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Monday, 06 November 2017 11:16

Sports Photography: Off to the Breerivier...

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I was informed by a friend that the Breederivier Canoe Marathon will be held at Robertson on the 16th of September 2017 and jumped at the opportunity to take some photos. I called my friend Zen Stafford to assist as I needed someone to guide me around those parts. We left our place in Brackenfell at 7:45 planning to get to the event at 9:45 but sadly due to some unexpected road works we arrived just after 10 and thus missed the start. However it wasn't a complete mess as our plan B was to catch the athletes at Drew bridge and also we were greeted with some of the most amazing landscapes in South Africa (may I go as far as to say in the world). 

We arrived about an hour before the estimated time of arrival of the athletes and this gave us more than enough time to socialize with the spectators and lifeguards on site and also set up the gear and fine tune the settings. The lifeguards and spectators kept the spirits high even though Mother Nature was teasing us by just drizzling every now and then making myself and Zen cover up the equipment and stressing that we might have to head back with nothing, but alas the skies cleared up and the first athletes had arrived. 

After the 4th rider had passed I noticed some kids playing under the bridge and that the lifeguards didn't have any problem with it. So I naturally asked if it's safe if I could join them and climb down the bridge and so it gave me an amazing view with the riders approaching the bridge and this phenomenal backdrop of the trees and the river. After a few shots from there I repositioned myself on the other side so that I could get a few shots of the riders and their support and thus I needed to change from my 70 - 200mm to the wider 11 - 16mm. I chose the Canon 7D for its amazing ability to capture a sequence of photos because of the speed of the shutter. Settings wise I shot as fast as I could with the lens as wide as possible as I feel like this compliments my style perfectly. 

Not everything went smoothly and I feel like it's important to share your failures as well as your successes as this will make you a better photographer. For some reason I took a lot of portraits and not so many landscapes and thus I missed a lot of the moments due to the paddles being cut off. Also, for my next time I would love to get two points for shooting. One at the bridge like we did, but also one where I could get more of the riders from the side with this majestic background that the Breerivier provides. The last thing I would change and this I think is important to note if this was a paid job, shooting with the lens as wide as I did made the focus plain very narrow so this was fine from the side. But keeping the sponsors in mind next time I would shoot on the 70 -200mm an aperture of between 4/8 (play around and find that sweet spot). 

I would like to thank Zen for accompanying me on this journey. Will definitely use him again if it is possible. And then to just put the cherry on top of a perfect day was the view on the way back to Brackenfell. I don't think I say this enough, but Cape Town might just be the most beautiful place to live in. We found this beautiful deserted road on the way to Robertson and I wanted to try a landscaping stitch in photoshop of this inspirational view. 

We only arrived back after 5 and completely exhausted from the day, but I feel it was all worth it and I started my week very inspired by the athletes and the support and can tick this off as another successful event.


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