The championship trophy beckons as a winning crew team rows back to the boathouse after a race during Boston’s annual Head of the Charles Regatta (© Michael Maher).
My assignment was to photograph the Head of the Charles Regatta, the largest 2 day rowing race in the world, held annually on Boston’s Charles River. Our college photography class was set loose on this event, and most of us knew nothing about the sport. At the time, I owned only a camera with a 50MM lens, and doubted I would get any good action photos since all the races were held in the middle of the river, out of my lens range. Nevertheless, I photographed from bridges over the river because it got me close enough to the rowers passing under to shoot with my relatively short lens. I also sought more human interest-type photos from the boathouses on shore, looking for rowers getting ready or returning from a race. None of these were particularly great pictures, so I sought out the championship trophy, and climbed high to the top of one boathouse where it sat by the window. Rather than wait around and settle for a boring shot of the formal trophy presentation, I framed a photo with the trophy, a boat of winning rowers and the river. The handicap of my 50MM lens forced me to find an unusual perspective, and gave me a superior and unique picture of the event.
1) Even when you are handicapped by subpar equipment for photographing sports action, you can always get strong sports features or human interest photos.
2) Not having the optimal equipment forces you to be more resourceful and creative.
3) If you can’t get close up human interest, look for unusual perspectives or juxtapositions, like a championship trophy with top competitors or winners.