Shane Van Boening, pro pool player from America.

World Pool Championship 2023 in Kielce, Poland

From February 1-5, I attended the World Pool Championship (9-ball) in Kielce, Poland. On the opening night, I got there a little bit late. Upon arrival, I asked the woman working the entrance if I could take photos of the players. She responded with a “yes,” but then asked me what I had in my bag. I explained to her that it was my camera gear. She told me that I could only take photos with my smartphone, and not a camera. For that, I would need a press pass.

Later that night when I returned to my room, I wrote an email to Matchroom Sport (the organizer of the event) and asked if I could get a press pass for the remainder of the tournament. To my surprise, the following morning I got a response from Matt Lynch (Media and Brand Manager for Matchroom Sport). He told me to ask for him when I arrive at Targi Kielce, and he’ll get me a press pass. I was beyond ecstatic!

When I got there, I asked for him at the entrance, and he had a friendly guy named Louis help me out. With my press pass in hand, I checked out the brackets and started looking for players to photograph. Being both an avid player and fan of the game, this was by far the best event I’ve ever been to. It started with 128 of the top pool players from all over the world, many of whom I’ve followed online through the years.

For most of the photos I took, I used an old, fully-manual Nikkor 80-200mm f/4.5 lens that I inherited from my Grandma. It was sometimes tricky nailing the focus, but I enjoyed the challenge and am very happy with the photos that I took.

When taking pictures at such an event, one must be super mindful so as not to disturb the players. This includes not moving while in their line of sight or doing anything else that could disturb them while shooting. It’s best to set up before they get down on a shot and try to stay as still as possible.

Enough about my experience at the event… Feel free to check out the best images from the event below.

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