While row2k is a small operation, when we are at regattas with a giant lens… we tend to stick out. Some rowers when they see a camera pointed their way will look down and hide. Other rowers and coxswains simply love the camera and just want the spotlight. That is why this week I am highlighting just a small portion of photos featuring rowers who always know where the camera is.
Don't get us wrong, we're psyched to play along; it breaks up long days on the start pontoon or crammed in a launch, and we're covering a sport after all, and it is supposed to be fun - so bring it!
To kick things off I have one of the more ridiculous photos I have taken at a regatta. The photo above was taken at the Tail of the Tiger in Clemson. Head races are often challenging to shoot because of their repetitiveness - unlike the spring, fall regatta photos tend to have a similar composition (unless something goes terribly wrong). At many head race venues, the only place to shoot is at or near the finish line. Fortunately, at the Tail of the Tiger I have the ability to take out a launch.
As shells passed me on my way to the start, I would stop and take a photo and continue up the course. I was almost to the start of the race course when another set of boats made their way past me. Once gain, I stopped and prepared for the race to go by. The premise of this feature is that rowers like to wave at the camera, and this is a fairly typical occurrence up at the start line before the race happens. This time, for the first and only time in my row2k career, a rower saw me during a race, took his hand off of the oar, waved (missing at least one stroke), then continued rowing with both hands (I assume) for the rest of the course.
The next shot proves just how small of a world rowing can be. In 2016 I was in Ohio for Club Nationals. If there is one subset of rowers who loves to mug for the camera more than anyone else, it is probably high school boys. One of Saratoga's 4x's saw me and of course had to put on a show for the camera. That boat wasn’t the only shell to wave at the camera that morning, but this photo stuck out to me because I ran into one of these rowers many years later.
The summer of 2019 I was at the Henley Royal Regatta. When I travel to Henley I stay with a local family who traditionally hosts an American team in their home. This year, the family was hosting the Cornell Lightweight Men. When I sat down for dinner with the team, who is sitting next to me... Ben Hopkins, the red head in 3 seat.
I seriously have hundreds of photos I could have posted in this feature. Sometimes they are kids who I have coached and some are those who are just excited to see the row2k sticker on the side of a lens. To wrap things up, I wanted to highlight the women at Temple University. Usually I will get a fairly good reaction out of club and high school rowers, but rowers tend to get a bit more serious the older they get (particularly on the D1 side of things). That’s why I will always remember the series of shots I took of the Temple Women at the start line of the inaugural Wheeler Invite. Check out the full series here.
If you have any funny faces you made at a row2k camera, share the link in the comments below!