ickledot: MY TOP 5 PHOTOS
If you are a follower of GRM you'll know the platform focuses heavily on creative videos, as photography has never been one of my strong points. However since scrolling through Instagram and stumbling across "Ickledot" (a Sports Photographer based in Oxenhope, West Yorkshire) I soon realised I had to seriously up my photography game!
Each and every one of his still images told the story of the game a-thousand times better than any of my videos could! Whenever you stumble across an ickledot photograph, you'll stare long and hard as you'll find yourself lost in the moment, as if you were there in person watching the moment of the game happen before your eyes.
I recently caught up with Ickledot, otherwise known as John Ashton, as he looks back on the top 5 Rugby photos he has ever taken.
"My name is John Ashton and I live in the village of Oxenhope, near to the more famous Haworth, above Keighley in West Yorkshire. I’m not going to tell you my age but I was a teacher for 20 years, have not been one for another 18 so you get the idea I’m no spring chicken.
Where did it all start?
"I’ve been taking pictures of rugby players for around five years, beginning at my local club, Bradford & Bingley, then branching out to the wider county. Away games for various teams have taken me as far south as Cornwall (though did a game while holidaying in France last September), north to Tynedale, east to Scarborough and west to several Lancashire and Cheshire grounds.
"Main camera is a Canon 7D MkII with an old 70-200mm lens, f2.8. For my second camera and longer lens I’ve dived into the mirrorless world: an Olympus OMD EM1 MkII with a 300mm f4 lens. Not a professional option perhaps but I’m pleased with results so far and appreciate the distance I can cover across the field.
Top 5 photos
Here are John's top 5 photos and a brief description as to why he has chosen each shot.
1st place: The Scrum
"The scrum - Otley v Harrogate - still one of the muddiest, coldest games I’ve ever photographed. Got some great pictures from it though. This is still my favourite as it shows just how filthy and indistinguishable from each other the teams became. Jonny Coser of Harrogate peeping out the side with Willem Enslin looking over the top".
2nd place: The Steps
"The picture of Charlie Brown of Skipton, sitting on the steps at Halifax, having lost by a single point, proves that you should never stop shooting just because the final whistle’s blown. Despite being bitterly disappointed, he didn’t mind me photographing him. The pic was later featured in an RFU film. It’s got universal appeal".
Third place: Away in Cornwall
"Probably not the greatest picture, this is Yorkshire U20 playing a Championship semi-final away in Cornwall. The home team and sizeable crowd were very confident but the Yorkshire side went at them right from the start. This shot is taken, in my memory, right after the kick off. I could see expressions on the Cornish players’ faces changing from hope to worry as this was happening. Yorkshire won by 50 points to 3 (I think). Still one of my favourite games. The squad also went on to win the championship at Twickenham. It’s Ben McGee, now of Ilkley, leaping for the ball".
Fourth place: Doncaster Knights
"Possibly the biggest crowd I’ll photograph in front of. Doncaster Knights in the away leg of their play-off final against Bristol. Bristol won overall but on the night the Knights came out on top, scoring four tries in the second half. A magnificent event. I’ve chosen this one as the ruling maul was a speciality of the team that year. This one resulted in a score".
Fifth place: U15 Final
"I respect all rugby players - both codes, any age or ability, either gender. This is an under 15 final between West Park Leeds and Tynedale".
Bonus picture: Inoke Finau
" This one was taken last Saturday - Bradford & Bingley’s Inoke Finau touching down right in front of me. Back where I started, you might say".