Ilkley Camera Club was privileged to welcome sports photographer Mark Pain to its online Zoom gathering on Friday evening. Around forty Club members enjoyed an impressive account of Mark’s career capturing some of the world’s biggest sporting events including some of his most memorable images. Mark has been a winner of the Sports Photographer of the Year awards, won prizes at the Guild of Picture Editor Awards and from the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics collected the overall trophy for Olympics Photographer of the Year.
He started his talk with the story of his encounter with Tiger Woods’ golf ball in the 2010 Ryder Cup. His image of Woods’ misjudged ball crashing straight toward his camera lens made headlines in the media all round the world. Mark explained, “I was kneeling down to get the shot when he knocked the ball to the right because of the sodden ground. The ball smashed the front of the lens”. So it seems the business of sports photography is a sport in its own right with all the attendant dangers. When you are only a few feet away from Tiger Woods you are likely to become part of the action.
A key message from Mark was about preparation. He said you have to be physically well prepared, mentally ready and have all the technical preparations worked out. “It’s all about capturing the moment and putting yourself into the best position mentally, physically and technically”. Mark advised members they needed to put their cameras into manual mode and be prepared to fail. “I’ve spent 30 years of trying and failing to get to the level I am,” he joked.