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Dragon Boat Races


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I'm shooting some dragon boat races this weekend from one of the press boats.

I'm curious how close these boats usually get and how long of a lens I will

likely need. Does any one have any experience to share?


I typically shoot with my 70-200 on a 20d, but am wondering if I'll need to

bring anything longer. (I'll have wider lenses for sure.)




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Like Richard says, it all depends how close you can get. I shot some photos from a near by jetty once and couldn't get the entire boat to fill the frame with a 200 mm, so a 400 mm would probaly be a must from there. If you have a long enough lens you might get some good shots by pick out individual people on the boat, so basically I think you will not end up with a lens that is "too long".
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Don't forget that you can rent good lenses for your 20d: Consider an image stabilizer model if you'll be shooting from a (rocking) boat.


Also, watch out for the lighting angles, as you may want the captain of the press boat to move it to a different location.


Along these lines, watch your exposure with the histogram display: If you're shooting a backlit sailboat (obviously without fill flash!) the camera meter will be easily fooled (unless you spot meter off the sail), yielding an underexposed boat.


When you're composing your image, don't think of this as sports shooting, trying to convey a sense of speed (i.e. blurred backgrounds from panning): Think of it as fine art or landscape shooting, implying a long DOF (lens stopped down to f/16) to capture shoreline details in the background -- This will give (location) context to the shots; else the boats could be in almost any body of water anywhere.


Hope this helps!

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Here's a link from this year in Long Beach. Exif details may help. Chuck's been shooting it for several years. I caught it last year but missed this year's.




From the year before, I think I recall bouncing back and forth between my 28-70 and 100-300 as the shore side activities were at least as colorful and interesting as the races, and thinking that I could have used more reach as well for some of the racing.

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Wow. Thanks,everyone.


I'm looking forward to the races. I'm not exactly sure how much pull I'll have with the captain of the boat I'll be in, but we should be able to work something out.


I think I'll bring an extender for my 70-200. I suspect I'll spend most of the day with just the 70-200. I'll have a 2nd camera with a wider lens on as well. I wish there were a bridge around; some of those example shots from up high are a nice change from the other shots I've seen.

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