What Are You Packing For the World Cup?

June 2, 2010
By Holly Stuart Hughes

Tech Packing for World Cup
Photo Credit: © 2010 Simon Bruty
A Brazilian fan at a game between Brazil and Australia, 2006.
This month, hundreds of photographers around the world will be descending on stadiums in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and other spots around South Africa to cover the month-long sports story that is the World Cup. For the first time in its history, the tournament is taking place on the African continent, and photographers will have to adjust to covering the events in wintertime. We called on photographers—both World Cup veterans and newcomers—to find out what gear they're bringing, how they've prepared, and what they're most looking forward to about covering the most popular sporting event in the world.

Simon Bruty Washington, D.C.

On assignment for Sports Illustrated, Simon Bruty will be in South Africa covering his sixth World Cup.

How do you prepare?

I like to do as many games as possible at the front end [of the tournament]. It gets you into the swing. In the first phase, you can shoot one game a day. You get to see the stadiums over and over, and the system they have for the photographers.

How will you handle getting to different matches?

I looked at the venues, and the Sports Illustrated writer and I discussed it. Johannesburg is where the U.S. team is based, and from there you can get to about six venues by car. We'll have a car, which should keep the cost down.

What gear are you packing?

A 400 f/2.8 mm is my standard issue lens. I would then use a short lens like a 135mm or a 70-200mm, depending on where I'm positioned. I'll bring four camera bodies for myself and then maybe two set ups for remotes in the goal mouth; I'll use the 16-35mm zoom on those. To trigger the remotes I use PocketWizards which sometimes have interference because there are so many photographers. Wireless is the way to go, but the guaranteed way is to hard wire it, in which case I operate it with a foot pedal. You have to run this bloody long wire to where you sit.

I'll have my Think Tank rolling bag which I carry on the plane—so if all hell breaks loose and my luggage never appears I'll be able to work. There will be places where I can rent or borrow gear.

It's the middle of their winter and the weather can be very rough. I'm definitely bringing rain gear.

What are you looking forward to shooting?

I like to do the wild card teams because when they have nothing to lose, they're wild in their tackles. It's a David and Goliath story.

Of course you always want to see the world's best players, and playing on this stage they tend to shine.

I'd like to look a little beyond the soccer pitch to what's going on around the stadium. I'd say the passion at World Cup is higher than at the Olympics. There are countries where soccer is a religion.

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