I was trained to be a professional photographer by the legendary Paul Delmar. I openly admit I learnt nothing on the course on photography but learnt everything about being a photographer.
Taking pictures is only about 20% of the job. The other is about never assuming anything, having a Plan B or C to enable you to do the job and the ability to think outside of the box to find solutions to problems. Sometimes taking pictures is easy, its having the mental capacity to endure days like today that no one understands!
Now when I say that I must have been Hitler in a previous life – I mean it. Some people magnetise luck. I get lucky, but sometimes I think it is because karma is looking over me after getting through a bad spot. After today, I’m owed heaps.
I get up and do two hours worth of glamorous VAT returns before going to have a shower. Ten minutes later I am in the car park of the hotel and the heavens open – I basically have another shower.
Again I wonder if Storm Chasers is being filmed. It’s not the weather that I want to be in.
I park up using the provided media pass and saving be valuable dollars, though it’s raining so much that the attendants don’t seem to care today – typical! I have got stung so many times at this stadium and the day I have a pass, I can’t get my own back and thrust it in their faces!
The left hand side of my body aches. My left nostril is blocked solid, my neck hurts so much, but the right hand side of me feels fit and healthy!
I park in front of an American car with the plate 3LYONS and an England badge next it.
Inside the stadium we get a lunch box. One cookie, one ham sandwich and some other stuff which I don’t eat. I just need water – and perhaps some berocca and paracetamol for the left hand side of my body!
I start communicating with the folks back home using Facebook. We have an issue with the AMA server which we use to house our archive images on and syndicate out to the outside world. I connect to it and try to repair it or at least find a solution to the problem – but one of our photographers has subsequently banned herself from the server for trying to get in using bad passwords.
I’ll take that scenario any day – at least the security system is working well and everything is safe from hackers!
All is calm though as we agree that at least it is not the World Cup Final. …at this point I didn’t know the severity of that phrase!
Then news that the people I am cheating with to get Wembley stripes on my lawn back home have seemingly over charged by nearly £100. Another thing to add to my list of things to do!
Apparently the Simple Minds DVD has arrived – a concert I saw them at in Glasgow last year that was promised to arrive in May- Now I’ll have to wait 6 weeks to see it, but only 6 weeks and 2 days before I see them live in person again.
I open my camera bag to find that one of my cameras has been left on and has ZERO charge. Luckily a kind soul from Getty Images lends me a charger – I am extremely grateful to find a solution – at least it is not the World Cup Final.
With camera battery on charge, I go outside and its rather humid to say the least. I look up and for some reason I am magnetised by a woman. I just stare at her. She stares at me. I have no idea why I am staring at this strange woman in the crowd.
Then a chap stands up and the woman mouths “I know you”
.. It all gets too freaky when the fan reveals that he is wearing a Shrewsbury Town shirt.
I get the camera battery and the charge is 60%. That will do, there will be no extra time or penalties and at least it is not the World Cup Final.
Frankie limbers up during the National Anthems, perhaps he has a bad neck like me too.
Strangely some babies appear as the Ecuador team have their picture taken in the pre-match team group.
The game then gets underway. England go a goal down. I’m not at the races. I down another can of Pepsi Max to try to get my concentration levels up.
People can always say nice things about my pictures, but as I always say, they never see the bad ones!
My sixth volume of “Famous Footballers with their Eyes Closed” gets more material.
I try a change of tactic. The game is passing me by, so I move to the other side of the goal – as I do, Lambert backheels and Rooney scores. Some people would go crazy mad, to me it’s 1-1, the next goal is the important one as that’s the winning goal and at least it is not the World Cup Final.
I slowly get some nice action, and come to the conclusion that it is about time I contribute to the newspapers back home and send them some pictures to look at.
I try and start my computer but it’s not having it. I try again. Those of you with Apple Macs will know precisely how I felt when I was met with this screen….
Yes, I do actually have a back up computer with me – but it is in the hotel and I have yet to sync it up to this machine. It has all details of my flights, some important emails from picture editors agreeing fees, communication from TV broadcast companies requesting images of their reporters in action amongst others. Not to mention reports and ideas for the new AMA website which is currently being programmed in Django.
Living with the attitude of “Never Assume Anything” my office is on a “Cloud” so I can basically buy a new computer and within 10 minutes I can run my company without issues. However the immediate issue is right now.
What do I do?
(1) Punch the screen and go crazy
(2) Shoot the game knowing I won’t be able to be competitive with the rest of the photographers
So I choose number two and upon telling a fellow photographer of my issues, I get the reply, “Best it has happened now – at least it is not the World Cup Final!”
Lambert scores – but I’m blocked – I no longer care – at least it is not the World Cup Final.
My other celebration picture reminded me of my trip to the stadium, listening to a US radio news channel. They were discussing a politician who has won three previous elections but after coming out as gay, spectacularly did not win.
The papers in the UK may use it, but I don’t think the US papers would publish it – and at least it is not the World Cup Final, it’s a bit too looking too lovingly into each others eyes kind of picture.
Ben Foster lets in a goal from a stunning strike at the other end, there is a massive hullabaloo as Antonio Valencia seems to attack Sterling following a tackle.
The trouble is that it is the complete opposite end of the pitch. I wonder if this is going to be a talking point tomorrow in the papers? Whatever, I haven’t got it and if I did, it’s not going to be sent out live – at least it is not the World Cup Final.
Frank seems happy with the 2-2 draw. On the way out some England supporters are furious that they did not get to see Gerrard. One approaches me and asks for my opinion as a member of the press.. all I can think of is the reply, “It’s just a warm up, and at least it is not the World Cup Final.”
I just walk out with the 20,000+ crowd, but can not find my car in the parking lot. I walk around for about 40 minutes. I’m not having the best of days, that’s for sure.
So I walk back to the entrance and start the walk back to the parking lot and walk straight to it. Why did I not do that the first time!?
I could now seriously start to go mad.
Thankfully the lucky iPhone5 charging lead fires up my flagging mobile device and Google Maps take me back to the hotel.
It’s rush hour though. Miami is at a standstill. The normal 20 minute trip will take 58 minutes Google Maps tells me.
It re-routes my direction and instructs me to travel along the West side of Miami – a totally different way that I am used to.
In doing so, the sun comes out.
For the first time this week I see blue sky! Woo Hoo!!!
My neck still hurts, so in Frank Lampard style I twist and turn it and spot some industrial units.
I pull over and drive slowly kerb crawling for a computer shop.
I find one – dash in but they can’t help. The owner tells me to go 5-6 shops down to number 2804.
It appears a big dodgy but I have all the confidence of Jack Bauer going into conflict with a terrorist knowing all will be OK.
A chinese man comes to the counter. I ask if I can borrow a screw driver. He just says “No” in the most Chinese accent ever. “Do you speak English?” I ask..
He nods. I proceed to show him my laptop, explain I am from the United Kingdom, and I need to open it up as it is not working.
In the back of my mind I think I know what is wrong with my normal trusty but battered workhorse.
He says nothing and does an about turn. I look over my shoulder and get two smiles from two other men.
The Chinese man then returns with a small computer screw driver – “Please” he says and hands it to me.
I start unscrewing the screws on the counter of the shop until I can get in.
The world is suddenly a better place.
I see that the hard drive lead connecting to the mother board is loose. I press it back in – start it up and hey presto I get a working computer.
I offer the guy some cash but he refused. I shake his hand. I don’t think he realises what he had helped me achieve.
I feel that I have endured a mental challenge like no other. Upon entering my room I go straight to my coat which is on the floor and pick it up and see a lens I thought I had lost at the stadium yesterday.
Pouring myself a long glass of Pepsi Max with an Orange Juice chaser, I edit the pictures.
I smile as the last picture is of an England fan with a banner.
Keep Calm and World Cup On – at least it is not the World Cup Final!