I've already said here that celebrating the end of a championship is one of the most “stuck” and boring things to photograph. Photographers are forced to stay in an area defined by the event's organization and everyone ends up taking the same photo.
Cup Final is no different. They set up “a little stage”, everyone sits there and fights for the same image.
With that in mind, when I was awarded the World Cup final, my idea was to position myself in a more adjacent space and opt for a different lens than most: the 600mm 4.0, which I used practically throughout the entire World Cup. That was the plan. The problem is that most of the time, unforeseen happens...
Anyway, game over, France champion, let's take the picture. Before leaving the position I was in during the match, I packed all my gear in my backpacks because the rain, which had promised to show up all afternoon, would now probably come.
I walked around the field and arrived at the designated spot for the photographers on the side of the lawn, right on the midfield line, between the two benches. Obviously, all spaces were already occupied. I positioned myself a little more to the left and started to wait for the cup to enter.
After a few minutes, the rain came. And it came strong, even torrential. At that moment I realized that I didn't have a raincoat: neither for me, nor for the equipment.
The rain didn't let up. I thought about leaving where I was, trying to take shelter somewhere, but I was in danger of losing my position. Even further away, there were already some photographers behind me. Despair was starting to hit: soggy equipment, without any protection. In reality few photographers were prepared for that deluge. I looked at the “little stage” and saw photographers who couldn't move even if they wanted to: they were all cornered.
The organization was taking a long time to bring the cup, we were already waiting more than 20 minutes and nothing. At one point, I let go. No longer would I leave my cameras and lenses in that downpour. I ran and took shelter in one of the reserve benches. When the cup came I would run back to the position where I was and try to count on luck. In addition to the equipment I had with me, I also couldn't stop thinking about the rest I left on the other side of the field: “Did I close my backpack properly? Would my computer be safe? What would be the point of taking the photos if I didn't have my computer working to transmit the material?”
After a few more minutes, they finally brought the World Cup. President Putin also appeared. I remember him coming in because one of the few FIFA officials who had an umbrella was right in front of me. Of course, as soon as the president entered the lawn, the inspector lost his umbrella...
I ran to where I was earlier. Lots of rain still. “My place” was no longer there, of course. I stayed behind some photographers, but as I was with the 600mm, even with my vision a little obscured, I could still see the place where they would deliver the cup to the captain of France, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Ready: cup in the goalkeeper's hands, shredded paper, rain. Very difficult to focus: the lens was full of water drops, the papers appeared in front and behind the cup. The camera's autofocus went back and forth. I only saw hands: with the 600mm it was very closed, the camera frame went from the height of the players' chest to the end of the arms, where the cup began to be passed from hand to hand.
I clicked, clicked, clicked. At this point, experience counts for a lot. You have to try to stay calm, breathe and click. And pray, lol.
I stayed there in that scene for a minute at most. It was time for the players to lift the trophy and gradually start the Olympic round. If you ask me what happened after that, I honestly can't say. I don't have any pictures of the after-party of the cup. I ran out to get my things. I could only imagine my computer and the rest of my equipment soaking wet! On the way to where I had left my belongings, I saw bizarre scenes: photographers who had left their notebooks and backpacks open during all the rain, trying in vain to “dry” keyboards, trackpads, lenses, cameras. desperate.
I took everything, went into the stadium's press room and started editing my photos: my computer was intact!
As I said, my photos only had hands, rain and shredded paper. When in the frame there was a face raising the glass, one of the two: either it had no focus or the composition was not good.
That's when I remembered a Stories I had recorded just before the final, in which I basically said that being in a Cup final was such a great privilege, but so great, that it wasn't worth being there and not doing something different. , risk. I had already taken a risk with the equipment, with the positioning. Why not take a chance on editing? At that moment came the idea of cropping the image in a way that only the athletes' hands and the cup would appear. And that's what I did, as you can see in the image below.
I liked the image: it was different, representative and plastically beautiful.
And in the end, the rain that had interfered so much, made the photo look even nicer, along with the light and the reflection of the shredded golden papers.