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While I am primarily a landscape photographer, I do accept commercial assignments on a limited basis in other disciplines of photography, mostly in sports and the outdoors in general. Shooting something different is always a great way to expand your camera skills, and there is always something new and valuable to learn, from composition to post processing. It also gives me another opportunity to expand my stock portfolio.

I was recently asked to photograph the 2008 Liberty World Outrigger Canoe race, one of the largest sporting events in New York Harbor and one of the premier outrigger canoe races in the world. Hundreds of international paddlers come from all over the world to participate in this exciting race, including many from Hawaii, the capital of outrigger canoe racing. The images are used for media and promotional purposes, and the racers can also purchase prints from me for their own personal use.

It was a demanding 15 mile course which started at the Brooklyn Bridge, rounded the tip of Manhattan, went up the Hudson River to about 42nd st, came back down to the Statue of Liberty, around the back of Governors Island, and returned to the starting point at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. There was a dedicated “media” boat, which I shared with a videographer from Hawaii who was filming a documentary on the race.

I used two cameras, one for wide angle shots, and another for tighter shots of the racers and their canoes. Because I was in a moving boat, I chose to use my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens with a 1.4 extender, and shot wide open most of the time to minimize camera shake and get the sharpest images possible. As the boat traffic increased throughout the morning, the water became rougher and made shooting that much more difficult. I really had to pick my shots carefully, and hope a wave didn’t rock the boat at the same time I pressed the shutter (which happened more often than I expected).

All in all, it was a great experience, and I was able to use the New York City Waterfalls as nice backdrops to the canoes. I will also be photographing the Mayors Cup kayak race in October, which also takes place in the same general area, so I’ll share those here as well.  Hope you enjoy the images!

RR Jr

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