So I went to the very last Wroclaw World Cup to work for the World Archery comms team; the third time I’ve done this gig after stints in Antalya and Shanghai – although it’s not my first time in Wroclaw.
It was hot. Seriously, if you’d turned up in Poland, of all places, for a lying-by-the-pool sun holiday you wouldn’t have been disappointed. 35ºC / 95ºF and sunny all day right up until Sunday which was mostly overcast and muggy. Sounds great: until you have to sit in a sweltering tent, with sweat running off you, with every laptop and server fan screaming, desperately trying to keep the infrastructure working, and everything getting covered in dust. All. Day. Long. Every afternoon we kept dreaming of the lovely air-conditioned hotel and its infinite supply of lovely cold Polish beer.
You can read what we wrote about it and find all the results here. It was a much quieter affair than previous World Cups and the World Championships in Copenhagen. Many nations were saving their budgets or their archers for a double bill of the Medellin leg and the Rio test event.
Several familiar archery nations were absent (Korea, Chinese Taipei, Great Britain, Australia), fielding alternate teams (China, Japan), missing many/all of their usual recurves (Denmark, the Netherlands) or even flying solo self-funded without coaches (Mexico, Canada). Many team line-ups saw at least one change from Copenhagen.
The USA were particularly prominent on both finals days, and took home a spectacular recurve haul on Sunday. At least a couple of the performances were really strong and would have tested the best Asian first teams. The individual finals on Sunday were probably the highlight, and you can watch them here.
Previously I’ve extensively typed up what I got up to, but I’m not going to do that this time. I took a lot of photographs, and for the first time had a decent set of lenses which (mostly) worked pretty well, although I could have done with about another 100mm of focal length. I’ve been working on keeping things a little simpler; trying to improve the workflow and the image detail. It started slowly, but 1500 shots later I got a few I was pretty pleased with.
Naturally, Dean was there doing his usual superb work. I didn’t try to directly duplicate what he does, and tried to look for other things and other angles – although I couldn’t resist a ‘sunglasses-target-reflection’ or two. But I couldn’t resist borrowing (OK, stealing) a few of his ideas. Standing on the shoulders of giants and all that. OK, enjoy.
Thanks, as usual, to Chris Wells, Dean Alberga and the rest of the WA team.
You can right click to open photos in a new window / tab. All photographs are © 2015 The Infinite Curve. You can re-use them non-commercially, it would be nice to let me know if you do. Cheers!
“I will cut you.”
(not really. Also, both stand-up guys to interview.)
I caught this picture just after what was clearly a bad shot when she turned towards the camera. The next frame is more of a scowl. I’m basically an asshole.
Still not sure what to do with expanses of scrubby grass. I love the lines and the rare chance to get a completely clean shot of an archer with anyone else or a lot of scopes getting in the way. But a lot of grass looks odd in a colour shot. Monochrome seemed the way to go.
Sophie Planeix had a slightly fussy, almost ‘prim’ style which took her centre of gravity forward. Still, can’t argue with a finals place.
The Brazilian team had been on the road over five weeks. There were some great perfomances, but you could sort of sense they were all ready to go home.
FINALS (Saturday & Sunday)
Usquiano was way off her previous form in the final, and looked upset and uncomfortable throughout. I almost had an amazing shot of her bowing her head with Avdeeva punching the air. Is it remotely in focus? Is it bollocks. The ones that get away. (Chris was very pleased with this one.)
The fountains behind only properly erupted once an hour. Never quite managed to get the perfect shot of them and someone on the line. Tried, though.
Finally, after a few years of trying, I manage to get an image of Brady Ellison that gets close to capturing the intensity of the performance. He’d not seemed entirely comfortable in the anchor role all week, and a couple of team chances went begging. It looked at times like Collin was the one holding the team together. You could sense the pressure – probably self-inflicted.
But when he needed to deliver it, on the last arrow, it was there. He found it. It was great to be that close when he did.
A left hander on the German team I’d not seen before. I enjoyed his confident and elegant draw.
Delivered the fightback of the week against Mackenzie Brown in the final. She’d been nailing the shootoffs all Thursday long, not out here though.
Richter has a habit of closing her eyes, being very still and going ‘into the tank’ between head-to-head shots. It was great to watch. And it worked.
Great archer, great to watch, really nice guy in person. As good as it gets.
Another slighting disappointing finals day performance, another berating in the Indian media.
Bye bye Wroclaw. Hope to see you for the World Games in 2017!