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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 20 Jun 2012 (Wednesday) 00:00
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Sailing photography advice (on ship)?

 
CAPhotog
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Jun 20, 2012 00:00 |  #1

I'll be shooting aboard a 50 ft sail boat with full crew this weekend. Seeking advice on gear and artistic interpretation.

If you've done this, you know it's not easy to get artistic shots. This is a recreational event rather than a race. Don't want too much gear and wonder how to shoot creatively without falling over board when it gets rough. If you have direct experience, what's your best advice?

Planned equipment list:
1. Camera: 7D
2. Lenses: 17-40L and 100-300L (for on board shots, seascapes and other boats)
3. Other: Backpack

Specific questions:
1. Best way to protect gear?
2. How to wear camera and change lenses? (seriously)
3. Do I need a polarizing filter? Fill flash? Anything else?
4. Lighting will be midday, the worst time. Best settings for blue sky and blue water?
5. Should I bring a normal lens?




  
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KirkS518
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Jun 20, 2012 00:23 |  #2

Sounds like that'll be fun. Can't really add much to the photography side of this, but find out if they have harnesses you can use, or go get one for yourself. They'll keep you on board while allowing you to take shots in if you are in rough weather/water.


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treck_dialect
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Jun 20, 2012 04:28 |  #3

your gear should be fine but if you want to err on the side of caution check out the op/tech rain covers.


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CAPhotog
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Jun 20, 2012 09:04 as a reply to  @ treck_dialect's post |  #4

Yes, safety first especially since I don't have much boating experience. The OP/Tech rain sleeve seems good and less than $10, thanks. The best action shots are usually seen with a lot of salt water spray. Don't want to miss those, but don't want to ruin camera or lens. Shooting other boats will probably be easier than shooting the boat I'm on while jostled and getting wet.




  
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CAPhotog
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Jun 20, 2012 09:28 |  #5

Aside from gear concerns, I'm concerned about poor color. Early morning and sunset can be dreamy with color, but midday in direct sun is going to be difficult. Even sailing magazines have lots of blown out sky or ugly green-brown water. Don't know how hard it will be to position myself with respect to the sun. All the tricks for shooting into sunlight don't seem to apply well on a moving boat. A CP filter may help but might be a pain taking on and off often.

Am wondering if auto-bracketing with HDR compositing will work to get blue sky and nice water at the same time?




  
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rick_reno
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Jun 20, 2012 10:43 |  #6

bring a cpl, i'd keep it on all the time. i've sailed a lot - stuff on boats happens fast, i wouldn't fool around with bracketing. wear a life preserver. if it's rough, ask the owner for a harness and clip on. if something happens and it's a choice between you and your camera, say goodbye to the camera. watch out for the boom, it can hurt.
50 ft is a good sized boat - is it a racing boat?




  
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Martin ­ Dixon
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Jun 20, 2012 11:01 |  #7

Get a (waterproof) peli case for your gear. Since getting one I feel so much more relaxed on boats!

I and other photogs don't seem to use extra waterproofing for shooting. So far so good!

I just bought a £150 waterproof P&S - this I can carry at all times no worries at all.


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watt100
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Jun 20, 2012 11:25 |  #8

CAPhotog wrote in post #14604218 (external link)
I'll be shooting aboard a 50 ft sail boat with full crew this weekend. Seeking advice on gear and artistic interpretation.

If you've done this, you know it's not easy to get artistic shots. This is a recreational event rather than a race. Don't want too much gear and wonder how to shoot creatively without falling over board when it gets rough. If you have direct experience, what's your best advice?

Planned equipment list:
1. Camera: 7D
2. Lenses: 17-40L and 100-300L (for on board shots, seascapes and other boats)
3. Other: Backpack

Specific questions:
1. Best way to protect gear?
2. How to wear camera and change lenses? (seriously)
3. Do I need a polarizing filter? Fill flash? Anything else?
4. Lighting will be midday, the worst time. Best settings for blue sky and blue water?
5. Should I bring a normal lens?

I use to own some sailboats (but not 50 ft!)
getting some type of cover for the camera might be prudent. a CPL would also help protect the lens




  
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Onnevanderwal
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Jun 20, 2012 20:15 |  #9

How to protect your gear: I have done a lot of photography on board of sailboats over the last 25 years and the amount of times I have covered the camera with a bag or shield while onboard I can count on one hand. Unles it's blowing the cows off the dike you should be ok. A cover realy impedes you from working the camera and lens controls. Covers are good when it's realy wet but other then that not necessary. Keep a small face cloth (dry) in your pocket to keep the fine mist or spray off the front element of your lens.
How to wear camera and change lenses: what do you mean by wear camera? Always change lenses down below. Keep all your gear down below out of harms way. Find a secure bunk with a lee cloth to make sure your gear does not go flying when the boat tacks. Keep the bag zipped closed.
Filters & flash: I never use filters on board. To much of a hassle, there are enough other things to keep you busy like not falling overboard, getting in the way, keeping you gear dry and shooting a few good frames!
Middle of the day: yes it's not the best time of day but you can still make great pics at that time of day.
Settings and lenses: my favorite lens on a 50 footer is a 16-35mm and then either a 24-70 or 70-200. The long lens is also great to shoot from the bow looking aft at the helsman or forward at the bowman on the front end of the boat. With the short lens a slow shutter speed 1/10th to 1/20th at F16 on the leeward side looking forward is a great shot getting nice slow silky water with the boat and deck wing tack sharp all the way to the bow.

Lemme know if you have any more questions and have a look at my website to see what I am talking about www.vanderwal.com (external link). Good luck and have a blast!




  
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CAPhotog
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Jun 20, 2012 21:46 as a reply to  @ Onnevanderwal's post |  #10

Thanks! All great advice. It's not a race boat, but I've seen photos of it tacking (leaning) hard.

I'll pick up another CPL for the short lens even though it never made sense to use one before. Will add some protection if I decide to use it.

Will get a cover, but the more I think about using one seems it will impede changing settings, slow me down, etc.

Onnevanderwal, thanks for all the practical tips and great portfolio! That was perfect. I'll change lenses below and secure my bag, didn't think of doing those! As for wearing the camera, I was thinking of getting a chest harness rather than using the neck strap. Can't see grabbing onto something with both hands while a long lens dangles from my neck or shoulder. Your comments also remind to pick my shots wisely. Being unsure of the settings, I might shoot for quantity and pick them later. But something tells me I should use my other experience as much as possible and think before shooting.




  
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kf095
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Jun 20, 2012 22:20 as a reply to  @ CAPhotog's post |  #11

Leave tele at home, it is useless on board.
Get protective filter on 17-40 and hood. Attach camera by strap to your body.
If it is not rolling badly, use flash on hss.


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X-images
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Jun 20, 2012 22:31 |  #12

+1 to everything Onnevanderwal said.

Unless its really rough a 50ft cruising yacht is going to stay dry enough that you won't need protective covers.


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Wilt
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Jun 20, 2012 23:47 |  #13

I have almost as many years in sailing (35) as in photography (45), with a lot of racing experience in both SF Bay and in the ocean, in boats from 20' to 45' (most of it in the 27'-36' range), and ownership of my own boats (22', 27', 30'), and experience shooting sailing regattas. Some principles to keep in mind...


  • Put your unattended camera bag in a place where it cannot shift long distances; remember that the 'high side' becomes the 'low side' with every tack, and you do not want the gear to go flying from the high side to the low side unattended!
  • Water will break over the bow and cockpit at the least expected moment...so pull the camera out to shoot, hide it under something waterproof -- like inside your jacket -- when it is not up to your eye. I agree, camera covers simply get in the way.
  • Boating surely will fool your reflected light meter! If you can, set exposure based upon an incident light meter, or aim at a gray card to take a reading, unless you use Spot pointed at a mid-tone area.
  • Keep the strap around some part of your body, never rely only upon your grasp on the camera body.
  • Keep one hand for you and the camera at all times, unless you are drifting along in a whisper of wind, and even then be ready to have to suddenly grab hold!

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CAPhotog
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Jun 21, 2012 08:53 |  #14

kf095 wrote in post #14609281 (external link)
Leave tele at home, it is useless on board.

Have you shot a sailing event? See Onne's amazing portfolio. The long lens is required for shooting other boats, not to mention several uses on board.




  
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noworries
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Jun 21, 2012 09:17 |  #15

Flash is handy if you are shooting people under a bimini or dodger.

Keep your shutter speed fast because everything is moving.

I don't usually use protective gear, if it's nasty enough that it's wet enough to need it, you won't want to be shooting anyways, you'll be holding on.

Don't ask for a harness unless you see them rigging jacklines, which they probably won't rig if they're not heading offshore into nasty weather for a long distance.

Keep your gear bag zipped up at all times. You don't want the boat to heel over and spill your gear all over the cabin.

Watch the boom on tacks and jibes, it can take your head off.




  
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Sailing photography advice (on ship)?
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