Fourth quarter, Buducnost up by 9 points (43-52) to start with, and a side note - I can honestly say that I have probably seen enough cheerleaders to last me for the next year. Spirou started the quarter brightly and their zone defense seemed to freeze the visitors attack, let's see how long the referees can keep their cool in the game - we've already seen few 'interesting' calls in the opening minutes of the last quarter.


(Cheerleaders performance of 'Call Me Maybe' - no match for the Finnish Women's National team!!! - check it out YouTube!!)

Turning point finally when Ivanovic of Buducnost sinks couple of quick three pointers, and the gap opens up to 12 points (50-62) No meltdown from the referees in the end, or from the visiting team - they hold on to win the game 66-53. From the home team, a special mention to Matt Walsh.. kept on trying until the final seconds of the game and he had the skills to help his team.


Game Report : Meral Bedretdin

After the game - waiting outside Buducnost locker-room and grab a quick interview with Gerald Lee. Good to see more Finns on the European competitions.. can only help the National team when players get tough games week in week out. Then a drive to Brussels to a Metro.. drop off Meral over there and then start the toughest part of the journey.. 2hrs 15 minutes to Calais, cross the channel, 3 1/2 hours to Worcester.. estimated time of arrival 7am. Which is exactly 25 hours after I departed from there. No delays on the trains this time - driving in the torrential downpour on the English side of the Channel.. and somehow (not quite sure how) I make it home..with in minutes I've crashed down and sleeping. No other way to describe this journey than MADNESS!! But - it was worth it.. good company at the game, nice win for Junnu and nice interview with him.. Would I do it again the same way?? Possibly.. just give me few weeks to recover ;-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Buducnost EuroCup Spirou Basket basketball belgium blog cheerleaders driving photography sports photography travel Wed, 21 Nov 2012 14:54:59 GMT
Game and between Cyprus & Turkey Game day was and has been - tight game which the home team edged in the end..

But let's start in the beginning, Wednesday morning was time for bit of exploring in Nicosia/Lefkosia and seeing if I can find that USB-cable (as noted in the previous entry). Hotel is about 15 minute walk from city centre - so nice walk there in the sunshine, and once I got there.. not overly impressed with it. Sure, few shops here and there - but very little to see as such. So I drifted away into my own thoughts and kept on walking and somehow found myself on the between Turkish side of Nicosia and the Greek side.. how that happened, I have no idea - never saw anyone checking any ID's or stuff.


Now, stuck in the 'no-mans land' I turned around and started walking back towards the Cypriot side.. but they were checking ID's and passports.. and I had really neither with me. Unless my AIPS card or BBL press-pass counts as one?? So there I was trying to explain to the guards that I actually hadn't made it to the Turkish side yet.. but with a shirt having a Turkish flag and promoting the 2010 Basketball World Championships.. it was a hard one to sell to them. "Where did you buy this shirt then.." After few minutes of explaining.. they did allow me to cross back to the Cypriot side.. and let's just say.. Lesson Learned!!


Game was late in the evening - but got to the gym nice and early. Talked to the local press officer and helped the announcer to pronounce the Finnish names of the players. Then normal shooting of the game, and this may be the third level of European Club competition - but it was entertaining game and fast paced.... almost forgotten how players 'kick' to get past defenders. Some decent pictures taken as well, and with the Keravnos fans charging to the court at final whistle.. celebrations were in order for the home team. Bitter pill to swallow for the Finns, who fought hard, but can really only blame themselves for the defeat with the way they handled the ball in the final moments of the game. Two turn-overs and a missed lay-up from under the basket and it didn't help that every time Adread Pilavasof Keravnos shot the ball from downtown.. it went it, and those were at crucial times as well.

Three clients were waiting for the pictures back in Finland, so quickly wired them off at half-time and after final whistle - shame there weren't any celebrations (or I had some images, but they would not be used) at the end. Quick chat with the Kataja captain at the end of the game, and the coach as well. Then back to the Hotel to edit more videos and pictures. It helped to be on the same time-zone as Finland, so even if the game finished at 9.30pm - there was still time to send pictures onwards.


Thursday - gave a nice reminder why these long travels can sometimes be worth it (besides the basketball and work). In the morning drove to Larnaca and sat couple of hours by the sea, just relaxing and reading a good book. And when you can do that in mid-November in your shorts and t-shirt... you know things are going well :-)

Just lasts dinner to grab anymore - then a 2am start from the Hotel to the airport and catching a 5am flight, it another three flights back home and then it's two BBL games this weekend. Next weeks European adventure takes me back to Belgium - for Men's EuroCup basketball, so we'll get back to that later on.

For now - over and out from Cyprus - it's been fun!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Andreas Canon EuroChallenge Keravnos Pilavas assignment basketball joensuun katana photo photography sports sports photography travel work Thu, 15 Nov 2012 16:52:10 GMT
Kataja training, getting lost and USB problems! AAAAHHH - November and to be able to walk outside in a T-shirt and shorts :-)

Tuesday - day before Joensuun Kataja plays their EuroChallenge game against Keravnos here in Nicosia - wake-up and go downstairs to have breakfast.. be reminded that most breads are sweet here. But very nice breakfast indeed at the Hotel - better than I have had in some better quality establishments. 

Then it is time to find the Arena for the game/training, take the map and start walking - it should only be about 30 minute walk from the Hotel and it is nice and sunny, so everything is good. Except that I do NOT find the Arena, or to be honest - I don't even find the right road. I did find the Russian Embassy and the people queueing outside of it. There was also the American Cookie House.. unfortunately I did not feel like having a cookie.


Back to the Hotel and look at Google Maps - and find out that the tourist map I have was wrong - where it showed a road.. there was only a 'donkey-path' through some bushes.. So after some work, I head back out and take the little path and yes.. at the end of it I do find the Arena. Just teaches me to double check the silly maps before heading out.

Kataja (the team) are still on their long journey from Finland to Larnaca - so I have the day to kill before the training session at 7.30pm. Edit few videos for British Basketball League.. pictures for few clients and look for more clients for tomorrow's game. Then head out for the training session.. quite a few of the players had seen me before (with Finnish National team) so it was handshakes all over.. although no 'high fives'.. which I found slightly disappointing. 


Normal 'travel day' training session for Kataja - stretching to get the stiffness out after the long flights, go through few of the key plays of the opposition and then some 5 and 0 plays.. before ending with a free practice shooting session. Considering that the team had traveled about 12 hours - they looked surprisingly fresh.

Before the end of the training - time to catch some interviews (video) with the coach and few players. Jukka Toijala is well used to me asking questions, so it was almost like being back with the National team. Same again with Petri Virtanen - interviewed him a few times in Lithuania and more recently with the Finnish U-20's in Bulgaria over the summer. Last (but not least) it was the turn of Julian Terrell - the American 'big man' who was drafted in on a quick notice to help the Finns patch a hole due to couple of key injuries, it was nice to get an interview in English as well. And this was the first time I've met or talked to Julian Terrell - but he seemed like really friendly guy.. hope he plays well tomorrow and might even get another interview with him.. or then in Romania in two weeks time :-)


Then it was SUPPOSED to be a quick dash to the Hotel to edit the pictures and videos - and get them online. However, as there is no Sat-Nav for me, I got lost.. one wrong turn and you end up miles away from anywhere you find familiar. It is dark, I am in the middle of a Cypriot town suburb.. no idea which way is which and locals honking the horn behind me to go faster. Joys of traveling in unknown places.. Eventually I find a road that I am familiar with...more by accident than by knowing which way to turn. Straight to the hotel - wire off the images and then time to get some interviews out for the fans.. except!! No USB cable.. well, none that is working.. so that means I can not transfer the videos to the computer.. EXCELLENT!

After some thinking - I come up with a solution.. play the video on the screen of the camera.. hold that in front of the inbuilt webcam of the laptop and record it that way... I AM A GENIUS!! So there I sit in a dark room, trying to hold the camera half-steady to record the clips.. it works, just about. Quality of the footage is by no means good/acceptable - but hopefully the audio will be something for the fans to listen.

From the interviews - Toijala and Virtanen are in Finnish and Terrell in English.. so little bit for everyone to listen there.

A note about the USB cable post I put up on FB earlier - thank you for your replies under the post and also the private messages from Finns who have lived over here, your help is much appreciated and hopefully I will find a cable tomorrow.. next to the Hilton Hotel you say?? :-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Cyprus EuroChallenge Joensuun Kataja Jukka Toijala Julian Terrell Keravnos Nicosia Petri Virtanen assignment basketball photo photography sports sports photography travel Tue, 13 Nov 2012 21:57:24 GMT
Winter sunshine and EuroChallenge basketball Greetings to all from sunny and warm Cyprus!!e

On the road again, so time to write up some Blog stories of my random thoughts. 

October went by with very little Continental travels, kept me rooted to the BBL in UK, and plenty of football. But with November, things are looking a lot more continental for this month, and it all starts with Joensuun Kataja in the EuroChallenge here in Cyprus and we start with the journey here...

Monday morning - alarm rings at 4am, it's dark outside and not too warm either. Quick breakfast and off to Birmingham Airport to start my long journey across Europe. First flight Birmingham to Munich, losing count how many times I've taken this particular flight in the last 12 months - 40 minutes to catch my next flight, which is Munich to Athens. Half empty plane, but sitting next to a chatty Greek/American woman and we talk about Olympics (I worked the 2012 games in London, and she had worked the 2004 games in Athens). In Athens - 30 minutes to catch my Athens to Larnaca flight.. made it! Squuezed into the middle seat for this short flight.. nibbling on my third 'box meal' that the airlines have provided me today.

Off the plane and now the big wait of the day - has my luggage kept up with me on my mad-dash across the continent... YES!! Now time to pick-up my rental car, and while heading that way I remember that my Sat-Nav does not have a map of Cyprus.. GREAT! And I haven't looked at all where my hotel is situated, and it is getting dark - this should be fun :-) Car rental agency has decided that they'll change (upgrade) my non-airconditioned small car to an air-conditioned Jeep?? A Jeep.. so I suppose i can go off-roading now then... Get the keys.. check the car on the outside.. put the luggage in, get in the car... the gears seem a bit funny, WHAT?? They've given me an Automatic to drive... I've never in my life driven an automatic car.. always used manual geared ones. Oh well.. let's see if I get this thing to move?? After few attempts .. the car moves forward and I seem to get a hang of it. Just press the accelerator and hope for the best.

An hour later - approaching Nicosia, in the dark you can see the Turkish side have put up a HUGE Turkish flag made out of small lights.. that's a way to keep your neighbours happy. But for me, the toughest part of the day is about to start - how to find my hotel in the dark, with no Sat-Nav in a town that I have never been to before.. I had found the hotel on the map.. so now it was just the case of driving in the rush-hour traffic and hoping to make the right turns. It took surprisingly little time to find the place - had to stop two times to check on the map that I was going in the right direction, and once ended up having to back-track a little as I ended up on a one-way street. But.. all in all - it seemed to prove that I can navigate without a Sat-Nav as well.

Check-in - take a deep breath - and head out to get some dinner. You know things are going quite OK when at 8pm in mid-November you are sitting outside on the terrace of a restaurant in your t-shirt and having your dinner. Not the best dinner I've ever had... and those who know me, here's a shock!!.. from the chicken skewer and feta salad.. I enjoyed the Feta salad more than the skewer. And as said, those who know me.. they know I don't like salads :-) So I was kind surprised myself with this discovery.

Back to the hotel after dinner - shower - read for a while.. and then it's lights out, long day of traveling come to an end. Tomorrow..we start with the BASKETBALL!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Cyprus EuroChallenge FIBA Joensuun Kataja assignment basketball photo photography sports sports photography travel Tue, 13 Nov 2012 06:47:34 GMT
Finding an assistant.. The work of a traveling photographer can sometimes be long and lonely - and you have to do all the work yourself.. or do you?

While working on still images, remote cameras, game highlight videos and interviews, it can sometimes feel like a mountain to climb on a game night and in editing. So imagine my surprise when I managed to talk a Finnish International basketball players Meral Bedretdin to agree to interview a fellow Finn - Tiina Sten in a recent game in Belgium.

In the recent years I have found out that talking to players (conducting interviews) on camera has slowly become almost a second nature to me - where as initially it was something I dreaded and thought there was no way I could be good enough to do this and that the players probably think that what sort of an idiot interviews them (then again, some of them probably still do ;-) ).

Even after doing the interview videos for few years - there are many aspects I feel that could be improved upon and hopefully there is some improvement shown in the development of the clips for you to see.

Meral Bedredtin meets Tiina Sten

But - it is still difficult to hold the camera at the same time while interviewing, there is camera shake, you can't look at the player in the eyes to make it more friendly/personal. So for some time now I've been thinking that it would be nice to have someone doing the questions and talking.. and I just hold the camera.

Unfortunately (sorry Meral!!) I have not won the lottery and am not making millions from my work, so I can not hire an assistant to travel with me around Europe to do interviews and spend sleepless night driving 500 miles or spend them at nondescript airports. Although with Tiina endorsing us a 'interview-duo' - I think it won't be long before the clients start flooding in!! :-)

But - in the Women's EuroCup game in Belgium.. for the first time I had someone doing the talking and me the filming (although I did throw in few comments here and there).

The interview is in Finnish - so unless you understand Finnish.. you might not get much out of it.. but have a look if you feel like it. For the Finns - well, it is a nice little clip with Meral interviewing Tiina after Wasserburg claimed an away win in EuroCup Women.

BIG thanks to Meral for the interviewing, and agreeing to do a second one in about 10 days.. how about we do it in English time ;-)

Oh, and Tiina... we are still waiting for our plane tickets to Siberia with you ... is the invitation still on (and your club is paying.. naturally?!).


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroCup Inteview Meral Bedretdin Tiina Sten Wasserburg assignment basketball sports travel video Sat, 10 Nov 2012 13:25:32 GMT
Chelsea, EuroCup, BBL Cup and Birmingham City Hello !!

Long time since the last Blog entry, which probably has been appreciated by some and hopefully missed by others?? With a hectic four day schedule to end this week, it gave me the perfect reason to get back on the Blog writing.

It all started with a League Cup (soccer) game at Stamford Bridge - between Chelsea and Manchester United. But it wasn't the game that I was there to capture, the client whom I worked for came to me asking for pictures of the half-time interactive game. But to put it mildly, the British mentality at soccer games is not geared towards this, where as the pictures/videos of these events in the Continental Europe, Asia, America.. are brilliant to watch. The fans at Wednesday nights game were more bemused and shouted swear words. Still - the images worked out fine for the client, as they showed the full stadium and the game rolling on the screens (just as long as we don't zoom in on the angry faces of the beer-filled fans :-) ). Game itself (apparently) was a thriller, although looking at the faces of photographers when Chelsea scored with the last kick of the game.. we all felt rather annoyed that there was going to be an extra 45 minutes spent taking pictures.

After the game, my journey took me to EuroTunnel - or firstly a hotel near-by and a short night of sleep before heading to Belgium to catch up with one Finnish International Basketballer, and then to go and photograph another playing in the Women's EuroCup. The Belgian part of the week ended up being the most rewarding - firstly a nice dinner in a restaurant in Mechelen and then the 'Hunt for Arena'. Now, a Sat-Nav and Google search can be your best friends at times, but trying to find the Arena in S-K-W was a challenge. Firstly we ended driving the wrong way, as I listened to my traveling companions stories.. instead of following the Sat-Nav. When we arrived to the first address we thought the Arena would be at... well, there we were sitting by the dark road in the middle of nowhere.  No panic - let's try again.. new address plotted in.. and no luck, this time the 'road' was a pedestrian path. Then we drove to the center of the town and looked at the Tourist Map, to find out that the small city had FIVE streets with the SAME NAME!! Not that helps us, we know that the street name is correct, but which one is it??

Imagine yourself having a conversation with someone.. 'So, where do you live?' - 'I live on Bean Street in XXX' - 'Oh, which one of the Bean Streets?'

Luckily - and yes, with LUCK! - we found the Arena .. and by the sounds of it we were not the only ones having trouble finding the place :-)

There is something about talking to people who understand/speak the same language as you *hehe* - I can't remember when I've last said so many toilet humor jokes in one evening, but what do you expect when the media table is marked as "Pers".. so when you go there.. you are going to the 'Perse'.. and FINALLY I found a person who realized how funny of a place name Pershore is.. it is about as funny as you can get ;-) Or what do you say Meral??

Then it was game time - well, first bit of waiting around. The game was a nice and close game, and nice for us that the Finnish players (Tiina Sten) team won the game. It made the post game interview go.. smoothly?? And for once I didn't have to ask the questions, this was left to the fellow Finnish player, Meral Bedretdin. Interview went well, although most questions seemed to start with the word 'Tota' ;-)

Less eventful trip back to the Hotel, via Brussels to drop of the interviewer.. hopefully get to use her talents in two weeks when I have another trip to Belgium!

Following morning I managed to get about 30 minutes of walking in Mechelen before starting to drive back to the Channel Tunnel. Friday afternoon traffic jam in Gent - and missed the scheduled train, luckily got placed on the next one. Then a drive to London and to video a BBL basketball game for the League and Sky Sports.. The normal evening of BBL basketball - and game stayed close until the second half. Drive home.. arrive at 1.30am, sleep?? NO!! Time to edit all the video into two five minute Highlight clips and upload them online. Finished work at 3.30am.... and still left one of the videos to upload at that time!

Couple of hours of sleep - and off to Championship football match Birmingham vs Ipswich, and as each week goes by you can feel the winter kicking in. Couple of layers of clothes, cold fingers... yes, this is football in Britain. Game once again would have helped either as a cure for insomnia or as an alternative to watching paint dry. But - few decent pictures of the goal scorer (not scoring as that was at the other end), of the new manager of Ipswich.. pretty much what you needed from the game.

So there - a hectic 68 hours spent working, driving distance of around 1000 miles (1600 KM), 210 minutes of soccer, 80 minutes of basketball... hours spent editing images, editing videos, uploading stuff online. Just another normal week in the life of a Sports Photographer - or at least in my life...

Thanks for all the people whom I talked to and met over the last few days... it always makes it easier to travel and attend games when you meet nice people to share them with.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 EuroCup Tiina Sten Wasserburg assignment basketball blog photo photography sports sports photography travel Sat, 03 Nov 2012 20:48:57 GMT
RENT, road and evening with the Wolf Pack! No flights for me this week - just a nice and easy drive to Belgium for this weekends adventures with Susijengi (Wolf Pack)

Last weekend of the year with Susijengi for me - covered the U20's, Women's Qualifying and Men's Qualifying.. it's been another special summer with some great players and once again gotten to know them that little bit better.

To break my long drive from WR13 to Antwerp - I took a detour via London on Thursday evening to catch one my all time favourite musicals RENT - yes, you learn something about me as well when reading this Blog :-)  It was good to see the play for the first time as the Off Broadway production. If you happen to be in London during the next week - get yourself down to see the play, well worth the £20!

After this it was drive to Folkestone, catch the EuroTunnel to Calais and drive over night to Antwerp.. while listening to MNM radio station, they play some decent oldies during the night and EuroPop during the day.. keeps one going. Early check-in at the hotel and catch some sleep after the night of driving.

Susijengi we going to have their evening training at 8pm - so I headed out to the city for some lunch/dinner before that - once again a new strange city that I have no idea about, so just choose a random area of town and started to walk around looking for places to eat. Found a nice little square somewhere with plenty of restaurants/cafes surrounding it and kids playing football in the middle. So - as I am in Belgium, it was time for some Frittes.. with Mayo, Curry and Ketchup.. (I think there was a discussion about that on local radio today as well). 

In the middle of lunch/dinner - a call comes through to say Finland have cancelled evening practise for today. So that means heading over to the hotel for some interviews. But first we watched the first half of Finland vs France in football WC qualifying.. plenty of expert advice flying about in the room as Finland pass the ball.

Then it's dinner time - I get to join the team for dinner.. and let's just say that IF this is what their food normally is like on their travels, I will volunteer to be their Chef AND Photographer for EuroBasket2013. Having been a Chef myself for over 16 years.. I would like to think I can taste a thing or two. I just better hope that now that I've dined with the team, I won't come down with some horrible bug for the way home.

The interviews... I think the less I say about them, the better it will be for everyone involved :-) I didn't get the interview I was after - due to SOMEONE not wanting to co-operate!! But I sure got plenty of 'blooper' material for a future project. Still - after some hard work and plenty of laughter.. the interviews with Jukka Toijala, Sasu Salin, Petteri Koponen and Matti Nuutinen were finished. Then it was time to say HI to some Finnish fans who were staying at the hotel and heading back to my hotel in the middle of the docks in Antwerp.. and edit the interview videos for something that one can show to the general public :-)

Looking forward to Saturday's game here in Antwerp, Sold Out Lotto Arena - and a big game for two teams on the court, it's gonna be a big one!


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 EuroBasket FIBA Finland Suomi assignment basketball blog photo photography sports sports photography susijengi travel work Fri, 07 Sep 2012 22:13:34 GMT
Wolf-pack goes 5 and 0 and head for EuroBasket Warm and humid night in Tirana - with Susijengi going 5 and 0 in the EuroBasket qualification + challenging times for Canon 1DX

Right - this entry is as much about basketball as it is about the performance of Canon 1DX in the very low light conditions.. we start with the basketball :-)

It was yet another of the 'unknowns' of basketball world as Finland traveled to Tirana to face Albania - and the team managed to give the Finns quite a scare in the opening half of the game. The Finns once again were finding it hard to get going on the road, with the same effect having been witnessed in Switzerland earlier on this week - and Albania hung in the game quite well until the half time.. when coach Dettman surely once again gave a rousing half-time speech for his players, who duly stepped up and delivered with a strong second half performance.

Finland were missing their long time absentee Teemu Rannikko, as well as veteran Hanno Mottola from their line up in Tirana - but one of the strengths of the team is their rotation. This time it was Roope Ahonen, a player who only joined the National team earlier this summer, who shot almost 20 points and recorded his best performance in the senior team. But the Finns top scorer was Shawn Huff - who managed to get almost 30 points in the game..

Plenty of rest time for some of the 'key players' - like Koponen, Lee, Salin.. which hopefully will help the 'Wolf pack' once Poland comes calling on Wednesday at the Ice Rink in Helsinki. The win in Tirana all but guarantees Finland a EuroBasket spot for 2013 in Slovenia.. only a way Finland are out is if they lose all three remaining games.. or if they lose to Poland and then to Belgium by over 40 points (i think).

Game today did not offer anything special with the level of play on offer, Albania played at their own pace and for half of the game Finland allowed themselves to be slowed down to the same pace. Both teams were guilty of missing some basic shots from inside the paint - and both coaches possibly came out of the game with few more grey hairs. 

The crowd initially seemed like half of them would be Finnish (that was when we had about 10 people in with 10 minutes until tip-off) - but the rest found their way in to the arena.. and we ended up with maybe 150-200 people watching the game.. and they were treated to few slam-dunks from both sides of the court.. Albanians of course getting the loudest cheer.

After the game, it was the usual routine.. one is still sitting in the press box (although I was the only one there 2 minutes after the game had ended) editing away.. and the lights are being slowly switched off. Then off to the back corridor to get few comments from the players.. talk a bit more and then head to the hotel.

The Wi-Fi (yes, I know that's a boring fact) was stable inside the Arena - perhaps not as fast as would have been good to have, but the images were wiring to various clients from the opening minutes of the game. When one sends images during the game, the way the game is going really gets lost to you.. you see one side of the game, but you also have one eye on the computer and putting in keywords, players names.. and sending them on FTP, Email and Web galleries.

So - the Wolf Pack is now 5 and 0 in their EuroBasket qualifying, at a stage where they initially said they would have been content to be 2 and 3. Two tough games, Poland at home and Belgium away in the next SIX days for the team, before the final game in Helsinki against the Swiss.  And with the way things are going, Finnish travel agents might be soon getting an influx of queries about flights and accommodation in Slovenia. Let's hope some group/individual gets the idea to organise a group tour for the fans to enjoy the EuroBasket 2013.

The Wi-Fi at the hotel - well, it was what I am used to on this travels, no hotel so far has offered REALLY GOOD speed on the internet - so once again it took over an hour to upload the interviews to YouTube - but finally got them there, time to pack up!

That's the basketball bit, so if you came for only that.. you can stop reading now!

Now we talk about the way my Canon 1DX handled the lighting at ISO8000/ISO6400 - now, if I would have had only my 1DMKIV, this would have been a BAD assignment. The lighting at the gym was with the VERY old lights that give light in 'waves' and the colour cast of each wave is slightly different so the White Balance of the images also keeps throwing surprises, as well as the lighting levels. But the changes are so sudden that metering at AV mode is not possible, so Manual mode it was and just having to live with the fact that some spots are under exposed and others over exposed. blog-photo1

With the ISO8000/6400 - the shutter speeds were still only 1/500 or 1/640 at f2.8 - which tells something about how 'bad' it was. But I was quite happy with the way the 1DX handled the conditions - yes, the AF does suffer a little when it comes to these conditions, but the 'hit' rate was still better than I have had with a 1dMKIV in similar conditions. There was some visible noise in the images, but in general the way most images came out was good. And definitely a big improvement to previous models - so the 1DX really did save my bacon on this occasion, with one my clients being the main Press-photo Agency in Finland.  Blog-photo-100per

Shame from my point of view that Finland play in dark strips away from home, so the dark blue jersey eats the light and on contrast the Albanian white strips would be much nicer to photograph. But - this is nice for the photographers back home, who must enjoy the white strips in the Helsinki Ice Rink. 

I'll post few sample images at various lightings from the game - some of them are just crops of action for the basketball fans, but I'll add few 100% crops as well for the photographers to peep at. Blog-photo2  Blog-photo200

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Albania Canon EuroBasket FIBA Finland Roope Ahonen Shawn Huff Tirana assignment basketball blog photo photography sports sports photography susijengi travel work Sun, 02 Sep 2012 21:57:08 GMT
Flights, flights and Albania, it must be basketball Many people ask me, Where Do I Find The Energy to Travel All The Time... and now, so do I!

OK - rolling two days into one Blog entry, as yesterday would have been just flights and airports (not most exciting I can tell you). This trip is my last flight-trip in a while (maybe three weeks or so) and BOY! am I finishing on a high. 18 hours of travel, flights and transit on Friday - and luckily dodging the Lufthansa strike in the morning. Birmingham - Munich, Munich - Vienna and Vienna - Tirana... those were my flights on Friday, leaving home at 7.30am - checking-in at the hotel in Tirana at 1.30am .. NICE!

The good thing about all these travels is that I am getting very familiar with European airports - I know the corners of the terminal where you can get free Wi-FI even when the 'official' allocation is up in Germany. Vienna airport offers free Wi-Fi for a 24 hours - but only certain parts of the terminal does it work fast. German airports offer OK food - there is a nice Asian place in Vienna... and so on... Look out for my 'Traveling through European Airports' guide book in the next year or two ;-)

Flights weren't the most comfortable on Friday, big rain clouds over the continental Europe so the planes were shaking nicely on the two last flights of the day. And .. people seem to know how/when I am on the road, just like yesterday I got a request to do some work for Saturday morning. Now, luckily I do know a bit about the internet at airports so I was able to download the things I needed.. and then stayed awake until 3am at the hotel editing things ready for them. Can't say too much about the project now - but if you follow me on Twitter or here on the Blog, there's something coming out in couple of weeks to make you... well, it's worth it!

Albania - first time here, and arriving on the last flight of the day to Tirana - NOT GOOD! The taxi drivers know this and tourists are easy pray for them. Almost got taken to an 'un-official' Taxi, but managed to sneak away from it.. still got fleeced by the driver (but got a receipt, so it's all Business Expenses :-)). And you know you are in trouble when the Taxi driver looks at the hotels name/address.. nods his head and as soon as he starts to drive he gives a call to a friend trying to figure out where the hotel is :-) Sitting at the back seat when the car is driving 160km/h on a 30km/h zone.. with the driver shouting to the phone and keeping one hand on the steering wheel.. it does wake you up a little.

Saturday got to explore Tirana a bit, 34 degree heat and sun beating down on you - made my walk a little shorter than I wanted it to be. But I learned few things.. if you need to buy sunglasses or watches.. the streets of Tirana are a good place to do so. Also - you can get yourself weighed at most street corners. And the cars.. they need to honk the horn if : A good looking girl is anywhere near the road, Someone is crossing the road, No-one is crossing the road.. or just because you feel like it. It was a constant blare of car horns during the walk..

Nice lunch then in Cafe/Bar Oslo - who did NOT serve Solo or Brown Cheese!! Little nap in the afternoon (see I am becoming a baller myself.. they all keep sleeping through the day!). Before hitting the gym with Team Finland in the evening as they were running off the effects of the flight at the arena ahead of the Albania game.

The gym in Tirana - it is different to most that I've seen. The lights made a nice noise when they were turned on once the team arrived to the gym, in typical fashion the opening of doors worked as air-con - at the parking lot behind the arena the local Driving School was holding lessons and kids were running around. It had a feel of innocence and familiarity to it - and not taking things too seriously. The same can be said about the two 'jokers' in the Finnish squad.. it didn't take much to ask Mikko Koivisto to give a short interview to Sasu Salin (Finnish readers can enjoy the duo's interview).

Other than that - typical training session after a traveling day, stretching, running through few key plays, shooting and bit of game time. Finland have traveled without Captain Hanno Mottola - who must the missing a brilliant trip to Albania. After the training the team headed back to their hotel to get some dinner and sleep, me... back to the hotel room where I can see myself in a huge mirror - which reminds me of the 'tele screens' from George Orwell's 1984.. maybe someone is watching me from behind this mirror?? (they might get bored rather quick).


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Sat, 01 Sep 2012 19:25:32 GMT
Capturing the moment - SLAM DUNK! Every now and then, one is lucky enough to capture an image that gets people talking - here's a story of recent image of mine.

Earlier this week I was in Fribourg, Switzerland photographing a EuroBasket2013 qualifying game between Switzerland and Finland, a game where neither team really has the high flying players in their roster - so you don't expect to capture too many Slam Dunk images during the game.

My assignment was for five different clients - so there is lot of work going into capturing and wiring the images while the game goes on. In addition when you computer starts to play up, it makes it all a bit more challenging.

But during the game, there was one moment that summed up the game quite nicely and I instantly knew it was an image that was going to be widely published in Finland (and would not have put past FIBA publishing it if they knew it is around). It is not always in sporting events that you can tell which images get used, and very often just the opposite of what you think will be used.. actually get used.

Whether it is the fact that I also follow basketball that helped me guess that this image was THE ONE - from this game. The image is of Finnish player Hanno Mottola on a fast break (not words that you are used to hearing together.. Mottola - Fast Break :-)). With the game closely balanced, the veteran player knew how to get his team mates fired-up - in the series of images of the dunk. Mottola almost seems to point with one hand towards the rim before starting his 'flight' to slam the ball one handed through the hoop. Mottola1 copy

What gives even more impact to the image is the Finnish bench at the background - with just deep enough Depth Of Field, you can see their expressions, as well as Coach Dettman willing Mottola on to complete the slam. The initial expression from the bench seems to be 'No - he can't be.." which quickly changes to "He's going for it.." before finishing it with "DAMN!! The man can fly!!"

These expressions are contrasted by Swiss player number 14 - who quietly stands by and watches despondent as Hanno flies through the air, his eyes seem to convey the message "I believe he can fly... I believe he can touch the sky"

After the game I went online, the image was already on many Finnish news websites - helped by the fact that the player in the image was Finland's top scorer and captain of the team. The image also appeared (grabbed from the news websites) on the basketball forums, it was Tweeted the following morning with captions like 'One picture can say more than 1000 words' and so on.

So when I returned from the trip - I had promised to 'work on' something different from the Slam Dunk image and I remembered how some fellow photographers had worked a dunk image into a 'sequence' by building a single image from multiple exposures. I took five of the 'best' images from the series of 10 - and with the help of PhotoShop and Layers I worked them into a single image - showing the 'flight path' of Mottola as he went for the basket through the air.

The end result - well, it is attached to this Blog post.. and yes, it is a very small image and has ugly watermarks all over it. BUT, there are too many images that get 'stolen' and used without permission when posting online so this is my way of protecting my work (whether it is worth protecting.. well for that you can all have your own opinion).

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX Canon Layers PS6 Photo manipulation PhotoShop basketball blog editing hanno mottola photo photography processing slam dunk sports sports photography Wed, 29 Aug 2012 15:10:25 GMT
Win for the 'Wolf Pack' in Fribourg Basketball on a Monday evening?? You gotta be kidding me??

After couple of days here in Fribourg, it was finally game day on Monday evening - but before that, just a little time to play 'tourist' and have a look at the sights near-by. For me this meant a short drive to Chateau St-Germain and have a nice walk in the Museum H.R Giger (for those who the name does not say anything, he's the guy who created Alien!). It's been a long time goal of mine to visit the museum and now I finally managed to do so. As with so many other touristy places - the key is to GET THERE EARLY!, I was the first through the doors and pretty much had the whole museum for myself for the first hour or so, some great pictures over there to see.. and nice Alien statues and other stuff.. just a shame that one can not use a camera in these places.. would have had some brilliant shots to share... then it was a leisurely drive back to the Hotel and slowly getting ready for the evenings game. Kotti does not seem impressed with new look refereeBlogSwiss1

It didn't come as a huge surprise that the crowd at the venue wasn't in their thousands, but it was a surprise how few people had turned out to see the game. So for those Finnish fans who say that getting 4500 spectators to the Helsinki Ice Rink isn't good enough - they should try to be basketball fans in Switzerland.. where the crowd was more like 300-400 (in my non-professional and uneducated guess).

The Swiss came into the game strongly and kept Finland with-in touching distance for the early parts of the game - but a well placed time-out by coach Dettman was all that it took to ignite the team. With veteran Hanno Mottola calling the tunes on the court - the highlight of which was a high flying SLAM DUNK to get the whole Finnish bench celebrating, and some looks of 'Can the old guy do that??' from the bench as well.. I do believe that the picture (probably the best I took at the game) has already found its way to circulation at the Finnish press and looks like someone has posted it on the website as well.. not quite sure where they found it, but thanks for the kind comments on the image, nice to know that every now and then one manages to get some half-decent images. 

In the second half of the game Finland turned on their second gear and ran away from the Swiss - and well, that was about it from the game. Unfortunately when a game is as 'dry' as this one, there isn't a great deal you say about it. Mottola's SLAM and Sasu Salin's 'impossible' two pointer maybe the couple of plays that stick to my mind. Also this game showed some of the strength that the Finnish team have, yes - they have their big star in Petteri Koponen, but it is a TEAM that plays out there. Tonite possibly all players got over 10 minutes on the court and all but one scored points. And in long qualifying stages or in tournaments, this asset is something that has and will help Finland. And to think that WHEN Finland reach Slovenia 2013 - they still have Teemu Rannikko to add to the roster and all these new comers of this summer have had big minutes in the qualifying. You can't help but think that things are looking bright for Finnish basketball right now.. Did you see Hanno just Slam Dunk?BlogSwiss2

After the game - it was the usual 'get the interviews sorted in 5 minutes'. It is understandable that the team wants to get back to the hotel A.S.A.P - but a little more time with the players would have been great. Although this time the team seemed to have a very valid point.. during the interview with Mottola I could hear shouts that the Finnish team bus had broken down and alternative arrangements were in process to take the team back to the hotel. All good fun and games... 

In the interviews you have a 'guest appearance' by Mikko Koivisto - who tries to get Gerald Lee Jr to answer a question (sorry - but that is only in Finnish). I have listen to some of your requests and added some English interviews as well.. you have Ville Kaunisto's comments from the press conference and then Kimmo Muurinen talking after the game..  

That's all about the game - now a bit more of the 'photo-talk'. When one works to EXTREMELY tight dead-lines, you do NOT need your computer or software to be playing up. Now, I don't know what it is, but the 'crop' function on my Camera Raw and PhotoShop just sometimes 'freezes'. And the only way to get it working properly again is to shut down and restart the computer. And when that happens to you THREE times during the first two quarters of the game.. when you NEED to send your images, it doesn't exactly help you to do your work in a professional manner. If any photographers have ideas on how to fix that.. I will gladly listen for advice! Sasu and Mikko...BlogSwiss4

The lighting was improve to 'game night' lights, so I didn't get to test the 1DX under ISO5000 tonight, who knows what Albania will throw up on me next weekend. But for now - the videos have almost been edited and uploaded, images I will finish off tomorrow once I get home.. so all that is left to do at 1am in the night.. is to publish this Blog, pack the bags, get few hours or sleep and head to the airport.

Two days at home and then off to the most exciting destination this summer, ALBANIA! Never been there before and really looking forward to visiting the country and also experiencing the Albania vs Finland game... the Finnish team has been building up my expectations on the crowd/venue - let's just hope I won't be disappointed at the end of the week. 

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon EuroBasket FIBA Finland Fribourg H.R Giger Suomi Switzerland assignment basketball blog photo photography sports sports photography susijengi travel work Mon, 27 Aug 2012 22:41:29 GMT
Training with Team Finland can be painful Sunday in a small town in Switzerland can be quiet with closed shops - and painful if you attend Team Finlands training!

Sunday - time to have a quick walk around Fribourg and see what the town is about, and it seems that not much is the answer during a Sunday. Most shops kept their doors closed so a quick walk in the country-side was all the entertainment, before heading for Team Finlands training session at the game arena in late afternoon.

For some reason I must like a local person in Switzerland (no -not posting a picture of myself here!) as I was standing outside the venue waiting for the team to arrive, I was approached four times by local people asking for direction through the construction site.. I could not tell them in words where to go.. but good international sign language with pointing and bending the arms seemed to get the job done just as well. And a friendly nun even gave me an apple after I pointed her to the right direction :-)

Finland eventually arrived to the training, only about 15 minutes late - due to their bus driver not getting to the hotel on time, I am guessing the driver didn't have a Swiss made watch ;-)

Next 90 minutes were spent filming/photographing the training - and as always, only watching once the tactics were discussed. With all my experience attending training session with various teams.. I must have some potential of becoming a basketball coach? Training session aren't the easiest to shoot, as you are restricted to what action you can shoot and so forth. But - it's a challenge and gives something for me to work on and trying to improve.

At the end of the session it was time to grab interviews with coach Jukka Toijala (who scouted the Swiss team) - and players Mikko Koivisto and Sasu Salin. The relaxed feeling amongst the players/staff is something else.. while interviewing Toijala the other back room staff come in and shout 'Hello's' to people back home.. while interviewing Koivisto I am joined by Gerald Lee Jr who films the interview with his (or someones) mobile phone.. and while interviewing Salin... well, just have a look at the video, even if you don't speak Finnish.. just see the video from 3 min 05 sec  to 3 min 38 sec -  I am not saying much more over here.. so as not to ruin the surprise.... good laughs all around!!

And it proves what a small community the basketball one is - at the back corridor I am met by a Swiss person who shakes my hand and says that we've met before.. I am like ???. He tells me that he was in Luxembourg few months back with Steve Ellis (British referee), while I had driven there from UK for a Women's EuroBasket qualifying game. Also it was good to meet him as I got my accreditation and photo vest (which seems small for a big guy like me) for tomorrows game.. so I am all set for the match!

Now - bit of camera talk for photographer friend of mine! The Canon 1DX... today was the first time I tried really high ISO on it.. well, I can go higher but I shot at ISO5000 inside the gym today and I am BLOWN away with the results. They way outmatch anything the 1DMKIV was able to produce, even at such high ISO the images look nice and clean. Looks like Canon got this one right BIG TIME. I've included couple of 100% crops of images for you to have a look at  - both were shots as far as I remember with ISO5000, f2.8 and 1/500 shutter speed. For me this looks very promising ahead of the new BBL season - where I am once again introduced to the dimly light British sports arenas :-)


Depending on the lighting at the game tomorrow - I might post a real 'review' of the 1DX low light capabilities.... in any case, there should be some basketball pictures on the Blog tomorrow!



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon Canon 1DX EuroBasket FIBA Finland Fribourg Suomi Switzerland assignment basketball blog interview light low photo photography sports sports photography susijengi travel video work Sun, 26 Aug 2012 18:09:11 GMT
Transit day, camera p**n and crappy dinner Yes, I am back again with yet another entry to the 'exciting' travels of mine.

It was an eventful day to say the least - so bear with me as I run through the thrills and spills from the last 16 hours. It all started with a 4am wake-up, or for me it was 3am as a lovely migrane attack got me going after only 3 hours of sleep. My lovely wife drove me to the the airport (well, i drove) .. and it was good that we left that two hours for me to go through security, etc. As it is Bank Holiday in the UK - which means that the British people need to leave the country. The longest queues ever at the security check, snaking all the way around the second floor of Birmingham Airport - but got through and on to my first flight to Frankfurt.

Second flight, Frankfurt to Geneva was more entertaining. Once again the 'pull' of camera people introduced me to some new people. As the photographer reading this know, I've been using the Canon 1DX for the last month or so - and was reading through the manual while sitting on my seat at the plane, when the woman next to me asks whether I am reading the 1DX manual and whether I have one.. So off we go on a long talk about photography, cameras and lenses and all photo related things. And as so often, these talks have a third party.. something I like to call a 'Photography Widow'. That is the partner of one or both photo enthusiasts - who usually rolls his/her eyes and thinks.. 'There he/she goes again..' 

After talking through the flight - she does wildlife photography, and hopefully I'll post a link to her work later!! - it sounded like she was rather keen to get her hands on a 1DX once they return back to Canada..  so in case my talk and showing of the camera leads to an empty bank account somewhere in the vicinity of Calgary... I do apologise in advance ;-) (if you've found your way to read my Blog - send me a link to your wildlife pics.. looking fwd to seeing them!!)

Landing in Geneva - there still another 90 minutes of driving to do to get to Fribourg and the hotel. Unfortunately my Sat-Nav is rather temperamental and decided to play up for the first 20 minutes of my drive, so I had NO IDEA where I was driving. or if it was the right direction. Luckily it eventually came on and I had my stroke of luck been driving in the right direction! Somehow it seems to me that a certain Sat-Nav manufacturer gives their devices a life-span of 12 months, this is now the third one that is giving up after about a year. Should maybe by the other brand next??

Hotel in Fribourg is decent - and if I lean far enough out of the window, I can see the basketball arena about 500 meters away from the hotel! BRILLIANT!

Off to dinner next - get caught in a summer thunderstorm in the middle of Fribourg, sit down to eat in an Italian restaurant... and lets just say that this was the blandest meal I've had in ages! Now, I've been a Chef for 16 years of my life and like to think that I might know a thing or two about cooking.. but the Cannelloni I ate... I've eaten pieces of paper (DON'T ASK!) that have been tastier than what I paid £20 for tonight. At least i know one restaurant to avoid in Fribourg.

Tomorrow it's back to work - Finland has their training in the afternoon, so pictures/video/interviews to be sorted out from there.

So - all in all a pretty decent day. Met some lovely people on the plane, none of my flights crash landed, I didn't get lost and I had a tasteless dinner.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX Canon Fribourg Sat-Nav Switzerland assignment basketball blog cameras eating cardboard fellow photographer photo photo talk photography sports sports photography travel Sat, 25 Aug 2012 18:34:01 GMT
Koszalin, quite a travel but the game was worth it About a weeks break since my last Blog entry - no Olympics this time, but travels and basketball!

This week starts with a quick 48 hour assignment to Koszalin, Poland for the EuroBasket2013 qualifying game between Poland and Finland - here is my story of the trip (so far). Poland-bg-1

Strange to have just one flight directly to the airport where I am heading to - and just in case you thought that is Koszalin.. WRONG! - which is Berlin. Arrive there around 11pm - sat next to the passengers from the Paris flight who have been sitting there 80 minutes waiting for their luggage. Luckily we only had to wait around 30 minutes - grab the bag and run for the car rental place before they close at 11.30pm.. get the car and plot the route to Koszalin, Poland. Only a short 3 1/2 hour drive... which ends up taking around 4 1/2 due to me driving slow and taking few breaks to keep myself awake. Poland-bg-2

Arrive to Koszalin at 4.40am.. drive straight to look at the Arena and sleep in the car at the empty parking lot in the Polish suburbs. Check-in to the Hotel early (big thanks to the Hotel for allocating a 9am check-in!), and get some sleep.. meet up with the journalist from Turun Sanomat (Finnish newspaper who is one my four clients here), have lunch and then head to the Arena for the game. As you can see, I have explored the city very much during my trip.. :-)

Arena is brand new and this is the first ever game to be held here, let's just hope that there won't be any thunderstorms during the game. As apparently during Monday's training sessions the lights went out from the venue WHILE Poland were training.. and Finland had to change their training to another venue. Credit to Polish Federation of having a back-up venue to get to on such short notice. Poland-bg-3

Before the game, talking to the journalist and we have a funny feeling Finland might be in for a tough game and possibly a narrow loss.  Perhaps some of the players heard this, as Finland charge to a 13-4 lead in the opening minutes. Sitting under the Finnish attack basket, I am also sitting right in-front of the Cheerleaders.. and comment from the press bench is that I have the 'best seat in the house and don't even realise it'. Although - if they were referring to me sitting right under the cheerleaders.. I beg to differ as isn't the point that you LOOK at the cheerleaders.. not have their 'pom poms' hitting you in the head while they dance behind you. But.. each to their own I suppose ;-)  To the BIG disappointment of some of my readers.. i did NOT turn around to take pictures of the cheerleaders.. although everyone else sure did, and I think they might have missed the opening 3 minutes of the game due to snapping pictures of the the girls. Poland-bg-4

Game itself - well, this is why I love basketball!! Finland lead by 11.. crowd go a little quiet.. Poland hit couple of big threes.. game is tied.. crowd goes mental.. Finland forget that defence is needed and a open three pointer gives Poland the lead.. Koivisto (Finn who has 0 points in first 36 minutes) hits a massive three.. Finland are back in front..then the end, missed free throws, loose balls, turn overs, slam dunks, missed throws.. and FINLAND WIN !!

Even the usually calm and collected mr Henrik Dettmann jumps up and punches the air with both hands, before remembering that this was just one game and calmly walks over to his Polish counterpart and shakes his hand. Poland-bg-5

Everyone else is finishing their 'shift' - players heading for a four hour bus journey to the Hotel (yes, Koszalin isn't the easiest place to get to!), reporter heading for the after work beer - me?? Well, I got few hundred pictures to edit, video to upload .. and getting txt messages about the where a bouts of the Finnish team does not make my evening better ;-) Working late into the night and due to local thunderstorms only manage to upload the video in the morning, it's all just a part of my normal day on a foreign assignment!

Now - it is getting to 10am here and I am looking forward to another 4 hour drive as I head back to Berlin to catch an evening flight back home! A drive that will take me through the motorways of Poland and Germany .. where nice looking girls/women stand by the road and wave at you and smile..  Who knows what they want.. so I just wave and smile back at them.. never occured to me to stop and ask ;-) The joys of traveling abroad and seeing things that you do not see back home.. as a certain commercial says 'Priceless' Poland-bg-6

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Cheerleader EuroBasket FIBA Koszalin Poland Suomi Susijengi assignment basketball blog photo photography sports sports photography thriller travel work Wed, 22 Aug 2012 13:51:53 GMT
The Final day - strangely flat after brilliant Saturday Five hours of sleep ahead of the last day of London 2012 - and getting up and ready to do one more day before heading home.

We (the newspaper) were lucky enough to get tickets for the Men's basketball Final, which had been ticketed for the Media due to high demand. Before the games this was a game that I really wanted to attend and photograph, so I should have been bursting with joy.. but for some reason things felt very flat after the celebrations of Saturday evening and leaving the Olympic Park for the last time.

First there was the hunt for the tickets - which the Finnish press had left first at their desk at MPC, then took them to the Stadium.. and then left at the reception of their hotel. Can't say they made things easy - after a long and anxious wait the reception FINALLY managed to dig out the tickets from somewhere and off I was to North Greenwich Arena (or as we know it - O2). Local knowledge once again came handy as I parked the car only few minutes journey away from the Arena, for free! BlogB2

Walk through the security checks, meets pretty much all of UK basketball media over at the media centre.. Woods, Ahmedas, Swiss, Mark, Fab and Mitchell.. all there and still kicking after a long two weeks (some of them looking worse for wear).

Watched the end of Bronze medal game on the media centre TV - bought my last rip-off price cola drink and just got ready for the Final. Basketball Final seemed to be one of the very few events where I think the organizers had got the photo arrangements wrong (just my personal opinion). The seating on the court level was normal crush of a Final, but to position about 60-80 photographers high into the stands amongst the crowd with long lenses. This just screamed out for problems.. BlogB










First rows of photographers had to ask the FANS in front of them to not stand up -and fans were also moved as they stood to celebrate baskets. For the first time in these games I felt embarrassed to be a photographer - when person on Row C/Row 3 who probably has paid good money for his/her ticket is told not to stand up because of us.. that just sound very wrong to me. Also another group of colorful fans were moved to place where they would not block photographers. Let's just say that I shook my head a few times and felt sorry for the fans.

Easy solution for this would have been to limit the number of photographers more - yes, many of us wouldn't have made it in, but some of us probably did not NEED to be there. But wanted to be there because it was the Final as USA playing. As one photographer who has been to 90% of the games said to me..'I haven't seen any of these photographers here during the basketball tournament so far....' BlogB3

Game itself - the UK journalist told me it was brilliant, I thought it a bit slow paced and dare I say 'boring'?? And looking at the picture of photographers from during the game.. doesn't seem like EVERYONE was that excited. And shame that the final Final of the London 2012 had so many empty seats - although the volunteers were brought into fill some of them for the second half :-) B

Enough of a moan there - snap the pictures that I can.. rush out before the medal ceremony and beat the crowds to the Tube.. one stop of travel.. into the car and 3 hour drive back home.. 'landed' at the parking lot in front our home at 9pm.. and sat down to watch the Closing Ceremony. That was it - my Olympics were finished and as the flame went out it was all over. Great two and half weeks.. and I will get a re-cap and 'best pictures' written to the Blog during the week, as I get a chance to catch my breath a little.

OH - and off to the dentist on Monday morning.. talk about returning to reality with a BANG!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon London Olympics assignment basketball blog photo photography sports sports photography travel work Mon, 13 Aug 2012 09:05:54 GMT
Emotions, drama, endurance, triumph - Olympics serve its best day yet If the Olympics would have finished last night, the ending would have been perfect for me - it was a great night of drama and sportsmanshipHave a read how my second to last day went at the London 2012 games.

Programme for the day sorted in advance - off to the Mall for Men's 50km walk and follow that with Women's 20km, before heading for Women's Handball Final in the Olympic Park. Once again Media Shuttle from the MPC all on my own through central London on the 'Zil Lane' and get to the walk just after it started (but the race will last for four hours, so plenty of time to snap pictures).Handball6

Nothing special with the walking shots, but the Finish line is the place to be, one after another the racers crumble to the ground and those are the pictures that will get used. Apart from the Russian winner perhaps who almost seemed ready to walk another lap or two :-) But the Finns, as always were in quite a state when crossing the line.. makes for some good pictures.

Then almost four hours to 'kill' at the Mall, enjoying more expensive sandwiches from the media canteen.. and instead of charging the normal £6.80 for it.. they tried to charge me £9.00. Maybe as the games are getting close to the end they raise the prices. Spent a lot of time talking to the Finnish Photo-agency Lehtikuva photographer during the day, as well as many other people. Handball4 Handball2

One thing about these Olympics has been that people (in general) have been happy to talk to one another, even the Finns sometimes talk.. but that's quite rare. And anytime I am with a Finn somewhere they look at me a bit funnily as I talk to the volunteers, bus drivers.. and so on. But.. when you got time to kill.. why not talk to people??

Women's 20km - apparently the Finn has no chance, so instructions are to shoot few laps and head to the Olympic Park for the Handball Final. There is also supposed to be tickets for the Basketball Final waiting for me (photo tickets, before you all start calling me!!) at the Finnish Photo-Agency desk.. so that's my first point of call. But as Finns seemed to think that every Finnish journalist/photographer is at the Javelin Final at the Stadium.. they have taken the tickets or not?? So now my only chance to get the ticket is to go to Central London to pick it up on Sunday morning.. nice one!

Handball Final - I covered that because I am 'half-Norwegian' so it was my chance to photograph 'us' winning a Gold medal - unless the Finnish were going to cause a huge upset and win the Javelin at the Stadium (which they didn't). The Arena is full of Norwegians and the atmosphere is really great, perhaps because handball is a smaller sport so fans might have managed to swap tickets to see their team play - so it was played in front of a sold out crowd of FANS, just what you want to see in a Final. Handball6

Game itself offered great saves from both goalkeepers - lead changes and tense final minutes of the game. There were some Norwegian Royal's at the stands - who were even more enthusiastic than the Swedish King the other evening.. included a photo of the family here in the Blog. In the end Norway edge the game, but the Montenegro girls don't feel like losers - first Olympics and in the Final to say farewell to one of the best Women handballer, who finished her career. The gestures from the Montenegro players.. as Norway had the final possession.. the players clapped with the audience as they knew Norway had won the match. Would you see this in Spain vs USA basketball Final... the Spanish players starting to clap 13 seconds before the end to the USA team.. I doubt it, but might be proven wrong! Handball3

Also the way the Montenegro players quickly put on T-shirts with the names of Savic and Popovic in the end and applauded them ... great moment of sporting history. To be honest when the medals were handed out - all three teams seemed to be celebrating very happily.. no long faces anywhere.. and a nice group shot with all three teams mixed together.

It left me with a great feeling as I walked from the Arena to the MPC - in what more than likely was my FINAL day/evening at the Olympic Park. Sunday sees me (hopefully) at the North Greenwich Arena for the basketball.. but it has to be quite a game to be able to top the feeling from Saturday's handball.Handball5

I went to the MPC to clear my locker, sit around for a while in the quiet of the photo workroom, and just reflect on the couple of weeks gone by and what experiences I have had and events I have photographed and people I have met.. 

But one more day to go -so off to the Tube and back to Epping, edit few images and off to bed at 2.30am on the last day of my Olympics!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Bojana Canon Linn London Olympic Final Olympics Popovic Sulland assignment basketball blog handball montenegro norge norway photo photography sports sports photography travel work Sun, 12 Aug 2012 07:15:21 GMT
Waiting, Handball and losing teeth.. Friday - another day sorted at the Olympics in London 2012.

Once again (seems to have become a habit) the program for the day was not clear in the morning, so I headed out of my Epping-base to Stratford on the early morning commuter traffic.  And having now traveled two weeks on the Tube - the Londoners who commute to work are a grey and grumpy bunch of people :-) Everyone keeps on starting at their iThings or papers.. making eye contact is strictly forbidden and anyone who talks to a friend or on the phone gets angry looks.. 'How dare you disturb my journey with your jappering...' BlogBMX1

Back to the MPC edit pictures, clean up this and that.. and try to figure out if anything is going to happen today? Finally get a phone call around mid-day and the decision has been made that we'll cover Sweden vs Hungary in Men's Handball.. starting at 5pm. Now, had I known this earlier - I could have had a nice and relaxing lay-in and stuff. But - the way I look at it that I should be ready at the Olympic Park early in the morning, no matter what.

There was surprisingly little action at the Olympic Park in the early hours, only some Hockey and at 3pm BMX riding - not bothering (and being too busy) with the hockey, I ventured out to the BMX track around 2pm to soak up some sun. And naturally finding most of the spectators looking for shady bits to sit and cool down - as the sun naturally was WAY too warm for the mild British summer weather :-) BlogBMX2

Few wide angle 'air' shots of the BMX for archives - and then heading to the handball arena for the semi-final. Eating my Cheese Pretzel was going well until.. CRUNCH!.. did I bite something hard? And I did get a what I thought to be a piece of stone/glass out of my mouth.. only to feel my teeth few seconds later.. and noticing that I HAD HALD A TOOTH MISSING!! So eating a soft pretzel somehow made me lose half a tooth... now one has to think fast.. three days to go at the Olympics and an injury that has potential to be rather painful. Quickly out of the arena, give a call to ever helpful wife of mine and ask her to give a call to our dentist. Few minutes later had an appointment for Monday morning at 8.40am. Who says you need to wait for a dentist for 6 months.. now just hoping that the tooth behaves for the next 60 hours or so, at least with the help of strong painkillers! BlogBMX2

Also a good thing was that this did NOT happen four weeks ago when I was in the first days of my long travels. Also a good thing to be living in the UK as fellow journalist told me that Finnish reporter had her tooth chipped two weeks ago, and was quoted a price of £5000 to get it fixed at a private clinic... that's what I paid for a new camera :-)

Handball was quite entertaining, with the lucky Swedes getting through to the Final - if you get a chance to watch somewhere online a repeat of the Swedes 19th goal...  well, just have a look at it, and in a game with a winning margin of one goal.BlogBMX4

Although Hungary were unlucky to lose their leading goal scorer half-way through the second half, which made it even more impressive that they hung on until the end. Good 'air' photos and many nice saves as the goalies played a big part in the game. Also - really loving the new Canon 1DX - the AF system on that, as well as low-light capabilities. I can honestly say that it is the best camera I've ever had the pleasure of using and has delivered some great images from London 2012 for me!

Time to head to the Hotel afterwards, had something soft to eat and the tooth felt OK while eating - just hang in there for couple of days and get it sorted after that. It might end up being two rather painful days if things go wrong. Tomorrow - I'll be watching walking...

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon London Olympics assignment blog photo photography sports sports photography travel work Sat, 11 Aug 2012 12:57:01 GMT
Taekwondo and sitting around Instead of the three/four sports I thought to be covering - it ended up being a LONG day at the ExCel Arena on Thursday!

The end creeps yet another day closer, but I still find new sports to photograph and today was the turn of Taekwondo. Initially my plans were to cover various sports, but as the Finnish fighter kept on progressing or possibly progressing towards a medal fight - I was requested to stay at the ExCel for the whole day. But in the end, perhaps the long day was worth it...T-Blog3

Day started with few hours at the MPC before a short hop to the ExCel Arena - first fight at 11.45am for the Finnish woman, so well in time for that one. Against all odds she wins the fight and so will fight again at 4.45pm. So it is time to sit around, lay-about, eat, sleep, drink, rest, edit photos and even get a little bored before the next fight. But I have to say that the food portion sizes at ExCel were great, unlike in the Food Court near MPC.

After the long wait, the Finn fights again.. loses - but in Taekwondo that does not mean she is out.. so we all wait and she gets a chance to win again and again.. so it is close to 10pm before the day is done. Four fights photographed - with 24 minutes of action in almost 11 hours of work.

From photographers point of view the sport was quite OK to photograph - nothing too spectacular in the fights, but the 'half time show' was definitely the best I've seen in the Olympics in London. No cheerleaders, dunkers or Red Foxes can compete with the display of martial arts over at the ExCel. I should probably put up a whole gallery of images from it - just to show everyone what they missed. It was actually this display that woke me up and kept me going for the last two fights.. that and the Irish boxing fans taking over the ExCel and singing their hearts out. Not quite sure how many spectators can fit into the boxing arena - but with the ticket 'allocations' it did make me wonder how 70% of the spectators seemed to be Irish..T-Blog2

As I got back to the MPC - all the athletics photographers were returning from the 200m Final, and even they were wondering why they all were there to take pictures of it. With the sports slowly running out - the photographers seem to be like bunch of animals all following the same direction. If Bolt runs - we have to squeeze 1000 photographers to get almost identical images.. sad state of sports photography :-) And many whom I talk to still sound surprised that I haven't photographed the 100m or 200m Finals... Although talking about all photographers being in the same place - possibly all (apart from two) Finnish photographers were at the Taekwondo last night, kind of pointless if you ask my opinion - but you go where you get asked to go, I suppose.TBlog1

Then one thing that will probably only make sense to other media here at the Olympics ... "Have you got any pins"  You lose count on how many times you hear that a day, the volunteers keep on asking for 'pins' or 'badges'.. Some companies seem to hand their employees some Olympic Pins.. to trade and hand out. Unfortunately I do not have any - not that I need/want any either :-)



With three more days to go - the yawns at the press centre are getting longer, the quiet room busier, beards are growing.... but somehow some of us still manage to keep the spirits high and smile. Oh - and our photo-vest are getting dirtier and sweatier by the day.. so if you see someone with a Khaki (or blue) photo-vest in the Tube or Bus.. do steer clear of them ;-) As I remember - we got our vest washed every now and then in Turkey the other year.. The Media-marathon is nearing the end and many of us are looking forward to getting home for the first time in weeks.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon London Olympics assignment blog photo photography sports sports photography travel work Fri, 10 Aug 2012 09:26:04 GMT
Life goes on at the Olympic Village For two weeks I have now been living in a bubble - where only sports exist and everyone is thrilled, so what happened on Wednesday?

Another morning commute along the Central Line to Stratford and down to the MPC, once again no idea what the journalists would like me to cover today - so it was a waiting game. First request was for Taekwondo for Thursday - sure thing, so got an idea for tomorrow already. Then the messages come that one of the journalists is having his 'forced' day-off and other one is finishing the articles from yesterdays Volleyball and Beach Volleyball. 

So hold on a minute - that means that there are no requests for today? What am I doing at the Olympic Park at 8am??? But the way I look at this assignment to the Olympics is that even when I am not asked to cover something, I should somehow 'document' the games - be it taking pictures of the venues or other sports, just for the archives of the papers I work for. Whether they appreciate this - I am not sure, but at least I feel like I am doing something above what I have been asked to do. And also - I do drop by the Handball Arena quite often to take pictures - so far followed most of Norway's Women's matches here.. I just hope I get to cover the Semi-Final on thursday as well :-)


We had the first day of BMX racing today - so decided to go over there and snap few pictures, the sport is always good for some dynamic images. Arriving well in time, as it is the first day and you want to know what's what over there - Photo Marshall's show on the map where we can take pictures, so we all choose our spots and put our gear down. Then FIVE MINUTES before the racing starts.. the TV has told the organisers that we have to be moved.. now up to now the way photo positions/organisation has worked has been good.. but to move 90% of photographers on 5 minute warning.. can't say that the organisers/TV made many friends amongst the photographers. The only positions we were allowed .. the gave rather poor/messy/ugly backgrounds, which is a shame when you want to bring out the best of the sport in your images.

To rub salt into the wounds - some of the 'Poll Photographers' (they are the ones who can go almost anywhere, as they work for the big agencies) - I looked at couple of them in a GREAT spot to capture images.. during FIVE riders passing them, one of them just kept on watching the riders, and the other one seemed quite busy txting/tweeting his mates. Maybe this was just my 'jealousy' speaking as I wasn't allowed to a place i regarded as good.. but even in general it gives a bad impression when photographers do not actually work while court-side.. but tweet/text/eat instead.


Afterwards I walked around the park a little to snap more shots of the area, before heading to Men's handball match between Sweden and Denmark and after a long break my 'royal-connection' once again seemed to work. First of all the Swedish Royal couple were at the stands, and they both really were into the game and I got some nice pictures of the King jumping up and celebrating :-) Somehow I doubt the Queen of England would be seen jumping up and down when Wayne Rooney scores in a  football game?? After spotting the Royals - I also noticed that the Finnish Culture Minister was at the stands.. I only know what he looks like because I saw him at EuroBasket2011. 

Day finished after that - surprise the client newspapers with few images of the King and Minister.. head to the Hotel and enjoy some Pot Noodles for dinner.. busy day on Thursday (possibly) with Taekwondo, interviews, handball..  or depending on results, it could be only Taekwondo??

Talking of living in the bubble of Olympics and also having been traveling since early July.. yesterday I went for the first time to a Tesco supermarket (or any supermarket in the UK) in a LOONNG time. It's just been a long spell with eating out, buying food from small shops.. interesting how a small thing like going shopping felt 'new' after such a long time.. I bet hearing that makes my wife happy, she'll be sending me shopping for the next month saying how I thought it was nice and exciting :-)

In a way it was nice to have a day for myself - not having to follow the journalists around, sort of gave me a chance to draw breath and look around.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 BMX Canon London Olympics assignment blog fellow handball jealousy king photo photographer photography problems royals sports Thu, 09 Aug 2012 08:30:37 GMT
Volleying the ball, and traveling Another day rolled by at the Olympics, with travels outside the Olympic Park for a change

After the late evening and possible late changes to days schedule - here's how it really went. Morning was spent at the Hotels parking lot and garden, first selling off one my my old cameras to a fellow photographer.. and then it was a photo-shoot with a Finnish entrepreneur for the Business pages of Turun Sanomat. So a productive day even before I left the grounds of the hotel.

Then I headed to the MPC at Olympic Park and we had agreed to cover two games of Beach Volleyball from 5pm onwards - but as I am starting to learn, things change on short notice which is one of the reasons that I spend 12 hours a day at the Olympic Park.. JUST IN CASE!! So 12.30 a txt comes through that we start with Volleyball at Earl's Court at 3pm.. so off to the media shuttle bus and to Earl's Court I go. Watched bit of the first game on TV and then shot the Brazil vs Russia game... Few little peculiarities happened at Earl's Court, first of all - as some you might know, I tend to wear a baseball cap all the time and my current one is a Brooklyn Nets basketball cap.. and as I sat there to photograph the game, I was asked to remove it because of sponsorship rules.. I am not quite clear on how having a Brooklyn Nets cap is breaching them - and sort of strange that this happens 11 days into the Olympics for the FIRST time. But it made me smile.. as it did for the photo assistant who asked me to do so.


Removing the cap seemed to make me into a 'ball magnet' - I lost count how many times I passed the ball back to the court/players.. and one of the Brazilians must have seen a certain music video that - for example - the Finnish Women's basketball team has copied recently.. But it made me smile for a while.. so thanks for that :-) BlogBeach

Then we rushed off to Beach Volleyball, with the rain clouds looming dark on the sky - it looked very much like instead of Beach Volleyball, it could turn out into Mud Wrestling. But thankfully the rains stayed away and I covered half of the men's first semi and the China vs USA Women's game. How the heck was half of the tickets sold to Americans.. I have no idea.. but the stands were full of American flags.. apart from the one stand where 90% of the spectators wore SUITS!! Now, I am no expert in the crowds at Beach Volleyball, but I somehow doubt that suit and tie is the normal attire at these events. Biggest jeers were directed towards these people as they refused to join in on the Mexican Wave-marathon...

But nice pictures of the arena from the top of the stands - which really made my day at the end, the game itself.. not really my cup of tea, and I actually prefer Volleyball to the this.

With both myself and the reporter having stomachs that were disagreeing with something we had eaten, it was time to pack it in at 7pm and start the journey back to the hotel. Now - how the TFL website claims that the journey takes 58 minutes, I have no idea. To travel from central London to Epping took me 2hours and 15 minutes... and there weren't really any noticeable delays. One might as well live in Birmingham.. takes less time to travel from London to Birmingham by train :-) Probably Londoners think that this is just a normal travel on a weekday evening.. but to us Country Bumpkins this is just .. well, strange to say the least :-)

Bit of something to eat in the evening.. read for a while and it's LIGHTS OUT!

All Images © Ville Vuorinen

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon London Olympics Tube assignment beach photo photography pictures sports sports photography sports pictures travel volleyball work Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:39:35 GMT
Chasing athletes and meeting them in the toilet Not much in the way of sporting action today - except chasing athletes around the park.

Monday and start of the last week of the Olympics, but for me it was a day of no sporting action to be captured. Still in the morning things were not quite clear as to what was happening. So to start the day I walked around various venues taking panoramic images of them, just something of myself to remember the London games by.

Suppose at the same time I did manage to see a bit of Field Hockey, Basketball and Handball - but with a 8-15 fish-eye lens it was quite impossible to catch the action from Row Z.

With the journalist making his way to press later in the morning, we decided to head out for the meeting of Finnish Javelin men.. and for me to take the pictures and him to interview. Although, it really ended up with me photographing and him standing around (as one of his colleagues did the story). Then we thought to take in some track cycling - so he could a story about that.. but no luck there either as a txt message sent us to interview a Norwegian javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen. Another one of those reports/photos we have done that the other Finnish press haven't noticed or worked on. Although the Thorkildsen interview did take few days to work out - possibly due to him only arriving to London so late (Monday early afternoon, if he is to be believed).

As I was departing the media work room, I needed to have a visit to the 'little boys room'. And as the toilets here are not separated that much between female/male.. so as I walked out of the toilet.. who did I bump into (almost literally).. it was Serena Williams.. who was heading for her press conference in the room next door. Just goes to show that we don't only see athletes on the track/court... sometimes we see them in less usual places. And no - I did not take pictures of my chance meeting in the toilet..

It has been fun to look at how different countries deal with media in these events - for some it is a big round table meet with journalists shouting questions, others have a short 'common interview' and then move on to individual interviews.. and same goes for photos. Sometimes image opportunities are directed, sometimes we just 'grab' the athletes and take them to be photographed elsewhere.. But somehow we always get what we want...

These little shoots gave me enough to edit for the afternoon, and with nothing 'exciting' happening in the evening - I took an early train out of Stratford at 7.30pm (yeap- that's an early evening for me!).

Off to Epping again - kebab-dinner and talked on the phone with my wife for about an hour while sitting in the car at the parking lot.

Little more happenings in the evening as I was just about ready to go to sleep, the journalist decides to start txt:ing me and wonders whether we could make to Weymouth for Tuesday mid-day, so there I am left searching online for various options for traveling couple of hundred miles to the South coast. But with the 9am photo-shoot for me - there is no chance for us to make it there, just goes to show that a little forward planning is sometimes needed. If I had only known this on Monday morning - the journey would have been possible for us. But maybe the late night dinner with fellow journalists made Weymouth an appealing prospect???

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 London Olympics assignment photo photography sports travel work Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:00:54 GMT
Not everyone has 'Olympic Spirit' says Olympic Grinch Few observations from around the games from Sunday...

Sunday - we are entering the final week of Olympics and not everyone seems to be in high sprits and enjoying the games. With a press meet/photo-shoot with Cuban 100m hurdler Dayron Robles scheduled for the afternoon, it was lunch time at the Westfield food court once again. The queues were much longer this time around with the shops open for general public as well - but we managed to get the food rather quickly and then somehow find seats as well. As often is the case in full shopping centres, you do need to share your table with strangers which can be an 'enlightening' experience and you can sometimes meet great people.

But as I am sure you've guessed by now - my experience on Sunday was something a little bit different. I sat down to a table with one women sitting on the opposite side of me and made some comments on how busy it was or something like that. Oh BOY! should I have kept my mouth shut :-) This comment really got her going..."I f*****n hate these crowds"..."The flipping police and army couldn't control these people"..."I just want to go home and close the door"..."I don't see what the fuss is about the Olympics, for f***s sake it's just sports"..."So what do you do here, are you some sort of volunteer or other crap".."These games can't finish soon enough"..."Why are people screaming at the TV when GB win medals.. get a life!".. 

During the whole time I was having lunch (which I could not eat quick enough!).. not a single positive comment came out of her mouth, I think in the end she even said that the food was crap. Of all the people in the food court I chose (well, not that there was choice) to sit opposite to the Olympic Grinch. But for someone who seemed to hate the Olympics and the crowds, she had chosen a strange place to come and do her small shopping on Sunday afternoon, even on a normal Sunday I'd steer well clear of the place if I didn't like crowds.

Getting upstairs after this, to the media lounge, it was a nice contrast as I played the 'Turun Sanomat Olympic Final in Table Tennis' with the reporter who was there to write the story. Not quite sure who won it - but it was my first time of doing something sport-like during these games... unless you count this 100km photo-gear carrying competition that I am competing in during the games :-) And the reporter was laughing at me when we left our lunch place, commenting that it seemed like I couldn't eat quick enough... I wonder why!!

In the afternoon I took my first massage at the Media area 'Massage Centre' - it was painful but sure made my shoulders a lot more loose by the end of it. £10 well spent for that one..

Before evening handball action I hooked-up with Señor Ahmedas at the MPC for a quick catch-up on how things are going for both us during the games. Where as normally we'd be at the same games covering BBL Finals or Euro's/World's.. this time we rarely catch-up. And to my surprise the Team GB photographer seemed to have changed his support to Team USA.. (could be that he wants to photograph a winning team??)

Returning to the press centre after the handball (in which I had once again managed to get my face on Norwegian TV!!) I took probably the picture of the games so far :-) A sleeping/snoring photographer on one of the press couches.. what a sight (you might the photo on this blog..)

But stranger than that was a fellow photographer who was sitting slightly behind me on the next row - as photographers you do (or I do anyways!) look around at other peoples screens and see what they are editing and what they have shot during the day. Now, for various reasons I am not going to write what he was having on his screen... but I let you draw your own conclusions from my 'silence'. It could have been Teletubbbies... could have been 'It's a wonderful life'.. but .. well ;-) Suppose the tournaments are long for many of us and we spend a lot of time away from home....

To end the evening, I rushed away from the venues JUST as the 100m Final was finishing - and not sure what the travel was like after I had departed from Stratford, but if you look at my Twitter-feed, you'll see that my train was all empty for most of the way.. I could not see a single person in the four carriages I saw from my seat. Check out the picture at my @basketballview twitter account..  And I did get a little fellow coming up to me on the first leg of the journey.. "Hi, do you like work at the Olympics or something" (I had my accreditation hanging around my neck).. and as I said I was taking pictures.. then he followed up "Have you seen like, Usain Bolt... Blake... Phelps..Chambers..."  It seemed to have made him happy that I had taken pictures of Usain Bolt :-)

As you can see, it is not all about sports, it also about the people around it.. some like the games.. others, well they might have been better served by staying home.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Bolt Dayron Robles London Olympic Grinch Olympics assignment blog fatigue photo photography sleep sports work Mon, 06 Aug 2012 09:04:50 GMT
Olympic Stadium, interviews and sleeping media Second weekend of the Olympics - and I got my first glimpse of the Olympic Stadium (on the inside)

Yes, it was another day inside the Olympic games for me on Saturday, and these days just seem to be rolling into a big blur at the moment, one day is very much like the next and somehow you do manage to get few minutes of sleep here and there.

Kind of a strange start to the day as I didn't quite know what the day would hold for me - feels like the journalists are getting slower and slower in deciding what they wish to have covered. Luckily I still had decided to venture down to Stratford early in the morning - as 8.30am I got a txt asking if I am covering the Women's Pole Vault at 10am at the Olympic Stadium.

Off to Canon desk at the MPC to borrow a 500mm lens for the day, so I can at least photograph some of the action inside there - you'd need something even longer if you really want to cover stuff happening far away. But - first time handling a lens this long and it was quite strange, but well worth it for athletics in a stadium that big. First time in a while that I've covered athletics - and Pole Vault was a tough thing to photograph as the 'moats/pits' near it were full of photographers who were covering women's long jump and Jessica Ennis.. for some odd reason :-) So not an ideal angle to shoot from - but I got what I needed from the few jumps the Finn made.

Snapped few quick images of 'Blade Runner' making his first appearance at Olympics - and some Finnish runner whose name I have conveniently forgotten.


As I was making my way back to the press room (we have to walk all around the stadium through the 'moats' ... and we exit/enter right under the Olympic Flame.. which in its own way is quite cool to be so close to something you've seen on TV many times as a kid.. and now I walk right under it (and could touch it - if it wasn't so hot.. it is actually very warm with all those flames burning). And as the Men's 100m finish line is right there - and the qualifying was happening, the Photo Marshall seemed very surprised that i wasn't going to the moat over there to take pictures of Usain Bolt.. Oh well - not everyone needs to snap images of him.. and I already have few of him in the archives from many years ago.

After this it was yet another athlete interview session - with Danish runner in the Athletes Village. And yet again another toasted ciabatta bread - after the Olympics I think I am quite OK without having a ciabatta for a LOONNGG time. And even Coke is starting to come out of my ears at the moment.. Thank goodness I'll heading out to Westfield for the job later on.. might be able to get something different to eat at the Food Village over there.

At the various media spaces (which you the visiting public do not see) it is starting to show very clearly that the tournament is wearing on, the couches at the main Press Centre are occupied by sleeping photographer/journalists at any given time.  The tiredness is starting to seep into each and everyone of us over here.. and I can say with quite a bit certainty that the energy drink manufacturers are missing a big deal over here.. Cola just doesn't cut it when you need that little boost

For the evening I decided to have a look (well, photograph) the Men's handball for the first time in London - repeat of Beijing Final - as Iceland and France met at the Copper Box. Covered the first half of the game - but unlike the women's game.. the men rarely showed any emotions and the match reminded me more of wrestling :-) So after the first 30 minutes i decided to call it a day and head out.

It is actually a good thing to leave in mid-session if you can (maybe only applies to media) - as the whole Olympic Park was like a ghost town while the events were going on. So it was very easy to walk to the MPC - catch the empty shuttle to Stratford and no rush/queues at that end either.. You learn something new every day :-)

Day wasn't finished quite yet - as I had decided to switch hotels just to stay somewhere else and not in one hotel for 18 nights.. so checked in around 11pm and just settled down for the night. No power-shower (that's NORMAL shower to all you living in the Nordic countries.. but here in UK we need to give special names to showers that produce normal pressure) - so the evening shower was under the drip-drip of a proper British shower.

Decided to check online stuff once more - only to see the GB basketball crew in full swing talking about the major collapse the Men's team in the second 20 against Australia.. that kept me 'entertained' for few moments before it was time to call it a night... and at the time of falling asleep, I still had no idea what Sunday would hold for me.. possibility of the Marathon.. definitely another media session.. and wouldn't mind the France vs Norway game in the evening..

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 London Olympics assignment basketball photo photography sports travel work Sun, 05 Aug 2012 09:51:51 GMT
Hockey, interviews, handball and I was on TV! Apologies once again for posting yesterdays 'story' quite late into the afternoon - silly athletics stealing my morning time :-)

Friday - very quiet in the morning from the journalists side and no idea what they want me to cover today, but still off to the MPC I travel in the morning, and despite TFL telling us that Central Line is suspended.. my train passed through without an incident. So back to Stratford and the Olympic Park..


First thing was to drop in few items for Canon to have a look at - and then to editing some images and few little bits by the press table. Then got a call to go to yet another 'secret' press session which I can't talk too much about. And just when you thought you were prepared to shoot from an angle that leaves sponsors feeling cold.. they change the system and place where we take the pictures.. but before you think this is a moan, nope - they actually made the shoot better for me. Nice outside roof-top location where you could see the whole Olympic Park and have that at the background .. and before the sponsors pushed some of their items to the high jumpers hands.. I had the pictures that I needed..

Then it was time to grab a quick bite to eat - and as Westfield Shopping centre is closed to anyone except people with Olympic tickets/accreditation, it was nice and peaceful there for a change. Bit of Chicken Fried Rice for lunch - not bad at all.. and about half the price of anything you can buy at the Olympic Park.. I think a bottle of Coke is about the same price as my lunch :-)

Reporter then said that they have nothing else they need pictures of - so I had the afternoon for myself. First off to shoot the second half of England vs Pakistan in Field Hockey - mainly went for crowd images and such like. 


Afterwards I ventured out to the Olympic Park to snap pictures of the venues and fans - nice and easy work just to walk around and snap away, or so you think. You would think that in a mass of about 150.000 people you would not accidentally bump into people you know. Well, I did.. there I am walking all innocent and stuff.. when all of a sudden BBC sports reporter Chris Mitchell runs across the crowds with a camera in his hand and starts to take pictures of ME.. he is closely followed by Senior Ahmedas and Mr Dish N Swish :-) So there I am surrounded by the GB basketball crew who seem to be hell bent on snapping as many pictures as possible.. those who are 'friends' with me on Facebook can surely see few of the images over there.. and NO I am not going to link them from here. *hehe* But - good to see the basketball guys for a minute.. don't get to do enough of that sport at all.

Evening I decided to spend photographing bit of Nordic neighbours.. Sweden, Denmark and Norway all were in action in Women's Handball. And what brilliant games they ended up being.. both games went right to the last seconds and both had a result that put a smile on my face (Norway won their game and Sweden lost theirs). The evening at the Copper Box (or Box that Rocks) will surely be one of those that will stick in my mind as a special moment during these Olympics... best night of sports so far that I've seen/photographed.


The Photo Manager at Handball happens to be from near Voss (where my wife's family live) - and as the sport seems to get very little media interest, he is always very happy to see me and we even manage to exchange few words in Norwegian.. nice to meet people like this in the smaller sports. In the bigger sports the attitude seems to be more.. rigid.

And - as the second game featured Norway - then it is compulsory for me to notify the In-Laws that I am at the game, so they can look for me on TV. And apparently I had been shown on Norwegian TV - friend of mine had sent a message through FB asking if I had been at the game, because she very much thought that she had seen me. At least she was correct, online those who seem to see me at Women's Beach Volleyball every day ;-)

Not sure if it is the fact that the games have entered their second week - but the media seems to be getting grumpier by the day. And poor old security people seem to be getting the most of it.. for some reason media doesn't seem to like that they need to go through security or follow rules over there.. cutting queues, not showing passes.. this is all becoming something I see most days (if I remember correctly it was friendlier last weekend..)

Having said that, there are humorous moments as well - in the evening as we waited for the Media Shuttle to take us to Stratford, some of us seemed to think the bus was waiting just a little too long before starting to move. So we all started to clap our hands and chant 'We Want to go.. We want to go.. Close the doors.." Nice little smile shared between MOST of the media in the bus.. the ones who seemed to get most into it were the South Americans.. and myself!

All Images are ©Ville Vuorinen - No unauthorised use of images allowed


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 London Olympics assignment basketball blog photo photography sports travel work Sat, 04 Aug 2012 12:38:50 GMT
Media session, interviews and some hoops  Slow action day - but plenty of work and a long day!

Goodness know which day it is, either as a day of the week or how many days these Olympics have been going on.. but it might have been Thursday?? As said, I spent the night at home so had to wake-up rather early to depart for London and my car parking spot (and I am not telling where I park as I like to keep the place and not have everyone rushing there.. let's just say that it is handy for the Tube ;-)).

Nothing like a 150 mile drive to start a working day - Central Line working nicely today so got to the Olympic Park very smoothly, this after not experiencing any bad traffic on the M40/M25 either.. I mist be bracing myself for some terrible traffic chaos for the last week of the Olympics!

The first job of the day - well unfortunately I can't write too much about it as the paper wants to keep it slightly under wraps and not have all Finnish media rushing there, which makes sense as they want to have something unique and different from here and not just the usual stuff. One thing I can say is that trying to shoot for a newspaper article where advertisement is usually being kept in minimum in the photos.. this was one of the most difficult shoots I've had to do!


After that there was the normal stuff that we photographers are rather good at - WAITING! Especially at bigger events you end up sitting around for a long time waiting for the event to start or your interviewees to arrive. So sitting around at the Village Plaza Cafe at the Athletics Village was the name of the game for couple of hours. But that gave me nicely time to edit the first shoots pictures - the ones you could use (maybe I should have gotten in touch with the sponsor as I had some nice shots with their logo!). Small sandwich and a drink.. the usual £7 for those.. these games don't come cheap on the dining!

Next it was a photo-shoot with some of the Finnish athletes who start their action over the weekend - got some good shots of the female Pole Vaulter and Men's High Jumper - and by the looks of it I had chosen a good spot for the images as the Finnish main photo agency took the athletes there after me.. Damn copycats ;-) Once again found that the athletes are much more relaxed when talking to a photographer, than when they talk to the written press - perhaps we (photographers) are seen as less of a 'threat' as we won't be writing about the things they say.. SO... what the Finnish Pole Vaulter said.........

And that was al I was scheduled to do for Thursday - no sports as such to photograph, which just felt 'wrong' at the Olympics. So it was a question whether I would be able to be awake enough to wait for the Men's basketball games in the evening (Spain-GB and USA-Nigeria). While having dinner at McD's I did decide to go and have a go at the basketball - and once again met with Senior Ahmedas over there.. the resident Elf of the Marshmallow Arena. I think we chatted more than concentrated not the game for the first few minutes..  we also noticed a fellow photographer with some VERY different photo-gear. And let's just say that IF his photos are as good (or BETTER!) as ours. Then we should right away sell our cameras and find out where he gets his. Possibly this is one of those instances where you come to realise that owning the latest equipment doesn't always mean you get the best pictures! If you look at Senior Ahmedas' FB page - I am sure he'll post images of the peculiar camera equipment..

The Red FoxesFoxes

Game itself - not the greatest from a photography point of view (for myself), but in the last minutes as the crowd got going there were some nice crowd images to be taken - and Spain almost gave the game away to the delight of home supporters. Sometimes when as a basketball photographer I go to World's/Euro's/etc.. it is amusing to look at the ones who are there for well.. who are not basketball fans/photographers. Like last night, many of them were waiting for the USA game, but came to sit down early to reserve a spot.. so they were al talking around.. BUT then the cheerleaders (Red Foxes) came on and the cameras started to sing.. I could help but have little smile (and by the way - my Red Foxes picture is NOT from this moment in time.. but yes, I did also take pictures of them, so in the end.. am I any 'better'???)

I did think for a while to stay for the USA game as well (being a Brooklyn Nets fan!) - but the tiredness and the fact that so many photographers were squeezing into the seats. I decided that it would be smarter to start heading back to the Hotel and have an early night and go to bed at 1am.. after waking up around 4am in the morning.. it was just a short day :-)

AAH! At the end of basketball, I did decided to take advantage of CPS services here - as Canon checks/repairs equipment on 24 hour turn around and free of charge. Dropped in my MKIV for check-up and also the temperamental 24-70mm for a total overhaul. Also getting my 200mm f1.8 serviced tomorrow.. all this saves me a good few hundred £'s in the long run :-)

Long - but entertaining day at the Olympics, and just goes to show that there is so much more to covering an event this size than just snapping pictures of the action. Apart from the work - the contrast of the morning back home with green fields and tranquility (sort of like the opening ceremony at the Olympics) and the hustle and bustle of the Olympic Park, it could not have been greater.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 London Olympics Red Foxes assignment basketball cheerleader london 2012 photo photography picture sports travel work Fri, 03 Aug 2012 09:47:29 GMT
Crowds, Wiggo and Home cooked food! Apparently everyone should remember where they were when Bradley Wiggins won the his gold medal.. well, here's my story.

Wednesday... or at least I think was Wednesday - was a day of cycling for me once again and with the venue being right on the other side of London, I decided to drive myself across the town instead of taking the Tube and sweating there with all the people. So an early morning wake-up once again and driving to the train station at Surbiton (two stops from Hampton Court).

The women's race was so 'short' that there was no time to think about moving from A to B - so I stuck to the start position where the riders came out of the gates, and then moved to slightly elevated position for the Finish to shoot over the heads of fellow photographers and crowd. Luckily the Finnish riders was second to start and finish - so my work on this race was very quickly sorted out. Slightly messy pictures from the start - as the Olympic organisers seem to be having some sort of weird fascination with scaffolding/fences, you just can't get away from them anywhere. But but of helpful hints from a Canadian photographer and we sorted out a nice angle to shoot from.

For the Men's race it felt silly to stand with the 100 photographers at the start/finish line and get identical images - and also it made sense to get elsewhere as it would allow me to avoid the tens of thousands of fans leaving the venue after the men's race. As I left after the women's race - I was traveling the 'wrong' way as most people were still arriving.. although what sort of point of view did they get.. that I don't know.

So train to Surbiton and then a quick walk to the banks of the Thames to have a look at a good place to photograph - and I found it in front of a typical English terraced house as I stood on the concrete fencing next to their entrance.. once again a nice view of the crowds lining the streets and cyclist whizzing past. And also some nice pictures of fans sitting on the second floor windows and waving flags (and shouting time checks to the crowds below).


The cheers for Froome and Wiggins were something special - and even at a nondescript street in the suburbs of London, you really felt that the British people were embracing the Olympics full heartedly.

After 'Wiggo' had passed the spot where I was (about 10km from finish) - people rushed to the near-by pubs or their homes to watch the final kilometres of the race.. and with the sun shining and people happy, it was a good way to end the working day.. almost. Of course being on the route meant that I was stuck with my 3G dongle in sending the files to the clients - and lets just say it wasn't working the best possible way, but we got there in the end.

With work finished relatively early - I decided that this was a good day to go and visit home for the 4th day in the last 3 1/2 weeks.. so off I set for the 150 mile drive to Great Malvern. And once I opened the door at the court yard at home... it was good to be back there, the country side.. the silence.. just in general being back home was VERY nice. My wife had also been kind enough to cook a tasty lasagne for dinner - so for the first time in a week I had something home cooked to eat..

Despite being home - there was still some work to be done in the evening with sending invoices (always nice - as that means you are getting paid) and few other lose ends to tie-up. Not before long the tiredness hit me - and it was time to sleep in my own bed for the first time in a week.

A day that I possibly made longer that needed for myself with the drive home - but in the end it was WELL WORTH IT!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Hampton Court Olympics Wiggo assignment cycling photo photography sports Thu, 02 Aug 2012 10:11:17 GMT
Canoes, Chaos and Pictures! Welcome back - and here we go with my little review of Tuesday's action/inaction at the Olympics!

So far I have been only hearing/reading about other media personnel being stuck in transport chaos - today I got to experience some first hand. I was heading out to Lee Valley White Water Centre for the Men's Canoe Slalom, and as we've been warned about parking restrictions etc - I thought to take the Central Line to Stratford and then the media shuttle to the venue. But a Tube-driver had smelled smoke in his train earlier on and so the Central Line was SUSPENDED! This seemed to explain to me why so many people were walking away from Epping station at 7.30am...

In any event, you should always have a Plan B if something like this happens - so first of all I had started my journey early enough and then having done some prior research into where the venue was. So - back to the car and plot in a route to the nearest Train Station of the venue (they always seem to have plenty of parking space!). To my surprise the journey was only going to take me 20 minutes (plus then finding a place to park) - smooth drive with no hassle - drive past the venue and turn around.. park about 5 minute walk from the gates and arrive well in advance to any other media personnel. Sorted - and there was no stress of panic about getting there in time, it taking too long.. or any such thing.  What do we learn from this.. HAVE A PLAN B!! (Although fellow tog Mr Mansoor apparently traveled about 4 hours from Epping to Stratford.. where was your plan B ;-))


EkstremKaya11 copy

Lee Valley was nice quiet in the morning with no other press or much of anyone over there - I took a good while walking around the course and looking at the good places to photograph the race when it eventually started. My only previous experience of shooting anything like this has been in Voss at the Ekstrem Sports Veko, which certainly brings out much more dramatic images with the high cliffs and nature around, instead of the plastic/concrete of the built up venue. But you got to work with what you got..

Just like with the cycling few days earlier - the Media Centre was bursting out seams well before everyone had a seat. They might be talking about empty seats at the venues - but we sure don't have empty seats at the media venues. Luckily for me - this time I was one of the lucky ones with a seat/space/internet access.

Race itself - Semi's were good fun.. then a break and edit/send stuff.. and walk out for the Final.. I would say that images were of 'standard' quality.. nothing too special, but how can you catch something special when nothing THAT special happens. Best pictures probably came from the French supporters. And don't even mention the behaviour of some photographers at the Medal Ceremony - this was the first ceremony I've photographed and it was PANDEMONIUM! We (photographers) were given a space where to shoot from - and then we were to be escorted after the medalist to the secondary position to get more images. But.. some press decided that instead of following the rules - it would be nice to start rushing around and surround the Gold Medalist and throw everything into chaos.. Pushing and shoving... I personally would like to think that photographers in the Olympics are some of the best/most experienced in the world and know how to behave.. But this was worse than a BBL Trophy Final ;-)



Perhaps the torrential downpour which soaked us and our cameras ahead of the ceremony was to explain the poor behaviour.. and after the event I talked to a fellow photographer who had his 400mm (that's an expensive one!!) kicked by a fellow photographer.. It's a real Dog-Eat-Dog world out there...

For once this was my only event of the day - so I was finished nice and early at 5pm.. off to the Hotel.. Pizza for dinner and reading about the ancient hero of Saladin on my Kindle for a while. First time in a while I felt well rested at the end of the day and started to feel half-human once again.

Not a bad day of action and travel for myself - perhaps not the most exciting of days or sports to cover, but that is the spice of this kind of large event. Some days you enjoy the fast paced action in Handball.. next to you sit down four hours in a press room waiting for the cyclist to get around the 140km course.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Canoe Slalom London Olympics Plan B assignment media photo photography sports sports photos suspended travel chaos work Wed, 01 Aug 2012 09:12:54 GMT
Day five - four sports It might have been the fifth day over here - but I only covered four sport during the day.

Quite a day - and as some of you know I am in this for the long haul. Where as this was only the 7th day covering the London 2012 games (including torch relay, etc) today was really my 21st consecutive day on assignments away from home, when you calculate the two week work in Bulgaria. And let's just say that if I was feeling the fatigue at the end of the stay in Sofia - yesterday it was hitting me again. Even when I woke up - it felt like my eyelids were tied to a ton of bricks and all I wanted to do was fall asleep again.

But, no such luck for yours truly ! 6.30 catching the transport to Olympic Park (car - tube - DLR - Media Bus) - finishing the last bits from Sunday at the MPC, before heading out to get few quick snaps of Women's basketball game Croatia vs China, then meeting up with the journalist from the paper I work for and head out for Women's Handball and Denmark vs Korea, which actually was a great game and personally speaking I think Handball is the sport that the British public have really taken into liking and wanting to learn more. After handball, walk across the park to Riverbank and shoot the Pakistan vs Spain game in Field Hockey - got some nice pictures from high up in the stands of the vista showing the whole Olympic Park and London at the background.. a place I will surely visit again! Then another dash across the park, with the crowds - and to cover Water Polo match between Italy and Australia. 

Water Polo arena was a peculiar place - in a way that inside the venue itself it is quite nice and warm (for someone covering their fourth game it was warm enough to feel slightly tired), but once you got to the Photo Workroom.. man was it freezing there, we all were wearing jumpers and even a woolly-hat might have been appropriate. Then again - at least it kept me awake during the time I was editing four games worth of images. 

Covering so many sports in a time frame of 7-8 hours presents its own challenges, you need to adjust your way of thinking and photographing constantly. Where as something works with basketball, the same can not be said about Water Polo. Also as today's assignment was more about giving a general overview of each sport and not so much reporting about the match itself. It was asking for different types of images to be taken - and images that I normally would not send to the clients (i.e wider images showing players position on Penalty Corner in Hockey.. 7 meter throw in Handball..) were something that I was actually seeking from today.

By the end of Water Polo match - cheery sounding fellow photographer was asking if I was attending any evening events.. and my answer was that I was going to be at the NINE HOUR SLEEP near Epping! First night that I've slept more than 5-6 hours, and boy was I looking forward to it.

Before that I had to negotiate the loops of Media Shuttle buses at the Olympic Park - and for some reason the Shuttle buses have a 5 mile/hour speed limit and sometimes you see the Games Makers on the pavement walking faster than our bus is moving.. let's just say it makes you just that tad-bit frustrated - then again I do hope that the speedy Games Makers will get a speeding fine or something! Although luck was on my side - as I caught the 'South Loop' shuttle that took me to Stratford exit instead of the MPC.. so straight to DLR - then Central Line to Epping.. and box meal from KFC before having a couple of minutes of SkyPe time with my wife.. and then.. LIGHTS OUT!

AH!! On my royalty/etc watch - it seems like the Prime Ministers media person had made a mistake in planning David Cameron's schedule.. he was obviously supposed to be at the Italy vs Australia water polo.. but oh no.. he had been booked into the Handball match.. sometimes you just can't trust them to get things right!

Once in a while I do mention things that are hard/tough during these long days of tournaments - and at the Olympics for media it is getting a chance to get anything to eat! Luckily we do have other options than McD's (although the Americans seem to love the fact that you can have a Big M and then go to work.. I'd just get an upset stomach from on of those).. but the way my work is most days.. finding the time is quite tough. Yesterday my dining pattern was 6am : Breakfast - 4pm : Flake (that's a chocolate bar!) - 8pm : KFC meal. Not really a balanced diet that you'd like in a long tournament. And then you listen to the journalist - "yeah, didn't watch the whole game as I popped over to have a bite to eat" (during handball) - "Oh yes, was the goal at the end, as I went to grab a bite to eat" (during field hockey).. and all the while.. well.. all I had to chew on was.. nothing.

It's supposed to be raining on Tuesday - which means I have an outdoor sport to cover :-) More about that later.. I hope Mr Mitchell, Woods, Hobbs and Ahmed enjoy the cozy settings at the Basketball venue..  from pictures I've seen.. those guys have a whole lot a spare time ;-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 London London 2012 Olympics assignment basketball field handball hockey photo photography polo sports water work Tue, 31 Jul 2012 09:22:56 GMT
Day 4 - Rain, Sun and more royals Sunday and the Olympics continue :-)

Today went to show that you don't always sit on the touchline and hectically try to snap pictures of the action, which is non-stop. As on Sunday I was covering the Women's Road-cycling, but as the course was so 'short' there was no chance to get a shuttle to the course and be in place for the start and finish.

Tube to Green Park in the morning as Media Bus was not worth the hassle - walk with the crowds past the The Ritz down to the media centre alongside the Mall and for the first time I GOT A LOCKER at a venue.. whether this is only the last time, remains to be seen. Good timing on the arrival as the Finnish rider Pia Sundstedt was just being introduced to the crowd so I got some good shots of her before the race (which proved to be just as well). For the start the request was to get some images with something that says 'London' in them.. so off to the photo position by Buckingham Palace with the rest of the photographers.. As we walked down the Mall it felt like we were having a race of our own, and we even got a cheer from the crowd :-)

At the photo position every one was snapping pictures of the crowd were we looked for the younger watchers or some fans dressed in colours of their country. And we found some nice one subjects to photograph.. and if you've read about the cycling race, you've probably seen few of those images in some of the papers.

Walk back from the photo position.. DON'T GET ME STARTED! Instead of the security allowing us the way we came.. oh no - it was a walk all the way to Green Park and along Piccadilly.. thank goodness none of us had something like a 400mm to carry with us.

After getting back to the Media Center - all the spaces were taken so I ended up sitting on the floor with a fellow photographer, who is here on an assignment for Finnish photo-agency Lehtikuva. And we waited.. and waited.. then waited some more.. and after about three hours, we ventured out to get ready to shoot the finish. Photo positions in the finish are rather poor - only selected few got the 'head on' position.. and for the rest of us, well.. they were lacking in angles and crowds got in the way of the shots a bit as well, but in these situations you have to improvise and do best out of the situation.. but even if I had over 100 frames from the main bunch coming into the Finish, the Finnish riders was bunched in somewhere there in the middle and I only saw her bike frame in some of the images (things would have been different from head on position).

Quick sending of few images and then headed to have dinner at the Catering Village - before hooking up with Mansoor Ahmed at the basketball venue (where I've heard that he sleeps under the tables and refuses to leave the venue even during the night ;-)) Managed to say Hi! to Team GB's Drew Sullivan before the game.. got some nice pictures of the Russians playing some attractive ball.. i did NOT take pictures of the Red Foxes cheerleaders.. which will surprise and disappoint many of you.

After the GB game - across the park to Stratford and back up the Central Line to Epping and it was 'lights out' as soon as I got to my Hotel..

AH!! You must be wondering about the 'Royals' in the title.. well, whether Buckingham Palace knows exactly where I am every day, and sends one member of the family there or what, I once again managed to snap a Royal at an event. Princess Anne sat right behind me at the finish line of the Road Cycling.. and I managed to catch her looking not so happy while at the front of the image I had a lovely set of Dutch children with the flag celebrating Marienne Vos' victory.. that image will quite likely find its way to my archives of 'keepers' from the Olympics. But as far as I understand - as an accredited Photographer my images can not be shown in Blogs/Twitter/Facebook.. so none you will ever see it :-(

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 FIBA London Olympics assignment basketball photo photography sports work Mon, 30 Jul 2012 08:55:52 GMT
Olympic gig Day Three Saturday - the sports finally started (for me) !

After four days of shooting this and that - the sports finally started today for me, first in the morning Angola vs Russia in Women's Handball, great to see a full house for the early morning game and the crowd really got into the game. And I think I might have gotten some nice pictures as well - which brings me to my new 'toy'.

This was the first time I put the Canon 1DX through its paces in a real situation - in the morning I'd visited the Canon desk in MPC to get few pointers from the guys over there.. and armed with these I headed to the Handball Arena. It is good... GOOD!! The camera really did work nicely, even if it was 'straight out of the box' - loved the colours and AF worked brilliantly, if this is the shape of things to come with this piece of kit.. I am one happy bunny!

Then I had a lovely across town bus ride on the 'Zil Lane' to Wembley Arena for Women's Badminton, 70 minute journey was a breeze while most of the way as the traffic stood still on the other lanes... few extra bits photographed at the Badminton.. first up it was Prince Charles and closely followed by the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.. perhaps my observation skills have indeed improved as I managed to pick these two from the crowd without any help from fellow photographers.

Pictures taken and sent onwards to the clients - and back to the bus where I ended up chatting Nigel Farrow about various sport photo stuff.. Back to the Media centre at Stratford end, first bite to eat during the day and then off to some more handball for the evening.

First off was Team GB vs Montenegro in the handball - followed by two bit more experienced teams in Norway vs France, some very nice pictures from both and at the end of the day I can it had been a pleasure to have covered handball after such a long break. Perhaps I should look into covering some GB handball during the year as well..

Refreshing return to actually shooting action again, instead of still life images - whether there were any real 'keepers' in the lot.. we'll just have to wait and see ;-)

The lack of lockers at venues (or at least at the MPC) is slightly annoying, as yesterday I had to lug around the shopping bag for the new camera.. but life goes on and you live and learn as these tournament progress forward..  but a rewarding day ended with a smooth rail journey up to Epping and to the hotel (where the key-card refused to work and needed to get it re-coded at reception. Few emails replied - written and it was lights out.. another Olympic day successfully negotiated.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Canon 1DX London Olympics assignment badminton observations photo photography Sun, 29 Jul 2012 17:17:00 GMT
Day 2 Olympics - London 2012 They say that second day is always easier than the first... so was it for me at the London 2012 games??

(and also - I wonder if I am allowed to write London 2012 to my Blog - it must be somehow protected set of letters&numbers)

Waking up, yet in another hotel - it feels like I am living from a suitcase at the moment as I have spent three nights out of the last 18 at a hotel room...and those few nights actually made me realise how comfortable my own bed actually is :-) Today gave me an idea of the journey from this hotel to the Olympic Village - which took approximately 45 minutes, and then another 20 minutes or so from the Tube to the MPC.

With no sports happening today and most press having processed their accreditation - the press centre was eerily quiet at 8am in the morning. But there was a reason for mad early presence at the venue. Nothing to do with work, well sort of, but I had a brand new shiny 'toy' waiting for me at the ProPhotoCenter .. a Canon 1DX. One little advantage of being press at the Olympics - you sometimes get yours hands into new equipment a little earlier than general sales.


After the purchase, I hung around the MPC and edited few pictures from last night - and just had a relaxing time. Today's only assignment was to the Finnish Church in London, where one of the journalists interviews the local Chaplain, while snapped few photos of the interview.

Then I was on the 'stand-by' list to the Opening Ceremony allocations - but unfortunately luck was not on my side this time around and like millions of others, I will be watching it on TV. Despite it being a relatively short and easy day - it still took well into the afternoon before I was able to depart from the Press Centre and head to my 'base-camp' along the M11.

As I departed the MPC - many of the press were rushing to the Shuttle buses that transport us around the park - it was entertaining to see photographers carrying their gear and always rushing as a new bus arrived.. and not sure which bus went where and so on..

Opening ceremony was great - although a bit chaotic and wasn't quite sure about few things, suppose Bean and Bond did it for me.. not sure about the NHS bit to be honest.. but it sure was better than I had expected, a great start to the 2012 games.. now let the sports do the talking! OH!!! And I did switch off after the ceremony bit.. didn't watch the athletes walk for two hours.. for me it was bed time and 5am wake-up call :-) And even if it would have been a GREAT experience to be at the Opening Ceremony.. maybe I saw more of it from TV??

Looking really forward to the first day of sporting action for the London 2012 games.. more to follow...


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 1DX 2012 Canon London Olympics Photography Turun Sanomat assignment new camera sports Sat, 28 Jul 2012 07:08:22 GMT
Olympics Day 1 Not maybe the real first day - but first day of the non-stop action for me!

Thursday saw my first day of the Olympic assignment in Stratford, an early morning departure from home at 6am - beating most of the traffic as M25 tends to only get grid-locked westbound on the section I drive at. Dropping the car at Epping tube station - and catching the Central line down to Stratford (25 minutes). Walk all the way around Westfield to the Media Entrance - 200 meter queue to the security screening and catching the Media transport to MPC.

Pick-up the Photo-vest - all the lockers are gone (so who's got two, give me one!) ... so this meant a long day dragging my two bags with me around the Olympic Village, note to self : Take only one bag tomorrow!


3G signal seemed to be blocked at the MPC - and only worked outside of it.. interesting. Met with the journalist from the newspaper I am working for - and of course not forgetting UK's leading basketball photographer Mansoor Ahmed! So all in all productive first few hours at the MPC - after a lovely photo-brief it was time to head to the Athletes Village for a quick interview/photo session with the Finnish Shooting team. More familiar faces over there - quick edit of pictures and then leaving to check in at the Hotel where I stay for the next week or so. 

Despite spending a day in the Olympic Park - I still haven't seen the 'front' side of the venues.. all I have traveled along are the staff roads and Media places.. maybe at some point I get to see what the public see once they visit the park..

Journey from Stratford takes around 35 minutes to the Hotel - near a service station along the M11 (I think that's the right road??) Room is nice size, good shower and internet works.. what else can one ask for. 

Yes - there are little things that would be nice to have ironed out in the journey to the Park and at the Olympic Park itself - but in general it went OK.

No idea yet whether I will be covering the Opening Ceremony on Friday evening - funnily enough I am not too bothered about it either. If I get to go, GREAT it will be once in a life time opportunity/experience, if not - well, I'll probably watch on TV somewhere and enjoy a relaxing evening.. On Saturday the first competition I'll be covering will be fencing.. so something new to discover..

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Finland Suomi assignment blog london2012 olympics photography work working at the olympics Fri, 27 Jul 2012 08:35:45 GMT
Tournament fatigue Traveling for long spells can take its toll on you!

I have lost count on the times people come to me and say how lucky I must be to travel on assignments for days or weeks on foreign shores. But sometimes the grass is looking greener on the other side of the discussion.

Spending time in a country where you can speak enough of the language to say "Hi", "Thank You" and "No" - and no-one speaks a word of English isn't always a walk in the rose garden. Even something as simple as buying your next meal can become 'an experience' - and quite often you actually have no idea what you are eating.. but if it tastes edible, then why question what you are eating :-) 

For this Blog post I can use the example of my current two week assignment to Bulgaria - for FIBA Europe U20's Division B. There really should be nothing to complain about, the weather is absolutely brilliant, food is cheap, I am getting paid, the apartment is nice and the sport is basketball (which I love!). All good you say?? Yes, why not.. 

This trip is slightly different as I am staying in an apartment, so I get to do all my own cooking instead of looking for restaurants to eat in. Although going to the supermarket can be challenging - now Bulgarian isn't the easiest language to read.. so you rely on pictures/visual aids to figure out what you are buying for dinner. Also sometimes you end up buying too much of something and eating sausages for a week.. and despite staying here for couple of weeks.. I am yet to figure out which carton in the dairy section is cream!

Next illusion many have is that they believe that you have hours to soak in the new surrounding and explore places - in my case, this could not usually be further from truth. Normal day can start at a training session for one of the teams at 10.20am - and end (at the Arena) at 10.30pm when the last games is over.. on top of this you still have to count the editing time for the pictures from four games, two training sessions and few video interviews - and it would be nice to have something to eat as well.. so before you crawl to the bed at 2am.. it has been a long day of work (and no sightseeing). During the last two weeks I had exactly 4 hours to spend in Sofia city centre, otherwise it has been spent at the venues or editing pictures/videos.

One of the toughest things (for me) is that on the long travels - you are spending a lot of time on your own and naturally miss the people back home (which in my case would be my wife). And where as these feelings rarely surface in the first days, as things are exciting and you are getting used to surroundings/work - once that novelty of it wears out.. the days become long and you start to count the days before you get to fly back home and wondering whether a 9to5 job would be so bad after all ;-) But this also makes me appreciate the times I DO get to spend at home that much more.

On the work front - one of the biggest challenges on the foreign trips the reliability of Wi-Fi (or if there even is if Wi-Fi!!) at the venue - in the age when the clients like to have the images two minutes before you have actually taken the picture, you rely on the organisers to have a stable connection at the venue - and if not?? Well, most places have a McD's near-by, with free Wi-Fi you can use after the game, although this doesn't work in tournaments where you stay at the venue for the whole day.

By now you feel like it's all moan moan and moan - but like with so many things, maybe it is when you have too much of the good stuff.. it doesn't feel so special anymore?? And despite writing about the difficulties and so on - I do love my work and have had some great experiences, met some great people and seen things and visited places I never thought I would see. All this thanks to my job :-)

Now - here in Sofia it is time for the last day of the tournament.. and tomorrow I am flying home!! And better to remember to bring lots of presents to my wife as I am missing most of her birthday....

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Bulgaria FIBA assignment basketball fatigue foreign travels photography sports photography travel work Sun, 22 Jul 2012 06:21:04 GMT
Photographing the home team - promoted! What a first game to cover outside the assigned teams...

Today I decided to stay at the Universida Hall after both Team GB and Finland had finished their games, as home nation Bulgaria were battling for promotion in the following match, against Poland. It sure was worth staying over for - some nice game images and more importantly some nice emotions/celebrations as the game went to the wire.

Every home team basket was greeted with celebrations on the court, on the bench and in the stands.. but as often is the case, the pictures will be able to relay the story better than a million words - so here you have my first Gallery from the FIBA Europe U20's Division B tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.. I present to you.. Bulgaria vs Poland :-)

If you want to go directly to the Gallery of images - click on this link

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Bulgaria Division B EuroBasket FIBA FIBA Europe Poland Sofia U20 basketball photography sports photography Thu, 19 Jul 2012 18:33:18 GMT
Dealing with clients How do clients deal with you and how to deal with them?

As a single self-employed photographer, getting through to clients can sometimes be a nightmare - here are few of my thoughts and experiences that I have gathered over the years. And yes, majority of clients are good with their responses/payment.. but as always it is the bad experiences that stick with you the most.

Case 1 - Late responders!

This group is by far the largest that I have come across in my time as self-employed. As a photographer I need to seek my clients myself, so I write thousands of letters/emails/etc every month offering images from events/tournaments. 

For example I wrote to a national newspaper enquiring if they would have liked pictures from a game I was planning to attend in a two weeks time, in the next 13 days I received no reply. Then on the morning of the game - a desperate sounding Email drops to me. "Hi! You said you were at the XX vs XX game tonight, we would love to get pictures from you from the game. Please let us know the price" 

Say What! Now, of course as I hadn't heard from the prospective client - I had booked another client for the same day at a different game, I do got to earn my living. But the newspaper sounds almost angry that I am not at the game even if I said I was PLANNING to go to it.  Yes, I was planning to go and would have gone, if you had only replied when I wrote to you :-)

Another way the late responders act is sometimes to my advantage - normally I have more than one client at an event/game, so let's say I already have two clients for a game - meaning I will get a decent pay-out from it. And weeks in advance I have offered the game for £XXX for any number of clients.. then on the game day morning/afternoon I get another late response saying how they would like images for £XXX from the game/tournament.. I quite often say that.. "Sorry, that was a 'pre-booked' price for the game, now I will charge my normal per image rates. which are £XXX per image".

This usually ends costing the client more - and earn me more money, just like with trains/planes.. BOOK EARLY FOR BEST PRICE!

Case 2- NO REPLY!

This group is by far the most annoying - at the age of E-mail/txt and so on, how long would it take to send a 'Thanks, but No Thanks!' message back. 

And this group usually only is the clients side who 'can' do this, it would reflect very well on MY business if I would not respond to people who write to me asking for my images/services. If I would not respond to newspaper X when they contact me - I doubt they would be in touch with me ever again. But why is it OK for the papers/clients not to respond to photographers??

Even if it is a standard response email - saying "NO" - it better than having no reply what so ever.

The strangest Email I have had no replies to has been very recently when I have been writing to a certain photographic store asking to buy a camera and lens for a little over £XX,XXX. After six Emails, four phone-calls to answer machine.. I still haven't received a reply.. obviously this store is doing rather well and doesn't need small time clients ;-)

Case 3 - Yes, but...

Here is the one many will recognise - you start reading the reply to your email.. all sounds positive, they've seen your photos and absolutely LOVE them and think you are just the right person to provide the images they need - by now you start to get a little suspicious and you are right to.

The next line reads : Unfortunately our paper/agency/website/etc does not have any budget for pictures... (but we would like all rights to your images, might not print your name at the image credit, will hold you responsible for any future issues that may arise due to us selling your image onwards and would like you to come and bring us coffee and donuts to the office every day next week)

And the next day you pick up the paper in question, after the game, and the image they use with the article is either from a game two years ago.. or a nice 'crisp' iPhone snap by the reporter from the stands... NICE!

So - there three groups most of us have probably seen at some stage in our career - if not, well done!! But, having said all this - the big majority of clients do respond promptly and politely.. but it is nice to have a little moan/rant every now and then ;-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) business clients dealing with clients freelance photography replies from clients response self-employed Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:29:26 GMT
Bulgaria Blog - part 1 Greetings from Bulgaria - where I am enjoying the sun and U20's FIBA EuroBasket Division B games!!

Past six days have been hectic and I probably could have written a Blog entry about each individual day, but as so often is the case - when you have stuff to write about, you are too busy to write it. So here goes a long entry about TRAVEL, BASKETBALL and PHOTOGRAPHY.


Flight to Sofia (via Munich) was yet another one to add to my European flights of the summer, with the exception of some huge thunder clouds over Austria when we took off from Munich - it was one of the bumpiest flights I've taken in a long time. This meant that I arrived shattered to Sofia, but the hair-raising Taxi ride at 120km/hour through the streets of Sofia woke me up nicely at 11pm. First night at a Hotel, due to the late arrival.. 

Following morning checked-in to my apartment in the business district - on a 12 day stay it is nice to have your own kitchen so you can eat when and what you like (or that was the plan!). Straight on to the Arena and first day of work - 14 hours of basketball, nice! Work-wise the days have been long due to me working for couple of clients here - so there is always a training session to attend, game to do, pictures or video to edit.


Weather in Sofia has made working even harder, the apartment is about 15 minute walk from both of the Arenas but walking in the 40 degree (celsius) heat does take it out on you, maybe it is good for me to get some exercise as well :-) To be honest, in this sort of weather one would rather just join the people by the public outdoor swimming pool next to one of the venues - maybe on Friday if no-one wants me to work.

Photography-wise the two venues are like 'Night and Day', literally. The newer Armeec Arena is great during the early games of the day, dropping the ISO to 1200 with decent shutter speeds, some of the cleanest basketball pictures I've taken in a while. Where as the Universida Zala is ... well, it is an old Eastern European venue, brown wooden walls and lights from the 70's - ISO cranked up to 4000 and still struggling for shutter speed. Unfortunately all the teams I am covering made it to the top half of the draw, and you guessed it - are playing ALL their remaining games at the Universida Zala, which not only is dark, but does not have air-con either! When it is 42 degrees outside, it sometimes gets warmer indoors at the venue.. and I can actually feel my camera heating up when shooting couple of games in a row, so I've started to cool the cameras down in between games between cold drinks bottles (it works surprisingly well!).

How much have been doing sightseeing in Sofia? Zero, zilch, nada... all I have managed has been to have couple of walks in the nice wooded park close-by, which seems a popular hang-out for local people as well. But - as one needs to keep reminding oneself sometimes, these trips are WORK and not holiday, and even on some longer travels the sights that one gets to see aren't that much apart from the venues.

One thing that amuses me here is the fact that naturally there is no English writing anywhere and with the Soviet style letters - things are tough to understand. Especially when going to to do grocery shopping - you can stare a package as long as you want, but you still won't guess what it contains, unless there is a picture on the cover. So far I am struggling to find cream for cooking - so if anyone knows the Bulgarian word for cream.. please reply to me!! Also - I made the mistake of buying an 'economy' size package of sausages on the first shopping - and let's just say I've had sausages in many different ways in the last three or four days, luckily today I have chicken on the menu.. or at least I think it is chicken ???



Apart from all this, I have managed to finish the Jo Nesbo book Snow Leopard, watch the 'Mongol' in Bulgarian on TV, taste few varieties of local energy drinks (the UpSurd is nice!), eaten snacks from local take-aways where pizza costs about £0.70, kebab platter £0.65...

One more week to go here - covering games for few different clients, before heading home and jumping straight to the Olympic duties over there! I will promise to be more active with the Blog during the next week.. maybe get some thoughts from some of the traveling GB/Finnish fans as well.

Hopefully you all are enjoying the summer weather where-ever you are - unless you of course happen to one of those 'lucky' ones who are living on the Islands of Rain - in which case you might not be enjoying the weather that much, unless it has changed dramatically since last week??

The pictures on this Blog entry just show that is not easy being a ref sometimes you get hit right in your face, other times you want to cover your face in front of the coach because of a call you or someone else made - and then the last image shows Devon Van Oostrum flying out of the court - but getting the ball back to the court.. whether it went to one of his team mates.. I can't remember ;-)



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Bulgaria EuroBasket FIBA Finland GB Sofia Suomi Team GB U20 basketball hoops photo photography travel Tue, 17 Jul 2012 14:44:36 GMT
Black&White basketball 'sportraits' Few days ago I posted a picture of a Finnish Basketball player Dionne Pounds and that received lots of comments via Email and Facebook, so here is a little Blog entry explaining more about taking of the image and few similar images to show.

Photographing a sports team practice session is not the most exciting thing, sometimes you are only given 10 minutes to shoot the images at the end of training, when not much is happening. But it isn't so much the time restraint that you battle against, it is also trying to come up with something interesting or eye capturing from a session where players aren't doing too much.

The training session in Latina, Italy few weeks ago was pretty normal late training session - the team had had a long day of traveling and were just stretching their legs. I kept walking around the gym looking for angles, high and low to see what would work from it - when i noticed the setting sun coming through a small gap in the curtains and hitting the court in an angle. With natural light you don't have much time to get it 'right' - so it was a rush to get to a good angle, then hoping that the players ran through the beam of the sun so I would capture them half in the light and half in the shade, which would create the nice contrast in the images. With no sun hitting the background, I exposed on the sun to get that part of the image correctly exposed and leaving the background dark.

As you can imagine trying to capture things 'just right' wasn't too easy, players were either avoiding the sunny spot or when they came to it they closed/squinted their eyes so that they looked less like athletes and more like ???? - but, few frames captured things the way that made the player look good and the lighting pretty close to the way I wanted it to. In total I had about 3 minutes to take pictures while the sun was shining to the court - which honestly was than I was expecting to have.

In the post processing stage - I converted the images to Black & White. darkened the shadows a little bit and 'rescued' some of the blown-out bits of the images and that was about it.

Of course this same type of lighting effect can be replicated with strobes, continuous lighting - but to use only natural light, you give yourself a bigger challenge as you battle against the natural elements, players avoiding the sun... and if you manage to capture like this, it feel more rewarding to me than if I would have been able to control the lighting and have three hours to get the images I wanted instead of three minutes.

Personally the image that I feel captured the lighting and mood best is the one of Pounds where she looks at the 'floating ball' - I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the set and what image caught your eye the most??

The pictures feature Finnish Women's National team players Dionne Pounds, Heta Korpivaara, Taru Tuukkanen, Tiina Sten and Vilma Kesanen.

You can also visit the Image Gallery (of the slide show) to view the image in bigger format!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) , photography, B&W Black&White Dionne Heta Korpivaara Pounds" Taru Tuukkanen basketball natural light photo technique photo" sportrait sports sports portrait Thu, 05 Jul 2012 11:58:17 GMT
3 countries and 3 job in 4 days Last week I had couple of assignments in Europe - which involved plenty of travel, lots of shooting of pictures, nice weather - but not much of sleep. Here once again a little re-cap of my mad-cap adventures in the continent...

First job was in Italy on Wednesday evening, when I shot the Women's EuroBasket 2013 qualifying game between Italy and Finland. This was one of those rare occasions where I had booked to stay in the country for a day after the job as well, which gave me a day-off which I duly spent laying by the pool and watching Italy vs Germany in Euro2012 with the people of Pontinia. Conclusion from this extra day in the country was that I really should have more of these, especially when the hotel has a pool and temperatures are up to 37 degrees!!

Like so many times, after relaxation comes the hard travel and work - so here we go!

- Friday 10am, check out from the hotel and head for the 80 mile drive to Rome Airport, luck seems to be with me as the south-bound lanes are grid-locked but I am heading quite smoothly up north. Return the rental car and join the 'bag drop' queue for the flight, air-con seems to be working at half power inside the terminal as it doesn't feel much fresher than it was outdoors.

- Friday 2pm, flight to Dusseldorf is delayed due to the thunderstorms rolling over Europe, so it takes a good 90 minutes delay before take-off - this will cut it close with my connecting flight to Birmingham.

- Friday 6pm, safely in Dusseldorf and catching the flight to Birmingham OK.

- Friday 8pm, landed in Birmingham and getting ready to continue the journey, ahead of me (and my wife who kindly became the 2nd driver) a long drive from Birmingham to Luxembourg. First part of the journey down to Folkestone to catch the EuroTunnel at 1am - cross the channel and start driving down south. Music choices from the radio stations are MNM and BEST - by about 5.30 I am hitting the wall, just have to pull-over and rest for a while at a petrol station. Quick rest for an hour or so - and off we go for the remaining 90 minutes of driving.

- Saturday 8am - Luxembourg! Quiet feeling place at this time of the morning, the reception at the hotel kindly lets us check-in this early in the morning. After a quick shower, my wife hits the bed and gets some sleep... me, I am off to photograph the Finnish teams practice session at the gym. Half asleep driving through the town and I somehow manage to get something out the training session, back to the hotel around 12.30. Now the only thing I am able to do is.. edit some photos and video, before crashing out on the bed for three hours of sleep.

- Saturday 4pm - finding a restaurant to have a bite to eat, and then off to the Luxembourg vs Finland EuroBasket 2013 qualifying game - shoot the game, do the post-game video interviews and have a quick chat with the players as this was my last game with them this summer. Then a drive back to the hotel, where it is time to edit some more pictures for the clients, as well as finishing the video interview edits. Around 11.30pm it is time to get some sleep.

- Sunday 5am - wake-up and check-out of the hotel, long drive to Calais to catch the EuroTunnel back to the UK with the train departing around 10am. Catch the train OK - and now another 3 1/2 hours to drive to Stratford-Upon-Avon to shoot Birmingham City Ladies FA WSL game against Everton.

- Sunday 1.50pm - arrive to the ground few minutes before kick-off, quickly rushing through to the pitch-side and sit down to photograph the game. With Birmingham losing the game, it took a while to be able to do all the post game stuff - so it was around 5.30pm before we started to drive the last hour of the journey back to Great Malvern.. where we arrived at 6.30pm.

- Sunday 7pm - sitting down with a 'TV dinner' and wondering about the crazy travels of the past days... through half closed eyelids I try to keep track of the Italy vs Spain game.. but it all proves too much as by 9pm the call of my own bed is too strong to resist.

There you have it - a short story of my travels in the past week. Next travels (abroad) starting next Wednesday when I am off to Bulgaria for two weeks..

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Finland Italy Suomi assignment basketball foreign travel photography travel work Tue, 03 Jul 2012 08:51:50 GMT
Watching football Italian style Italy 2 - 1 Germany

That was something that sent the people of Pontinia (and rest of Italy) into wild celebrations last night, here is how a traveling photographer on an evening off witnessed the events.

Having stretched my assignment in Italy one day longer than on normal trips, I was lucky enough to be here for the Italy vs Germany EURO2012 semi-final. And those who have followed my blog know that I was in Greece to see the Greeks win their game against Russia, then in Germany to see Germans beat the Danish, in England to see them beat Ukraine.. so could the winning streak continue in Italy as they met the mighty Germans?? Not many believed it could - even most Italians seemed a little unsure of their chances, but come 8pm on Thursday evening, I headed out of my hotel into the village centre of Pontinia to find out if I could watch the game somewhere.


Pontinia - is probably a town of few thousand people about 70 miles south of Rome. As I walked to the village square, all the roads leading to the square were closed for traffic and as I got to the square.. four large screens had been erected to show the game and the all the pizza places had brought table out to the roads and it seemed that whether you were 9 months or 90 years old.. the whole village was there. I picked up a pizza from the 'usual' place - once again not quite sure what was under all the cheese, but it tasted nice.

By kick-off time the tables were all taken and people was standing around behind them and ready for the game. Few nervy moments to start with, but soon Super-Mario struck twice and people were jumping up and down and hugging friends and strangers. It was a friendly family atmosphere were everyone was having fun - apart from the German couple who stayed at the same hotel and disappeared after the second goal ;-)


Things got a little edgy after the German penalty in the end, but after the final whistle the restaurant workers rushed out and started to pull away the tables. I thought that this was kind of harsh for all the people who were sitting, but it seemed that everyone was moving.. and in few moments the horns started to blare, then the scooters appeared, next came the cars and other vehicles.. 

Imagine, if you can, a small town square with a fountain in the middle and road going around it - people standing on all sides and cars, scooters... all driving around like mad, honking horns, playing loud music, people hanging out of the windows, standing on the roofs of the cars. Younger fans were jumping into the fountain, throwing water balloons at everyone, people who lived in the houses facing the square took water hoses and started to spray from their high vantage point.. and EVERYONE WAS SMILING!!


This went on for good 45 minutes with no-one wanting to go away -  music, flags, water, hugs, shouting.. it was such different way from what I am used to seeing. But it was great to be there to see it - and see how sports brought everyone together. Now, all good things come to an end, and so did this one, when all of a sudden the cars started to leave the square or park .. things went quite for a moment, a single Police (Carabineri) came with ONE car, had a word with one of the cars and that was it. Few whistles as people saw this - but then as soon as the police left.. the cars came back!! And so the party went late on into the night.. I hope the couple of pictures and small video clip give you some idea how the victory was celebrated in Pontinia.. a town that I will always fondly remember when thinking of EURO2012 and football fans in general..

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EURO2012 Italy Pontinia celebrations football semi-final travel Fri, 29 Jun 2012 07:25:54 GMT
Athens 2004 - legacy?  

During my recent visit to Athens, I took the metro often past the Olympic Park - and looked at the building as they rolled by the windows, on my last day I had some spare time and as I am booked to cover the London 2012 Olympics, I decided to go and have a look what the venues look 8 years after the Athens games.


On arrival to the Metro station, only myself and three others get off the train - but it is mid-day and temperatures are around 36 degrees celcius, so only fools venture out on a day like that. First sight that I see as I go down to the ground level is the white arches and the entry to the Park - and what strikes me is the feeling that tens of thousands of people had walked here and celebrated sports - but now it felt deserted. The ticket offices seem like they have had better days and as I get closer to the park I walk through a gap in the fence that surrounds the area. A gap that has been left on purpose - so I did NOT gain entry by under-cover means.


Under the arcs people are sitting in the shade, some cycling or rollerblading - and the silence of the place continues. First place I arrive to is the outdoor swimming facilities, you can see some of them from a high vantage point and where as some pools look well maintained -others surely have seen better days. Walking around I notice a entry to the Swimming stadium that isn't blocked - not blocked = feel free to enter - so I walk on the wooded walkway and soon am standing under a big scoreboard looking at the diving boards and pools. I am free to walk around, although I am the only one inside the facility - and I explore the area, sitting at the abandoned media section, walking to the top of the stands.. it is eerily quiet but the place still retains the feel of the Olympics.


For the next two hours I am quite free to wonder around the grounds at the Olympic Park - entry to most venues is possible (if maybe not technically legal). Armed with my trusty Canon G11 I take pictures inside the various venues and outside of them, nowhere did I see any security guards or signs that entry was not allowed - some venues were clearly still used, others looked like they had last been used eight years ago.


In the end I sit down in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium and wonder what will London 2012 Park look in 2020 - will it be abandoned and used by Sunday cyclists and joggers, will it still hold this feeling of the Games having been there. As despite the run down appearance of the Athens Olympic Park - I still felt like it was a 'special' place where the best athletes in the world had competed only few years ago.


I hope that London will open the Park more to the public after the game and let people stroll through the area - and not let the legacy go to waste. But the visit also made me think that maybe Olympics have grown too big to be organised by a single city - maybe they should be awarded to countries instead. Building all these sports facilities to such a small area - instead of building the around the country.. something to think about.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Athens Athens 2004 Derelict Explore Greece Legacy Olympics Photography Stadium Swimming Venue Mon, 25 Jun 2012 10:09:53 GMT
Sun, Sex and Basketball Sun, Se? and Basketball !!


48 hours in Greece - for a basketball game and bit of else.

Another one of these short assignments abroad, and there is a lot you can squeeze into 48 hours in a city. Arriving late on Friday evening, the temperatures were still shade below +30 degrees which was about triple what it was in Birmingham when I departed earlier in the day.

Quick check-in at the hotel and off to the Syntagma Square to photograph the Greek election campaign, everyone seemed to be out there - the old and young, men and women.. music was blasting out, flags were being waved and flares went off to paint the evening red - which seemed ironic as blue seemed to this party's colour. 

On the way home a quick stop to have some noodles for dinner - first time this year when I've managed to eat outside at 10.30pm :-)




Saturday morning, off to the teams practise session about 10 miles out of town, easy local train ride over there and video/photo the session. It was good to meet-up with some of the players, whom I see every now and then during the European season. Back to the hotel after the training, edit the pictures/videos and post them online - with the typically 'fast' hotel Wi-Fi. Just time for a little walk around Athens before the game, I find a quiet park and sit down to read for a while..


Game time! Less said about the game from a Finnish point-of-view the better - horrid start with only two open play baskets made in the opening 10 minutes, one in the opening attack and the next one about 6 minutes into the quarter. Tough to get great pictures as well when the team you are photographing is struggling for possession - after the game another three video interviews done and then trying to send the pictures.. but Arena Wi-Fi has been turned off. So quick jog to the train, ride to town and to the hotel .. and pictures are sent. After editing the video and putting to upload - I'll take a break from the computer and head to bar down the road to watch the second half of Euro2012 game between Greece and Russia. Entertaining to watch it and lots of happy Greeks on the streets afterwards - as I walk back to the hotel. A car pulls next to me and an older man tries to convince me that I look American and that I would have a good time as he can provide me with women and marijuana… takes about five times to say 'No thanks!' and even then I have to close the door and walk away. 




Back at the hotel the upload has been broken down - so I need to re-start it and it is well into the night before the video is online. Finally hitting the bed around 2am for couple of hours of sleep.


Sunday, flight only departed at 6pm - so I had the whole day to kill in Athens. Not one for sightseeing, I decided to head out to the Olympic Park to have a look what things look like 8 years after the Athens games.. but that will be a separate Blog entry :-)


Flights all good - and once again experiencing the expensive side of Airports.. only bought drinks (non-Alcoholic) during my time at the airports.. and spent €16 for two bottles of water, energy drink and soda. I knew that there was a reason why they wanted to ban all liquids from hand luggage, nothing to do with some obscure threat of terrorism.. but more about selling more over priced drinks at the airport.


Landed at Birmingham International at 10.30pm - it was a bit chilly in my shorts, but my bag came out SECOND on the conveyor belt and I was off… home by midnight and all was good. Another travel successfully negotiated - now few days at home before a London trip at the weekend and off to Italy next week..

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) EuroBasket 2013 Greece Maroussi basketball foreign assignment photography qualifying susijengi travel Tue, 19 Jun 2012 06:56:19 GMT
Work day with a difference As a photographer you never know quite what your assignment can spring on you - and each day is different. Here is a quick story of my day yesterday, photographing the Olympic Park for a Finnish newspaper in London. 

Knowledge is worth its weight in gold, as I had done similar assignment before I knew that getting around the Olympic Park (on the outside) will be a time consuming. So I packed my bicycle to the back of the car as I head for the 2 1/2 drive down south - find a place to park the car near Stratford, watch the parking attendants looking strangely as I assemble my bike on the parking lot. 


From the previous visit I had a good idea where the best vantage points were going to be, but moving on a bike gave me a chance to cover a whole lot more distance in three hours than what I would have done on foot. A point which was proven by a German photographer whom I passed during my round - only to see him walking past me miles later as I was sitting down and having a pint of coke :-) 

With about six weeks to go until the games, there was still plenty to finish inside the Park - which at parts still looked like a building site. And the regeneration of the area.. well, only time will tell whether it spreads beyond the Olympic Park.. sure didn't seem like it to me with the state of the houses only meters away from the fences of the Park.

Sunny day in London, cycling along the rivers/canals - it is not a bad way to earn your living. But the security is getting tighter around the Park, and while I was photographing the Park through the fence.. even I got my picture taken ...  

Stats of the day : 300 miles driven, 30 miles cycled, few hundred pictures taken...

Yesterday outside the fences of the park - in six weeks, I should be inside them working away.. exciting times ahead.

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 London Olympics assignment cycling editorial photography Thu, 14 Jun 2012 14:07:25 GMT
Emotions - part 2 - referees! Here is the first dedicated part of the Emotions series - REFEREES!

No matter the sport, referees are always being blamed by the players, coaches and fans - no matter if you or your team shot 4 out of 20 from downtown and the other team shot 18 out of 20. It was still that call on the fifth minute of the game that cost you the game, despite you losing by 30 points!!

In these 10 images I have tried to capture and show few of the ways that players and coaches interact with the referees during the game - and in the end the last image probably conveys the best message of them all.

These images have been taken during the past years in the Finnish Korisliiga, FIBA2010 in Turkey, Italian Lega A... 

Hopefully you will find some of these images entertaining and maybe even see something familiar in them :-)

Thank you once again for coming to have a look - and there will be more emotions to come!!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) A FIBA2010 Korisliiga Lega anger basketball emotions funny passion photography referee Wed, 06 Jun 2012 14:50:43 GMT
Strobes/Flash fun  On the creative side of things!

With this week mainly going on backing-up files, cleaning up hard drives, booking future travels... I thought it would be fun to try something different to entertain myself on a Monday evening. In the last year or so I've been getting inspiration from some great photographers about using flash/strobes/lighting to create different types of Sportraits. Image 1 out of 2 in the post - picture 2 to be posted later!!

Basketball Strobist imageStrobe2

To entertain the neighbours I carried my tripod and few remote flash-stands to the back garden and went to work :-) Having a lack of willing 'victims' to be subjects for these trials and errors, it once again was left to me to be the photographer and the subject - thank goodness for remote triggers and timers!

Evening sky didn't quite co-operate with me for these images, but it was a valuable learning curve in the process or learning to perfect these skills. Also as one of the ideas was to have an 'airborne' image - perfecting the jump to the 10 second timer proved to be a challenge, so there was plenty of jumping and frustration to be had. 

These types of Sportraits are something that I have an order for for the next basketball season - and after seeing results from a fellow photographer from Finland, really wanted to give it a go myself. As you can see, it is still very much a work if progress - but steps were hopefully taken in the right direction and plenty of learning was done from this evening.. as well as entertainment given to the neighbours!

Set-Up for this shoot was Canon 5D MKII, Canon 24-70mm, two Canon 580EXII flashes, couple of PocketWizards and one crazy Finnish guy willing to make a fool out of himself ;-)

Hope this is as enjoyable for you to look at, as it was for me to take - note to self : 'Get a bigger shirt/jumper for next shoot!!!"



[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) basketball experiment flash fun photography photography technique portrait remote remote trigger self-portrait sportrait strobist timer Tue, 05 Jun 2012 14:19:52 GMT
Emotions - huge part of the action Emotions - part 1

As a sports photographer you are not only required to catch the action - the emotions and feelings are just as an important part of the experience and help to convey the message as well as the twists and turns of the game.

Basketball is a sport that really lends itself perfectly to capturing the emotions 'close-up' - as you are never that far from the action on court or off the court. Images from various tournaments I have attended have ended up on websites, newspapers and there has even been an exhibition where they have played a big part.

With the break of three weeks from the game, I thought it would be nice to share some of the more 'emotional' images with people who read this blog or visit the website. In the following week, I will post more episodes of the emotions - this first post is a general slide show of various emotions.

Whether it is the despair of a fan in the crowd, screaming face of Carlos Delfino, thoughtful face of Hanno Mottola, jubilant Team Turkey, cheerful Slovenian fans or the grimacing face of Petteri Koponen, they all tell a story in their own way of a powerful moment in the course of the game.

Hope you enjoy this first part of the Emotions series - and look forward to the next one during the week!

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2010 FIBA basketball carlos delfino emotions fans hanno happiness joy koponen mottola pain petteri photography players slovenia sorrow sports turkey Mon, 04 Jun 2012 15:11:32 GMT
Photographers - how do know it?
Few weeks ago, when flying back from Italy - something 'usual' happened at the airport while waiting to board my flight. I never know what it is, but photographers somehow seem to sense each other and most of us are a friendly and talkative bunch (some are not!).

In a typical Italian style the boarding 'queue' was more like a free-for-all, and having liven in England for so long - the one thing you do learn is how to queue. Queueing is probably the thing that Brits do the best..

So I got talking to an elderly couple behind me about this, and somehow the talk turned to luggage and how we like to take this certain airline due to hand luggage restrictions being more relaxed than the 'other' airline. The man mentioned that he had his flash gun damaged in his luggage and now carries cameras/lenses in his hand luggage.. this developed into a long conversation about cameras and photography in general.

Funny how photography always leads into a long conversation between strangers.

Most amusing moment came when talking about shopping for new equipment - the conversation went a little like this :

"Going to camera shops can be dangerous"

"I know.."

"One tries to stay away as much as possible, because every time you do go into a shop you find that there is something you would rather think you should buy..."

"Yes, you go for the first time and just browse.. week later you go again, this time you might handle the lens/body you have seen.. the following week you start to mention to your partner that a new lens/body worth £5000 is something that you just HAVE to HAVE. And the following week you buy it!"


By this time his wife was smiling behind him knowingly.. :-)

Now, this buying of new gear, we all are guilty of it sometime - but when we say that we NEED this piece or that. It almost makes it sound like the photos we have taken in the last 5 years have all been useless pieces of s*$t and if we don't get this lens.. it is just not worth living any more. Perhaps we should pause for a moment every now and then and think whether this piece really will make out images £5000 better or not??

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) buy equipment gear photo photographers photography skill talk Tue, 29 May 2012 09:30:59 GMT
Dodging the bullet! Quite a day Tuesday - it went from dodging one bullet and being faced with another straight away, here's how the day went.

Tuesday 22nd May - journey Leigh Sinton - Birmingham Airport - Munich - Trieste - Ljubljana - Novo Mesto - Ljubljana

Estimated journey time : 20 hours

Alarm rang at 4.15am, get up, grab the lunch pack from the fridge and head to the airport. Big accident on the M5, 'luckily' South-bound so I was OK to drive to the airport. BULLET 1 DODGED!!

Get in to the bag drop queue - cheery Lufthansa person stands there to check my boarding pass and says 'You are OK to go' - next person is not so lucky as the flight to Frankfurt has been cancelled, mine to Munich is OK. BULLET 2 DODGED!!

Two and half hours to 'kill' at Munich Airport - comfortable benches so I lay down and catch some rest. Flight seems to be on time and we board the coach to take us to the plane, but we stand there for no reason for over 30 minutes - before getting to the plane which had just passed an un-scheduled check on something. BULLET 3 DODGED!!

Get the rental car, buy a Slovenian 'vignette' and drive to the hotel in Ljubljana - needed to call the owner to let me in the room/get the key. Took a good while as their mobile didn't work - wasted 20 minutes!!

Game in Novo Mesto starts in little over an hour - drive should take 35 minutes, except that my little rental car can't really cope with the 80 mile speed limit :-) All goes well and I should arrive with 25 minutes to spare - but disaster, on the narrow roads a big accident earlier and traffic grinds to a stand-still. Time wasted 23 minutes.. still BULLET 4 DODGED!!

Sat-Nav is being kind and the address is correct for the venue in Novo Mesto - but parking is a nightmare. I end up parking in someones back garden .. but seems like everyone else is doing likewise. Run through the pouring rain, friendly and helpful door-staff direct me in and I get the cameras out and start shooting - with 15 seconds to go until the game tips-off! BULLET 5 DODGED!!

Rest of the day goes well - photographing the game is great, catch up with Sasu Salin after the game, drive back to Ljubljana and finish editing the videos/pictures. Clock passes midnight - I've been awake for 20 hours, WITHOUT energy drinks and crash down to get some sleep.. Good day of work behind me and couple of thousand miles travelled and one game photographed.. it's all in the days work for me!


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Sports Photos basketball liga telemach ljubljana olimpija photography sasu salin sport travel Wed, 23 May 2012 13:20:28 GMT
36 hour assignment - to Italy and back Once again the glamourous life of a Sports Photographer has caught up with me, I had an assignment in Italy for Turun Sanomat and Finnish Basketball Federation to photograph Cimberio Varese's Finnish International Teemu Rannikko.

But the truth sometimes is far away from what people imagine it to be - here is a short re-cap of my brief visit to Italy :

Thursday morning 6am : Wake-Up after a late night watching Apocalypto  until 1.30am, and drive to Luton Airport to catch a flight to Pisa.

Thursday afternoon 2.30pm : Arrive to the hotel in the sea-side resort of Tirrania - enjoy bit of nice sunshine and walk along the beach. Yes, I know this is what most people think of my life to consist of.

Thursday afternoon 4.30pm : Start the 2 hour drive to Sienna - for the game. Nice scenery - but feeling hungry.

Thursday evening 6.30pm : Arrive at the Arena, pick-up accreditation and follow Finland vs USA Ice Hockey World Championships 1/4 Final online.

Thursday evening 8.00pm : Teemu Rannikko asks for the result of the Ice Hockey game ;-)

Thursday evening 8.30pm-11.00pm : Photograph the game and do video interviews afterwards.

Friday night 1.30am : Arrive back at the hotel, last time I had anything to eat was a banana at 2pm.. starving by now!

Friday morning 2.30am : Finish uploading pictures/videos online - time to get some sleep.

Friday morning 8.30am : Wake-Up and have breakfast - then work on images for two more hours.

Friday morning 11.30am : Drive to the airport and be confused with the cap to the petrol tank..

Friday afternoon 2.30pm : Catch the flight back to Luton.

Friday afternoon 4.40pm : Landed 20mins ahead of schedule - 2 1/2 hours to drive back home

So there you have it, the way I have spent 36 hours on a single job and travelled couple of thousand miles. But, so that you don't think it is just a moan - I got to enjoy some nice Italian sunshine along the beach, I saw a one of the best teams in Europe play a brilliant first quarter, I met one of Finland's best basketball players and met some great people. Now I have weekend at home, before my next European travel..

Pictures from the game in Italy are now in a small image Gallery which you can see on the website!!Siena-vs-Varese-24

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) Italy Luton Rannikko Siena Sport Teemu Travel Varese blog photographer Fri, 18 May 2012 20:14:20 GMT
Hale and Snow                                          Welcome to Cyprus, the weather told us this morning !!

First morning in Larnaca, getting ready for the Women's Cyprus Cup. After a long day of traveling yesterday, we eventually made it to Cyprus and our apartment in Larnaca. Our arrival was in the dark, so we didn't see much of the surroundings during the evening.

Tuesday morning - first game day in the Cyprus Cup 2012, weather man has been promising varied weather for the week but to our surprise first thing in the morning a big hale/snow storm passed over Larnaca and the streets were white with hale the size of your thumb-nail. Now I know it is late February and we can't expect summer-like conditions, but this certainly wasn't what I expected :-)

Hale in LarnacaCyprusSnow

Luckily the England vs Finland game is at 5.30pm, so there is some time for the weather to ... get worse?? Should be an interesting first evening game over in Nicosia (40 minute drive from the apartment). Looking forward to talking to both Finnish and English players after the game, and even if I do work for the Finnish FA over here - I probably know more of the English players due to my work with Birmingham City Ladies FC.

And to rub things in, Algarve (where I usually am at this time of the year) is enjoying a nice sunny day with temperatures up to 17 degrees. Why oh Why did Finland have to choose this year for changing their pre-season tournament venue??

Looking at things from the positive side - internet is working nicely in the apartment and everything else is looking good .. apart from the weather :-)

[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Cup Cyprus England Extreme Finland Football International Nicosia Soccer Suomi Women's weather Tue, 28 Feb 2012 09:30:21 GMT
Cyprus Cup 2012 First of all - BIG thanks for Zenfolio for getting the Blog feature sorted !!



And what better way to get the Blog started here than one of the first long assignments of 2012, as I get ready to head out for Women's Cyprus Cup for the next 11 days. I'll be Blogging and covering games (still images/video) for the Finnish FA and some bits for English FA and also hoping to do few bits for other clients while down there.

Hopefully I can manage to write something interesting from the games that I attend, and perhaps even from the days-off at the tournament.

So you have been warned, for the next week and half (and a bit after it as well) - I am dedicating my time for Women's Football!! It should be great tournament, and my first in Cyprus as in the past years I have enjoyed the Algarve Cup with Finland, but this year they changed it to Cyprus.


[email protected] (GooGaBu Oy - Sports Photography) 2012 Cup Cyprus England Finland Football International Larnaca Nicosia Soccer Suomi Women's Sun, 26 Feb 2012 11:50:13 GMT