Life’s a Pitch @ Chiang Mai FC [F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8]

chiang mai fc

Images shot with the vintage F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8

After living in Shanghai for two years and never going to a Shenhua game, I made sure to get to a Chiang Mai FC game shortly (well, a few months) after settling there.

The game itself (vs. Ayutthaya FC) was an end to end feast of fast flowing football, Brian, that eventually finished 2-2 thanks to a 94th minute equaliser by our home town heroes.

Thai football might be lower on quality than the big European leagues, as most Asian football is, but it makes up for that with the match day experience.

Arriving at the stadium, the rows of barbecue and street food stands outside could have been transplanted from any Chiang Mai night market, and the freedom to take beer to your seat with you was a novelty I wasn’t going to pass up.

chiang mai football club

chiang mai bbq

chiang mai fc

football and beer

Amateur sports photography

Among the many, many things I learnt from my photography teacher, one tip that was particularly relevant for this evening was if you try to do sports photography from a spectators’ area, it’s not going to be very good.

Unless you’ve got a lens like the Hubble telescope, forget it. And even then the angle will be against you; especially when high up in a football stadium.

Photography done with the vintage F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 lens on a Sony mirrorless camera is never going to come out like the images you see from actual professional sports photographers, but that’s okay.

It’s good to know because you can then concentrate on the opportunities for the shots that are available to you.

With this firmly in mind, I spent my time and energy trying to get shots that, instead of showing the game, show how it was to be at the game.

The 38mm F.Zuiko was versatile enough for me to do that and the Sony mirrorless was a great partner for it.

Both are much smaller than the DSLRs and telephoto lenses used by the pitch-side pros, which makes them ideal for capturing the people and the event around you.

For more information, check out the F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8 on eBay here and the range of Sony Alpha cameras on Amazon here.

thai football fans

chiang mai football club supporter

chiang mai fc

thai football crowd

chiang mai fc fans

Chiang mai football supporters

Post game photographs

Continuing the theme of a far better match day experience than we get back in England, once the game was over and the advertising hoardings had been bizarrely taken away, we were able to mingle around and go down onto the pitch to meet some of the players.

Back home, I’ve seen people arrested for less.

chang mai fc stadium

chiang mai football

thai football fan

Once it was time to leave, we hung around for a while longer in the car park, taking in the atmosphere as the fans filed away.

Two buses full of Ayutthaya FC fans were being applauded by groups of home fans, which was a well deserved gesture in my opinion.

They had an almost eight hour drive to get back home, and it was by now after 9pm on a Sunday night.

Even the Chiang Mai Ultras were joining in the show of respect, before they posed for me to take a photo of them.

chiang mai ultras

You might have noticed that none of my pictures here have even attempted to show any action from the match.

That was deliberate, and I think the set would have been worse had I tried.

Honestly, let the guys at pitch-side get pictures of the game while you get ones of the people, the evening, the atmosphere, the feeling, the flavour… the things that make more interesting photos than the game does, and that give your audience a far greater sense of what it was like to be there.

Here’s a project for you:

Go to a sports match. Take your camera. Don’t take any pictures of the game. Come back with a great set of pictures anyway.

Then tell us about it and link us up in the comments below. I look forward to seeing your work.  🙂

… p.s. if you enjoyed this post on shooting at a Chiang Mai FC game and think others will too, why not share or pin it?

Attending a football match in Chiang Mai gave me the chance to practice a little alternative sports photography. Instead of shots of the game from high in the stand with my F.Zuiko 38mm f1.8, I concentrated on the night and occasion as a whole. Starting with the pre-game scenes outside the stadium, continuing with shots of the fans and their reactions to events during the game, and ending with the aftermath down on the pitch, it's an account of the event from start to finish. If you've ever wondered what it's like to see a football game in Thailand, this is the post for you.

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