Boats & Birthdays
I spent my birthday working. It was a good day actually. Beautiful weather, beautiful people and a fun event to shoot in really good light. Most days, photography is not like work for me. Here’s to hoping I’ll always be able to say that. More practice and then qualifying today for tomorrow’s F1 H20 Grand Prix of China. I did a complete round of interviews and filled a 2GB memory card with images that I have now mostly deleted. These guys, the drivers and crew of the F1 powerboats, are fun lot to be around. I get the feeling that most of them are like minor celebrities in their respective countries. I am sure they make a good living with the usual perks, but none of them are so full of themselves as to be unapproachable. I am about the same age as many of the older drivers, such as former world champion Guido Cappellini. I trailed Cappellini for most of the afternoon. He reminds me of an old lion, trying to hold onto his place in the pride.
Here Guido is on the way to meet his crew after qualifying sessions, where they will discuss strategy for the shootout stage. Cappellini will start fourth in tomorrow’s race. There is no doubt in his mind that he can win this week and still rally to reclaim the Champion’s crown for 2008. Reigning World Champ Sami Selio , from Finland, has the poll.
Unfortunately, the turnout was about what I expected. Now understand, you can not buy a ticket to the event anywhere in Liuzhou, yet there were plenty of seats available in the stands. I kid you not, there were more media, volunteers, soldiers and policemen than there were spectators. Far more. Maybe everyone is waiting for tomorrow. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Maybe pigs will fly out of my butt.
Security today was overwhelming. It’s always tricky shooting photographing policemen and soldiers in China. Some days nobody says anything when I lift the camera, others, it’s all hands up and waiving me off with a glare. Today I often got both reactions within mere feet. I’ll try and upload some of those shots in the next couple of days.
So the answer is 51. It was October 11th, 1957 in Bremerhaven, Germany when I took my first breath. I am thankful to still be breathing today. The best part of my day, without a doubt, was talking to my kids Natalie and Nick, who stayed up late to call me from the US. If there is any serious downside to my Chinese adventure, it’s the time spent away from them.
Peace to you all, until next time…