Photo of the month of November


Photo: Michal Beránek / Sport, CNC - FC Barcelona – Slavia Praha match

And how does this kind of trip go? In the ideal case, roughly like this: on the day before I fly with the team to the venue, get transport from the airport and accommodation in a 3-star hotel, all paid for by the club, in the evening by bus to the press conference and training session. Then a dinner with the club partners in one of the selected restaurants. Morning is breakfast at the hotel, followed by a tour of the city and in the evening transport to the match. Accreditation is naturally secured and after the match at least an hour to work in order to have plenty of time to send everything off comfortably. Next morning breakfast and the flight back home with the team.

This trip, however, was very far from ideal…

“After arriving on a standard flight, we take a taxi from the airport to the prior agreed apartment near the stadium. But nobody’s there. My colleague goes through his e-mails and there it is – they had said to call 12 hours ahead… After half an hour of calling we at least go to the stadium to pick up our accreditation. I later find out that they gave me one for writers, not photographers… The apartment owner calls to say he’ll let us in in half an hour. The press conference is starting in 45 minutes. We run with our bags (plus I have another 20 kg on my back) to the apartment then back again. Photos can be taken of the training session for the first ten minutes, then hurriedly send them off and quickly by taxi to the centre for the dinner. Yes, there really was one! And it was very tasty!

In the morning we put together food supplies from our apartment then we’re off by taxi. After a half-hour dispute with two taxi drivers (we each waved down at a different one and they both came), we get taken to Messi’s training ground where the junior teams of both clubs are playing. At least, that was the plan. It seems our “cross-country” taxi driver dropped us off about a kilometre from the academy, so it’s another sweaty t-shirt. After the match I hurry to Camp Nou, exchange my accreditation for a photographer’s one and I’m staring open-mouthed from the stadium ground to the vast, slowly filling tribunes. The match begins and in a trance I’m taking photos of another great performance from Slavia in the Champions League. I think in the first half there was a struggle between Olayinka and Piqué. For a fraction of a second, the Slavia player’s kit tightens and I’m thinking this could be good. I quickly check sharpness, cut a little of the shot in the camera and I send it immediately to the newsroom. The match ends and I get to bed at midnight. I can’t sleep for an hour. I get up at 6 to catch the plane,” says Michal Beránek.

Michal Beránek

Michal has always had an affinity for sport, playing ice-hockey and soccer, and later studying Coaching at Charles University’s Faculty of Physical Education and Sport. He got into photography a little later, but was lucky to be taken on as a photographer immediately by the Sport newspaper, where he has worked for 16 years. Over this time, he has documented scores of major events, including the Olympic Games, world cups in ice-hockey, soccer, skiing, the EUROs, the League of Champions, etc…

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