Wednesday, July 27, 2011

National Stick Fighting Competition

It was the roughest crowd of people that I had to deal with since I started recording events. The people appeared to be as tough as the stick fighter themselves. They will get mad if someone gets in their way of viewing the fights, especially photographers with built in flash like me. I was told that a year before, someone flashed a picture of a stick fighter that was about to win until the flash entered his eyes as his opponent attacking them, leaving him blind in one eye. Getting in a fight aboard was clearly the last thing in my agenda. Regardless, I moved my way out of the top bleachers and maneuvered my way around the dangerous crowd to get as close to the ring as possible. Luckily for me, I have my official carnival pass to grant me access into the ring. Much to my chagrin, I am a lot more close to danger than standing on the bleachers with the crowd pushing against me.

I met up with the petite Trinidadian and the older photographers as I was relieved seeing them again. It was difficult trying to get to close to the stage as possible because you never know how hard the stick fighters compete with each other. The fights were as dangerous as I expected. I got hit in the back of the head by a flying boui which intended to dive into the crowd. (A boui is the staff used by stickmen to compete with each other) The cameraman sitting right next to me got a lot more damage when his flash attachment was completely smashed and he was bleeding from his forehead. I guess I could say that he took a “boui” for me. The bright side from this event was the Moko Jumbie (stilts walker or dancer) kids that came out to perform during the halftime show. Later on, I met an Indo-Trinidadian man who encouraged me to take pictures at the International Soca Monarch the next day. The odds to this idea were quite slim (5,000 to 1 chance). He also is a fan of Nikon cameras and I could see why he prefers the company over Canon.

However, I still think that Canon does a better job in terms of bringing out the colors in pictures. Who cares, both do the same thing, you know. One of the stick fighters that played nasty with his opponents fathered the same stick fighter that we met with Milla on the second night I was in Trinidad with her. I wonder how he had the opportunity to meet Milla Riggio. Unfortunately for the young man, he could not compete because of his leg injury. Anyways, his father played nasty throughout the competition and was greeted with boos and jeers plus disqualifying defeat due to his fighting style. A younger stick fighter was victorious, despite his victory by default. I tried to get as many good pictures I could, despite lack of lighting in the arena, no use of flash, and the quick motion of the stick fighters. I guess that the Trinidadian photographers are absolutely right of needing to upgrade my still – picture camera if I ever wanted to be a more serious photographer. Or figure out which camera setting would get me the results that I wanted to see. P. See you soon!

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