Being a photographer is not without it's perks, sometimes you are able to get closer to the action and are treated to a glimpse into the real lives of extraordinary people. Back is September I was fortunate enough to be asked to document a training session for the Great British mens white water rafting team during which I got to see the incredible feats that they achieved whilst training on the olympic course at Lee Valley Park.
The Course was gruelling and during the hour long session the team certainly put themselves through their paces and there was no sign of them holding back in their bid to prepare for the world championships in Indonesia later this year. I have to say I was really struck at how hard these men worked and pulled together in order to get the raft around the course and their joint skill and expertise really shone through. The members of the team live some distance from each other making training difficult. Added to this they are self funded so they have the pressure of raising funds for equipment, travel and other expenses yet the love of the sport drives them on. This is why I feel privileged to support them in a small way through my photography to help them raise awareness and generate interest in the sport.
I love this photo as it shows all of the team working in unison, when we were going through the shots post training the team captain (Dan) was drawn to the photos where all of the oars were in line and told me that this highlighted the fact that the team were working well together and that they were demonstrating good technique. It's little things like this that make me appreciate a photo for more than the drama it conveys as had I not been able to talk to Dan I would not have been looking for these qualities or appreciate the skill captured in my photo when selecting the final shots. This reminds me that whilst I know what I like to photograph, I need to consider what's important to the people in the photos and then try to strike a balance between the two.
Prior to the training session I was able to take some photos of the German national kaiaking team, who were speeding around the course and making short work of the rapids. My time at the session was a very humbling experience as I was able to document athletes at the top of the game doing what they love and showing why they are among the best in the world in their respective sports. I would defy anyone not to have a real sense of pride when watching Team GBR in action, I know it was a real honour and a highlight from this year's photography for me.
I'm sure you'll join me in wishing Team GBR good luck in the world championship and their future endeavours. Please see the full white water rafting gallery and the kaiaking gallery for more photos from this training session. Also please check out Team GB's Facebook page.
As usual please feel free to comment, I do read all of the comments and am grateful for feedback, your own stories and experiences or just observations that may spark a conversation about the posts I put up.