Warming-Up in the Desert / by Simon Mooney

15120601_0406 On Friday I photographed a friend's wedding in Dubai on the shores of the Persian Gulf. The day after, the celebrations were to continue in an executive box at the Emirates Rugby Sevens tournament just outside the city and they kindly invited me along.

Being neither much of a rugby fan, or particularly sociable when it comes to corporate hospitality, I applied for a photographers pass before leaving the UK and packed my 600mm as well as my suncream with the intention of watching the action through the lens pitchside.

The wedding day was a long one and my phone pedometer reckoned I'd walked 13 miles. Much of this was desperately trying to find angles where the two video cameramen weren't in shot. I eventually got to bed at 3am on the Saturday morning and my alarm went off almost immediately four and half hours later.

The photo pass for the rugby now seemed like a very bad idea but I was committed so off I went.

As soon as I got into the stadium and dropped my bags behind the goals I was hemmed in by the Canadian team which had just come out for the warm-up. The players were enormous, intense and impressive in the light and heat and a different proposition to the footballers I'm used to seeing at such close quarters. Over the next few hours, I mostly had my back to the match action and concentrated instead on the details of the other teams' preparations for the short, sharp 14 minute games coming thick and fast.

I also snapped the occasional cross-dressing or twin-hatted fan as they caught my eye.

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