How to Enjoy Street Photography at Sporting Events

Street Photography Events

How to enjoy street photography at sporting events in South Africa.


I had much fun shooting street photography at fundraising events in my neighbourhoods of Mhluzi and Middelburg, Mpumalanga. You too can enjoy shooting street photography at sporting events in your area. The photos featured in this post are from my archive. I captured them several years ago. My aim is to show you how fun it is to shoot street photography at these events.


Street Photography Events – Gallery

If you don’t have the time to read this 900-word post, please take a few minutes and look at this photo gallery. I included photos that I took at several sporting events in my neighbourhood.



In today’s post I want to share with you my experiences as a novice street shooter in Mhluzi township and Middelburg.

Shooting street photography at sporting events is more pleasant than fearful. I suggest you take this route as you gradually learn and get used to photographing strangers.

This is how I garnered the courage to shoot in public.

I started shooting street photography at sporting events in Mhluzi and Middelburg long before I realised it was a recognised genre.

Shooting street photography at sporting events is an excellent way to learn. You’re not the only guy with a camera. And most people love being photographed. Some of the participants will gladly pose for you if you ask nicely. This is also a great place and time to shoot street portraits.


Street Photography Events in Mhluzi Township


There are two major sporting events that take place in my small mining town of Middelburg.

The Rotary Greatest Train Race and The Paul Mthimunye Bursary Fund Big Walk.

The GTR happens in August while the Big Walk is held on the first week of September.

I started covering the Big Walk in 2009. My best camera then was the tried and tested Fujifilm S5700. I had just bought this device and wanted to test drive it.

September 1 fell on a Saturday that year. A perfect date for the event.

I got up early and walked to the Eric Jiyane Hall in Ngwako street. It was a bit chilly for a cold-blooded person like myself.

When I got there at 06h00 a few people could be seen approaching from all sides. They were teachers and parents of children from the local schools.

Soon more people arrived.

I blended in with the crowd and started taking photos.


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Street Photography Events – The Big Walk at Eric Jiyane Hall


I was shooting in AUTO mode and the camera made all the decisions for me. All I had to do was compose and then press the shutter release button.

From the Eric Jiyane Hall the participants started walking towards Botshabelo. Some of the more energetic children and their teachers started running.

I walked and ran with them. Taking as many photos as I could.

We crossed the Klein Olifants River and joined the N11 towards Groblersdal and Botshabelo.



Street Photography Events in the Middelburg CBD 


The Rotary Greatest Train Race attracts people of all races. It’s a race between two local towns. The participants race against a train from eMalahleni (Witbank) to Middelburg.

This race is a major fund-raiser for orphaned children and other charities in the Highveld region of Mpumalanga Province.

Its supported by mining companies and other industries.

These companies send teams of athletes to represent them in the race.

Members of the public are also allowed to compete by running or walking specific distances. The two mining towns are about 30 kilometres apart.

When I attended the GTR for the first time in 2010, I had my Nikon D3200 and two kit lenses. I had just acquired this gear and felt like a pro.

This was the right place for me to test my new camera and kit lens that came with it. I also had the 80 200mm zoom.

Fear of photographing strangers at the race was simply out of the question. I was really excited to shoot at the GTR.

People posed for me to photograph them. Some of them thought I was a journalist from the local newspaper.

The real fun for me was capturing candid moments before and after the race. There some interesting characters who took part in the race.

Most of the runners and walkers had sporting apparel with the names of their company or club on them. Others wore extravagant regalia to attract attention.

This race begins early in the morning and ends at around 14h00.


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Street Photography Events – The Rotary Greatest Train Race


The GTR Spills into Mathole Park, Mhluzi


For most of those who attended the GTR in Middelburg the real fun begins after the race. They flock to Oliver Tambo Park in Mhluzi Township. Commonly referred to as Mathole Park, this is where most people come to relax and have a good time.




What sporting events take place in your area? Why don’t you go to one of these and hone your shooting skills?

You might be pleasantly surprised how relatively easy it is to shoot street photography at public gatherings.

Just remember, be respectful and blend in with the crowd as much as you can. Don’t act like you’re doing anything wrong. If you’re still nervous to shoot discreetly, ask for permission and shoot street portraits.

Shooting street photography at sporting events is definitely one thing that can help you improve your skills. Try it.

Please connect with me on Twitter and let me know how it went.


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