Jan 052014

Lucha Canaria is the most popular traditional sport on the Canary Islands. It is a form of folk wrestling that is slightly different from the olympic wrestling and very different from the show wrestling you see on TV. The rules are basic. You fight in a round arena filled with sand, called terrero (autocorrect is desperately trying to change that word into terror). The wrestlers can touch the sand with their feet but once they touch it with any other part of their body they lose. If that happens twice you are out. That is it. Instead of hitting the opponent with a chair, or strangling him with ropes, or landing a jump on someones head, like seen on TV, the Lucha Canaria is more about skills and technique to get the opponent off balance. It even has its gentle side when the wrestlers first wipe off the sand of their opponent’s back. The main piece of clothing is a pair of cotton trousers which go down to the knee but get rolled up all the way to make them grippy and durable. One night I walked uphill to the center of the town San Miguel on Tenerife in the hills of the volcano Teide. On my way back I saw an open door at something that looked like a gym. My curiosity made me look inside and I found a group of Canarian wrestlers getting ready for practice. The whole gym was in the shape of a round arena, painted in blue and yellow. As the only visitor I first sat down to study the activities. Later, once they stopped wondering about me being there, I moved closer and took more photos. I used the Leica M240 and the only lenses that I had with me were the 50mm Summilux and a 35mm Summicron. So I couldn’t get really close. It would have been fun to walk inside the arena on the sand and to take some close-up shots with a wide-angle lens but I guess they would have kicked me out of the gym with a nice wrestling move. A tele lens would have helped. Here are a few shots. I used an Olympus electronic viewfinder to better dial in the Summilux at wide open aperture. Getting the focus right at f1.4 with moving objects requires some experience but I found that viewfinder to be really helpful and I will write specifically about it in a different post. You may notice a horizontal line along the top of each image. This showed up after a few days on Tenerife. I am guessing that it is a faulty read out of the sensor. The camera has to go back to service to get that fixed and I will spend some quality time with the M9. Curious how that will feel. D!RK

  •  January 5, 2014
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