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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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May 5, 2008 6:24 PM

UW Crew: The Rain and Windermere Cup

Posted by Rod Mar

Well, at least the sun was shining the other morning that I was assigned to shoot crew racing.

The races that are held on the Opening Day of boating season (Opening Day? Does that mean the first tilt of your boat to the left is the "first pitch?") are the local highlight of the crew season.

Washington's oarsmen will have more important races (last week's victory over Cal in Berkeley, the upcoming Pac-10's and the IRA Championships after that), but none will be bigger for local race fans.

Yachts started lining the log boom outside of Montlake Cut on Thursday in anticipation of the races and the boat parade that follows:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/640th sec., f6.3)

Despite the drizzle, fans still lined the Montlake Bridge and the shores along the cut:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/250th sec., f5.6)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 100-400mm lens @ 300mm, ISO 800, 1/400th sec., f5.6)

Meanwhile back in Conibear crewhouse, men's varsity eight coxswain Kaitlin Snyder put the finishing touches on her race plan:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 26mm, ISO 1000, 1/160sec.,f2.8)

And the guys in her boat stretched out to get ready for their Windermere Cup race against Poland and the US Naval Academy:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 1000, 1/100sec.,f2.8)

One of the things that makes this race so special is the Montlake Bridge, which is lined with fans watching the shells pass beneath it during the race, so I wanted to make sure to incorporate it into my image for the sports cover. The men's varsity eight is undefeated this year, so I chose to focus on their race:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 35mm, ISO 800, 1/1008sec.,f2.8)

Moved to a telephoto lens as they passed. One challenge with shooting the wide-angle from close to the bridge is that I wasn't able to shoot the finish line. As the men won by a fair distance, not having photos of the finish didn't end up being a problem:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 100-400mm lens @ 270mm, ISO 800, 1/500th sec., f6.3)

As I looked towards the finish line, a group of young women in swimsuits had jumped into the cut at the conclusion of the last race. I found out they were members of the UW swim team, and that this is somewhat of an annual tradition:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, 1/250th sec., f10)

One of the great sights of Opening Day is seeing all the boats make their way back through the cut back to the boathouse after the races. It's a cool sight from the top of the bridge, but I couldn't hustle up there fast enough and settled for a shot from the shore:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 100-400mm lens @ 375mm, ISO 800, 1/250th sec., f14)

An awards ceremony followed the races, but the best part of post-race is when they throw the winning coxswains into the water. It's an easy, cliche' photo, but one that's always fun to shoot:

(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 70-200mm/f2.8 lens @ 75mm, ISO 800, 1/1000sec.,f4.5)

(Canon EOS 1D Mark IIN, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/1600sec.,f9.0)

Shooting crew is a blast. I wish I could follow them as they compete in the Pac-10 championships and the IRA Nationals.

And the added bonus to hanging around all those fit bodies is it makes me want to go work out!

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Posted by Mark

9:04 PM, May 07, 2008


I notice you took the 100-400 today instead of the 400 prime.

Got any thoughts comparison-wise about the image quality between the two?

Thanks, love the blog.


Posted by good ol' george

9:25 AM, May 08, 2008

Any more shots of the UW women's swim team?

Posted by bill in denver

3:04 PM, May 08, 2008

Hey Rod - Same question from me - do you use that 100-400mm lens much? Doesn't the f stop change with the magnification? Looks sharp on the screen here.

Bill in Denver

Recent entries

May 10, 08 - 02:04 AM
Side-Tracked for Spot News

May 7, 08 - 01:33 AM
They're Poets and They Know It.

May 5, 08 - 06:24 PM
UW Crew: The Rain and Windermere Cup

May 2, 08 - 06:09 PM
Seahawks: Already?!

Apr 30, 08 - 05:26 PM
UW Crew: Power to the Purple







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