Sunday, May 15, 2005

Competitors in the Boater-X head-to-head whitewater kayak race battle for position at Carter Falls on the Upper Clackamas River, Ore.

NWRA Whitewater Festival, Upper Clackamas River, Ore., May 14-15, 2005

I learned of this event from Next Adventure, a sporting goods store in Portland, Ore. The store is a spnosor of the festival, and asked me to shoot some photos for a gallery they'd like to have on their web page. I let the event organizers know I was coming, and told them I often offer photos for sale on my website, and they welcomed that idea.

I'm relatively new shooting whitewater, so I asked a lot of people where I should be to get the best shots. Everyone was very helpful.

The first day was filled with practice runs, and ended with a fun event called the Anything But a Whitewater race. Participants ran the river in an odd variety of craft, including a home-made pirate ship!

The second day was filled with races. I was able to shoot nearly every run. Highlights included watching the inflatable kayak race, during which most participants took a swim, and the hard-shell kayak head-to-head race, called "boater-cross," where paddlers battled for first-place as they descended Carter Falls through a series of numbered gates.

Spending a couple of days next to a river is very relaxing for me. I will find ways to shoot more whitewater in the future!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Paddlers fight for position on the East Fork of the Lewis River near Battleground, Wash., during the Boatercross Sprint race, part of the Oregon Cup whitewater race series.
Oregon Cup, "Boatercross" Sprint Race
East Fork Lewis River, Washington

Day two of my adventure in whitewater photography found me super sore from paddling Lake Merwin, and from bouncing off the face of that cliff yesterday at Canyon Creek. I got to the race location plenty early to scout angles and try to chat up the crowd a bit. I got advice from several experienced paddlers, but in the end, settled on a location of my own invention. There was one rapid at the top end of the course that bottlenecked the participants into an area that just was not wide enough for more than one boat at a time. Since the race was a head-to-head event, groups for four and five would be paddling like mad through this narrow strip of water. I decided to go with it. I figured they'd still be in a pack so close to the start. Most of the time, they were. I am happy with the resulting photos. I've got a few of competitors banging into eachother, and I think that was the peak action of the race. Some of the facial expressions are very telling of the tension of the moment.