My friends and colleagues are having a grand time teasing me. Over the last couple of weeks I have won first place in the sports picture story category of two contests: the White House News Photographers Association “2012 Eyes of History” competition and the National Press Photographers Association Northern Short Course competition.
You see, I am not known as a sports photographer. It is not that I don’t like sports: I am a solid San Francisco Giants fan. I have always envied those photographers gifted enough to be able to capture athletes in action.
So I was psyched that my story about archery garnered some accolades.
Archery is the national sport of the tiny, Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Competitions are held each week in villages and towns all over the country and are a ribald show of color and excitement. Players wearing the traditional dress of Bhutan, called the “goh,” each aim for targets placed 140 yards apart and matches are lively with singing and dancing and players jeering the other team’s abilities.
Traditionally the game was played with bamboo bows and arrows but in recent years players have turned to American style, state of the art carbonite Hoyt brand bows and arrows. Though the lightening fast, ultra accurate equipment has not dampened the tradition of the sport, it is somewhat ironic that a weapon used mainly for hunting in the United States is used for a blood free sport in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan.
Thanks very much to all of you sports shooters out there for the inspiration and thank you to beautiful Bhutan for having such a gorgeous national sport.
Please visit my new gallery on Bhutan and the Art of Archery.