A glorious afternoon at Old Trafford / by Neil Alexander

Manchester United fans on the way to Old Trafford (Click for larger)

 The Sunday before last was a glorious afternoon.... The weather was decent, and the prospect of a decent game of football against Arsenal had me in a tip-top frame of mind. I had a little time to spare before the game, and this time instead of heading straight for the boozer, I went armed with a camera, my 24mm PC-e tilt/shift lens, a gorillapod and a 10 stop neutral density filter. The topmost image is a 50 second exposure of United fans heading up from the Metrolink past Old Trafford cricket ground towards the stadium. Trying to use the gorillapod lying on the ground whilst experimenting with various long exposure times certainly generated some inquisitive looks, and some interest though surprisingly not from the bobbies this time who were quite content to leave me to it. I had also hoped to come away with a similar long exposure image nearer the ground itself where there would be more bodies, but alas I'd misplaced the little ball-head I use with the gorillapod and trying to use it on it's own with the tilt/shift lens just proved too frustrating. Had I been taking one or two second exposures it might have worked, but over a 50 or 60 second period it tended to all go a bit droopy half way through the exposure so I gave up and headed to the Bishop's for a wee shandy.

Manchester United goalkeaper David De Gea watches his team mates thrash Arsenal 8-2 from an empty goal mouth at the Stretford End, Old Trafford

Now I'm not one for really taking too many images inside Old Trafford itself when the match is in progress - I find it far too distracting and the football is what I live and breathe for. However I think by the time I decided to get my camera out and shoot this image, we were already 3-0 up and going strong. So I figured what the hell, I might miss a few minutes but no biggy. This is a handheld 3 frame HDR exposure with the selective focus on the tilt/shift trained on the rather lonely figure of David De Gea in the Stretford End goal. Once combined in Photomatix, I've pulled back all the colours quite a bit, save for the red which I nudged up a tad. It's not a ground breaking composition, I'm a little restricted what with sitting in the same seat week in, week out, but it's exactly what I had in mind and will always remind me of the day we beat Arsenal 8-2......