2017 – Head of the Charles (Oct 22)

The 53rd running of the Head of the Charles (HOTC) rowing regatta was held on the Charles River last month. The race course starts near the Boston University Boathouse and runs about 3 miles upstream to Herter Park. Living so close to the Charles River,  I always like to make the annual trip to photograph this world famous regatta. Hope you like the photos.

2017 HOTC (DLY_6476-2)For this photoshoot used a Canon 1DxII, 300mm/f2.8L IS II lens (1.4x and 2x extenders), 35mm f/1.4L II lens and monopod. Parked the car on Mt Auburn Street  near the Cambridge Skating Club around 7.30 am, then walked across the park to Memorial Drive. Getting to the event early gives you some great opportunities to capture the beautiful morning light and fall colors.

2017 HOTC (DLY_6503-2)Really liked how the low light lit the fluorescent colors of these rowers jackets.

2017 HOTC (DLY_6625-2)

2017 HOTC (DLY_6566-2)Some more shots of the rowers in the beautiful early morning light.

2017 HOTC (DLY_6551-2)As I was walking along the river, noticed how the yellow leaves of the trees on the other side of the river cast a beautiful yellow glow across the water.

2017 HOTC (DLY_6847-2)Continuing along the river to Harvard Street, noticed some nice light under the Anderson Bridge. so waited for the rowers to enter the frame.

2017 HOTC (DLY_6972-2Crossed the Anderson Bridge and walked down the side of the bridge and sat on the rocks along the river bank so I could get some low shots of the rowers moving under the bridge with the golden light behind them.

DLY_0759By now it was about 10 am, so continued along the Soldiers Field Road side of the river and took a shot of the Anderson Bridge with the Harvard University Weld Boat House in the background.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7015-2)

2017 HOTC (DLY_7038-2)Walked back over the Anderson Bridge and stopped for some shots of the crews lifting their boat out of the water and getting a team photo.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7153-2)

2017 HOTC (DLY_7224-2)After a quick lunch, headed back to the Solider Fields Road side of the Anderson Bridge and went back to the rocks along the river bank next to the bridge. This time used the 300mm and the 2x extender to get some long shots of the rowers as they headed upstream. The 600mm perspective really made it easy to see the tremendous effort the rowers were exerting.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7179-2)8 x 34.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7252-2)Headed downstream on the Soldier Fields Road side of the river, past the Anderson Bridge and down the hill to a grassed area next to the river bank for some low panning shots. Panned with the 300mm using a shutter speed around 1/15 sec in order to sufficiently blur the background so it wasn’t distracting. Tried some different backgrounds. First up was the Weld Boat House.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7315-2)Also tried panning the crowd of spectators lining the river back to the right of the Weld Boat House.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7417-2)Another shot, with spectators and vendor stands in the background.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7686-2)After I finished panning noticed someone painting the Weld Boat House. Was really cool to see a work of art being created right in front of me.

2017 HOTC (DLY_0783The soft afternoon light and the beautiful white clouds in the blue sky above were amazing. It was a photographers dream.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7691-2

DLY_7694-2Also noticed how some of the boats would wait along the river bank in front of me, until their was a clearing in the race, then they would quickly paddle across the river to the Weld Boat House. This situation provided some opportunities to get some unique angles of the rowers that you usually don’t get from the river bank.

2017 HOTC (DLY_0792In this shot you can see the iconic clock tower of Eliot House.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7728-2)Walked down to the Western Avenue Bridge and took a shot of the crews rowing upstream over the glare-covered Charles River.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7760-2)Continued over the Western Avenue Bridge to the Memorial Drive side of the river, then walked down to the river bank on the down stream side of the bridge. Noticed their was a patch of light and dark as the rowers entered the archway under the bridge to the right of the photo above.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7829-2)

2017 HOTC (DLY_7816-2)Decided to try some more slow panning shots. In the lower photo above was lucky to get the cars going across the bridge in focus as I panned the rowers in the foreground.

2017 HOTC (DLY_7830-2It was getting late in the afternoon and I was getting tired and hungry, so headed back to the car. Along the way, noticed how the late afternoon light was silhouetting the rowers against the glare covered water.

Thanks for spending your time reading this blog of the 53rd running of the HOTC.

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