Thursday, July 28, 2011

Barefoot Water Skier

I took this photograph of a barefoot waterskier while standing in chest-deep water. I've used this technique for the photo shoots of boats and had wanted to try it with the water skiers. This has to be carefully planned with both the driver and the skier. We placed a buoy in the water to be the guide for the driver. I placed myself far enough away so as not to be hosed by the spray as the boat passed. The goal was to have the barefooter head directly toward me and let go of the rope at the last minute, which we determined would be when the boat passed me, giving him 75 feet to stop. The plan was fine except I was positioned slightly too wide and the footer could not get out to the side any more than shown here. The image looks good here and I wanted to get a shot that included the boat. As the skier got closer I switched to the vertical orientation. I'll show this image in the next posting.
This was shot with a 100-400 lens at 400mm, 1/1600 second at f/5.6, ISO 250, manual.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to Photograph Boats

A Beginner's Guide to the Action Photography of Boats, our latest ebook, was recently published. This book was written specifically to help amateur photographers capture stunning, action images of boats. The lessons can be applied to powerboats, sailboats, large boats or small boats. Technique is more important than equipment and the reader will learn how to get the most with the camera he already owns. We draw upon our many years of nautical photography and illustrate this guide with over fifty of our own photographs.
There are chapters on location and positioning, capturing peak action, composition, camera settings, plus the use of multiple drivers and chase boats. Something for everyone in this book, regardless of experience. Please visit our website for more information or go directly to the bookstore to download a free sample or purchase the entire ebook for your reading device.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Waterskier Throwing Spray-2

Here is another example of a waterskiing photo. This one is framed tighter than the one in the previous post and it was also taken after the skier completed his turn. This means that the tow rope no longer provides the nice diagonal line that is seen in the other image. But the skier's body is angled as to give us a diagonal line and there is a more subtle diagonal formed by the spray coming from the ski. As before, the wall of spray eliminates background clutter and isolates the subject. In terms of pure action this photograph is pretty cool and it exemplifies my favorite type of shot.
The photo was taken from the towboat running about 34 mph, 100-400 lens at 210mm, 1/2000 second at f/5.6, manual, ISO 250.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Waterskier Throwing Spray

A slalom waterskier carving a turn. I photograph skiers frequently during the summer and experiment with different compositions and different timing. This image has appeal because of the composition. The tow rope provides a nice diagonal line that leads the viewer's eye to the skier. The skier's body is also oriented in a diagonal line at this point in his turn. Diagonals provide for a dynamic image. The wall of spray conceals any background clutter, such as shorelines or boats, that may have been present and serves to isolate the subject.
There are other options for composition and timing. Some skiers like to see the entire wall of spray and prefer photos that are not as tightly framed. I usually prefer images that are framed as tightly as possible so that the skier fills almost the entire frame. This particular image provides a nice compromise and gives a great overall composition. I'll post some other examples in future posts.
This photo was taken with a 35-350 lens at 160mm, 1/2500 second at f/5.0, ISO 200. The tow rope was 15' off the standard length, or 60 feet long. I was positioned just in front of the pylon on the boat.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fawn Whitetail Deer

This fawn whitetail deer had been laying low in the tall grass while I slowly edged closer and closer. It knew I was there but had become quite used to my presence after a couple of hours of shadowing its movements before it lay down. Unfortunately, all that time spent getting close meant that the sun was high and the light was harsh. Ordinarily, I would have been home by then but I was thrilled to be so close (100-400 lens at 135mm) that I kept following along and shooting.
I was sitting when I took the shot because I like being at eye-level but it was difficult to find a window through the tall grass. I'm not fond of the tall, blurry grasses in the foreground but they tend to frame the fawn somewhat. I'll have to try this again with softer light.