My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

” DRAGON BOAT…. the drum beat of hope ! “

“Fiery Finish”

So what is Dragon boating? Enthusiasm, camaraderie, team spirit and just plain fun. The atmosphere is all that and more.  It is an event that is made up of men, women and open paddling teams. Each team has 20 rowers with 1 steers-person and 1 drummer. The teams come from all over the US and Canada, and can represent a corporation, business, cause or just about anything else. The key is to put together a team and practice till they become a cohesive unit. A very rhythmically paced team can usually overpower a physically strong team.

What drew me to this event in Mercer Park was not only the amount of people who were attending this open air competition but also the almost carnival-like  atmosphere. The people just oozed with support and happiness for each other and who or what they were racing for. Some raced for time, while others raced for their committed cause. You could not help but feel swept away by the many smiling faces from young and old. The power that 20 paddlers can generate took me by surprise. To see and hear 6 to 8 teams row in unison to the drum beat was mind-blowing. As I tried to get a feel for the movement of the boats and people, shooting became quite effortless. Even though I had full access to the docks and rowers, mingling between paddlers and spectators was  challenging at times. What kept me focused was when each race started, hearing the race gun, then the drum beat which was followed by cheering from the crowd. This rhythm of the start, the drum beat and click of my shutter, continued throughout the day. The enthusiasm of the rowers, combined with excitement of the crowd, kept me involved …. but more importantly the beat of my heart and shutter, were in sync with the boom of the drum. That boom couldn’t help but resonate deep inside everyone… it carried the message of hope in accomplishing their cause.


26 responses

  1. denisebushphoto

    Mike Pillows … master landscape photographer and photojournalist! Great story and images … and I learned something too. All help tell the story and I have like’d my favorites.


    November 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    • Hey ‘D’… thanks for the ‘likes’… I do not know about master though. I have been trying to mix up my landscape shooting with a lil event pics… really enjoying it!!!


      November 10, 2012 at 6:41 pm

  2. I never heard of this kind of an event. Thanks for sharing these great photos of it.


    November 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

    • That makes 2 of us Rich…. when I researched a lil I found they would be in Jersey. Thats when the photo light bulb went on. Thanks for the visit.


      November 4, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  3. Mike: Enthusiasm, exhilaration, and excitement are all words that come to mind when I see these colorful images. The motion and colorfulness of the event were beautifully captured. Well done.


    November 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    • Hey Lisa… really nice hearing from you again. All of your words are what kept me going on that day. Images just popped left and right.


      November 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  4. You captured every second of the excitement, the passion and yes, the fiery finish! Amazing images that makes the reader feel like we were actually there. I’d seen a similar dragon boat race and I wish I can join one in the future. It’s just inspiring to see them so free and driven. It’s a great work out too, right? I hope and pray that you and your family are safe from the recent effect of hurricane Sandy. Events like that is scary and devastating. Wishing you all the best.


    November 2, 2012 at 1:45 am

    • Big thanks for your thoughts of us out here in NJ…. I can’t help but feel for the people that were hit extremely hard… the shore, Staten Island and Newark. I connect to light and patterns and also peoples faces. That is probably why I can not shot people suffering.


      November 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm

  5. Great story and images Mike. I first witnessed Dragon Boat Racing when I spent a week in Portland OR back in 2008 and I was completely consumed by the spirt and intensity of all the participants. You have truly captured that with many of your images here! Nice!! I really like the B & W headshots…keep it up!


    October 28, 2012 at 10:02 am

    • Big thanks for noticing the b/w portraits… I kept going back and forth on keeping them in color or not.


      October 29, 2012 at 1:16 am

  6. Could feel the drum beat. Specially liked 13, 20,21


    October 26, 2012 at 11:05 am

    • What intrigued me Ralph was the mix of young and old… when they were staging , it was all laughs, but when they were racing past us… you saw all the emotion and stress. Really cool to experience.


      October 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

  7. Good ones Mike ! The photos have the spirit of the competition !


    October 26, 2012 at 11:02 am

    • Diego… my brother from down under. Really appreciate the comment.


      October 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

  8. Pat

    Great shots of the action!


    October 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

    • Thanks for the visit Pat.


      October 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm

  9. Just gorgeous Mike!! i always love your pictures.. 😀


    October 26, 2012 at 9:13 am

    • Many thanks Abby… I had a blast shooting!!


      October 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm

  10. Awesome! Love the photographs and can almost feel the atmosphere. 🙂


    October 26, 2012 at 2:51 am

    • Much appreciated Zelmare… the whole vibe there was amazing.


      October 26, 2012 at 6:21 am

  11. You really captured the spirit of the rowers.


    October 25, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    • In this shoot the spirit of the day was everything. Thanks C&C


      October 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

  12. Jo Walter

    You make it sound so exciting! Grat pics!


    October 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    • Thanks Jo… I always get excited when I shoot 🙂


      October 26, 2012 at 6:19 am

  13. Wonderful coverage of a spectacular event. Thanks for this, Mike!


    October 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    • Gary thanks for checking in.


      October 26, 2012 at 6:26 am

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