i had my alarm set to 8am but i snoozed it until 8:30am. my weather station said it was 43°F outside this morning. i dug out my wool sweater and my hat and gloves before leaving a bit before 9am to go see the head of the charles.
i haven't been to the head of the charles since 2017 (i didn't go last year because john and i went hiking in the shawangunks). i discovered the last time i was there that the best place to take photos isn't from one of the crowded bridges; but rather from the bank of the river, on the cambridge side, by the final bend before a straightway to the finish line. i was there the last time i went and found that it's the perfect place: secluded, the boats get close enough to almost touch, and low to the water, so that you can get some great action shots and hear the coxswains expletive-laden motivations to the rowers.
this early in the morning it was mostly the high school groups, so not a lot of people. the crowds would come later in the afternoon, during the collegiate races. there used to be a floating log by the edge of the water that i could sit on but i couldn't find the spot anymore. i found a different place, nowhere to sit, but enough of a clearing that i had a good view.
the women's club singles was just about finish by the time i settled into my lookout, with the women's youth fours, director's challenge women's quads, women's youth oxed quad, and women's youth eights all about to start.
maybe it was because i biked there, or maybe because the sun was out, but i felt warm enough to take off my sweater and put my jacket back on. it was the best spot because i was facing east and the water was reflecting the glare from the morning sun. it meant rowers would be underexposed (appear as silhouettes), but i compensated by adjusting the exposure value on my camera. get it just right, the sun provides a nice backlight. this was also my first time shooting the head of the charles with my new canon 80D camera, with it's slightly faster fps speed compared to my old 60D (7 fps to 5 fps). i came with the 55-250mm telephoto lens. despite it's flimsy and lightweight construction, i've found that it's the clearest of all my telephoto lenses. i had on a 58mm multi-coated circular polarizing filter to help with the glare, but it didn't really do anything so i put the multi-coated UV filter back on. i also brought my wide angle lens in case i needed to use it.
when the boats started coming, i found it almost too easy to shot more photos than i needed. the faster frames-per-second combined with the overall faster speed of the camera meant i could shoot non-stop. i also had a samsung 128GB memory card, which kept up with the writing, never once did i have any recording pause like i did with my 60D. i shot in aperture priority at f/8, with ISO set between 400-800 (depending on whether it got cloudy) to force a faster shutter speed.
i was done by 11am. i decided to go home, use the bathroom, take a shower, have some lunch, watch a bit of football, before coming back around 2pm for the collegiate rowing events.
i made a salmon cream cheese bagel sandwich for lunch. a part of me wanted to revisit the poke shop (only open on the weekends now), or stop by the bonchon restaurant in harvard square to pick up an order of korean fried chicken (save that pleasure for later in the week). i watched the raiders-packers game on CBS, a close contest by the time i stopped watching it and returning to harvard square around 2pm.
by that point there was more people along the bank of the river, which i was already expecting. though nobody had my old spot, there were too many people crowded in that area that i thought it'd be bad form to simply work my way in front of everyone. i walked further down towards the finish line and found an open area with nobody around. an old couple appeared behind me at one point, smiling and remarking that i had a great spot. i agreed, they stayed for a few minutes, before leaving. in hindsight, maybe that was there spot, and they were hoping i'd move.
i learned from this morning that the best way to shoot the rowers is after they've passed by, so you can capture their faces, since they're all facing backwards. there was something a little off from where i was shooting that i wasn't getting the same angles i had before from my old spot - maybe because i was lower to the water surface. in any case, i use all these head of the charles shooting opportunities as an excuse to play with my camera and learn from past mistakes.
i caught the tail end of the men's championship eights. that was followed by the men's lightweight eights, men's collegiate eights, women's championship eights, women's lightweight eights, women's collegiate eights, men's collegiate fours, and women's collegiate fours. i moved location during the men's collegiate fours, wanted to find a different place to shoot. i ended up going on top of the eliot's bridge, which quickly emptied once the collegiate events were over. all that was left was the parent/child doubles and mixed eights.
after that was over i biked home before they reopened memorial drive after 5pm. back at home i was curious to know how many photos i took. i ended up with 6000 photos taking up 45GB worth of space. i didn't even have enough empty storage on my macbook pro to download all the photos. i ended up clearing 75GB worth of space by backing up some data and erasing them off of the computer. i also retroactively filled some blog entries that were waiting for photos (photo heavy events like the yuletide 5K and the recent pride parade).
i spent the rest of the day watching football from the couch while surfing. i drifted in and out of sleep, every time waking up to a new quarter of action. the sunday night game was between the eagles and cowboys. i heated up a bowl of chicken lentil soup for dinner, have one more serving left after this. i add about a tablespoon of sriracha hot sauce to make it tastier. it's okay, not the most delicious of soups, but not bad either. very filling, i feel stuffed afterwards. as for the game, both teams were 3-4. cowboys ended up winning, 37-10. patriots play both teams in november.