The FA Cup Final is now behind us, but far from over is the memory of the winning goal by Jesse Lingard. Award-winning pro photographer Mark Pain, was on the ground to capture it perfectly with the Nikon D5 + Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 lens! Here, he shares his thoughts of how he captured the moment.
I’ve just read that the FA Cup Final is watched by over half a billion people worldwide. As a sports photographer you forget that when covering the match. I’ve been shooting the Nikon D5 for a few weeks now but the match was by far the biggest event I’d shot with it. The match was set up perfectly; the huge worldwide giant Manchester United against a relative minnow in Crystal Palace. David versus Goliath.
Crystal Palace fans have a great reputation for creating lots of noise and atmosphere so I chose a position at their allocated end at Wembley and I had a hunch that Palace might just win. But the first half was tight with Palace full of energy but Man Utd having the best chances. Utd looked like they were in control of the match even though the half time score was 0-0. So I made a decision on impulse and switched ends and tried to find a position in front of the Man Utd fans for the second half. That’s not easy when there are 97 other photographers at the game! But I got lucky and found a great spot that had just been vacated by the official Crystal Palace Club photographer who had chosen to switch ends too.
Crystal Palace scored first at the other end and United equalised to take the match into extra time, but the United players celebrated away from me and I had a blocked view of Juan Mata as he scored. The match was now deep into the second period of extra time and the dreaded penalty shoot-out beckoned. None of the photographers knew if the end where it would take place had been chosen before the match by the officials or if it would be on the toss of a coin; a photographer’s nightmare. But I sensed there was a winning goal to come even though we were now in the last few minutes of the match.
The atmosphere was amazing with the Manchester United fans now also in a noisy, colourful frenzy to match their Palace rivals. I checked the exposure once more as the light was dropping fast and put the ISO up to 2000. I knew this wouldn’t be a problem as the D5 performance and higher ISOs is incredible, a real step up from the D4s.
The settings were as follows
Nikon D5 body with a Nikon 70-200mm F2.8 lens
Nef Raw Files
1/2000th sec F2.8
Continuous High Motor Drive (12fps)
d25 AF points
And then it happened. Jesse Lingard struck the ball from the edge of the box right into the top corner and started charging and celebrating straight towards me and my 70-200 F2.8, ripping his shirt off. He was quite small in the frame at first but the D5 has so much quality you can pull up images no problem, even at 2000 ISO. So I wasn’t concerned. However this was the biggest AF and buffer test so far for my new camera. It performed amazingly taking a burst of 28 consecutive RAW frames. In EVERY frame in the sequence the screaming, tongue out Lingard was perfectly in focus and sharp. The camera had performed brilliantly and the AF especially had proved to be incredibly accurate. It is an amazingly responsive camera that fills the photogr apher with complete confidence. It tracked the player incredibly well. Normally you expect maybe a few frames to be slightly out of focus in a sequence like this, but not with the D5.
What’s in Mark’s kit bag for the FA Cup Final?