I always admire people who partake in events such as the Dusi Canoe Marathon, partly because of their sheer drive and determination, but mostly because when it comes to things like that I consider myself to be bone idle. I am a professional spectator by nature, at home on the sidelines cheering on my favourite teams or sports people, which is probably why I enjoy photographing these types of events! I get to tell people that I am “doing” the Dusi, or “doing” the Midmar Mile, which I am, but not in the way most would think!
By my watch the race started at precisely 06h03 by the deafening sound of the traditional Dusi starting cannon. That thing gets me every time! There was a thick blanket of mist clinging to the water which always makes capturing the first few paddlers a bit tricky. I opted to rather go for an image that captured the overall conditions rather than focusing in on a single paddler. After waiting unsuccessfully for the mist to lift (i’m sure it did after I left) I headed on to the next stop, Mission Rapids.
Mission is always a great spot for some action and is a favourite amongst photographers. When the first men came through I think we outnumbered the spectators two to one! Most seemed to navigate through without any problems and already we could see quite a gap forming between the front runners and the rest.
I tend to stay away from the finish lines on days one and two as there really isn’t much to the shot. Certainly the images you can capture at various rapids and weirs make for much nicer photos. I will aim to get a few shots at the finish of day 3!
Day two got underway at the overnight stop just before Dusi Bridge. Conditions weren’t great for photography, but i’m sure those paddling were quite pleased to have a break from the usual Umgeni valley heat. As in the past the start was staggered, but there really wasn’t much between the first 4 paddlers. In fact despite the lower water levels all four had finished inside of the previous day one record!
I tried to get some images at the start, but I wasn’t that successful. The shots are fine, but there is nothing great about them! As the day progressed some better opportunities presented themselves and I got much better images.
For the start of day 3 everything was back to normal with regards to the weather so I knew there were some good shots on the cards. Unfortunately due to the reversed start I wasn’t able to capture the main contenders or the finish due to other commitments, but it was a good morning none the less!
Well that was my 2015 Dusi Canoe Marathon in a nutshell. I hoped you enjoyed the pics as much as I did taking them. There will be a follow up blog post about how the equipment handled in general, both good and bad!