Photo of the Week: Takraw

Photo of the Week, Street Photography

TakrawThis photo is why I love street photography. By walking around with a camera, I am often times rewarded with interesting experiences I’d otherwise never have.

Before the Shot

I saw several guys warming up for a game of takraw. (Takraw is a version of volleyball played with no hands that looks like a great way to cause permanent back damage or shred a groin muscle.) The players were kicking the ball around and stretching so I moved in close and took a photo.  All the guys started laughing – they were probably very surprised to have a foreigner show up in a local park and start taking their photo.

They asked if I’d like to play so I put down my camera and kicked the ball around for a bit, but when they started the game I said, “Mai Dai” – I can’t! Not only had I never played before – and these guys were clearly serious players – but I don’t know if physical therapy is covered by my insurance.

The Decisive Moment

  • Shutter Speed: 1/1000
  • Aperture: f/4
  • ISO 2000
  • Lens: 18mm (27mm equivalent)

Sports are usually shot at a distance with a long lens, but I was able to get very close and shoot with a wide-angle since I’d already received implied permission to take photos. I think being close with the wide-angle is part of what makes this work. In addition, I love the expression on his face, the dynamic angles of his legs and arms, and the ball right on his foot.

After the shot

This was one of the first photos I took, but I continued to watch the game and I ended up taking about 30 photos. I kept shooting in part because it was so entertaining to watch these guys play. During a break in the action I thanked them and moved on. I will get some prints made and give them to the players next time I’m in the park and maybe I’ll try and play a game with them.

The Takeaway: Making a connection with people on the streets can give you the freedom to get close and take multiple photos.

Do you interact with the people you photograph on the streets? 

Is takraw something you are interested in playing? 

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Currently living in Bangkok, I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~ planetbell1@gmail.com

15 thoughts on “Photo of the Week: Takraw”

  1. I too like street photography – its not just the architecture is it but people interacting with it and each other

    • Agreed. I used to try to get photos without any people in them, now I’m the opposite. It is that human element that makes it interesting.

  2. Such a great photo and even better story of how you got it. I’m always so reluctant to approach people to take their pictures.

    • I am too at times. I had just returned from Sri Lanka where everyone was so smiley and eager to have their photos taken that I was a little emboldened. Most people, in my experience, are flattered or don’t mind to have their photo taken. For every person who isn’t into it, there are hundreds who don’t care.

  3. Thanks for the breakdown of the image’s creation. On one of your last posts, I wanted to ask what settings you used on your camera, but I wasn’t sure if that would be rude. It’s interesting how your camera gives you a reason to get to know people on the street; I’m primarily a writer, and I always chat people up whenever I’m waiting anywhere or just in close proximity to another human being. I’m always scouting for a new article, so that’s my excuse for asking strangers questions. Same thing with a camera, I suppose 🙂

    • Do you know what photo you were interested in? I don’t think it is rude – the photographer can tell or not. Some photographers on Flickr, Instagram, etc, include the settings in the caption.

      I can see how being a writer gives you an excuse to talk to people. Do you look for people who have an interesting look or what makes you drawn to a person?

      • Previously, I was interested in the photos from your trip to the temple in Sri Lanka, where all the pilgrims were gathering. I was wondering what you did with your camera settings to get the colors to look so vibrant and not flat, since it seemed like you took the photos at midday. I keep hearing “don’t take photos at midday, because the light is crap,” so I was curious what you did to make those look good.

        I literally just try and talk to anyone and everyone. Sometimes the most interesting people don’t always look interesting on the surface. I’ve found most people are happy to chat, especially if I ask questions about themselves. If the conversation doesn’t yield a story idea, I learned a little bit about humanity, anyway.

      • That is a great question. Mid-day sun can be harsh and bright sunlight is terrible for nature photos, however, in certain situations bright sun can make colors pop. I personally like the light in late morning or afternoon that brings out the colors and creates dark shadows. Here is an article by F.D. Walker about color photography that has some examples clearly shot in bright sun. http://shooterfiles.com/2016/09/7-tips-for-seeing-in-color-in-street-photography/

        It is a personal preference I suppose. Bright sun can bright out colors but creates shadows and a harshness at times, but when used creatively it can work well.

    • I think the athletic prowess far surpassed the photo skills! On second thought, maybe I won’t play takraw anytime soon.

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