13
Jun
Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual Overall view as the sun sets behind Arena Corinthians during the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.

Greetings from Sao Paulo, Brazil where the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicked off yesterday evening with a matchup between Brazil and Croatia. All the hassle of getting here and getting set up is finally in the rear view. Now its time to do what I do best, get cars blowing u… uh I mean, shooting some action shots at the biggest sporting event on our planet.. and perhaps the whole solar system. Continue on to check out the action from day one in Brazil!

After a long travel itinerary consisting of Phoenix to Charlotte and then to Miami , I boarding a 777 to Sao Paulo, Brazil for one of the final sporting events on my career bucket list, the FIFA World Cup!

Upon arrival in Brazil I encountered the customs line from HELL!

Photo by iPhone 4s

Photo by iPhone 4s

Ok so maybe you’re thinking the photo is deceiving and perhaps Im at the end of the line? Let me turn around and show you that way as well…

Photo by iPhone 4s

Photo by iPhone 4s

By the time I cleared customs (about 1.5 hours) I caught my shuttle ride to the hotel where I would catch a media shuttle to the opening match between Brazil and Croatia.

One problem, we arrived at the hotel at 11:05am… near minutes after the only shuttle to the stadium departed at 11. Dammit!

Luckily three other journalists had also missed the shuttle so we shared a cab to a train station that would take us directly to the stadium…. if you consider a two mile walk in the middle of countless people pulling my roller bag filled with gear since all the warnings have the fear of being robbed and shot in my head!

After getting my credentials and finding the massive media room, it was time to get my photo position for the game.

Thats where I learned a valuable lesson on World Cup seating assignments.

FIFA gives out the seat assignments in three groups.

Group 1: This group is comprised of all the photographers who are working for a publication from the country of one of the two teams playing (Brazil and Croatia media)

Group 2: This group consists of photographers who are working for a publication from a country that has a team in the World Cup. (Since I am from USA and they’re in the World Cup I was in Group 2)

Group 3: This group consists of countries who don’t have a team representing them in World Cup.

Once you determine your group then its first come first serve for your position (not photo position) in the line.

Photo by iPhone 4s

Photo by iPhone 4s

I ended up with 2-103 which means I was the 103rd person in the second group to choose my photo position. Factor in the 100 or more people in Group 1 and that leaves me like the 200th person to choose his position.  Of course by that time all that was left were positions on the side of the field around midfield (not the prime shooting position for soccer!)

Bitching and complaining wasn’t gonna fix anything so I sucked it up and made the best of it.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f6.3 1/400th, Aperture Priority Characters perform during opening ceremonies prior to the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 400iso, f6.3 1/400th, Aperture Priority
Characters perform during opening ceremonies prior to the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

About a week ago I read that Jennifer Lopez had backed out on her World Cup opening ceremony performance with rapper Pitbull but something must have changed because she ended up showing up.

Perhaps she realized that when you are stuck being on American Idol after its popularity peaked several years ago that perhaps she shouldn’t be so picky about your gigs…

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority Singer Jennifer Lopez (left) performs with rapper Pitbull prior to the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority
Singer Jennifer Lopez (left) performs with rapper Pitbull prior to the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority Rapper Pitbull performs prior to the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority
Rapper Pitbull performs prior to the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority Jennifer Lopez dances around the stage as she performs prior to the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1000iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority
Jennifer Lopez dances around the stage as she performs prior to the opening game of the World Cup between Brazil and Croatia at Arena Corinthians.

After the shortest performance ever, one quick song it was time to look for some fan features at the request of some clients.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 160iso, f5 1/1000th, Shutter Priority A Brazil fan waves a Brazil flag in the grandstands prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 160iso, f5 1/1000th, Shutter Priority
A Brazil fan waves a Brazil flag in the grandstands prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f4 1/1000th, Shutter Priority The sun reflects fans off the glass front as a female Brazil fan watches from the grandstands prior to the game.

Canon 1Dx, 70-200mm, 800iso, f4 1/1000th, Shutter Priority
The sun reflects fans off the glass front as a female Brazil fan watches from the grandstands prior to the game.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 1600iso, f5.6, 1/500th, Aperture Priority A Brazil fan shows support for the home team prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 1600iso, f5.6, 1/500th, Aperture Priority
A Brazil fan shows support for the home team prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 800iso, f4, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority Brazil fans cheer in the grandstands prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 24-70mm, 800iso, f4, 1/5000th, Aperture Priority
Brazil fans cheer in the grandstands prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 1600iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority Brazil and Croatia fans in their teams jerseys make for a colorful grandstand during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 1600iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Aperture Priority
Brazil and Croatia fans in their teams jerseys make for a colorful grandstand during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Prior to the start of the game I noticed a few photographers with their long lenses aimed high into the suite level of the stadium. I searched through my 600mm lens to see if there was anyone I could recognize. Of course that was a no. So I did what I always do in this situation. Shoot the hell out of as many suites as I can and then later look at the competitions photos and see if they have it.

Way after the game last night when I was back at the hotel I read the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff was in a suite next to FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter. After googling what she looked like I was able to search through my crowd shots and find the below frame of her and the FIFA prez watching the game.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1600iso, f5, 1/400th, Aperture Priority FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter (top left) and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (top center) in attendance of the match between Brazil against Croatia during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 1600iso, f5, 1/400th, Aperture Priority
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter (top left) and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (top center) in attendance of the match between Brazil against Croatia during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority Overall view of writers and members of the media in the press tribune during the match between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/2000th, Aperture Priority
Overall view of writers and members of the media in the press tribune during the match between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 800iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Overall view of Arena Corinthians as photographers line the field during the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.

Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 800iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Overall view of Arena Corinthians as photographers line the field during the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.

The atmosphere at a World Cup is an amazing feeling.

Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 800iso, f4.5, 1/500th, Manual Brazil fans cheer and hold signs and flags prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 800iso, f4.5, 1/500th, Manual
Brazil fans cheer and hold signs and flags prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Prior to each match both teams pose separately for group photos. About 20 minutes prior to the shot I went to the corner of the field where a photo marshall will escort you out for the shot. After seeing about 50 people in line already for the shot, many of them with step stools and ladders, I opted to instead shoot from the other side of the field (in my position) and get a different angle showing all the photographers in action.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 1600iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Aperture Priority A ridiculous mass of photographers take a group photo of team Brazil prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 1600iso, f5.6, 1/640th, Aperture Priority
A ridiculous mass of photographers take a group photo of team Brazil prior to the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

And with the release of three white doves it was finally time for the game.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1600th, Manual White doves are released prior to the match between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4.5, 1/1600th, Manual
White doves are released prior to the match between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Despite Brazil being heavily favored, Croatia would jump on the board first with a goal.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Croatia forward Nikica Jelavic (9) celebrates with teammate Ivaca Olic after a first half goal against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Croatia forward Nikica Jelavic (9) celebrates with teammate Ivaca Olic after a first half goal against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic reacts in the first half against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Croatia midfielder Ivan Perisic reacts in the first half against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

One awesome thing about all the field side photo positions is they all have electric power as well as an ethernet line so you can transmit right from your position.

UNLESS you are an idiot like me and forgot my ethernet to thunderbolt adapter. That left me unable to transmit from the field until I saw my buddy Steve Limentani who was using the adaptor I needed from his field side position about 50 yards down from me.

After each important goal I would download and edit and caption my images then take my laptop and run down the side of the field to him to borrow his connection. In simple terms he saved my ass! Thanks buddy!

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority Croatia fans in the grandstands against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 2000iso, f4, 1/4000th, Aperture Priority
Croatia fans in the grandstands against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f4.5, 1/5000th, Manual Brazil fans are silhouetted by clouds from the setting sun in the first half against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f4.5, 1/5000th, Manual
Brazil fans are silhouetted by clouds from the setting sun in the first half against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

One of the biggest stars in this years World Cup has to be Brazilian player Neymar so he would be my main focus on the match.

Luckily he was a player who was involved in most of the major moments of the match.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (right) reacts after getting a yellow card after colliding with Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (right) reacts after getting a yellow card after colliding with Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Apparently the Yellow Card motivated him to take his game to the next level because about two minutes afterwards Neymar would score a beautiful goal.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Despite being in a bd position for action, it was great for his reaction!

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 4000iso, f5, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against Croatia in the first half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Along with being a great place for that celebration, it was also perfect for the below sunset shot during the first half.

Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual Overall view as the sun sets behind Arena Corinthians during the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.

Canon 1Dx, 16-35mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/2000th, Manual
Overall view as the sun sets behind Arena Corinthians during the game between Brazil against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup.

It was certainly a physical game.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (left) battles for the ball against Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in the second half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (left) battles for the ball against Croatia midfielder Luka Modric in the second half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (top) is upended by Croatia defender Vedran Corluka during the second half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (top) is upended by Croatia defender Vedran Corluka during the second half of the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1.

Easily the biggest most controversial moment of the game occurred in the second half where Brazil forward Fred was grabbed on the shoulder by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren as he moved the ball.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Fred (left) is touched on the shoulder by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren in the second half during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Fred (left) is touched on the shoulder by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren in the second half during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

In an over exaggeration that even NBA player Manu Ginobili would be proud of, Fred fell to the ground like he had been tasered.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Fred (9) falls to the ground as he reacts after being touched by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren (6) in the second half during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Fred (9) falls to the ground as he reacts after being touched by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren (6) in the second half during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

You can even see the sheepish smile on his face when he realizes his acting won him a major award. No not a Oscar.

A penalty kick.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Fred (9) reacts after falling after being touched by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren (6) in the second half during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil would be awarded a penalty kick on their way to a victory over Croatia 3-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Fred (9) reacts after falling after being touched by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren (6) in the second half during the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil would be awarded a penalty kick on their way to a victory over Croatia 3-1.

Of course it would be none other than Neymar taking the shot.

And making it.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (right) is congratulated by teammates after his second goal of the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (right) is congratulated by teammates after his second goal of the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (not pictured) is congratulated by teammates after his second goal of the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar is congratulated by teammates after his second goal of the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Croatia players were not happy about the game changing penalty.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Croatia forward Ivica Olic reacts after a referees call during the game against Brazil.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Croatia forward Ivica Olic reacts after a referees call during the game against Brazil.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Brazil midfielder Hernanes (18) battles for the ball against Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozovic in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 300mm with 1.4 convertor (420mm), 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Brazil midfielder Hernanes (18) battles for the ball against Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozovic in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual Brazil forward Neymar (left) is congratulated by head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as he leaves the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual
Brazil forward Neymar (left) is congratulated by head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as he leaves the game against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians.

The game ended with a 3-1 Brazil victory.

Croatia players were not happy with referee Yuichi Nishimura, and they were sure to let him know.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Croatia forward Ivica Olic argues with referee Yuichi Nishimura following the match against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Croatia forward Ivica Olic argues with referee Yuichi Nishimura following the match against Brazil in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1.

While Croatia was yelling and making excuses for the loss, Brazil players celebrated.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual Brazil defender Dani Alves celebrates following the match against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1.

Canon 1Dx, 600mm, 3200iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual
Brazil defender Dani Alves celebrates following the match against Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 World Cup at Arena Corinthians. Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1.

To see all the images I transmitted from the game click the below link.

World Cup: Brazil vs Croatia

On the media shuttle back to the hotel following the game, our bus driver would misjudge a tight turn and clip a parked car. It literally took the help of a hooker standing on the corner to help direct the driver out!

Finally back at the hotel after midnight it was time for some well deserved sleep!

Next gave for me is on Monday as USA takes on Ghana in a match up that will determine if USA has any chance of advancing.


 
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