On a beautiful afternoon in February 2021, I left home for Asaka Chuo Park in Saitama Prefecture. The plan was to shoot a couple of Tokyo Metropolis League football teams under lights. It was going to be another “first” for me, and I was excited. I had never photographed a night game before.
Getting to Asaka Chuo Park was a long hike. It involved me catching five trains and a fifteen-minute walk. In total, the trip took nearly two hours. It was worth it, though.
Asaka Chuo Park was a nice place. As it was out in the suburbs, trees surrounded it. The setting sun cast a beautiful glow over the ground.
Inside was a small stadium that could sit a few hundred people. A running track also ringed the soccer pitch. It was simple but nice.
The teams for the game were King George FC and Shane FC. I had seen KG before, but it was my first time seeing Shane. It seemed like a balanced competition (not that I’m a soccer expert!).
The biggest problem for both them and me was the lighting. At this venue, it was very poor. Photography was exceptionally difficult. Even using the naked eye to locate the ball was challenging. If I go to Asaka again, I’ll shoot a daylight game!
Most importantly, how could the players see the ball? I don’t know how they kept track of it in the darkness, but they did! Seriously, it was hard to follow in the gloom.
Both sides played attacking football in this Tokyo Metropolis League Division 2 game. A result was going to happen. But, in the end, King George FC emerged victorious 1-0.
If the lighting had been better, it might have been a more enjoyable experience. Usually, night games look great in photos, so it was disappointing. Still, it was good to see my Fujifilm X-T2 camera and 100-400 mm lens work under such conditions.
The results were acceptable. Unfortunately, even after post-processing in Lightroom, a lot of grain remained. If the park had had better lighting, the results would have been different. But sometimes, we have to work with what we have.
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