Photography and the America's Cup Regatta in New York

May 08, 2016  •  Leave a Comment


Yesterday I participated in an event for which I had waited a long time--the opportunity to see the America's Cup sailboats race in New York harbor.  The competition is the oldest in sports, dating to the mid-19th century.  The event marks the first time in 96 years that the competition was in New York. The boats have evolved, from schooners, to huge J Boats, to 12 Meters, to now high-tech racing catamarans, but the one thing that has remanded is the excitement the racing and the equipment generates in true sailors.

I won't bore you with the sailing details, since this is a photography blog, but I will note that the conditions were much less than ideal--for the racers and the photographers.  The weather was very overcast and the light was very defuse.  The wind was very light--so the normally speedy boats (which can fly at 50 mph!), were barely moving much of the time.  Getting good, clear exciting shots were almost impossible, but I did my best.  I rented a super telephoto for the occasion  (a Nikon 200-500) and it is a beautiful lens--perfects, for the most part, for the occasion.  I used my full frame d800e, but I shot jpeg instead of my usual raw to try to maximum the action shots, and create smaller resolution images.  I also changed the number of focus points from one to nine and shot shutter priority, adjusting the exposure compensation often. I was in a very good place from which to shoot--a large ocean-going commuter motorized catamaran--with a skipper who did his best to get close to the action. The results were only ok.  It was not until I loaded the images on the computer and applied a bit of Photoshop magic did I get the decent images you see above.  Thanks goodness for post-processing!

Today, the last day of the regatta, the condition were almost perfect--lots of sunshine and wind. So it goes, I guess.  I just hope the racers come back in four years and the shooting and sailing conditions are better. I'll be ready.


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