A relatively stress-free day had Serbia vs. Ghana at the heart of it. We travelled to Pretoria for the 4pm start, arriving there for about midday, knowing there would be far less demand for this than the previous 2 days’ matches.
The noise from the fans could be heard from all around outside the stadium, but when we emerged pitchside, it just rose to another level. The Ghanaians were putting on a real show…vuvuzelas, drums, trumpets, bongos…one big African party, with 40,000 people in attendance. I couldn’t shoot enough of this; again, the colour and the happiness was just second to none…it makes next season’s inevitable trips to Wigan, Bolton, Blackpool etc. look even more unappetising than they already are.
With the match underway and a loaned Canon 1D Mk IV on the 400mm, I was on a stock shoot. Action, stock and fans were all that mattered. No real need for goals, celes would be a bonus. I spent most of the game trying to see round the photographers further up the sideline from me, because as we were shooting into the sun, we all had to keep our lens hoods on, meaning an extra foot of clearance was needed to see. Typically, some photographers acted as if they were the only ones there, resting their lenses on the boards when they weren’t taking pictures, blocking all of us, and some leaving their hoods on once the sun had dropped behind the stand in front of us. A few angry words were exchanged here and there, and eventually the match finished 1-0 to Ghana, with a late penalty proving to be the decisive goal.
I got back to the media centre to assess my day’s shoot…the Mk IV I borrowed performed just as I expected…inconsistently, and more often than not, shit. The colours were lovely, but the sharpness of the majority of images was just way below what you should expect from a £3,000 camera. I took it back to the Canon desk and will probably not borrow another one this tournament…all the experiment did for me was reignite my interest in changing camera systems from Canon to Nikon, but I could talk about the positives and negatives of that dilemma all day.
We took our time editing, and then made the 45 minute journey back to Randburg, where the first McDonalds of the trip was the only option for nourishment at 10pm.