Monday, December 31, 2007

The game of Petanque

It was a freezing cold afternoon as I followed about four 'Stoga students out to the grass near the bus circle, where they were about to play a game I had never heard of. Today's assignment was the Petanque Club, a club started by a couple French students who were fascinated by this game, which much resembles bocce.

I began the shoot focusing on the tools of the game, something essential to an expose of a sport.
This photo's shot with the wide angle real close to the boule bag, and you can almost see my reflection in the closest boule.

Then as my hands began to freeze up, it became obvious that gloves would be needed. Hoping I had left some in my camera bag after shooting a night soccer game, I set the backpack down and finally found a mismatched pair of gloves--two rights hands, as it were--but it was enough to keep my hands functioning.

When the game started, it became immediately clear that to capture the essence of the event, I would need to get in the line of fire. I started out really only being able to shoot portraits, like this one:

But to get shots that show the whole range of the game required standing almost in the middle of the action. Fortunately this was a club sport, so they politely reminded me I was in the way as opposed to threatening to kick me out, which is what has happened in more conventional sports.

This shot was taken, as you may imagine, right in the field of play. The boule that was just thrown is now in the air (it's towards the student wearing black, the middle one in the three farthest from the lens).

One challenge of this sport is that the boules are small and the cochonnet (the green target ball) is smaller--and green.

And, playing in grass, getting the thrower and the boules in the same shot proved challenging, so I took a deep breath and laid down on the muddy ground, flat on my stomach, and started shooting. And the result, at left.

The sky is hot, but the perspective is interesting.

Fortunately the editor would print three photos, the one at left included, so as to tell the different aspects of the story.

Because shooting an sport is all about telling the story. And packing gloves.

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