In the mid 90’s I had the privilege to have met Hoffie Hofmeister, head photographer for the Rapport (Sunday newspaper in SA) at the time. What always amazes me about Hoffie was that how he always manage to be at the right place at the right moment while taking sport pictures. If one opens the Rapport on Sunday morning all the key moments were captured by Hoffie. I always used to watch Hoffie at Rugby tests and see him floating around the field but never manage to sort out how he got it so spot on.
In 2007 i again met Hoffie at a Athletics meeting in Rustenburg and while chatting asked him how he always manage to read a rugby match so well. He explained that when he started of as staff photographer for the newspapers in the late 60’s early 70’s they used plate cameras and were issued 5 plates per match. He then used to shoot one scrum, one lineout and three action shots. Yes five images per match. There were no other way but to have picked the moments that he wanted to capture very carefully. This experience stayed with him and that’s how he managed to got it spot so well.
These days we are using digital cameras shooting away at 10 frames per second. At a test match like the SA vs NZ on 20 August in PE there were forty accredited photographers. That mean for a 1 sec movement there is a chance that 400 images of that movement could have been photographed.
Okay what’s the point. In golf there is a saying that says ” driving is for show and putting is for dough” Well the same here. A good sports photographer must be able to capture the action well but what makes a sports photographer stands out from the rest is what he does more than just shooting away at 10 frames a second. By that i mean seeing things from a different angle, shooting emotions off the field, before the match and after the match. Thats is where photographers like Hoffie, Walter Looss, Chris Smith, Erich Baumann, Tony Duffy and a few others is and were just in a class of their own.
Here a few images that i took during the Test match on Saturday 20 August 2011. Fifteen years back on 10 August 1996 i did my first test in Cape Town between the Springboks and the All blacks and till today there are nothing that beats the atmosphere at such a test match. The adrenaline rush one gets during such a test is just something that will keep one going back year after year.
For more images of this match go to www.superimage.co.za