Photography … Like Playing Chess On A Bobsled

Photographing and taking video on a boat in the English Channel. No pressure. My backpack was full of every camera I owned as well as those new video cameras, including the one that could go underwater.

Here’s a short video taken from the galley of the boat which was a place where I could brace myself and use my equipment.

A lot of the seven hours where we had light were “the shit hit the fan” type of moments. We were holding on with both hands and taking it all in. While there was chaos all around us trying to focus on something very narrow, taking pictures, was like the polo player managing the huge animal underneath him while he tries to hit a little, tiny ball. Or like trying to play chess on a bobsled. The deck of our boat was heaving so that in order to get from one side to the other we needed to crawl. There was so much going on that I was, honestly, overwhelmed.

Through it all I did “see” things and, while I only got 427 shots before the sun went down, I got what I think is the best photograph of my life. This was taken just as the sun was setting and just was the water was calming down. When I took it I knew something special had just happened.

I learned from one of the world’s best photographers, Alison Shaw, that the best time to use your camera is when the sun is coming up and when the sun is going down. I didn’t even realize the sun was about to set until I looked at that Sea France boat and saw that it was pink and glowing. Alison’s name immediately came to my mind and I shot away. This “Sea France” photograph was the last photograph I took before the sun set that day. I have a series of 6 of these images and the one you see above is the signature shot from this endeavor.

However, this one is pretty cool too because if you look closely enough you can see that Doug had just put on his night goggles, in anticipation of the setting sun. We were about to enter seven hours of darkness.

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