I found JW at the boat launch area North of Bulls Island State Park. He was getting his machines ready for the upcoming season. Testing and getting the bugs worked out. I did not go to the river for this type of shoot today. I was there in hopes of finding some wild ducks or perhaps a fisherman. I was just looking for some sort of landscape or scenery. After not finding any ducks and shooting a few shots of a rescue boat a young man arrived with two nice looking personal water craft. I approached with my camera and tripod and simply asked can I take some action shot of you. With a slightly perplexed look he gave the ok.
Having my handy dandy 70-200mm already mounted, I set the focus to AI Servo, Aperture Priority @ 2.8 ISO 200 because the sun kept going in & out I wanted to keep the shutter speed quick. I have shot jet skis and waverunners before. But today I decided to leave the camera on the tripod with the ball head set just lose enough I could follow the machine with ease but still had the stability of a tripod. I also set the IS to mode #2, perfect for this type of shooting. So with the camera set JW started up and was underway. I was getting plenty of nice shots although it took a few minutes to get with him and stay with him. Unlike shooting a race, where you know the predetermined path the machine is going to take on a race course, this was a lot harder because he was just out there testing and having some fun. He would be up to speed and then just turn and zip the opposite way. Still I got the hang of it pretty quick.
Then he came to shore and switched machines. I made the mistake of thinking the “Sports” mode on the camera would be a better setting. WRONG! The next series of shots, about a 100 of them, most we horrible. In sports mode the camera moved to 3.2 and the focus was off on any shot that had a lot of water spray. It didn’t really focus on the water spray, it just didn’t give a solid focus on anything. Of the series of shots I had only about 20 usable shots.
Editing was not too bad. For some but not all, I would tweak in Lightroom and zip over to Photoshop and use my highpass preset, jump into Color Efex Pro 4, save back to Lightroom and using a NAPP preset called “Game Day” to finish off the edit. Oh and yes then a crop so JW & the machine fill the frame. Cropping took some quality away, but I think the shots still look awesome. Like the “roost” from a motocross bike makes the shot, the water spray is the big element here. Water spray makes the shot so dramatic.
All and all a fun day. I just emailed the shots to JW and he loves them.
Here is a short video clip from the shoot.