Elements II

Elements II

Like many others I should be somewhere else right now. This time last year I was in the South of France about to begin a week-long training camp at a small secluded lake surrounded by low hills and French rural life, in a sense a very isolated location and the perfect place to get crews ready for the summer racing coming up… How things have changed! Thanks to the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic (unless you didn’t know about it already!) everyone is confined to their homes and going nowhere, save the short periods to get supplies or get some exercise, and just a few weeks in and many of us are yearning to get back to doing what we love. At it’s very heart rowing is a team sport, with the current situation it can be hard to stay motivated as events get cancelled and we lose the social connections we take for granted in our daily lives, even the best of us are finding it a challenge, yet also learning to find ways though it and diversions in the smallest things help to lift the mood.

With that in mind I will be sharing some of my favourite photographs and descriptions behind them. To begin, here is today’s from a memorable morning from this time last year:

April 2019, France
Tucked away in a small valley in the south of France, the lake we were training on enjoyed a very sheltered microclimate. Fresh early spring mornings, heavy with dew, gave way to warmth and sunshine by midmorning most days. On one such morning, as the sun slowly rose, a gentle mist rolled off the surrounding hills and poured out across the calm surface of the lake. As the air warmed over the water a thick blanket of mist rose several feet above the water reducing visibility but creating the most fantastic conditions for photography.

I positioned my launch to capture the crews as they paddled past, patiently waiting for them to emerge through the gloom into the light. Having the ability to get up close to crews in a launch is a great luxury but I wanted to incorporate the ingredients that made this particular morning so special, so as our women’s eight crew cruised by I hang back a fair distance to allow things to come together. The conditions really enhanced the contrast between all the elements; the intense light crafting the hard shadows around the crew, the rising wisps surrounding them as they continued into the distance against the dark of the hill behind, and the low lying mist blurring the boundary between the boat and the flat calm water. A wonderful morning for rowing and photography!

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