Landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes and sunsets lend themselves to the use of wide-angle lenses. This photo was shot at the Dragonboat Races, an annual event in Nago Okinawa, Japan. My intent, here was to capture the crowd, sky and clouds and the three dragonboats finishing the race, all in one wide-angle shot.
A scene composed like this draws the viewer’s eye into the picture with what are called “leading lines”. The mountains in the background divide the photo roughly in half, separating the sea from sky. The position of the boats leads the eyes towards the white building, as does the angle of the crowd along the port. Billed as the largest dragonboat event on island, I was sort of disappointed when I saw the size of the boats, as the dragonboats in the Naha races are much longer than these are. In fact, they hold a crew of 30 people!
Arriving at 7AM, 2 hours before the start, gave me plenty of time to scout out a good position for my camera and tripod. A few shots of some dignitaries and pretty girls, with the blue skies and clouds as background, earned me an official Staff armband and police protection, so I could shoot from anywhere I desired. There’s a lot more involved in being a travel photographer than just pointing and shooting the camera. The lens that handled both jobs and kept me from having to switch lenses from wide-angle to zoom, for close-ups, was a Sigma 18-250mm.
If you travel a lot and want one lens that does it all, it’s probably the best all-around piece of camera gear you can buy. By the time the races started, over 500 white tents had been pitched at the port and 153 teams were involved, from all around the world; that explained the island’s “biggest dragonboat race.” I stayed for about half the event and had to go to the other end of the island to shoot another event. Monday, I emailed the dignitaries and pretty girls their photos, then deleted them from my hard-drive. Who needs photos of pretty girls, anyway? I’ve got a photo that makes you feel like you can walk right into it. Until we meet again, Happy Shooting!
A wildlife photographer living in Okinawa, Japan, Mike has been featured in Matador Abroad and is published in Apogee Photo Magazine, Boots N all, The Nihon Sun and Photo Guide Japan. He has recently joined the ranks of travel writers, capturing Nature, Festivals, Castles and Cultural shots of the Ryukyu Islands to share with the world.