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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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September 21, 2008 11:55 AM

Flipping Over the Fisherman's Festival

Posted by Rod Mar

With no Huskies loss rout completedominationbytheopposition game to photograph this weekend, I found myself at the annual Fisherman's Festival in Ballard. This annual event is held at Fisherman's Terminal, and is a celebration/festival/community fair that is designed to show off what is both a mystical and important part of Seattle's history and culture.

Photographically, the highlight is the Survival Suit races, which pits teams against each other in a contest to 1) get into the survival suit (no easy task), 2) jump 15 feet down into the water, 3) swim across to the other side where they 4) climb into safety rafts (again, no easy task -- you're wearing a huge rubber suit, you've just swum 200 yards and now you have to climb out of the water and into a floating raft without the aid of a ladder or steps).

I think because I spent the month of August in Beijing, every picture I now take must have some echo of an Olympic sport.

These Coast Guard studs didn't think that simply jumping feet-first into the water like everyone else was good enough.

This guy appears to being jumping in the Coast Guard way -- with his arms across his body and turned back to his launch point.



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/400th sec., f4)

In the next race, this guy upped the ante and so did a crowd-pleasing flip into the water. I was just looking to improve on the previous photo and got lucky here. There was no chance of positioning myself before the shot because four of them were dressing and jumping off the same point. I ended up basically running right behind them with my wide-angle and firing as they jumped (remembering, of course, to stop at the end of the dock -- falling 15-feet into the water would not have been a good idea -- that's because I was holding cameras, not the fear of water -- this being Seattle, it was pouring rain and I was already soaked).



(Canon EOS 1D Mark III, EF 16-35mm/f2.8 lens @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/400th sec., f4)

Many of the teams swam individually, but this group of women named "Team Observer" performed a team swim on their backs.



(Nikon D3, VR 70-200mm/f2.8 lens @ 180mm, ISO 800, 1/500th sec., f3.5)

Not a bad way to get across the water. Now this would make a cool Olympic event.

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