Saturday, May 17, 2014
Saturday, May 10, 2014
In sailboat racing photography, a horizon job is what you do to thousands of photos with your photo editing software after a day on the water. It's not nearly as glamorous; it's just plain tedious. But it's absolutely necessary, unless you get the horizons right when you take the shots, of course. After nine years on the job, we've gotten pretty good at keeping them straight, which helps to minimize the time we need to spend editing.
A surprisingly large portion of the general public does not notice when horizons are unnaturally crooked in sailing photos. I've seen large, expensively framed photos on display as decor at yacht clubs with crooked horizons, for instance. I've seen major boating brands' marketing departments publish photos with crooked horizons. And if you look at iStock and search "sailing," about one-third of the photos that come up on the first page have crooked horizons. Some people think its artsy. We don't agree.
But it's hard to take photos with straight horizons. You really have to think about it while you take the photo, as it's surprisingly easy to concentrate only on the boat and end up with a 45-degree horizon in the background. Like everything, it takes practice. And until you get better at it, you'll be spending hours on the computer doing the horizon job!
Here's the image above, the way it should be:
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Composition is the foundation of photography; every photographer or photography enthusiast has studied and has a handful of rules to follow. But just knowing the rule of thirds isn't enough when it comes to boat photography composition.
This photo was taken on our first day of photography as Photo Boat, May 3rd, 2005, just off of Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT.
We were completely self-taught at that point, and it's pleasing to look back at this photo and see that it's well-composed.
The rule of thirds is well-followed (it is important of course), and the boat is heading straight towards the camera. While there are times that a side-on or stern shot is okay, most commonly we aim to take photos with boats coming straight at us. It provides an extra element of drama, even in lighter wind conditions, and like most composition principles, it just makes the photo feel right to the viewer. Getting this right, along with a number of other elements of course, can turn a snapshot into a professional photo.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
|On the job off of Key West. Photo by Mike Noone.|
It's time for a change of direction with this blog. Regatta reports are nice, but it's the photographer's perspective that's interesting. I've said it again and again in response to "ooh, what an exciting job" or "what a fun way to do what you love for work". My response is always "it certainly is interesting." It is. We have all sorts of variables to contend with: wind, lack of wind, too much wind, wind from the wrong direction, sun, too much sun, lack of sun, sun from the wrong direction, rain, current, tide, inexperienced race committee, boat maintenance, trailer maintenance, inexperienced sailors, uncooperative regatta organizers, hurricanes, tornados (no joke), etc.
I call them "variables," but they sound more like problems. The thing is- they're conditions we can't control. The more things you can't control in a business, the harder it is to make it succeed. But we've learned how to deal with them, to minimize the negative impact. As we celebrate our 10th year in business this year (in fact, next week marks the ninth anniversary of our first photos taken as PhotoBoat), perhaps it's a good time to take a look back at the lessons we've learned and the techniques we've refined over the years. And maybe it's time to share them.
These lessons and techniques fall into three categories for our ultra-niche business: being in the right place with gear properly protected (on-water strategy), taking and subsequently editing the photo (creating the right product), and figuring out how to make every opportunity you can to get that photo from hard drive to a customer's wall (facilitating sales). Of course, there are a lot more steps to get right in between, but when it comes to success in our business, these are the three we consider a matter of expertise over general photography knowledge.
We hope that mainstream photographers and sailors alike will enjoy it.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
See the results here.
This past week marked our seventh year in a row at Key West Race Week. And just like in years past, as the regatta comes to a close, it's time to sign up again for next year. Coming off of five days of good racing, sunshine, turquoise waters, and bike riding around Key West, how could we not? See you in 2014, Key West.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Monday, September 17, 2012
|Capturing classics sailing dead downwind can be underwhelming.|
|Capturing them an hour later was the right call.|
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
We were hired for a cover shoot for Power and Motoryacht Magazine last month, right here on Long Island Sound. Barely more than 12 hours after we had hauled out in Newport following our marathon 6-hour, 40-mile round-trip session shooting the Bermuda Race Start, we found ourselves launching at a different boat ramp, in a different state, onto a different body of water, with coffee and freshly cleared media cards in hand. This is normal in June and July, when we pack a disproportionate percentage of our work, and income for the year, into two intense months. But at least this was at home, so we didn't find ourselves having to remember where we were when we woke up!
A high pressure system with blue skies and puffy clouds could wake us from any amount of exhaustion, so we were enthused and ready to go as we met the 72' Princess off of Greens Ledge Light. We worked with the art director to capture a family lifestyle shot for the cover, had some fun shooting the kids jumping in the water, and then chased the 72-footer across Long Island Sound to get this slow-shutter-speed shot. It was exactly what Allen was going for, and it turned out really well in the article-opening spread. Pick up a copy of the magazine - this scan doesn't do it justice!
Thursday, August 2, 2012
The kids had two days of great sailing off of Southport. I remember sailing in this event as a Blue Jay sailor out of Pequot circa 1992, and it's great to see such a strong program continuing a great tradition. The boat has been upgraded, and today's sailors are proud to make the Clean Regatta environment pledge. Other than that, not a lot has changed! See the photos here.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
|One of the crew aboard Rambler waves as if he knows they're on they way to breaking a record. Photo by Allen Clark.|
There was no waiting out doldrums in this year's Newport to Bermuda race. Right from the start, it was a high intensity trip. Rambler blew away the previous 635-mile course record by nine hours! You couldn't ask for better conditions for the start of the race from a spectator's or photographer's perspective! We got some great shots. Check out the 2012 Newport to Bermuda photo highlights.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Our tagline is "on-the-water action photography," and though we primarily photograph sailboats, we're glad we left some room in there for other craft. We photograph powerboats, kayaks, and SUPs, among other things. And this past weekend, we had a great time shooting a local--yet nationally recognized--SUP race. 100 paddlers raced in and around the Saugatuck River and Westport-Southport coastline as part of the 2012 Soundsurfer Waterman's Challenge, hosted by Downunder Surf Shop. What a great bunch! And they were raising money for charitable causes, too. Check out Soundsurfer.org for more info. See the photo highlights here!
When the weather's right, NYYC Annual Regatta's Around the Island Race might just be my favorite event to photograph of all time. Which helps, since with Friday's perfect conditions, we spent four hours photographing the 100 boats circumnavigating Conanicut Island without even affording the spare time to take a drink of water. The race is so great because of the intermixing of modern and classic yachts, the dozens of interesting backgrounds for photos, and the fact that all the crews are just having a good time. Perfect weather helps with that as well. Check out the photo highlights here.
Monday, June 4, 2012
Southern Bay Race Week's day one regatta party had been subject to bad thunderstorms all night. After two or three times setting up and packing up again due to too much rain splashing under our tent and putting our computers at risk, team PhotoBoat finally "gave up" and began packing up our photo viewer terminals into our waterproof dock box. We were glad we did. As we packed away the last computer and locked the box, the band stopped playing suddenly and announced a tornado warning. Before we had time to check radar, we were all being herded into the yacht club by the staff. Resist as some of us did in the typical sailor mindset, thinking we could make our own decision with a quick check of our smartphones, security wouldn't have it. Within seconds, all 200 or so people were inside the club and huddled in the hallway and stairwell.
Everybody suffered some damage, and some people had to spend the night at the club. But it's amazing that nobody got hurt. We have the Hampton Yacht Club staff to thank for that. And after the storm, the scene was very civilized and comfortable considering what we had all just been through. If I ever have to go through a tornado or similar disaster again, I can only hope to be in the company of a bunch of sailors. And early the next morning, thanks largely to the two teams from the Naval Academy who organized a very effective debris pickup, cleanup was so fast, snapping photos for insurance purposes had to be done quickly. By the time we left the club at 9 AM, all of the branches and other pieces of debris were in a large pile. The navy kids were on to, and almost finished with, sweeping up glass now.
The regatta was abandoned due to the extensive damage and downed trees in the streets, so we headed home to CT to start taking care of repairs on our truck and replacing equipment. But our boat survived unscathed, and we enjoyed an unexpected opportunity to photograph the Cedar Point One Design regatta in some pretty, and far-from-threatening, conditions on Sunday. It's good to be home. See Friday's Southern Bay Race Week photos here and Sunday's CPYC One Design photos here.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
It's that time of year; the much anticipated APS Catalog has hit the mailboxes of racing sailors across the US. We were happy to help decorate their catalog with our sailing images again this year. This is the general catalog cover, but APS also personalizes the catalogs for each of the One Design classes that they serve with a custom cover photo. So we're always locating our favorite shots of Thistles, Flying Scots, Melges 24s, Snipes, J22s, and more!
The APS Catalog is now available online as well, at this link: http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/publication/?i=111894. Happy shopping!
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
With the lead changing several times throughout the four days of racing, and several different competitors taking at least one bullet, competition was tight, but Italian Antonio Lambertini finished on top. Check out this video summary of the event, including when they threw Lambertini in the pool at the end!
See the 2012 Contender Worlds photos here and results here.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Participants enjoyed a rare chance to view the America's Cup as well, as it was brought in on Saturday under tight security for a presentation about the event.
With such a great organizer, top sponsors, and a perfect venue, Charleston Race Week will continue to thrive.
See the 2012 Charleston Race Week results here and the photos here.
Monday, April 2, 2012
See the Suncoast Race Week photos here and the results here.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Thistle fleet is very competitive yet extremely family-centric. Not just parent and child, we’re talking entire extended families. Last week a competitor explained to me proudly that he’s on his second Thistle. He had sold his first boat to his brother-in-law. Oh, and he had bought that boat from his father. That’s how it goes.
The Thistle fleet is also incredibly dedicated to the Thistle “brand.” On the last day of Midwinters East, somebody from the class (@Thistlesailing) tweeted “Someone got a Thistle tattoo last night”. I figured some of the competitors had hit the St. Petersburg bars too hard the night before, and somebody had gotten carried away and gotten a Thistle tattoo. As if they were the first, or the only. But at the awards ceremony, one of the class officers called out: “Stand up if you got a Thistle tattoo last night.” Two people stood up and were applauded by their peers. I wanted to ask: “How many of you have Thistle tattoos?” Now I was starting to think it could be the majority. By comparison, I doubt there’s a single sailor out there with a Melges tattoo. The Thistle sailors have a lot of spirit.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Key West Race Week finished strong this year, with one more sunny and windy sailing day on Friday. So that makes four terrific race days, one perfectly placed mid-week lay day, and 6 evenings of fun at Kelly's Caribbean. It doesn't get much better than that. Pictured here: the Teamwork crew looking good on Friday before racing to seal their first place position in PHRF 1. Other division winners included Ran (Mini Maxi), Quantum Racing (52 Class), Antilope (IRC 3), Barking Mad (Farr 40), Red (Farr 400), Carbonado (High Performance), Samba Pa Ti (Melges 32), New England Ropes (Melges 24), Groovederci (Farr 30), Le Tigre (J/80), and L'Outrage (PHRF 2). See the full results here and the photos here.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
The Tradewinds Regatta is what sailing is all about- a bunch of beach cats launching from a palm-tree filled public park in the Florida Keys, and racing in a protected sound right off the beach. Even better, when we showed up on Saturday to shoot the 70-boat fleet before making our way down to Key West Race Week, the palm trees were shaking violently, reflecting the arrival of a cold front and it's accompanying 20 knot Northeast breeze. Another cool thing about this regatta: high-performance F16s and F18s were racing on one course, the juniors competing in F16s for the US Sailing Youth Multihull Championship; next door, Hobie Waves and Hobie 16s had close competition of their own, with many father-son teams and local sailors enjoying the waters. See our photos here, and the regatta report and results at CatSailor.com.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Frenchman Damien Seguin won the singlehanded 2.4meter class without question. In the SKUD 18 class, Britain's Alexandra Rickham and Niki Burrell won by two points over the second-place finishers Americans Jennifer French and Jean-Paul Creignou. The Norwegian team won the 12-boat Sonar fleet.
See our photos here. For more results and reports, visit the event website: http://www.ifdsworlds2012.com/
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Gov Cup was also special for PhotoBoat this year as it was our first event with our new VSR. We went through the entire 10-hour break-in period for our brand new Honda 60 during the race. We had no problem varying the throttle during the break-in period as we chased down more than 100 boats at full speed, then slowed down to photograph them! The VSR handled extremely well, as we knew it would, and moving forward we're extremely excited to use the boat in combination with our dinghies.
See the Gov Cup photos here.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Better yet, we had some good wind this year. Nothing crazy, but just a good steady 12 knots can make all the difference. See the photos here!
Click here to see the video.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
When we’re hard at work doing our event photography, we take a lot of shots each day; while photographing a regatta like Charleston or Key West Race Week (200 boats or more), or even a smaller local regatta (75 boats), we click the shutter over a thousand of times each day. We strive to get a sizable and diverse collection of photos of each boat each day: upwind, downwind, crew close-ups, etc. 200 boats x 20 photos…you can do the math and understand how it gives our trigger finger a workout. Over the years we’ve heard comments like “I bet you go out and take thousands of photos to get one good one.” However, that’s not the case at all; we have developed a consistency that not only gives us a great yield of good photos, but allows us to display our photos on site immediately after the day’s racing.
But sometimes the wind doesn’t blow and we just can’t keep pressing the trigger. During a postponement due to lack of wind during Key West Race Week, I was frustrated that there was nothing to shoot. I knew that our normal customers would not enjoy buying photos when sailing in less than 10kts of breeze. So I changed my attitude and got an idea. Once the wind picked up to 6kts, I figured the race committee would try to start a race. I called Daniela who was on shore, and asked her to deliver (by bicycle) my 10.5mm fisheye lens and an old camera body to the end of a pier on the southern shore of Key West. I picked it up and raced back to the course where the IRC 1 boats were half way up the windward leg. I navigated my dinghy to about 3ft leeward of this boat’s starboard gunwale, put the camera over the side of my boat less than a foot off the surface of the water, and clicked off a shot. It has become one of my favorite shots and made this cover. While very light wind can put a damper on sales for photos of every boat, thinking outside of the box here helped me create a profitable day.