1,000 words and then some: The stories behind the shots

Curating the most unique perspectives from some of the world’s leading photographers, “1,000 words and then some” is AP’s monthly photo series that takes a look beyond the lens and camera data at the stories behind some of our favorite shots.

This month explores the peak of “Pokemon Go” mania, a rare celebration of marriage amid a time of conflict, a precision shot of another type of precision shot, a chance encounter with a unicorn, as well as some early snaps of the Summer Games.

Produced for Canon by AP Content Services, the paid content service of The Associated Press.

In this Saturday, July 30, 2016 photo, two girls pose for a picture as they sit in front of the family house during the wedding party of Palestinian groom Saed Abu Aser, in Gaza City. Weddings have emerged as a welcome celebration that slices through the often morose mood in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian coastal territory run by the militant group Hamas. For both poor and well-off Gazans, weddings are a days-long, lavish affair of parties and dancing. (AP Photo/ Khalil Hamra)

Model: Canon EOS Mark III  Focal length: 50mm  F-Stop: 1.4  ISO speed: 100  Shutter speed: 1/320 sec

From the photographer: “I’ve been looking for a wedding to photograph for more than a month, because very few people allow the media to cover their wedding activities and publish them, especially photos of the women relatives who are dressed up for the wedding,” says Hamra. “It took two days of talking to the family before the wedding and then 3 days of preparation and shooting. There was something special about the two girls, the colors around them, the way they were dressed and the way they were sitting next to each other that drew me to them.”


Protesters hold a giant Turkish flag as they gather in Taksim Square in Istanbul, Monday, July 18, 2016. Turkey's Interior Ministry has fired nearly 9,000 police officers, bureaucrats and others and detained thousands of suspected plotters following a foiled coup against the government, Turkey's state-run news agency reported Monday. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Model: Canon EOS Mark III  Focal length: 50mm  F-Stop: 1.4  ISO speed: 100  Shutter speed: 1/320 sec

From the photographer: “I took this image after several days of trying to get a good frame of the anti-coup and pro-government rallies in Taksim Square, in central Istanbul,” says Giannakouris. “There were two giant Turkish flags in the square, and the light was really good just before the sun set. I used the sun as a backlight and the protesters were silhouetted on the red flag. This moment only lasted for a couple of seconds, then the flag started to wave again.”


South Korean diver Woo Ha-ram takes part in a training session at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Model: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II  Focal length: 200mm  F-Stop: 18  ISO speed: 100  Shutter speed: 1/20 sec

From the photographer: “I created this effect by panning my camera in the direction of the diver with a slow shutter speed, and with the focus locked onto the diver,” says Maye-E. “I like to find the shutter speed that gives me enough sharpness in the photo where the viewer can still tell what is going on, but enough blurring to see the movement and speed of the diver. Panning gives the photo more energy and life, and it can be a good trick to get rid of messy backgrounds too.”


A mobile screen is reflected on a fan's sunglasses as she plays "Pokemon Go" in Hong Kong, Monday, July 25, 2016. Pokemon fans participated in creatures hunting on Monday as the app was released to both iPhone and Android users. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Model: Canon EOS-1D Mark II  Focal length: 70mm  F-Stop: 3.5  ISO speed: 1000  Shutter speed: 1/320 sec

From the photographer: “I met my subject and her boyfriend on the road while they were playing ‘Pokemon Go,’ just a few hours after its release,” says Cheung. “I was drawn to the way the game looked as it was reflected in her sunglasses, so I chose a tight crop of her face to highlight that juxtaposition.”


Cameron Sterling, son of Alton Sterling, is comforted by hands from the crowd at a vigil outside the Triple S convenience store in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Alton Sterling, 37, was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police outside the store where he was selling CDs. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Model: Canon EOS-1D X  Focal length: 16mm  F-Stop: 3.2  ISO speed: 500  Shutter speed: 1/2000 sec

From the photographer: “The moment was a spontaneous one, at a vigil for Alton Sterling outside the Triple S Food mart where he was killed,” says Herbert. “I saw the man in the center of the image put his hands on Cameron Sterling and say some words to him, and Cameron just seemed to fold into his arms for comfort. Hands just started reaching towards him and touching him. It was a really tender moment, to see the community literally reach their hands out to support him.”


Ben Blaque, a crossbow sharpshooter, stands still after firing a crossbow wearing a hood, that then triggered a series of pre-set crossbows culminating in an arrow piercing the apple above his head, during a media event to promote the magic show, The Illusionists 1903, at the National Auditorium in Mexico City, Wednesday, July 13, 2016. The Illusionists 1903, evoking the "golden era" of magic shows, will be performed in Mexico City from July 13 to 24. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Model: Canon EOS-1D X  Focal length: 300mm  F-Stop: 3.2  ISO speed: 3200  Shutter speed: 1/500 sec

From the photographer: “When I saw the illusionist setting up a series of six linked crossbows, with the last one pointing to a target above his head, I knew this was the shot I wanted to get,” says Blackwell. “He had a little bell attached to the first target to help him orient himself, and then at the last minute, put on a hood. I waited until the moment I heard the arrow hit the first target and then fired off three frames in quick succession. I felt really lucky when I checked my screen and realized I’d gotten the exact moment of the apple being pierced.”


A woman looks across as a gay parade participant poses for pictures during Gay Pride parade in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, July 2, 2016. Hundreds of thousands of people defied high temperatures and relative security concerns and turned out in Madrid to march in Saturday's LGTB Pride parade, one of the biggest in Europe, along the streets of the Spanish capital, just three weeks after members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community were tragically victimized in a shooting massacre at a United States nightclub. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Model: Canon EOS-1D X  Focal length: 35mm  F-Stop: 2.8  ISO speed: 800  Shutter speed: 1/160 sec

From the photographer: “When I saw the guy dressed in hairy and glossy white, with a unicorn horn on his head, he immediately got my attention,” says Daniel Ochoa de Olza. “I tried to take a candid photo of him as he was having fun with friends, but I failed — he noticed I was taking pictures of him and started posing for the camera. I started taking some portraits of him and we ended up close to the bench where the old woman was sitting waiting for her son to walk the dog. I never spoke with the old lady but I'm pretty sure by the look on her face that she had never seen anyone like him before.”


People sunbathe at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016. The Summer Games start Aug. 5. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Model: Canon EOS 5D Mark III  Focal length: 248mm  F-Stop: 6.3  ISO speed: 400  Shutter speed: 1/4000 sec

From the photographer:  "I shot this from a helicopter,” says Dana. “I had to ask the pilot to remove the door so I could move more freely, and make these shots with the camera pointing straight down. We were flying over various Olympic venues when we passed by Ipanema beach, and I was stretching out of the helicopter with a 5D MKIII and a 100-400mm lens for this photo. I loved how the sunbathers and umbrellas looked from above — just a regular day at Ipanema beach.”


Gymnast from the United States Jacob Dalton trains on the rings ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Model: Canon EOS-1D X  Focal length: 200mm  F-Stop: 3.2  ISO speed: 2000  Shutter speed: 1/2000 sec

From the photographer: “I took this photo during a training session,” says Lovetsky. “I chose a low shooting position to allow me to frame the Olympic rings and to have clear background behind the athlete. The one problem with this position is there are too many photographers per square meter crowding around to get this angle. This is my first time shooting gymnastics, and I will be covering them during the whole Rio Olympics.”


Pope Francis walks through the gate of the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, Friday, July 29, 2016. Pope Francis paid a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Model: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II  Focal length: 20mm  F-Stop: 6.3  ISO speed: 400  Shutter speed: 1/640 sec

From the photographer: “Photographing the Pope during his trips is always a special experience,” says Borgia. “With Pope Francis in particular you can always be surprised by his unpredictable character. Despite his very humble and informal behavior we still need to adhere to special protocols. First of all the dress code: We always have to be dressed in proper attire — a jacket, a shirt and a tie. Security checks are definitely tighter and having all our equipment checked every time we change spots during the visit is very stressful. For this image, I had just changed to my wide-angle lens as Francis walked silently through the gate bowing his head, allowing me to capture both Francis and the ‘Arbeit macht frei’ gate behind him.”


This post was produced for Canon, AP’s exclusive vendor of still photography equipment, by AP Content Services, the paid content service of The Associated Press.


AP photographers were interviewed by a third-party reporter on behalf of Canon.


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