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Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta 2014

Dar Mlodzeizy in Full Sail

Dar Mlodziezy in Full Sail


Sunday, 31st August, was the fourth and final day of the Regatta and we had the Parade of Ships as a prelude to the start of the Falmouth to Greenwich Tall Ships Race.  Six of us were lucky to spend several hours on the water in a small speedboat witnessing this amazing event.  Apart from the 46 ships taking part it was estimated there were about 1500 small boats on the water.  It made for a great spectacle and was nice to see everyone having such a great time.  About 100,000 people watched from the land


A bluer "landscape" version of the same ship

The Dar Mlodziezy


This Polish, 3 masted sail training ship, the Dar Mlodzeizy (means The Gift of Youths) was the largest ship in the Regatta; 204 feet high masts and 32,000 square feet of sail, fully rigged.

From a photographic point of view I found it a challenge.  Nearly all my photography involves using a tripod, and usually slow shutter speeds.  This obviously was not going to work here!  I used two lenses, a 14-24mm wide angle lens (heavy) and a 50mm prime lens (light), neither of which have the now popular “image stabilisation”  feature.  I am going to have to work on my shooting technique; the 50mm lens images were nice and sharp but the images from the wide angle lens could have been sharper which I presume was the result of camera shake.  I use a Nikon D800 which is not very forgiving when it comes to getting sharp images from hand held use.   I did find the camera and wide angle lens a bit heavy and the speedboat did give a very bumpy ride, even so, as I was using shutter speeds of around 1/1000 sec I was surprised the images were not as sharp as they could have been.

As you can see from the first two photos, one has a yellow bias and the other a blue bias.  If you have got this far reading my blurb I’d be interested to hear which you prefer, the blue or yellow treatment?  I have about 300 photos from the day, some nice ones of the smaller craft, but it is the big ships everyone wants to see.  The photos are not simple record shots.  I have  processed each shot individually in Lightroom and Photoshop making various changes particularly to the white balance and colur balance.  The photos would not work as a panel but individually I like them.

Dar Mlodziezy before the sails went up.

Dar Mlodziezy before the sails went up.

Heads were always getting in the way!

Heads were always getting in the way!

It seemed everyone wanted to be at the front.

The Atyla, a classic Spanish Schonner







6 responses

  1. Great shots! Awesome beauty! These sailing ships have a natural beauty! Plus they are environmentally friendly! 🙂

    September 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    • Thanks. Awesome beauty indeed..the romance of sail, the power of the wind, billowing canvas…but not always plain sailing!

      September 9, 2014 at 12:08 am

  2. You have some fabulous shots here Malcolm. I’m envious. I didn’t get the chance to get on the water and I did fancy my chances from the shore. As you say, the D800 is pretty unforgiving as is the 14-24mm. To use these handheld in combination, and I speak from bitter experience 😉 is a particular challenge that as far as I can see, you met brilliantly. Superb images and Sunday being such a beautiful day weatherwise, a smashing record of what must have been a really enjoyable experience! 🙂
    P.S. I think I prefer the slight blue bias but there’s very little in it.

    September 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    • Thanks Adrian. I was very luck to get the chance to be on the water. It was very exciting and, yes, the weather could not have been better. Strangely, a wide angle lens was very useful. Many on the speedboat had telephoto lenses but more often than not the ships were too close to us.

      September 9, 2014 at 12:16 am

  3. leecleland

    Beautiful shots, Malcolm. When looked at together the slight blue has the edge for me but as separate images there is nothing in it and I like the warmth the yellow tinge gives to that first image. It’s a great shot.

    September 9, 2014 at 12:55 am

    • Thanks Lee. I had a great day on the water. I always find getting the right white balance a bit of a challenge; like you, I do think the blue does have the edge.

      September 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm

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