How to Work with an Embedded Photographer: Tips for a Skipper

Embedded photographer here, recalling some favorite moments onboard a San Francisco Bay Santa Cruz 50. Hey skipper, remember when that Lake Tahoe boat just could not set the spinnaker at Rolex Big Boat Series?  They clearly had all the time and space, but then decided to get a little close, cause you to dip the main in the water, cause you to ruffle your forward feathers? Yes we could all see that huge tanker. Good thing you did not see what was happening just behind you—the ole onboard photographer’s high wire tricks with an arm looped round a secure something while grabbing shots and not sliding down the 30-degree embankment into the Pacific.

I’m all for a rugged jaunt on the Bay, but it dawned on me that there are things that can make my life easier. I'm merely thinking about you as I prep this list. Maybe you can make a few changes? Here’s a list that will make my job a little easier:

If we’re going to down-round please give me a 12-second heads up so that I may change lenses
  1. That boom got in the way of too many photos. Can it be moved?
  2. Please install things back of boat that do not flex—stuff to grab.
  3. With so much commotion while sailing aside the Lake Tahoe boat, especially during the bow dip, my camera auto-focus got confused. Please make subjects be still.
  4. Can you get closer to boats next time so I can fill the frame for heightened drama.
  5. If we’re going to down-round please give me a 12-second heads up so that I may change lenses.

During general sailing conditions:
 

Here's that friend on another boat...heading to the cruise ship for lunch.

Here's that friend on another boat...heading to the cruise ship for lunch.

  1. If your crew spies someone on another boat and would like a photo, try positioning your boat directly ahead about three boat lengths away. This results in great expressions and ensuing action on their boat—things I love to see in imagery.
  2. Attach straps back of each crewmembers’ jackets. This way, when climbing about, I can grab each sailor’s body in a designated region.
  3. It would be great if you could install a gimbal-enabled platform below. It’s annoying when I get slammed against the woodwork while changing lenses.
  4. Also when below, it’s really noisy when you tack. Can you do that more quietly?
  5. The man who has to fold up the big colorful sail after it is taken down—can you ask him to dry it off before he starts to repack? Sometimes a droplet flies through the air and hits me.
  6. When I emerge from below, please have the crew wipe water from the deck. It’s really slippery!
  7. Also, once I tell you that I am coming up top, can you level out the boat? This makes it easier to crawl through the companionway.
  8. And just one more thing for now. If I do decide to shoot from aft once more, it’s kinda tight getting round that wheel—especially when the boat it tipping and you are sitting right there in the way, you plus the tactician. Can the wheel be shifted?

Thank you skipper. I look forward to many more adventures as an embedded photographer on your boat!