Yesterday, I got to spend the afternoon with Purdue Crew making photos from a jon boat as they practiced up and down the river.

Kurt Butler, the Varsity Women’s crew coach sincerely enjoys watching the Eagles soar around him from the jon boat as they train up and down the river. Coach sent me an email in early February after seeing the photos I took:


He noted that while the freezing temps might be around for the next few weeks, he would be glad to have me ride along sometime in the coach’s boat to take some photos in late Feb/early March. It warmed up and the day arrived.

We didn’t see any eagles that day, but I was still able to make some awesome photos of the crew from the boat and from the air.

The doors were opened up…

the boats were hoisted in the air…

and the boats were brought down to the river.

both the men and women’s crew team were headed out to the river.


it was cold, but there were still some smiles here and there 😀


into the water they go.

Though quite windy, it was from the west and was a beautiful blue-sky day to go rowing.

In each boat sits a coxswain, who has a few different roles:

  • steering
  • coordinating speed and power
  • implementing training regimen during practice

Three boats were in the water.

They rotated between rowing in pairs, by sixes, or by eights and those not rowing feather their oars to help stabilize the boat from side to side rolling.

I had seen the teams on the river before, but have never gotten to photograph them up close like this:

What amazed me the most was that even during practice, their synchronization was nearly spot on.

It is an easy thing to see through still photography, as the moments are frozen in time – through video it is not as easy to appreciate.


They use cleaver bladed oars: 3 of which shown here are square and one is feathered.


Again, they are all together at the same point in their stroke.

This was the portion of practice where they were doing full strokes as well, not just practicing one part or going slowly through a whole stroke.


And of course, with a quadcopter in my kit, I had to explore the aerial perspective.

Here are a few of my favorite aerials from the end of practice.


Golden sunset light slips through the trees along the Wabash as the Men’s crew team finishes practice:




The day, coming to a close now…


Time to dock and bring ’em back to the boathouse.


I really had enjoyed yesterday.

What I think I liked the most was learning the terminology and the way things work.

I always enjoy photographing new things, but learning the back story and the “how-to” side of what I am shooting allows me to really connect with the photos I am making. Plus when I learn and shoot at the same time, I find that I always end up with better photos.

Have an idea/suggestion for a photo? Drop me a line! I’d love to hear it.

I am always exploring new ideas… Follow me on social media for more of these throughout the month!




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See you tomorrow for another daily photo story!