My photographic inspiration is seeded with personal experiences, individual perspectives & a desire to share my visual thoughts. The lead shot of this post took patience & persistence. Tools I wish I had developed earlier in life. I hope you enjoy how my minds eye sees the world. If you want to see more sign-up to follow my blog.
I begin many days with the sunrise, drinking coffee & watching this skier from about a mile away. Some mornings the early light is as perfect as the water is flat. I knew I wanted to capture an image like this. On a few occasions I kayaked into Bemus Bay w/camera but the skier didn’t appear. I gave up on the low level of a kayak & began stalking him with the powerboat. On the third morning on our boat “Erised” with the golden light of a new day I was rewarded. It’s been decades since I strapped on a slalom ski & I never was as good as this skier but I still feel the grace of carving the water when it is like a sheet of glass.
If I had known before… On a pleasant motor cruise around SFO I was scanning the bay & saw this thoroughbred. Only after I got the image on my computer & zoomed in did I find out it was USA76, a challenger to the 2003 Americas Cup in New Zealand. The haze of the region may not be pristine for photography but the iconic Golden Gate Bridge is a nice background. Although this is an elegant mono hull I still am enthralled with 12-meter boats used in Americas Cup before 1992. Yes indeed I am old school & proud of it. USA76 is available for charter & my next trip to SFO will definitely include a ride on this beauty.
The point of sail in relationship to the wind, the trim of the sails & the weight/position of the crew have a significant impact on the performance of the boat. With the boat heeled over, this crew on an E Scow from Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club is “hiking out” to move the center of gravity for maximum speed & getting a great ride. Getting into position to show relationship of crew, sail & the side rails of the boat was a challenge. On the water things change quickly. You need to be ready.
Sailing is described as hours of pure pleasure interrupted by moments of sheer terror. I was early to Cambridge to meet my daughter & saw sailboats on the Charles River. With the setting sun lighting up Boston’s Capitol Dome in the background my thoughts were on a wide postcard type of image. I walked onto Harvard Bridge to get the best angle of boats & dome. Waiting for a cluster of foreground sails I spotted these 2 boats. I anticipated correctly their line of sail to the marker buoy. I won’t say who had the “right of way” but just before I snapped this photo both crews became aware of the other boat. The wide shot with the dome & sails was OK. On this short photo sojourn this moment I captured was my favorite. The class of boat is called a Tech Dinghie and was designed by a professor at MIT.
More & more people are getting their butts on the water in Kayaks. Young-old, male-female, coordinated or not it’s an inexpensive way to get on the water. I have taught 6 year olds to paddle & the smiles on their faces are indeed priceless. In this shot I waited for the apposing angles of the paddles to balance the frame. I especially enjoy early mornings as the sun is low & the lake has mirror qualities. Simple serenity sometimes offers excellent opportunities. If your going to even think about taking a camera on a kayak get a Dry Bag!!! If you want a source for kayaks around Chautauqua Lake see the folks at Evergreen Outfitters. Nice people running a local business that does things right.
The blades of these oars are part of an 8 man crew/rowing team from Chautauqua Lake Rowing Association. This CU of still blades resting on the water will soon explode into well-coordinated kinetic energy powering the boat thru the water. Although I was aware of this sport, crew was not inspiring. At my 1st Olympics in LA in 84 I was on the TV crew for rowing. WOW can world-class rowers make those fragile boats/shells fly at over 12 mph. An average shell weighs around 200 lbs & holds 8 crew. The coxswain guides & coordinates the power, rhythm & pace of the rowers. I believe it is the ultimate team sport. Rowers must be in perfect sync. I highly recommend a book about the 1936 Olympic Gold Medal team from the US called BOYS IN THE BOAT. It is much more than just a good sports story.
In my teens I was a north of average water skier. Today, if I had 2 good knees, you can bet your bippy I would be on a wake-board. I paddled my kayak to a prime position in Bemus Bay for shooting stills of the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team. Being in a kayak not only got me closer to the subjects but also gave me low perspective of action. Sometimes a little closer & a difference of a few degrees can make a dramatic difference. I routinely look for an angle that gives a slightly different dynamic to the image. The low angle put the wake boarder against the overcast sky. Also, he knew exactly where I was & timed his flip perfectly for my camera.