Norfolk legend and Wells-Next-The-Sea RNLI Coxswain Allen Frary retired from service last week after 42 years of serving the RNLI. As his flank station to the East we took Sheringham Lifeboat along and Cromer’s All-weather Tamar Lifeboat came too.
It was great to see the Wells, Cromer & Sheringham lifeboats all alongside. Also a really useful exercise for those of us on the Sheringham ILB to be shown the bouyage & channels into Wells harbour as it’s further west than we tend to venture with our Atlantic 85 so many of us hadn’t taken the boat into the outer harbour before.
Here’s a few shots from a great morning out on the water…
Last week I headed off to Barton Broad to spend a morning with a dedicated team of rowers on one of their winter training sessions. The group is called Coastal Rowing Association Blakeney (CRAB) and comprises an enthusiastic (and fit!) group of mostly retired folk who just love to get out on the water and row. I believe the club has around 30 members in total and they take it in turns to take their two handmade St Ayles skiffs out on the water throughout the year.
In the winter they use the more sheltered waters of the Norfolk Broads, launching at Barton Turf but their true home (and spring/summer/autumn rowing ground) is North Norfolk and the stunning area known as Blakeney Pit, a sheltered area of water protected by the National Trust owned Blakeney Point. I plan to head to Blakeney with them in the spring & summer to capture more photos and footage of them doing their thing but couldn’t resist an invitation to come along with them on one of their winter training days.
We arrived on a cracking January morning with light winds and plenty of sunshine. As the skiff was prepared I donned my lifejacket and was given a comfy spot in the bow and we were off. It takes some skill to manoeuvre a boat out of a tight staithe with only paddlepower and these are some long & quite delicate looking oars. Before long we were out in the open water and the rowers had found their pace, with the hypnotic rhythm of the oars dipping in & out of the water. After about half an hour they offered me a go at the rowing so we switched places and I was shown the basics – keep in time with the stroke oar, don’t dip the oar too deep or come out too high, how to use arms, legs & back for maximum power. Doesn’t sound much but it’s quite a lot to get right and I think I’d need a while to get the hang of it! I rowed for about 15 minutes and I have to say it was quite hard work, must be amazing for core fitness.
After about 45 minutes of rowing through these peaceful waters we were at How Hill with a couple of lovely old windmills nestling amongst the reeds to complete the scene. I hopped off and got some shots of them rowing up & down this section. I also put the drone up for some aerial shots. While above the rowers I panned down & captured some video to allow them to see their timing & technique from above. Looks pretty good to me! The short video of this is a bit further down in this post.
Here’s the short film I made from the air…
A huge thank you to the lovely ladies and gentlemen of the CRAB rowing club, I had a really great time out on the water and look forward to seeing them again later this year out at Blakeney Point for some shots of them in their summer habitat!
• Norfolk broads photography • Rowing photography • Marine photographers • Norfolk Broads Boating Photography •
So far 2018 is shaping up to be a good year with lots of projects and plans in the pipeline. Cowes Week is booked in my diary and plans are afoot for media passes and access to a photographer’s rib for what should be some great photographic opportunities so cover the various sailing races and events.
This week I am meeting North Norfolk boat builder Neil Thompson to discuss a photo study of their boat-building process. Neil’s business is nationally famous for their Norfolk Oyster yachts and have introduced some new models in recent years including the Urchin, Gypsy, Smuggler and Explorer. I’ve also been in contact with the production company that makes the BBC programme ‘Saving Lives at Sea‘ regarding providing aerial footage for the 2018 series which follows the exploits of various RNLI crews around the country.
On Thursday next week I am heading out to the Norfolk Broads with the Coastal Rowing Association Blakeney, a rowing club based in Blakeney who make their own boats and can often been seen rowing around Blakeney Pit. In the winter they keep up fitness and training on the Norfolk Broads and I’m looking forward to spending a morning with them to photograph and film them on the water.
I have plenty of other events planned for the year and various marine-based shoots which figured would benefit from a longer reach on the camera so I recently decided to take the leap and get a superzoom. The Canon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS MKII is a stunning lens for the money. Super sharp right to the edges, fast to focus and not ridiculously heavy or large and with breathtaking image stabilisation. Combined with the Canon 1.4x extender MKIII on the Canon 5D MKIII’s I have nearly 600mm of zoom available and it can still autofocus which is going to be perfect for close-up shots of the sailing action this year.
Yesterday I took the lens out for a trial on the cliffs here at Sheringham and was really impressed with the results. The first shot below was of the Canon 24-70mm F2.8L lens at 70mm, pretty much what the eye sees, you can just make out the little white dot of a small trawler in the middle of the frame. With the 100-400mm plus 1.4x extender and a bit of fairly heavy cropping in post process you can actually read the boat’s number (in the second shot) and the image is still relatively sharp considering how much it’s been cropped. Really impressed with this set up and looking forward to trying it out at the various regattas and sailing events I will be attending this year.
• Sailing photographers UK • Sailing photographers in Norfolk • Norfolk boat photography • Marine photographers UK •
A few weeks ago I completed a short film made here on the North Norfolk coast at Sheringham & Cromer. The film shows how quickly the weather can change from calm beauty to rugged rough seas. I was also pleased to be able to slot in an excerpt from the Shipping Forecast for the segway between calm and storm. The Shipping Forecast has to be my favourite thing on the radio. I have a number of books about the shipping forecast and listen to it whenever I can, I just can’t put my finger on what makes it so special but it is a unique slice of Britishness which captures the imagination of our island nation.
Last week we took a trip down to the 2018 British Marine London Boat Show at the ExCel Centre. It was a fantastic day meeting like-minded boat lovers, drooling over yachts and superyachts we’ll never be able to afford and buying lots of books, gadgets & trinkets we don’t need but definitely want!
In order to travel light I didn’t take my dslr cameras and instead took the little Panasonic Lumix GH4. Considering the size and price it’s not a bad little camera but not quite up to the quality of sensor & glass as my usual cameras so please excuse the image quality of the below shots.
I was really impressed by these incredible all-wooden surfboards made by Lignum Surfboards. They truly are a thing of beauty and as pleasing to touch as they are to look at. I’m sure they are pretty amazing to ride too. They also had a prototype wooden stand up paddleboard commissioned by the TV presenter Ben Fogle, ecologically sound and beautiful, what more could you want?
While at the boat show I met up with Tom Foy of British Marine to have a chat about the benefits of membership, as a result of that chat I have submitted my application for membership and look forward to being able to announce some good news on that front in the next few weeks.
Some other highlights of the show for me were chatting with Simon Temlett, publisher of some of the most respected boating magazines including Classic Boat and Yachts & Yachting. I hope to be photographing some sailing action for various magazines later this year so watch this space.
We stuck around for the Yachts & Yachting magazine awards, (might have had something to do with the free champagne 😉 ), and saw some big names in the sailing world accepting these coveted awards. Below is the silhouette of legendary Vendée Globe sailor Alex Thomson receiving his award for Pro Sailor of the year. Congratulations to all of the winners, worthy recognition indeed.
Many thanks to British Marine for laying on such a magnificent show, roll on September and the Southampton Boat Show (also organised by British Marine), looking forward to it already!
• London boat show photography • Yachting photographers • UK boat photographers • Marine photography UK •
This year our chosen charity is Surfers Against Sewage, I wholeheartedly support the work they are doing to fight pollution in our seas and raising awareness for the battle against the awful amount of plastics in the water. We always take some bags with us to collect rubbish when we go for a walk on the coast (which is every few days) and it never fails to shock and disappoint me how much plastic and rubbish washes up on our beaches here in North Norfolk.
I will be donating 5% of all Aquavisuals commission fees in 2018 to SAS and also donating any payments I receive for helping out working the support boat for our local sailing clubs. I have also offered to help support them with any photography/video needs they may have over the year so watch this space for some updates on what they are up to nationally and in our region.