Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fire vs. Earthquakes

Made my way down to San Jose on Wednesday night for the Earthquakes vs. Fire match. It was a tense encounter.
Chicago scored first with a well struck header by Steven Kinney.

And with Freddie Ljungberg playing well it ended up being a tough night for the Earthquakes.
The highlight of the night for the Quakes fans was the induction of Ronald Cerritos into the San Jose Hall of Fame during halftime.
Cerritos was always a great pro and probably was underrated during his playing days so it was great to see him get the respect he deserved for his great career.
Hope to be able to make it to another MLS game this season, and I 'm really looking forward to the playoffs!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My First Time Photographing the "Other" Football AKA Gridiron

After photographing the World Cup lots of people ask me if I take photos of other professional sports. I have shot baseball before but I usually only shoot soccer, or football as it is know all around the world. Well that is, of course, except in America where football is, well, football (or Gridiron for you other folks everywhere else).
So I got my chance to photograph my first NFL Gridiron game as the San Francisco 49ers played the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints.
I was on assignment for the Marin IJ which was doing a feature on Travis LaBoy, the Marin Catholic standout who just got signed by the 49ers a few weeks ago.
In between shooting LaBoy I was able to grab some other shots. Of course there cannot be Gridiron without the cheerleaders...
... and there was a ton of fireworks before the start of the match, er, game.
The Saints kicker had to work on his practice through the smoke of the fireworks.

And a bunch of Air Force soldiers brought out a huge American flag and held it during the national anthem. It was funny because the whole time they have soldiers running around below the flag to make sure it did not touch the ground and so it looked like it was "waving."
And with the crowd waiting, the game started.
The first half started out with the Saints looking like they were going to run away with it, but the 49ers defense tightened up.
Alex Smith threw to Frank Gore for a touchdown.
At the half it was a close game, 9-7.

During half-time the 49ers honored Jerry Rice and retired his jersey. The photographers were herded into a pen to take photos of the presentation.
And on his way out Jerry Rice got to shake hands with some fans.
In the second half the 49ers took the lead during a drive that had a big reception from Michael Crabtree.
And the 49ers coach Mike Singletary was barking at the refs all half.
And at the end the 49ers drove down the field late to score.

With Gore scoring the touchdown.
But with the score tied, the 49ers game up some easy yards, much to the dismay of the faithful fans at Candlestick Park. The Saints kicked a field goal in the dying seconds to win the game.

So all in all it was a fun experience photographing my first NFL Gridiron, er I mean, football game. Soccer is still my first love but it was a great time and I hope to shoot another NFL game soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

David vs. Golaith AKA Russia vs. Andorra Euro 2010 Qualifier

I was lucky enough to be in Spain for the first round of Qualifying for the Euro 2012 games and close enough to view one of the more unusual matches: Russia, one of the largest countries in Europe, versus Andorra, one of the smallest.

Click here for a larger size of the panorama photograph image above

It was an unusual contrast with the stadium seating just over 1300 people total. In Andorra, most people live in a small river valley between two mountain ranges and land is at a premium. Just finding the space for a soccer stadium is incredibly difficult.

With the
sacristy of seats available, hundreds of Russian fans cued up in line to make sure they got a ticket before the match sold out.

Click here for a larger size panorama photograph image above

Inside the seats most of the Russian fans were not in the grandstands, but behind a track and other items which made it difficult to see the game.
The enthusiasm of the fans who made the trip was not dulled...

But the game was rather a snooze fest. The Russians scored a goal on an Andorran mistake early in the match and the Russian fans were never worried.

In fact between taking sips of liquor they snuck inside the stadium, they also lit some flares to the delight of the Russian fans.

Actually the best seats for the game were outside the stadium. Against one side of the stadium was a tall wall. On top of the wall there was a place up above for fans to watch the match and take in the beautiful scenery all around them. It was a great place to chill, steal a few apple from the orchard nearby and watch a European qualifier match. It was definitely one of the more unusual games I have ever been to, and something I'll always be glad to have been able to check out.