Image © Doug Pensinger / Getty Images.
Doug Pensinger is one of the 39 photographers Getty Images sent to South Africa to cover the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Ahead of the Spain-Holland final, he answered our questions about being on the side of the pitch for the world's most watched sporting event
BJP: What is the typical day at the World Cup?
Doug Pensinger: At the 2010 FIFA World Cup, we had a team of 39 photographers, with our photographers split into four teams. Each team had a different schedule to ensure we were covering off all the training sessions, press conferences, matches and other photo opportunities. There is a lot of travelling at this tournament and by the end of it we will have been on 19 internal flights. The schedule is very packed at the start of the tournament, with so many games in the group stages, and in one stint we flew and shot games on six consecutive days and, on another stretch, nine consecutive days.
BJP: What do you do when there are no games on a particular day? Do you follow the teams in their training, etc.?
Doug Pensinger: We have photographers assigned to specific teams and they are responsible for photographing training on the teams off days, whilst the rest of us cover the matches. The World Cup schedule is a busy one, with only a few days off. However, on the ‘rest days’, we do have the chance to recover from the travel, do some laundry and catch up on sleep. We also managed to fit in a day of sightseeing, as a few of us, myself included, have never been to South Africa before. The teams based in Johannesburg went on safari and myself and the team in Cape Town got the chance to go diving with great white sharks. A once in a life time experience - it was extraordinary!
BJP: Where do you position yourself on the pitch?
Doug Pensinger: All photographer positions are ticketed and assigned in advance of the tournament. We have the exact same four assigned seats pitch side at every venue and for every game. We requested seats about half way in the endline, between the corner and the goal mouth giving a good intimate view of the goal mouth and box, as well as giving a good head-on perspective of the action as it moves up and down the field. We also have been assigned seating in the media tribune to add an overhead perspective. When required, we apply for extra seat on the field, usually on the far sideline again giving a different view in the case that action might be obscured fro one of the other positions.
BJP: What kind of images are you looking for?
Doug Pensinger: We want to capture every moment and emotion of the game – the goals, the celebrations, the activity of the manager and teams on the benches and the action and drama on the pitch. And hopefully we can capture this at the right place on the field to maximize the focal length of the lens in hand and providing a background as free from distraction as possible.
BJP: What kit do you use?
Doug Pensinger: 3 Canon eos 1d mark IV, 1 canon 5d mark II, Canon 15mm fisheye, Canon 16-35 f2.8, Canon 24-105 f4, Canon 70-200 f2.8, Canon 300 f/2.8 and Canon 500 f4.
BJP: What is your workflow?
Doug Pensinger: We have our laptops with us pitchside connected and our IT team have wired every, so we just plug in our laptops, put the flash cards in the card reader and press go. All images are beamed back to a bank of editors in the main press centre at Soccer City in Johannesburg. This leaves us free to concentrate solely on the game. The editors then ensure that the images are on our website, www.gettyimages.com/worldcup, for our customers within minutes of them being taken.
BJP: Do you shoot video as well?
Doug Pensinger: No. We are the authorised photographic agency of FIFA, so we are there to capture the best images from the tournament. The TV and video rights are managed separately by FIFA.
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