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SSA Day 4—Crew Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Out on the dock at Orange Coast College in Newport Beach, Calif., kids wait for the boats to go by during OCC's rowing regatta against UCI and Cal State Fullerton Apr. 7, 2007.

After going to bed after 1
a.m. Saturday morning, I pried open my eyes at 5 a.m. to photograph rowing in Newport Beach. We beat the rowers to the boathouse.

The one consolation for rising so early is the pretty morning light—you've seen the photos before of shells on the glassy water in beautiful, golden sunlig
ht. Saturday morning proved to be overcast.

Eventually a few rowers arrived and started warming up, so we photographed that. Then we all mo
ved from the old, beat-up UC (Irvine) boathouse to the swanky Orange County College boathouse, which was hosting the regatta. Originally, we'd been told there would be an opportunity to photograph the rowers from a motorboat running alongside them, but for some reason that plan was kiboshed. So we were stuck on the dock.

As we were waiting for the boats to go past (we were about halfway along the course), I saw these two kids in OCC crew tee-shirts just hanging around at the end of the dock (see above). I thought, gee, won't that be a great photo when the boats come through? So I hung out there and waited. Just as the boats were about to come in sight (there was a loudspeaker with commentary describing the race), all the girls left on shore ran out to the end of the dock and changed my image. The shot I got (right) is fine, but not quite what I'd hoped for.

Most of the races had just two boats (OCC and UCI), but a couple—including the premier event, men's 8's—had three (OCC, UCI, and Cal State Fullerton). Irvine led that race for almost the entire length of the course, but OCC came back at the end to win by about 3 seconds. With that race in the bag, they swept the regatta. Someone ran a corn broom up the mast.

Early call time, boring light, limited access, and an overabundance of photographers notwithstanding, shooting crew was fun. I'll have to do it again sometime.