(Photo: John Jackson)
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont
Residence: Essex, Vermont
Occupation: Wood Products Manufacturing
Years Paddling: 8
Paddles: Kayak, OC1, Raft, Hydrospeed (Riverboard), Catamaran, Creature Craft
Favorite Paddling Spot: “Deerfield River, Dryway section”
Memorable Paddling Experience: “Taking a non-boater (city guy, never paddled anything previously) down the Fife Brook section of the Deerfield at 6,500 CFS. That was a FAST trip.”
Off Water Pastime: Photography, Travel
Comment / Advice: “Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams, you never know if you will like what is on the other side until you get there.”
Yosemite Falls 1966
The Kayaking Photos Guy
By: Alden Bird
If there’s one thing a whitewater boater loves more than running a river, it’s sitting home later looking at pictures of himself running a river. And for the past nine years, Patrick Rogers, prolific amateur Northeast river photographer, has allowed us to indulge.
First inspired by his father’s photographs from a 1960s cross-country trip – particularly the pictures of the national parks – Rogers grew up with a camera, in Essex, Vermont. Yet it was not until 2002, when kayaks appeared above the waterfall he was photographing on New Hampshire’s Pemigewasset River, that Rogers first caught a boat in his lens. Later that year, his website, kayakingphotos.com, was born. By 2004, Rogers was traveling great distances to photograph boaters at river festivals and high water events, and had become a known presence throughout New England.
Though his work appears in river guidebooks, in Rapid Magazine, and in Eastern Mountain Sports catalogues, Rogers has not sought to make money photographing. Usual Rogers practice is to drive to a river festival – Moosefest, Deerfieldfest, the MVP Pig Roast, or a New England Slalom Series race – shoot as many as 400 photographs, upload them to his website, and post a notice on Northeast Paddlers Message Board. Boaters are free to peruse. Should they wish, a high-resolution image can be uploaded – or even a disc sent free of charge. Should one wish to compensate Rogers, in my experience, one must purposely broach the subject.
Rogers also volunteers to lead trips and help at rolling sessions for the University of Vermont Kayak Club. A class III kayaker himself, Rogers takes great pleasure in making sure novices are able to enjoy club trips down the advanced Deerfield River Dryway – by offering them a seat on his two-person catamaran.
You have to experiment to get the photos you want, he says. Once, attempting an impromptu rappel – sans harness – into Vermont’s Middlebury Gorge, the artiste clung to a wet throw rope, his feet dangling inches from the edge of a cliff, perilously close to swimming down the very cataract he’d meant to photograph. He learned. It was with far better equipment this past fall that Rogers attained impressive new photos of Crystal Rapid on New York’s Moose River; he rappelled 30 feet down the cliff on the left shore and took photos from the rope. The pursuit of the photo as exciting as what it documented. Still he prefers those photos he took upstream, the facial expressions he captured on boaters halfway down 40-foot Fowlersville Falls.
It is just for these facial expressions that Rogers considers light overcast weather optimal. Too much sun equals too much contrast; a boater’s face will be too shaded beneath a helmet. Too little sun and the colors are dull.
That and you need a fast camera. Not like the one, three cameras ago, that Rogers had with him back in New Hampshire, the one with the shutter delay that made timing a guess. Now he uses a Canon 40D – a much faster camera.
And no – he has never dropped one in the river.
Though Rogers has begun to photograph other sports – rock climbing, motorcycle racing, and ice climbing – he has no plans to stop photographing boaters. Plan to see him out this spring with his camera, maybe on the bank, maybe rappelling down a cliff, or maybe you will even see him in his boat on the river.
And should you see him out of his boat, swimming alongside it – as I saw this past fall – you may assure him of one certainty:
Someone on the bank is surely capturing the moment on film.
|Nomination and article content by:
Alden Bird a.k.a. AB
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