A Moment with Shirley Robertson

Shirley Robertson, a British sailor who won two Olympic Gold medals, mother of two and presenter at CNN TV Series Mainsail.

Portrait shooting has a magical element which I enjoy every time from the first to the last moment, having the privilege to spend a private moment lasting from a few minutes up to one day or more with a personality.

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Shirley, in my view, is an exception. I always ask myself who that person is, what makes her different and capable of winning two Olympic Gold medals in a row?

I know there are plenty of athletes who have more than two gold medals, but in my view sailing is unique as the complexity of this sport is superior than in many other Olympic disciplines.

The world today is superficial. I see the tendency of running after the quick win, the low hanging fruits. Competing and winning two Olympic Gold medals requires the complete opposite, long term commitment, dedication, the energy to get up again and again after a defeat, isn’t that incredibly inspiring?

Will I be able to see and experience this during the shooting with here?

The portrait project with Shirley was not a short one. We have been talking about it since months; soon we realized we need many different photos, we need a series of images, each of them for a different purpose. It clearly would take a day to get this done.

It would be an intense day, and at the same time, I felt the weight on my shoulders: responsibility and a privilege. I cannot only spend a day working with her, ultimately what I see through my lens is what the people, who do not have the chance to meet here in person, will see of her.

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We all know the expression: A picture says more than a 1’000 words…So let’s get this x-thousand words right.

At the end of the project, we selected 20 different photos, each showing Shirley with here many facets, each with a different message.

It turned out to be an intense day, a potpourri of colors, ideas, a combination of clothes, expressions, lights, coffee breaks and much more. It’s tough to stay focused for so long in front of the camera, but she did it, and how she did, was terrific.

Not only is she a good sailor, but no wonder why she works at CNN, BBC and much more. One set after the other, she always came back on the set with outstanding positive energy, motivation, and commitment.

Even more, we could guide each other, she trusted me, and then we executed those ideas one by one, until the end of a long and intense day.

Is that one of the secrets and reasons why she can win two gold medals in a row? Did I had the chance to experience what makes the difference of losing or winning? Probably yes!

I have not experienced this with many people such a persistent focus and commitment over a long time in front of the camera.

Thank you, Shirley, it was more than a moment, it was a precious time with you and your partner Tim.

Look at the photos with this link.

A few days after the shooting I got an email from Shirley:

I know I have said it ten times already – but I’m chuffed with the images, they show oodles of personality.”

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The story behind the photo

What it takes to shoot big waves.

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves
Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves, November 2018

You just need to be in the right place at the right moment.

Some time ago during a meeting with an agency, we talked about photos of big waves and how to produce them. With CGI, “computer generates image” you can create one within a week or two, assuming that you find the right team capable of doing it.

Shooting this kind of waves turned out a bit more complicated. I heard about Nazaré a peaceful, quiet fishing village on the Atlantic coast of Portugal. They have big waves, actually famous for it. Since that day started to follow the weather, tide and wave forecast of Nazaré.
In the winter time you get almost every week 5-7 meter high waves, but very seldom you get 20 meters or move waves. It took me nearly 2 years to get the chance for such a wave.

There is a detail in this photo, who at first sight doesn’t look so obvious.
Look at the spray over the wave. It’s a perfect Fibonacci curve. The natural beauty defined by the mathematical formula which also has a lot in common with the golden ratio.

Here is the tricky question. What does it take to get this spray and big waves?
The wind must come from the opposite side of the wave. 90% of the time the wind pushes the water for miles on the open sea and when the wave comes closer to shore the build up. That’s the difference. The wind is coming from the opposite side.

When I saw that fact in the weather forecast, I knew its time to book the flight to Lissabon and a rental car which brings me to Nazaré. It took two years from that meeting in the agency until the day I booked the trip.

The evening when I finally got to Nazaré in complete darkness I drove down to the lighthouse, no moon no light. Whatever scary movie you imagine, there is nothing so impressive as the rumbling of the waves against the cliffs right below the Nazare Lighthouse.

The next morning with the first light I was back on these rocks, this time with my camera and a full set of lenses.

Please let me say this, as I heard that so many times:
You just need to be in the right place at the right moment.
Think about what it takes to be at the right place and the right moment?

The next morning during breakfast in the hotel, the lady serving the coffee looked at me and said; you got the right day, today the waves are not big anymore.

It’s over a year ago and I still checking every week the forecast of Nazaré, hoping to get one more chance to shoot this kind of big waves.

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves
Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves, November 2018

RUND UM mit einem Sonnenuntergang

Letztes Jahr war die Rundum kurz vor dem America’s Cup in Bermuda, eigentlich bin ich wegen der Rudum ein paar Tage zu späht nach Bermuda gereist. Der Sonnenuntergang in der Region Überlingen hat es aber voll kompensiert.

Nun war ich wir wieder auf dem Bodensee. Die Wettervorhersage war nicht ideal. Wenn man den Himmel betrachtet war klar das da noch ein Gewitter kommen wird und genau das sorgt für das gewisse etwas. Die Sonne verschwand ein paar Mal hinter den Wolkenschichten, und so wechselte das Licht fast alle 5 Minuten. Leider waren die Zeitfenster für eindrucksvolle Aufnahmen somit etwas kürzer als sonst.

Es ist immmer wieder aufs neue Eindrucksvoll die Natur zu beobachten, sie ist immer anders und überascht uns immer wider aufs neue.
Mit einem Click auf die Bilder gelangen sie zu weiteren Aufnahmen.


Seit einigen Jahren träume ich davon ein paar Monate lang auf und rund um den Bodensee ununterbrochen während mehreren Monate den See und die Umgebung zu fotografieren, und danach ein Buch zu Publizieren mit diesen Aufnahmen. Währe schön wenn sich das mal realisieren lässt.

RUND UM 2018

runD UM 2018

 

 

Reflections Act 2

Blu26 Schweizermeisterschaft 2018 Zug

I’ve been looking at the reflection on the water for quite a few years, and as more I think about them, they become more interesting for me – the reflections are abstract and provide a wide space for imagination. I find something new in it every time when looking at the photos.

Last weekend I was photographing the Blu26 regatta in Switzerland on a lake which is known for not being the windiest place on earth, and yes, we had flat water for three days (sigh).

Time to be creative with the reflections, what do you see in them?

These and more images are now available as Fine Art Prints. Click here or on one of the photos to see the complete selection.

Blu26 Schweizermeisterschaft 2018 Zug

Blu26 Schweizermeisterschaft 2018 Zug

Modern Nature

Have been sitting by the water so many times and for so many reasons. Was it to find a solution for a problem, or simply to relax a bit and to enjoy time. Water is a magic element powerful, dangerous and beautiful. Can you hear the peaceful sound of this small waves hitting the the shoreline is so peaceful.
This harmonic shapes of reflections looks so modern, but in reality they have been here longtime before the humanity.
This photos are available as fine art prints

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Live is clear today, we try to look into the future, it’s bright? That’s what we all hope, is it clear, what will it be?

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Nazaré Big Waves

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Portugal Atlantic coast in Nazaré, that’s as big as it get’s. Thank’s to a big underwater canyon finishing right in front of the Praia do Norte, the swell comes to the shore and the end of the canyon will be build up the wave to what we know the Nazaré wave.

This waves are from the crazy Wednesday in November 2018. Over night the waves were building up. Right before midnight I drove down to the faro the lighthouse from Nazaré, it was dark no light no stars and no moon. No horror movie will ever be as impressive as the noise of the waves crashing in the rocks below the lighthouse.
The next morning with the first light I finally could see with my eyes the Nazaré waves.
See more photos

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves

Nazare Portugal Atlantic Ocean Waves

Impressive Sunset on Lake Constance

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Impressive Sunset on Lake Constance
Sometimes when you are photographing a sailing regatta it happens that you are bit in a hurry.  This afternoon I received a very friendly phone call from a yacht owner asking about the 2017 Rundum with this impressive sunset. I realized I never published this photos on the image library go4image.com as the next day I flew to Bermuda for the America’s Cup.
Here is the link

Today is a rainy day here in Switzerland so let’s enjoy this sunset.

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#rundum #sunset #bodensee #skinfit #segeln #sonnenuntergang #lakeconstance #sailing #regatta #americascup