• Richard Reader


Today was a break with normal conventions in a number of ways. Bridget, my better half, was due to compete in her first rowing race, having taken up the sport about eighteen months ago and joining Medway Towns' Rowing Club. So an early start was on the agenda to get down to Maidstone Invicta Rowing Club for their head race, the first in the season. First convention - getting up early on a Sunday when it's a non-working day. Next was the fact that I was 'upstream'. Ok, it's not a convention but if I'm taking photographs on the Medway I normally work on the tidal stretch towards the estuary. It's a second home. It's where I have worked for years. Non-tidal waters are, well, weird.

Having said that being upstream at Maidstone has a great benefit when breaking the next convention to be broken - shooting sport. Especially rowing. By and large I don't shoot sport because a) it doesn't really interest me, b) you need to be close to the action to get decent stuff, c) the odd 'sports' that do interest me (e.g. some martial arts), don't really transfer well into photographs. But rowing, upstream, at Maidstone means there are a couple of bridges to shoot from. You can get close to the action, there's nothing in the background to be a distraction, the focus is on those rowing. So it's all good! Finally, I have to say that rowing does shoot well in colour. The crews wear their club colours which are often bold and against white (to be visible on the water), the boats are white with bold coloured livery, and against the murky brown waters of the Medway the colours really pop. I looked at some of the shots in black and white, and yes, they could work if the lines and angles work out, but the colours do add something in this instance.

So, today went against my general way of working in a few ways but it was enjoyable doing something different and getting a few decent shots out of it. As far as equipment went the X-T3 had the Fuji XF 50-140mm on the front, set mainly at ISO 800 to maintain a high shutter speed of around 1/2000th of a second (the boats are going pretty quick as they pass underneath you). Added to that there was a lot of wind which was making things awkward too. Unfortunately the wind was so strong that it was causing a lot of problems steering the boats, so although the first division set off (and some are featured here), the race had to be cancelled before the second division could take over the boats and move to the start line. Sadly this means that Bridget still hasn't raced.

Taken with: Fuji X-T3, Fuji XF 50-140mm f/2.8, processed in Lightroom

#rowing #maidstone #kent #river #medway #sport #MedwayTownsRowingClub


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