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Category: Rugby

Springboks vs New Zealand – 20 August 2011

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



Springboks vs Wallabies – 13 August 2011

I had the privelage to have covered the Sa vs Australia test in Durban on 13 August 2011 in Durban. Apart from having absolutely no internet signal to send images i had a great time and came away with some nice shots. After the match i went back to the hotel in Umchlanga and had full 3G connection to send some images away.

This week i’m going down to Port Elizabeth for the Springbok All Blacks clash. Looking forward to it and can’t wait to feel the vibe in the PE stadium. Last time i was there was during the Soccer World Cup covering the England vs Slovenia match. What a stadium and as with all the World Cup Soccer stadiums the light is so much better for photography appose to the Kingspark stadium where one still have to shoot at 4000 ASA at a speed of 1/640 sec. Some of the new stadiums one get away with 2000 ASA and 1/800 sec at F4 which is more than enough to get some decent shots.


Ruben Kruger

Image of Ruben Kruger against the 1997 British Lions.


Fourie du Preez

For the second time Fourie du Preez received the player of the year award. Here an image of him during the Currie Cup final between the Bulls and the Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld on 31 October 2009. Heinrich Brussow running behind him got the young player of the year award.

Fourie BlogGerhard

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Blue Bulls vs Cheetahs 31 October 2009

Congratulations to the Bulls and tough luck to the Cheetahs. Fourie du Preez was outstanding to create three tries against the run of play.

At least the Cheetahs won two of the three national titles with the 0/19 and 0/21 teams beating the Lions and the Sharks selectively in their finals at Loftus on Saturday. Well done Cheetahs were all proud of you!!!

Here an image of Victor Matfield running onto the field in his 5oth game for the Bulls.

Victor Matfield-01Blog

More images of the three games on



Cheetahs – 2009

To think the U/19, U/21 and the senior Cheetah teams in the finals in Pretoria on the 31 October 2009.  If there is a will there is a way!!

An image of myself  taking photos at the semi Final on 17 October in Durban during the semi Final between the Cheetahs and the Sharks. I’m busy taking photos of the Cheetahs celebrating their 23-21 win with my Nikon D3 and 10.5mm F2.8 fisheye lens.

Photo taking by photographer Howard Cleland.

Gerhard Steenkamp BlogImages of the game can be viewed at


Black and White Sport Images

Sometimes life is just better in Black and White and that also apply to Sport images. If you get bored with your images in color it’s always worth trying some black and white images.

Open your image in Photoshop. Press Shift – Alt – Control – B and the Black and White page will open. Set your contrast to your liking and press okay. That’s it, as simple and easy as that.

Here two images of the game between the Cheetahs and the Leopards on friday 2 October in Bloemfontein South Africa.

JW BlogJW Jonker on the run.

Breedt BlogNico Breedt over for a try.


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Griquas (36) – Lions (31)

In a Currie Cup match in Kimberley today Griquas keep their Currie Cup Campagne alive by winning the Lions 36 – 31. Here an image of Jonatha Mokuena the Captain of Griquas taking on Earl Rose full back of the Lions.

I used a Nikon D3 with a Nikon 400mm F2.8 lens fitted to it. The settings on the camera were as follow;

Shutter:  1/1000 sec.

Aperture: F4.5

ISO: 320

White Balance: Auto

Jonathan BlogGerhard

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Photo Agencies vs Freelance Photographers

In South Africa the editorial photo market is completely dominated by the big Photo Agencies.  The result is a decline in quality images seen in papers and magazines these days. If you had a look in the Sunday papers today 6 September 2009 you can clearly see the difference between the sport images taken of the Springboks vs the Wallabies in Brisbane and the images of the Currie cup games in South Africa.

Okay now you will say, but these images were also taken by photographers working for big companies. That is true but the difference overseas and specially in the UK, where i got the most of my work published at the moment, is that they really try there best to support the smaller companies and freelance photographers. That way they keep the image quality high because the bigger companies know if their images ain’t up to standard their work will not be published and the freelance guys know if their work is the best they will get published. Yes as simple as that.

I fore see that in the next three years one will really see the decline in image quality that will get published because of this policy of the papers and magazines. The reason for this is that there are still a few good photographers in SA working for the big guys like Duif du Toit and Lefty Shivumba. When they going to finish in a few years time the younger guys won’t be able to deliver the quality because they don’t need to because there is no competition.

Here two images i took of the game between the Cheetahs and the Lions on Saturday 5 September 2009. I’m not going to say much but if you have seen better images of this game in the papers please let me know because i haven’t seen them.

Johan Wessels BlogJohan Wessels tackled by Jano Vermaak

Louis Strydom BlogTertius Carse tackled by Alwyn Hollenbach.


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Jongi Nokwe

Jongi Nokwe left wing of the Vodacom Cheetahs definitely got his eyes on the jersey of Bryan Habana. In the last year he work hard on his skills and specially his skill under the high ball improved tremendously. At the moment he is the leading try scorer in the Currie Cup with nine tries.

“I’d like to be in the Bok squad again after the Currie Cup and that is why I play as hard as I can every week,” said Nokwe

Nokwe is happy with his form and wants to maintain that to keep the pressure on Habana.

“Bryan is a world class player and my goal is to pile the pressure on him. He has to know that there are players competing for his Bok jersey,” he said.

Here a image i took in Kimberley on 29 August 2009 when Jongi got a hat trick against the Griquas. I used a Nikon D3 and a Nikon 400mm F2.8 lens. My setting on the camera were as follow;

Shutter: 1/1000 sec.

Aperture: F4.5

ISO: 500

White Balance: Auto

Picture Control: Vivid

Focus: Nine point focusing zone.

Continuous shooting set on seven frames per second. Although the D3 can go up as high as 11 frames a second i feel seven frames a second is the fastest i can shoot at in order to still follow the action. Faster than this one’s vision became a problem because the mirror is in the way the whole time resulting that one can’t frame the subject properly.

Jongi BlogGerhard

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