Tag Archives: sport

Windermere Cup at UW

The University of Washington has a long history of competitive rowing.  A few years ago, we accidentally came across a regatta underway when visiting the campus.  The racing was just concluding when we got there and the crews were getting ready to head out.  I had paid a little attention to the schedule for the rowing earlier in the year but almost forgot about it until recently when I took another look at the schedule.  The last big event of the year was coming up – the Windermere Cup.  I decided to head along.

The racing takes place along Montlake Cut.  The starting point is out in Lake Washington beyond Foster Point. I decided to park up at the arboretum and walk out to Foster Point to see some of the racing from there and then follow the trail along the south side of the cut to end up at the Montlake Bridge.  This is a popular viewing location and is closed to traffic during the races.  It is still a bit short of the finish line but I didn’t think going any further would be worthwhile.  Besides, I had to backtrack to the car at the end of all of this.

The weather forecast was not favorable.  I decided to prepare for anything and took full waterproofs with me.  When I left home, it was raining very heavily and I was skeptical about how things would turn out but the rain was very localized and it was significantly better near the city.  However, it did start raining again so I put the waterproofs on when I got out of the car.  This proved to be a mistake.  It did think about raining a few times but it was quite warm and sunny near the end of the racing and I was rather overdressed.

The other thing I hadn’t accounted for was the condition of the trail.  It is a combination of boardwalk, trails and some metal planking.  However, the lake water level is quite high and sections were under water while parts of the trail were very soggy.  I had worn my hiking boots and I was glad that I had as I was able to walk through the watery sections without too much trouble.  I was constantly wondering whether it would get worse and how far I was prepared to go before turning back.  As it turned out, I made it through without a problem but I did walk back via the roads to make things simpler.

There were loads of large boats out along the course.  They were all moored with the sterns towards the course to give the rear decks the view of the racing.  Lots of people with plenty of cash judging by the size of some of them.  The parties looked like they were in full swing on a Saturday morning.  There were two smaller boats on the south side of the course that could not master mooring up and were drifting on to the course which resulted in much shouting from the officials.

There were good spots to watch from all along the cut.  I made my way progressively along the course shooting both stills and video as I went.  Plenty of students were out to cheer on the home team.  They seemed to be winning a lot of the races.  However, UW does take its rowing very seriously unlike some of the other schools in the area so not a great surprise.  The final events were the men’s and women’s Windermere Cup races and these had attracted some international competition.  In the women’s race, the GB national team won while the men’s race was won by the Netherlands national team.  The racing was still tight but the UW team does include a number of the US national team so not such an unbalanced race.

The Montlake Cut is a narrow waterway and the races happen in quick succession.  With the length of the course, the next race has started before the previous one has finished.  This means there is no space for crews to row back out from Portage Bay after their race is over.  They have to wait in the Bay until all racing is complete.  Then there is a mass exodus of crews back through the Cut.  It makes for a neat spectacle to round off the racing.  Then it is time to get off the bridge because they open it up for a few hours and you don’t want to be on the wrong side!

Dodger Stadium

The approach to Los Angeles International from the north brings you in from the coast heading east almost directly over downtown before turning south and then west to make the approach to the north complex.  This approach gives you a very good view of Dodger Stadium.  I had the camera to hand as we came in so grabbed a few quick shots of the park.  With the MLB dispute now solved, there should be crowds showing up here before too long (if they haven’t already depending on when I post this).

Kite Surfing on Puget Sound

One weekend afternoon, we took a walk through Discovery Park in Seattle.  We started up near to the top of the park and then took a trail that brought us down to the shore.  The trail continued along to the lighthouse at which point we started back to our origination point.  As we walked along the shore, the wind was quite brisk and it was proving to be fun for some guy that was out kite surfing.  Not only was he enjoying the conditions but I think he quite liked the attention.  He was very close in to the shore so was being watched by a lot of people doing the same thing as us.  I shot a little video of him before moving on and here is what I saw.

Victoria Watersports

Victoria residents like to make use of the water for their activities.  While we were there – and despite the weather being far from friendly – there were plenty of people out on the water.  Their choice of activities varied.  We had some stand up paddle boarders, there were kayakers, canoes and what looked like dragon boat teams but maybe that isn’t the right term for this type of boat.  Wherever I was wandering, there was always someone out on the water.  They managed to avoid the ferries and floatplanes without too much trouble!

Electric Surfboard Off Bellingham

After our hike around Whatcom Falls Park, we headed down to Boulevard Park between Fairhaven and Bellingham to have our lunch.  We sat by the water watching the activities out on the water.  While we sat eating our sandwiches, someone came zipping along the shore on an electric surfboard with a hydrofoil.  They were certainly pretty quick and headed off in to the distance.  It was a while before they came back the other way which leads me to believe these things must have a pretty decent battery capacity.  To any surfers reading this, have you given one of these things a go?

Popping Wheelies – On Purpose and Inadvertently

Back to my time shooting bike racing at Shelton for this post.  Today I am focusing on wheelies.  Powerful bikes are able to pull wheelies without any trouble but, while racing, that is not something that people try to do.  However, while accelerating away from the start or from a slow corner, it is not unusual for the riders to get the front wheel off the ground.  It is usually pretty brief so you aim to get it quickly.

When the races are over, it is a different story.  As the riders run a final lap after the checkered flag, if they see you watching or holding a camera, it is not unusual for them to pull the front wheel up for an extended period.  It makes for a cool shot if you are ready.  These shots are a selection of wheelies O got during my (exceedingly hot) day out shooting the racing.

Minor League Baseball at Victory Field

Having looked through the catalog of images after finding the elevated view of Victory Field, I came across the shots I took when I went with some work colleagues to a minor league game there.  It was a lot of fun although I have no idea how the game was.  Watching baseball at a stadium is an enjoyable experience that happens alongside a baseball game as far as I am concerned.

The sun was setting as the game got underway and we had some nice light in the sky.  I took some HDR and panoramic shots which I have been able to reprocess using the latest versions of Lightroom as opposed to the one available at that time.  I also got a few shots of the players at work and had a wander around the perimeter of the field to see how it looked from different angles.  Looks like I was using a rather wide angle lens at some point too.

Victory Field Indianapolis

I was scrolling through some shots of ships when I came across these pictures of the baseball stadium in downtown Indianapolis.  It sits next to the football stadium and is just south of the hotel we were staying in on a previous trip. There was an evening game underway, and the fading light provided a lovely view of everyone having an evening at the game.  I have been to Victory Field for a game on another visit when some of my work colleagues wanted to check it out.  I do have some pictures from that trip but perhaps they can have their own blog post.


Panning Practice When Things Are Close

Photographing motorbikes means trying to get the shutter speed nice and low to make the background blur out and give the strong impression of speed.  When you are a distance from the track, you might have to go quite low in the shutter speeds to get the effect you want.  There is an alternative.  Get really close to the track.  Even with quite a high shutter speed, there is plenty of blur.  Indeed, the chances of getting a sharp shot get quite low unless you take the speed up a bit (or shoot a lot and go with the probabilities saving you).

I went to the Turn 5 location at Shelton a couple of times while I was there.  The marshal station is right in the apex of the bend and it is slightly above track level.  Standing beside it gives you a view down on the riders as they come by.  I tried it out once in the morning.  It was good to get some practice but the light was behind the riders so it wasn’t ideal.

I went back again later in the day when the light was slightly more favorable.  I shot with both a long lens as they were approaching and with a wider lens as they passed right beneath me.  The speed with which they corner means that the panning becomes more of a whip motion and it is hard to pull off reliably.  Plenty of efforts were made to try and get a good shot of the rider while conveying the sense of speed.

Surfers At Waikiki Beach

The title is not intended to catch you out, but it probably will.  These photos are in Washington rather than Hawaii.  Cape Disappointment has a small beach tucked under the cliffs and it goes by the name of Waikiki.  At the tail end of my trip there, I saw that a group of surfers had gone in to the water and were making the best of the waves which, since they were a lot smaller than what I would have hoped for, we probably ideal for them.

Not being a surfer, I am not a good judge of what the right techniques are when surfing but, even so, you can usually quickly work out who has got a better feel for the waves and who hasn’t.  Picking the right one to go for and getting up to speed to make it on to the wave seems to be a bigger deal than staying up for some of the people.  As I say, I’m not a surfer so this is all uninformed commentary.

Two things are of interest when photographing surfers.  Having them coming in your direction so you can see their face while they are carving across the wave or watching them wipe out in style.  The latter is probably not what they want me to be focused on but you take what you can get when shooting this stuff!