Institute Double Take
Sports photography is a field dominated by focus tracking, high-speed cameras, and the longest and fastest lenses on the market. Unlike wedding couples and mountains, soccer balls and tennis rackets move fast. I’ve never been a fan of shooting sports. Shooting a sports match constantly fills me with this urgent feeling, like I’m trying to chase down the perfect shot, and if both my mind and lens aren’t focused at just the right time that perfect shot will run away without me. But sailing was different.
I had never photographed a sailing event before, and it was definitely a pleasant surprise. No jerky motions, no screaming and chanting, no flying projectiles. In fact, with the Charles River and the Boston and Cambridge skylines as the canvas, I felt like I was in some kind of weird, funky limbo, comfortably stuck between the realms of action photography and landscape photography.
In this photograph, the boats in the regatta were just pushing off the docks, and Saturday’s mid-morning sun, growing stronger and stronger, was throwing its light through the thin white clouds still left over from the cool dawn just a few hours before. The Prudential and the John Hancock Towers in the background were competing with the masts in the foreground for vertical dominance while the spectators enjoying the beautiful view on the roof of the pavilion were silhouetted by the glimmering Charles River. No, this photograph is far from perfect, but it was great being able to throw on a slow, wide lens, dial down the speed and aperture, and just let the scene ease into my camera.
Exposure Time: 1/400 sec.
Sensitivity: ISO 100
Effective Focal Length: 29 mm