How did you start with sailing photography?
When I was in school I crewed aboard the classic 12 Meter fleet in Newport during the summer, doing a charter and racing program. I often had my camera with me during charter and would snap away whenever I wasn’t busy running the boat. I started a general photography business when I graduated school in 2001 but, at that point, when I was racing I focused on racing. You cannot do both at the same time if you want to do them well! I was selling some of my fine art sailing photographs, so the following summer I shot a couple classic yacht regattas to get more images. People loved the photos that I showed on my computer and started ordering them. In April, 2003, I went to Antigua to photograph their Classic Yacht Regatta and that was when I started specializing in nautical photography.
Which picture are you most satisfied with?
My preference changes from time to time, and every winter I make time to edit my work for myself; to find something new that I think is unique. Recently, my color photography has improved dramatically, so I am very satisfied with that. But overall, I am especially fond of the Velsheda start image, The Cannon, which was on the cover of my calendar last year. I also put together a project with Summer Rayne Oakes, a model and environmentalist, which we shot during Antigua Classics in 2005. The theme was Eco Fashion: styling from designers who use environmentally conscientious fabrics and practices.
Best regatta to shoot?
Any one where I have the time and flexibility to be creative, rather than trying to capture a sellable picture of every boat.
Worst regatta to shoot?
Any race where the club/group running the regatta is disorganized and does not communicate or plan well. Or if they do not want photographers– it is illogical to not want publicity!
Who inspires you?
I really enjoy the work of Mark Tucker, who is a neat lifestyle photographer, Vincent Laforet, who shoots very graphic aerials, and David LaChapelle, a fashion photographer known for his highly saturated colors and crazy themes. I also like some of the old Rosenfeld photography, but it’s funny- I started most of my similar B&W techniques before I was aware of their work!
What gear do you usually use/favor?
Canon 1Ds II cameras and lenses from 16mm to 420mm. I also use rain/spray covers, which nobody else seems to use.
Any advise for those who want to become a better sailing photograph?
If you’re not onboard, a good driver is essential – one who understands sailing as well as having a good sense of space and timing. Also take the time to look around and be aware of everything that is happening around you, not just through your viewfinder.
How do you see sailing photography develop in the future?
I think people will always love spectacular photographs of gorgeous boats, and I think they will be getting those images faster and through new digital media. Most photojournalists see video and video stills as the future, but I’m not sure that relates to my business. The video stills I have seen are a compromise: easy to get but never the right moment. Shooting on the water is about the right moment, not like other sports where you might want to shoot 8 or 10 frames per second to capture the whole sequence of a kick/catch/hit/throw.