Is Hoeneß mad?

Most football fans will have noticed the weird Bayern press conference yesterday. The management, namely, Uli Hoeneß, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, and Hasan Salihamidžić, bashed the media, accusing them of not respectful work, while at the same time citing human rights, insulting a former player, and showing inappropriate regret regarding previous own insults.

Bundesliga 29. Spieltag: Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs FC Bayern Muenchen, 15.04.2017

The instant media reaction was predictable: According to the commentaries, the three managers (in particular the first two of them) have lost credibility, have double standards, and don’t understanding how media work. Social media did the rest, adding funny comments (“best press conference since Tic Tac Toe #miasanmimimi”). In short: the football nation has its topic one day before the Bayern match in Wolfsburg.

My take is different. 

Hoeneß and Rummenigge are in the business for a very long time. They know what they are doing.

Bundesliga 29. Spieltag: Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs FC Bayern Muenchen, 15.04.2017

To see what I mean, turn the clock back 30 years. Back then, the Bayern manager was Uli Hoeneß (yes, Hoeneß!). Bayern was under pressure after they lost a few games and the second, Cologne (yes, Cologne!), suddenly was a serious challenger. The Cologne coach Christoph Daum did aggressive media work, insulting  the Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes (yes, Heynckes!). Of course, the press jumped on the bandwagon, and asked if Heynckes could stand the psychological pressure.

The situation was critical for Heynckes, as it is for the Bayern coach Kovac now.

German TV invited Daum, Heynckes, and Hoeneß to a TV talk. Do you remember what Hoeneß did? He destroyed Daum. The media started talking about “Hoeneß vs Daum” and forgot questioning Heynckes’ abilities. The momentum went back to the Bayern who eventually won the championship.

Any analogies? Draw your own conclusions.

It clicked

How I became a sports photographer

One day it clicked. And I don’t mean my camera. 

30 international photographers gathered at the media briefing. The announcement was: “Three photographers will have exclusive access to the track: Keystone, AFP and Ulf Schiller”. What was going on here? Let me tell step by step.

UCI Hour Record Attempt Sep 18, 2014

For long, I loved shooting sports. My friends, hobby athletes, were my usual victims. However, professional sport has always been my love. So I took a camera to the stands and shot pictures from there. There weren’t many reactions. “Yes I saw this in TV too”, was a typical one.

I desperately needed change. Thus, I started talking to event organizers. I wanted to get close to the athletes and shoot something unusual.

The Tissotvelodrome Grenchen accepted me. So I started shooting track cycling races. A niche sport. Maybe that’s why I made myself a name so quickly. After a few races, every elite track cyclist in Switzerland knew my name.

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Then, a big day was ahead… Jens Voigt, the extremely popular German cycling star, 17-times Tour de France participant, Yellow Jersey holder, permanent attacker in the peloton (quote: «Shut up legs and do what I tell you») planned to retire from professional cycling after a final attack on the official “UCI Hour Record”. Eurosport would broadcast live. The worldwide press would be there. Social media was buzzing. The Tissotvelodrome, my childs’ room, had turned into an arena of world sports. My guts were aching. I wanted to be part of the game.

I used my old trick, and asked the organizer directly. So I wrote an email to Jens’ team, Trek Factory Racing. I introduced myself as photographer of the Tissotvelodrome, asked if I could work for them, and included some of my pictures as reference. The answer was quick and polite. A rejection.

So I submitted an accreditation through the official way. Being one of very many, was the least thing I was hoping for.

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On the race day, Peter (CEO of the Tissotvelodrome) asked me to contact Trek Factory Racing’s media officer. “Is your offer still valid?”, he asked. I was more than surprised: Yes, sure, was the answer. “Good, we saw your pictures in the Tissotvelodrome. You have talent, you know what you are doing. Please deliver the pictures one hour after the race.”

Bang! I didn’t expect that! I came straight from work. That was the only reason I had my laptop with me. What a luck on an evening that I had already written off from a photographic point of view. 

When I came home late at night, my wife was waiting. She hugged me. She had seen me on the TV. And, more importantly, she showed me my pictures. They were all over the Internet! From Australia to California. I had water in my eyes. I didn’t sleep that night. 

It clicked! 

This was what I wanted! During that sleepless night, I decided to become a sports photographer.

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Not mirrorless

So I have a new camera, a dinosaur: another Canon 1 DX mark ii.

In the days of the mirrorless hype (“the camera revolution has started”) when Canon, Nikon, and Fuji introduced a generation of new mirrorless cameras, my photo friends and I decided to buy… good-old DSLRs.

Why? The reason is simple.

  • First: for our needs, there aren’t lenses for mirrorless cameras out there. Those lenses that have been introduced are not convincing (the only exception being Canon’s new F2.0 zoom lens – this one might be a game changer in the future).
  • Second: modern DSLR’s are 100% reliable. Brilliant autofocus, 14 frames per second, my old one has 376’000 shutter releases and is still working perfectly).
  • Third: Why do we need more of everything? 20 Megapixels are all we need, I recently even delivered even a 5x5m poster. The video capabilities are really good, and the weight… come on, We’re neither 7 nor 80: the weight is negligible compared to that of the tele lenses.

I unboxed the camera yesterday. Enjoy some first test shots.

I am convinced, the future will be mirrorless. But meanwhile the new DXiis will do the better job!

Train Station Vaulting

A pole vault event in Zurich’s train station was the prologue to this year’s “Weltklasse Zürich”. Location and sport were simply spectacular. Timur Morgunov (ANA) was the winner with 5.91m. In second and third place were Shawnacy Barber (CAN) and Kurtis Marschall (AUS) who improved his PB twice. Both cleared 5.86m. The slightly injured world record holder Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) ended fifth with 5.81m. Enjoy some of my pictures.

 

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Sigma screwed me up

Back to Bundesliga. This blog is about my frustration with my latest football coverage.

For those who follow my blog for photography reasons: maybe you remember that I bought a new tele lens earlier this year, the Sigma 120-300 F 2.8 S. It had been introduced in a video by Stephan Wiesner and we were quite enthusiastic about the first results.

After a few months it is time for a report on its long-run performance. I’ll be short: the lens has a massive problem: the autofocus! Depending on what you want to do, the performance ranges between “good” and “absolutely not reliable”.

  • The lens performed really well on the first day when the video was made: why? Because I only did two sorts of shots that work with this lens. First, shots when things are not hectic. Second action shots where the distance is predictable. A good example for the latter are the volleyball scenes from the head-on position that appear in Stephan’s video. Below are examples of such shots.
  • However, the lens is absolutely not reliable, if the subject is running towards you, or the exact spot of the action is not predictable. The first is typical for head-on positions in athletics (a 100m sprinter is too fast for the lens) and the latter for football matches (where one intelligent pass requires immediate re-focusing to some completely new spot).  I cannot include these pictures, because I delete them immediately: believe me, I deleted many! Also: be grateful to my parents who educated me well. I won’t use strong words here. I was tempted to use them, though, when I missed important shots.
  • As an aside, the lens also has strong vignetting. This is not bad per se. Some of the pictures have a “cool” look. However, Lightroom is not able to correct this if you want to.  So this is worth mentioning.

Alpine Ibex

During the 18th century, the Alpine Ibex became extinct in Switzerland. Only a small population in Italy/France (Gran Paradiso and Vanoise Massif) remained. When I was a child, I concluded that it would be extremely unlikely that I would ever see one.

Today the total population of Ibexes comprises about 45’000 animals with several groups in the Swiss alps. The species might be considered as not threatened, but the genetic diversity is low.

During our involuntary vacation week at home we went for a hike at the Niederhorn and met a population. We found two groups: the first was small – three males. In a distance of maybe 10 walking minutes was a female-and-offspring group, comprising about 25 animals.

Of course I had the necessary gear to take some pictures: a 24-105 zoom lens and my 120-300 zoom lens.

 

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Gallery CITIUS

The first edition of the CITIUS meeting is history. Six young organizers were rewarded for their effort by perfect weather conditions, great performances, a big crowd, and good mood everywhere. Joint with Hannes Kirchhof, I was the official meeting photographer. Here’s a gallery with some of my pictures.

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Martyn Rooney (GBR) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Pascal Mancini (SUI) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Frederick Kiptoo (KEN) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Burghardt Alexandra (GER) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Wilson Alex (SUI) during the 100 m race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Pereira do Nascimento Rodrig (BRA) wins the 100m race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Agne Serksniene (LTU) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Ralph Joshua (AUS), Kessler Christoph (GER) , Benmahdi Khaled (ALG) at the finish of the 800m race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Mujinga Kambundji during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

from left to right: Julien Christen (Organizer CITIUS Bern), Matyas Kobrehel (Organizer CITIUS Bern), Gas de Graf (Organizer CITIUS Bern), Franco Noti (Organizer CITIUS Bern), Raphael Clemencio (Organizer CITIUS Bern), Abdul Kadir Omar (Organizer CITIUS Bern) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Cornelia Halbheer during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Robine Schuermann and Cornelia Halbheer during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

from left to right: Lea Sprunger (SUI), Sarah Atcho (SUI), Amy Allock (GBR), Laura de Witte (NED), Marit Dopheide (NED) during the 4 x 400 m relay during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Lea Sprunger (SUI) , Laura de Witte (NED) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Lea Sprunger (SUI) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Sarah Atcho and Robine Schuermann during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

The Belgian relay, van Puyvelde Margo , Claes Hanne , Bolingo Cynthia , Laus Camille 93, sets up a national record during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Jason Joseph runs 13:48secs in the 110m hurdles race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Jason Joseph sets up a Swiss U23 record during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Jason Joseph sets up a Swiss U23 record during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Joseph Jason (SUI) sets up a Swiss U23 record over 110m hurdles during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Alex Wilson sets up a Swiss record over 200m during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Alex Wilson sets up a Swiss record over 200m during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Alex Wilson sets up a Swiss record over 200m during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Alex Wilson sets up a Swiss record over 200m during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Sclabas Delia (SUI) wins the 800m race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Mfomkpa Alain-Herve (SUI) gives the baton to Burgunder Joel (SUI) during the 4 x 400 m relay during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Italy (Davide Re) wins the 4x400m relay during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Italy wins the 4x400m relay during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

The Swiss 4x400m runners during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Swiss U23 record for 4x400m during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

from left to right: Ajla del Ponte (SUI), Lansiquot Imani-Lara (GBR), Kambundji Mujinga (SUI), Lalova-Collio Ivet (BUL) during the 100 m race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Mujinga Kambundji wins the 100m race during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Kambundji Mujinga (SUI) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Kambundji Mujinga (SUI) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius Meeting Bern 2018   June-16, 2018

Kambundji Mujinga (SUI) during the Citius Meeting Bern 2018 on 16 June, 2018 in Bern (Wankdorf Stadion), Switzerland, Photo Credit: Ulf Schiller / CITIUS Bern 2018

Citius!

Citius means “faster”

This is the name of a new international athletics meeting in Bern. Several months ago, the organizers asked me if I would like to be the official meeting photographer. A few days before the event, I am really looking forward to it.

CITIUS Meeting 2018 organizing team

The background is remarkable. The organizers are six young athletes. When I say young, I mean really young. Their names are (l to r):  Abdul Kadir Omar (age 29), Bas de Graf (21), Franco Noti (21), Raphael Clemencio (24),  Julien Christen (19), and Matyas Kobrehel (22). Out of nothing they put together a budget of 150’000 francs and were really successful in attracting international top athletes.

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100m women. This is the event that everybody is looking forward to. Mujinga Kambundji, bronze medalist at the 2018 Indoor Worlds, will do her first ever international race on her home track. And she will face tough competition. Alex Burghardt from Germany, Viktoriya Zyabkina from Kazakhstan, Ivet Lalova-Collio from Bulgaria will be in the blocks. Quite likely that some of these runners will meet again in the final of the Europeans.

Another interesting question is how the Swiss relay members will perform. As a team, the relay did a world class race last week (42.71 secs). However, there is still room for improvement. Hence, the eyes will be on Ajla del Ponte and Salomé Kora too.

Leichtathletik - Nationales Auffahrtsmeeting , 25.05.2017

4x400m relay races. For both the men and the women there will be 4x400m relay races. Several national teams (SUI, BEL, GBR) will try to qualify for the Europeans. The 4×400 is special to me. I loved racing it myself. Full of action, exciting, and really really hard. I’m really looking forward. The Swiss will line up with:

Women: Cornelia Halbheer, Robine Schürmann, Sarah Atcho, and Léa Sprunger
Men: Alain Hervé Mfomkpa, Joel Burgunder, Ricky Petrucciani, and Charles Devantay

Leichtathletik Schweizer Vereinsmeisterschaften  (NLA) 2018 June-02, 2018

100m/200m men. The Swiss Champion Alex Wilson is in top form and will run the 100m against the two fast Brazilians Rodrigo Pereira and Derick de Souza Silva. Alex is in top shape. Will he break his national record? In the 200m race things are even more exciting. There are 4 athletes with PBs below 20.40secs and Alex is one of them. Again, the Swiss national record is in danger.

AthletiCAGeneve (Memorial Georges Caillat) 2018  June-09, 2018

200m women. Beth Dobbin (GBR), Agne Serksniené (LTU) and Zoey Clark (GBR) are the fastest starters. It is very likely that the winner must run below 23.

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800m women. Egle Balciunaite from Lithuania leads the field with a sub 2mins PB. She is well known in Switzerland and she may be sure to receive a lot of support. Among the fastest Swiss is the young super talent Delia Sclabas who, like Mujinga, will have a home race in Bern.

LEICHTATHLETIK SM 2017

800m men. Four runners have PBs of 1:46 or 1:45, Joshua Ralph (AUS) is the fastest. Will one of the three fastest Swiss (Jonas Schöpfer, Hugo Santa Cruz, Pascal Furtwängler) make a leap forward and qualify for the Europeans?

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1500m men. A similar situation. The field is led by the world class runner Ryan Gregson (AUS) who ran 3:31 before! In a field with five other sub 3:40 runners this will be the chance for the Swiss starters Jan Hochstrasser and Julien Wanders to do great things.

3000m men. Five African runners will try to make the race fast. It’ll be interesting to see what the best Swiss will achieve in this field.

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110m hurdles. The Swiss shooting star is Jason Joseph. After winning the Junior Europeans last year, this is his rookie season over the 107cm hurdles. And he is doing really well. Two weeks ago he ran 13.51 seconds. Will he break the Swiss record? His opponents, Devon Hill (USA) and David King (GBR) are world class hurdlers. It’ll be really exciting.

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Pole Vault women. A nice international competition is waiting with Minna Nikkanen and Wilma Murto from Finland and Marion Lotout from France, all with PBs of 4.60 and more. Unfortunately, the Swiss vaulter Angelica Moser is still injured.

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Long jump men. The Swiss jumper Chris Ullmann just recovered from a surgery. In his second competition he showed that is improving quickly. His season best is already 7.76m. In Bern he has the honor to take on the indor world champion Mauro da Silva (BRA).

Link to the meeting website

Ticket sales

Link to Mujinga Kambundji’s website