On the Road Continues…
It was another early morning start the next day. We had to get back for the US game against Slovenia. I was really looking forward to this game because it was the only time that I would get to see the US play the entire tournament. We hit the road by 8:00 am and lucky for Streeter, we were able to make good time so we stopped at the McDonalds close to the stadium for him to get a couple of Big Macs, nuggets and fries.
The atmosphere at the US game was great. Lots of fans were dressed up in red, white and blue with their faces painted. Unfortunately, two goals by Slovenia in the first half silenced the crowd. Both of the goals were on my side and after the second goal Zlatan Ljubijankic of Slovenia ran towards my corner. I was thinking that finally after six games, I was going to get a nice jubo picture. However, two things went wrong – first, Ljubijankic was looking back at his team and second, a few of the best frames were out of focus. I put that behind me, and hoped the US would come back in the second half. The US did come back to tie the game 2-2, but there were no more celebrations coming my way.
I kept telling myself to be patient, and eventually a great celebration would come running my way. That day would come the following day. We hit the road again, and headed to Rustenburg for the Australia vs. Ghana game. I was excited about this match because I lived in Australia for nearly three years and followed their team while I was down there. Before the game, we found a “café” across the road that was basically a butcher shop that you picked your meat out of the cooler, and then they throw it on the BBQ out back – so we ordered up a dozen sausages and a few steaks and found a picnic table out front.
The women in the café prepare our sausage lunch
With our stomachs full we headed across the street to get ready for the Australia game. I stopped along the way to get a picture with a local who was selling ear plugs to drown out to the sound of the vuvuzela horns.
Brett Holman of Australia scored an early goal for Australia and came running right at me. I kept firing away and then quickly loaded the disk in to my computer to transmit the entire disk back to the editors working in Johannesburg without looking at any of the frames. The whole time it was downloading, I was hoping that the pictures were sharp and that the exposure was correct because half the field was in a shadow. I was happy when I finally got a chance to look at the disk. The pictures were tack sharp and the lighting was great. Unfortunately, after Harry Kewell got sent off for a hand card in the box, Ghana scored a goal on a penalty kick to tie the game at 1-1 .
All of our photographers in my group have gotten some really nice pictures over the past few days. We are back on the road this morning for a five hour bus ride to Nelspruit for the Italy vs. New Zealand game. Hopefully there will be a McDonalds there for Streeter and our group will come away with a few more great pictures.