Through the Lens - Paul Wyeth
“Whilst I regularly shoot from helicopter and drone, there's no doubt that the RIB is far and away my go-to shooting platform and mode of transport on the water. My ancient blue RIB is a common sight on the Solent and whilst not the most comfortable of rides, its small size does mean I can get close into the action without getting in the way, or kicking up a huge wake.
“In conditions up to force 5 or 6 it's fairly easy to stay dry, but when it gets really breezy, it gets harder to keep myself and, more importantly equipment, dry. Having shot from the same boat for many years, I do get to know when a certain shape wave will get me wet and also the sound of a wave coming. Moving the boat to stay dry (ish) does almost become instinctive, but now and again I get a big one over the side! It's then all about how quickly I can turn to face away from the wave and shield the camera, or get the camera into a protective Peli case. Without the essential Peli case, camera kit won't last long on the water. One secret that I will share with you is not to worry about the expensive and rather clunky camera protective cases as more often than not, sturdy freezer bags taped round the lens, get the job done. However, don't blame me if your kit gets wet!
“When the breeze really gets up, aside from wishing I had a larger boat, one of the biggest issues is stopping the bow of the RIB from constantly being turned downwind. As I'm often driving the boat whilst shooting, I like to keep the boat pointed towards safety so should something go wrong and the yacht suddenly change course towards me, I'm not left trying to reverse out of the way at speed. Never a good move. Thinking ahead and having an escape route is totally essential and has saved me from serious incidents many times.
“I often get asked "Don't you need a driver?" It does depend what I'm shooting and how fast they are going, but in most cases I'd rather be driving myself. I've never been great at communicating in a hurry so driving myself means I can think and manoeuvre instinctively and not have to translate that thought to someone else...by which time the moment may have gone.
“So there's no doubt that shooting from a RIB on a breezy day can be a challenge and sometimes expensive in terms of camera kit, but it's also the time when I often get the best images. All we need now is some racing!”
Paul has captured many stunning images of RORC races and specialises in photographing from a small RIB allowing him to get right into the action: close but not too close! His experience in boat handling is a real asset when it comes to successfully getting the shot without getting in the way. Paul also shoots aerial images from helicopter and drones when conditions or budget allow!