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Sunday, 16 July 2017 09:39 AM BST
Iconic images: Night sky from Centre Court
A new series looking at some of Wimbledon's iconic photography READ MORE

As The Championships’ photographic manager, Bob Martin appreciates the finer details of the images which every day capture the essence of Wimbledon. In this series celebrating the best of the AELTC’s talent behind the lens, he nominates his Picture of the Day.


“You see an image of Centre Court and you know exactly where in the world you are - it’s instantly recognisable as Wimbledon. Every year we try and capture distinct new images from around the Grounds and a night shoot is something different,” says Chris Raphael, who took this striking picture of the showpiece grass court at 1.56am on June 29, 2010, the year after the retractable roof came into use.

 Nominating this as an iconic image of The Championships, Bob Martin points to the moon beaming through an extraordinary coloured sky above a Centre Court dressed for the night. The soft orange-pink cloud cover, beautifully framed by the structural lines of the stadium, contrasts with the iconic All England Club green. “Why the funny colour? When the cloud is low, the light from the street and city lights reflects off the cloud and over a long exposure you get these amazing pinks, oranges and reds,” he says.

When the cloud is low, the light from the street and city lights reflects off the cloud and over a long exposure you get these amazing pinks, oranges and reds

- Chris Raphael

For Chris, the challenge was not just in taking advantage of the cloudy sky to capture a very different mood; he had to try to get a clear shot of the stadium without any staff at work.

“At night, there are cleaners who come in to pick up paper litter, then another group who come in to dispose of the liquids.

There are also security sweeps with dog handlers, so the main logistical difficulty was waiting for a good stretch of time in between,” he explains. “I walked around looking for a position where all the lines of the stadium work – the seats, the ropes on the court cover, the internal lights shining through the gangways, the roof – to create the best perspective. I wanted to be midway up the stadium or at a low level to get the sky and cloud. If you’re too high up, you get too much roof.”

The other key was using a 16mm fish-eye lens, designed for shooting very wide angles.  “If you’ve got a great concave shape like Centre Court, a fish-eye lens bends all the edges without looking too distorted.”  

Technical infoThis image was shot on a Nikon D3X, using a 16mm fish-eye lens with a 30-second exposure with an F4.5 aperture using a 500mm and a sensitivity setting of 50 ASA.

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