Capturing the Action: USA
11 February 2015
As we continue our look
behind the scenes at Race HQ, we hear from San Francisco-based photographer
Abner Kingman who first worked with the race back in 2009.
“Each stopover is a big production with many moving parts: sailors, friends and family, staff and media - a challenge is to find order in the chaos,” explains Abner, who has been the race’s official photographer for the San Francisco, Oakland and New York stopovers.
“Out on the water, the boats are ocean racers, not dinghies, and they sailing often just inches apart so corralling them into a single frame is difficult.”
In the previous three editions of the Clipper Race, San Francisco Bay’s Golden Gate Bridge has marked the finish line in the race across the Pacific Ocean from China.
During the marathon Pacific Ocean race into San Francisco, crew spend close to a month at sea and clock up over 5,600 nautical miles, meaning capturing the arrivals of the yachts is something special.
“It’s definitely the people that make it unique. The boats are great and the stopover locations are spectacular, but the range of characters aboard each boat and their fascinating backgrounds is what makes photographing the race such a pleasure,” continues Abner.
Hugely popular among crews, skippers and the race team, Abner also travelled to New York as official photographer during the Clipper 2011-12 Race, where one of his most memorable race moments took place.
“We were out photographing the fleet in front of the Statue of Liberty when the Space Shuttle Enterprise was towed by on a barge! Just another day on a Clipper Race stopover.”
After covering four photography packed stopovers it’s hard for Abner to pick a favourite image.
“I’m not sure that I have a single favorite, but I do love shooting the boats out on the ocean with a bit of a seaway going. They are real ocean racing yachts and seem most at home in big ocean conditions.”
As well as the race’s go-to photographer in San Francisco, Abner has also captured the action for the likes of the America’s Cup, Louis Vuitton Cup as well as various other watersports in the Bay area.
“This is a recurring theme, but one notable difference is the variety among the crews. They are not professional sailors, completely inculcated by the culture of sailing. They come from all walks of life and their background stories and points of view of the race are endlessly fascinating.”