Cowes Week takes place early August each year and it had a key part to play in the British sporting calendar. As well as competitive racing the event's also a popular place for people to enjoy the sights and spend a bob or two in the shops, bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, unless you can get on a boat the chances of you capturing any racing action are slim but you can take a walk around the waters edge or spend some time photographing the thousands of people that swamp the Isle of Wight for the week which runs until the 7th August.
Photo by Polly Harris. People sat by the sea at Cowes Week.
If you can find yourself a good position close to or on Cowes beach you'll need a longer lens such as a 70-200mm to get shots of the fleets but if you're going to stay close to the marina or take a walk round the streets to snap some candids of the crowds your standard zoom will be fine. A tripod doesn't mix well with crowds so leave it in your hotel room. If it's a particularly bright day pack your polariser to help with glare from the water and have a lens cloth handy to wipe away any sea spray. Also, keep your bagged zipped up as grains of sand do get everywhere and you don't want it to be scratching at your lenses on your way home.
If you get to the start line early chances are you'll be in a good position for photographing the fleet as they head out to sea. The area between the Castle of the Royal Yacht Squadron and the cannons is right on the start line so arrive in plenty of time to give yourself a good angle to shoot from. Later on in the day if you head along the Green towards Egypt Point you'll be able to capture the spectators cheering on the participants as they race for the finish line. Cowes beach is another good location for capturing the fleets of colourful sails out at sea. Just make sure you're right on the waters edge otherwise you'll have several rows of spectators in your shot. Get away from the water and you'll find musicians, street entertainers and plenty of people in pubs and on the high street to photograph. If you stay until the final night there's the firework finale to photograph. Again, it's a popular event which draws an even bigger crowd than the racing so it can be a bit of a squeeze. Get on the edge of the water if you can as you'll be able to capture the reflections of the fireworks in the sea as well as the bursts in the sky. It's best if you take your tripod with you this time and use your camera's B setting which leaves the shutter open for as long as you want giving you more chance of capturing the split-second explosion of colour.
To ensure the colour you capture is the colour you keep, use Datacolor - the Colour Management Experts.
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