Polo from Below

By: Gustav Hoiland

Jul 27 2010

Category: bike polo

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Aperture:f/7.1
Focal Length:18mm
ISO:200
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

In the Way

“Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!”

To start – sorry to all of the players whom I briefly inconvenienced during a moment of passion and fervor. I hope you can understand that I try my best not to distract you or otherwise takeaway from your game. I’ll admit I push the boundaries of acceptable interference – as was made quite audible by a few spectators yelling at me – by hanging my camera into the court. To those I so wronged, I present to you this image. There are more like it that I will be releasing as time goes on. It is images like this that motivate me to continue the unsavory practice of getting as close as I can to the action.

The opening quote, from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange came to mind when I was trying to think of a way to describe the clouds in this image. It may sound like a bit overkill (in the movie, Alex is responding to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony), but I just can’t get over how great those clouds turned out as a result of the software manipulation applied to the image. The previous two days’ posts underwent the same treatment, yet their skies were abundant in absence of clouds. More clouds like this manifest themselves in other images in the series though, so if you stick around I promise there will be more.

The clouds stand out here though because they’re such an epic backdrop to the powerful figure presented all over the rest of the pixels. I’ve actually been shooting in this style (camera near-ground, pointing up as players fly by) for a quite a while. I started it on a whim while shooting pickup play in Boston and ever since I saw those images I’ve continued to do it. There’s just something stimulating about that big wheel thrusting towards you with the mighty rider atop, transfixed in the polo gaze that takes total control of one’s facial muscles whilst in the heat of a game.

Stepping back a bit, this images works for me on a most fundamental level because it places the viewer below the rider. It’s as if we’re being trampled, or rather jumped aside just in the nick of time as the freight train of might that is Robbie from Ottawa tore past us with the distinct whir of a wheel cover right in our ear.

Forgive me.

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