TransPac 2011

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I got up early on the 4th of July because my friend Andrew Nunn was competing in the TransPac sailing race this year. He and his team aboard the boat named Bebe are making their way from Long Beach to Hawaii as I type, and I continue to send them the best of luck. For those of you that don’t know Andrew, he’s the one on the front of the boat in the shot below.

Andrew Nunn stands against the sea aboard the Bebe at the TransPac 2011

Andrew Nunn stands against the sea aboard Bebe at the TransPac 2011. Even with a 400mm lens and 2x crop body, I had to crop quite a bit to get the composition I wanted.

This was my first time shooting a boat race and it was an educational experience to be sure. While I’m used to rapidly manually focusing with long lenses on small objects in the distance, I try to use a tripod whenever possible for stills (partially to enable bracketed exposure options). The boat let me know (in no uncertain terms) that I was going to have to do this shoot on my own as the sea churned and we kept our distance from the competing vessels.

A picture of the Bebe on the left and two other competing ships on the right.

Bebe on the left and two other competing ships on the right.

I came back exhausted and sunburned, having learned not to take my sunblock cues from Ashley Nunn: shade seems to be her favorite sunblock. I definitely felt out of my element compared to shooting landscape photography, portraits, nature photography, music videos and documentaries, but it’s always good to try something new. If any other photographers want to chime in on how to make life easier shooting on a boat (in terms of stabilization approaches, accessories, etc.) I would appreciate the education. ;)

Nonetheless, sometimes you have to go the extra mile for your friends. :)

Picture of Ashley and Andrew at the TransPac 2011

Ashley gives her brother one last hug before he heads to sea.

11 Responses

  1. rambo says:

    Haha, yes it’s not easy hey Per, it’s even harder to shoot video from boat to boat. Fortunately, it’s my specialty, what i do for a living. I’m widely regarded as one of the best operators for this type of filming, shooting from the back of a Jetski. Thanks for the audio tips on the GH2, if i can help you with shooting on the ocean, just ask. Cheers Rambo

  2. rambo says:

    That’s why i use a Jetski, up close no Tele, position myself at the pivot point of ski and hold a balanced monopod with one hand, my arm becomes the gymbal :-) Check out the videos on my website, all shot with one cam.

      • Per Lichtman says:

        So far I checked out “Clint Robinson wins 20 Beaches Race – Video” and I’m surprised the approach works so well. I might just have to learn how to Jetski…

        When you say “balanced monopod”, how are you balancing it? Just a standard monopod counterbalanced by your muscles and bodyweight? Or something additional?

  3. rambo says:

    There is a weight on the bottom of the monopod to counter the camera weight and i hold the mono pod just above the balance point just over half way up. Poorman”s steady cam, but real steadycams don’t work in those conditions.

    • Per Lichtman says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard that the wind is an issue, much like with helicopter shoots. I may pick your brain about setting up the weight properly at some point. :)

      Have you had any experience with gyro systems? I’ve been looking at them more for an aerial shoot that may happen in a few months but I’ve read a lot horror stories on the net so far.

    • Per Lichtman says:

      Some of that turned out really nicely. I love the waterfall shot at 01:15 in particular.

      Did you do a lot of post-processing with DeShaker or Mercalli or something similar? Or are you just that good? :)

      Got to catch some shut eye – it’s about 4AM here.

  4. rambo says:

    Yeah, just a touch with mercalli to knock out a tiny bit of jitter. The 2 land based shots were Pana hmc 150, all aerial was GH13, Lpowells 75Mbps reliable 720p50. They cam me the human gymbal…haha. It’s like anything, the more you do it the better ya get. Catch ya another time. R

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