I thought a blog about my role as the British Army Polo team photographer would be interesting and be a chance to put some of the last few season's photos together on one place.
Some years ago, I found myself in the right place at the right time and to cut a long story short, was invited to photograph polo at Sandhurst.
It was the second time I’d seen polo, the previous experience had been, well, equine croquet. I took the photos and thought some were OK. I must have done something right because I was invited back. By the end of that season I was hooked on polo photography and some work had been published. Later I was approached by regimental teams, then I was photographing the army team, and then I was the "official" army polo photographer.
The first big public tournament for the army team is in mid June during the Sandhurst open day. It's a great day to look around the academy and a great day for the players to perform in front of thousands. At other times there are few spectators.
My experience may be limited and perhaps a bit parochial, but I think the Round Ground at Sandhurst is the most spectacular and perhaps also the most historic setting for polo. Coupled with the British military's ability to get things right and to do it in style, a tournament there is sport at its best. The ground has a lake at one end and New College at the other. Overlooking the ground is the Old College, dating back to 1812. The scene is spoiled a bit in another direction by the somehow award winning and brutalist Churchill Hall. People and teams love to be photographed in front of the colleges.
The main tournament to the military polo calendar is the Rundle Cup at Tidworth, and is played between the Army and Royal Navy. Players have another chance to play in front of thousands.
This is the one occasion when the national press will turn out.
However their attention is usually limited.
But they do stay if there's royalty on site.
The polo is usually pretty good although there can be the odd heart stopping moment.
As one of the two photographers for Tidworth Polo Club, I can get to the front of the queue. Presentations are not always the most interesting shots but do get used. But I can also get behind the scenes.
The Army Polo Team has also turned out Ham Polo Club for the HAC 105 Invitational, that marks the end of the season. In 2013 they won it.
Finally, there is the "without who" part. The main sponsor of the Army Polo Team is Hackett of London, so here's Jeremy Hackett and Muffin and Kieth Gap of EFG International. Also there's Col Simon Ledger, chairman of the Army Polo Association and voice of polo. Without them I would have less to photograph and would have a great deal less fun.