Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hydroplane boat racing, Chamberlain

The first annual "Pepsi Power Cup Challenge presented by River City Racin'" was this last weekend in Chamberlain. A shorter way to say it is hydroplane boat racing.

It's a very colorful and fun sport to photograph even if you know nothing about racing boats. Bright paint jobs, high speeds and huge rooster tails of water make great shots.

The Unlimited Light Hydroplane Racing Association will be back for at least two more years in Chamberlain, and likely more if the spectators keep coming. I talked with officials from the organization and they were very happy with the promotion the event received and the spectator turnout.

Because you are working around bright sunlight, hopefully blue skies, and lots of shiny boats and water, a polarizing filter really helps accentuate the bright colors.

Huge construction cranes are used to put the boats into the water and lift the onto trailers, which makes some cool "flying boat" photos.

Big glass rules here - For racing action photos I would suggest the biggest telephoto lens you can get your hands on. I shot these with a 400mm from the press area, which is closer than the average Joe can get.

If you don't shoot a lot of action photography, you're going to need some practice with these things. They are ripping along the water at around 150 mph, so panning and/or really high shutter speeds will be needed to stop the action.

Next year's event is scheduled for July 11-12, 2009. You can keep track of upcoming news at


Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Might be a little difficult to troll behind one of them.

Chad Coppess said...

Hmmm, yeah that would be tough. I'm sure we've got some fast fish in the river, but not that fast.

Tim said...

Very cool stuff. Too bad they don't run their race later in the evening when you'd have some nice light to work with. A big backlit rooster-tail would look really cool.

Chad Coppess said...

Yes it would! Seems like typically the winds might be calmer then as well. Maybe I'll suggest that to the organizers.

Anonymous said...

I was there - not to see the boats, but to see the concert - which was AWESOME! (: