Animal Mass, Indoor Tennis & Fast Pans …

For the last 5 years or so, I’ve had my eye on one event that takes place each November in Paris; each year circumstances have conspired against me to keep me from going to the event. But this year was different.

The event is the annual mass for animals at the small and undistinguished church Sainte-Rita, on a quiet street in the 15th arrondissement. And I can quite clearly say it’s one of the stranger events I’ve had the pleasure to photograph over the last few years.

Church Mass for Animals

I arrived a bit early to try and take in some of the preparations. Imagine my surprise when a truck pulled up, opened its doors and out came a llama, sheep, donkey and CAMEL ! Of course I was expecting dogs, cats, birds, etc but on the church website advertising the mass, there were drawings which included lions, tigers, elephants and giraffes so I figured they were just exaggerating for effect. Mais non! Amongst all the more common animals in the church, and there were a ton of them large and small, I saw one woman caressing a tiny miniature turtle.

Church Mass for Animals

It was hard not to laugh at the insanity of it all but there was a really good vibe in the church, everyone in a good mood and laughing at a variety of mishaps the animals caused. The highlight of the ceremony was when the big white camel was escorted in by the priest. I wanted a close up photo of the camel as he entered, but since the aisle in the church was quite narrow, the beast almost crushed me right after I took this image.

You can (and should!) see more images of the mass for animals HERE.

And there is a short video HERE.

In a much tamer event, I shot some of the Masters Series indoor tennis event at Bercy this week. It’s a nice event with most of the world’s top players competing although this year Nadal had to pull out with an injury.

Rafael Nadal - Injured

As of this writing, the Frenchman Gael Monfils, who both shockingly looks at times like Eddie Murphy’s Buckwheat character on SNL and who beat Roger Federer yesterday, is into the final against the giant Swede Robin Soderling.

Gael Monfils at Bercy

One thing I noticed while shooting the indoor tennis this year is how much our cameras have improved in low light situations. Indoor sports, for those of you who have tried doing it, is one of the more difficult tasks a photographer can ask of a camera. Fast movements, low light, no flash and quick focusing requirements make blurry, out-of-focus photos more the norm than the exception. The ability of today’s high-end cameras to shoot at ISO levels of 1600 or higher with little noise is really a game changer.

Feliciano Lopez at Bercy

Just saw the movie “Fair Game” with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts about the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby (<== shouldn't a grown man be arrested just for having the name "Scooter"?) scandal. While the movie was generally fine (despite my embarrassment that more French people now understood what took place inside our previous regime), the one thing that really bothered me was what appears to be the current directorial trend to keeping the damn camera moving and panning all the time, much like a music video or something like that. Quick cuts and zooming in and out throughout most of the film. Is that supposed to excite us? keep us more involved? or just give us a damn headache? Has anyone else noticed this trend?

Some photos of the week:

Frenchman Arnaud Clement at Bercy

Ride for kids?

New Fedex Rickshaw in Paris


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by The Second Baseman on November 15, 2010 at 6:21 am

    No comment David except…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!


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