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Archive 2012 · Rowing
davis smith
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Rowing

I'd appreciate any feedback you might feel helpful. I'm trying to get better as a photographer. Rowing presents the challenge of proximity during peak action. On a mile long course you can occasionally get near the start, or if you're lucky get in a judges boat and follow the action. It is easier to get near the docks where the teams launch but those shots tend to be more of a portrait style shot. These were all taken with a 70-200 f4 on a Canon 1D Mark III.










May 03, 2012 at 05:30 PM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Rowing

#3 Why in the world does that girl have the Canadian flag upside down!!!!!!!!

May 03, 2012 at 05:41 PM
davis smith
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Rowing

That's so if she leans back really far, the flag appears right-side-up to the girl behind her.

May 03, 2012 at 05:49 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Rowing

Some quick comments:

#1: I'd crop it tighter, maybe portrait

#2: This one doesn't do it for me. The point in focus is in the lower third of the image and the rower in focus expression isn't great. If you shoot close, you need to close down your aperture to cover the whole boat end to end.

#3: Good use of low DOF to isolate the rower. I'd crop it a little tighter, put her on the 1/3 line. This would be a much better picture if she actually looked at you.

#4: Nice shot, this one I'd have cropped a little wider to include the whole boat.

#6: same issue with DOF. The coswain and #8 guys are out of focus and the focus point doesn't have that much attraction.

#7 & 8: I'd crop tighter.

Crew is a hard sport to shoot and get original pictures, especially during a race. Here is a few tips:

- Shoot portraits / sense of place images on the ground. There are plenty of opportunities to get great people / place / details shots there. Before the race / after the race.

- When the boat(s) come by to shore is a good opportunity to shoot "emo" shots with the coaches / team members welcoming back their teammates.

- During practice, try to get on a chase motorboat. You cen get great shots from there (wide angle low on the water for example).

- As mentioned before, watch out for depth of field. This is one of the rare sports where you actually will want to have some DOF to cover the long boats from end to end (unless you are trying to isolate a specific rower).

- Look for "water action" (i,e, water splashing off the oars when getting in / out of the water). This will add some life to your pictures.

- Try panning shots at low shutter speed from the shore when the boats ride by. This is really a crap shoot in crew as the rowers will most likely be blurry too. But a long time ago I got a nice series of shots with the hull totally sharp, the background showing horizontal motion blur suggesting speed and the oars / rowers blurred too suggesting a lot of effort.

- On sunny days, bring a polarizer. This will help manage the reflection of the water.








Hope this helps.


May 03, 2012 at 07:43 PM

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davis smith
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Rowing

Thanks for the tips. I will definitely try panning and changing aperture for more depth of field. I also like your low shots with a wider angle. How wide were you on the first one? And I am about to purchase a polarizer for my 70-200 f4. Do you have any suggestions for type and brand?

And I did catch this "splash" when some oars hit each other. Probably not what you were talking about but this was about as much excitement as I could find.

May 04, 2012 at 12:16 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Rowing

The first shot was with a Nikon 17-35mm F/2.8 at 20mm focal length according to the exif (and f/18 @ 1/25th). Auto exposure (a rare time for me) shutter priority.

That was taken from the chase boat early morning (7:00 AM in early February), with half of my body hanging out of the boat at the front, holding the camera at arm length as close to the water as I dared (I got a few good shot ruined because of water drops on the lens), shooting bursts then adjusting the shutter speed slower and slower while shouting at the coach to get me closer...

During that shoot I almost flipped the chase boat a couple of time... that would have hurt because I was carrying a fair amount of equipment with me (couple of D3s's, a few lenses and strobes...). The coach wasn't happy!

When you shoot wide, you want to either get really really close (and with a 17mm you need to be just a couple of feet from your subject to have an interesting photo) or far and wide enough to grab a lot of the scene you are shooting. For rowing for example, a small boat in the middle of a lot of water isn't very grabbing. The same small boat with some water, a nice sky (sunset, contrasty clouds, etc...), maybe some interesting background (cityscape) will give a much better sense of place and give an interesting photo (2nd and last shots in my serie).

Polarizers... I am cheap so I tend to go with off brands (i.e. not the Nikon or Canon) whenever I can but still avoid the really cheap china stuff. Hoya is usually a safe bet.

Hope this helps.


May 04, 2012 at 02:52 AM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Rowing

The photos are pretty good, but can be made a lot better. I want rehash what Denis has said just keep shooting. If the race goes thru a historic part of town or goes by a popular place you can fram it with the boats.

On top of what Denis has mentioned, if you cant get on a chase boat get a long lens. Low to the water or up above on a bridge if there is can really impact your photos. Here are some taken with a 400 2.8 from the bank and from a bridge.

Good looking shots Denis

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May 04, 2012 at 11:09 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Rowing

I like the Mohawks in your last shot!

May 05, 2012 at 02:21 AM

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