Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Rounds the Fastnet Rock
At the end of this years Volvo Ocean Race the image above was picked up by the Irish Examiner, who featured it in the saturday edition of the newspaper. They were interested in where the image was taken, why and how I took it.
Below is the transcript of their interview.
What and where:
The photograph is of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing rounding the Fastnet Rock. Abu Dhabi was competing the Volvo Ocean Race, a race that started in Alicante Spain on 5th November last year. The race consists of Nine legs around the globe totalling 39,270 miles. This photo was taken on Leg nine, Lorient to Galway.
Most of the Legs on the race are several thousand miles long take a number of weeks to complete and take place many miles offshore. This leg was unique because it was a little under 500 miles long, would be completed in around 36 hours and was always in range of a helicopter. For this reason we arranged to shadow the fleet for the duration of the leg. Having shot he start in Lorient we crossed the English Channel in deteriorating weather conditions on Sunday night, and flew to Liskard where we changed over to a UK helicopter company. On Monday morning the weather was even worse. Cork airport had been closed overnight due to the conditions and only opened around 8.30am, leaving Liskard we were in cloud from a height of 300 feet, and flew most of the way to Ireland on instruments. After refuelling at Cork we flew directly to the Fastnet Rock where we met the fleet just two minutes before they rounded.
We flew in an Augusta 109, and because of the video equipment we had onboard I was in the front seat. Up front there is very little room for spare equipment and I had to make my lens selection before take off. I was using two bodies, both Canon 1D MkIV’s and the two lenses I had were the Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS and the Canon 16-35mm f2.8L. I took this shot with the 16-35mm lens.
It works because:
The wind was light and the sky overcast so this was never going to be an action packed sailing photo, but for me it wasn’t about the boat, the Fastnet Rock is iconic and I wanted to show the size of the rock and the power of the sea. Even in the light conditions there was a lot of breaking water around the lighthouse. By moving up high and using the wide angle lens I was able to show all the elements together.