View 196: HydroBowl

I was very disappointed when earlier this year the Syracuse Hydrofest was cancelled due to high water levels on Onondaga Lake which I have enjoyed photographing the last two years.  Lucky for me, a new inboard hydroplane race was being held this year on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York called HydroBowl.  As you will soon see, Seneca Lake is not just about wine and beer.

Click Here for the 2011 HydroBowl Photo Gallery

HydroBowl featured vintage racing boats like the  J-444 Big John’s Edelweiss which was a multi-year champion back in the 1970’s. The vintage boats did not race. Instead, they did “fly-bys” so the spectators could enjoy seeing the boats on the water.

The vintage racing boat J-444 Big John's Edelweiss doing a fly-by at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake  in Geneva, New York.

The vintage racing boat J-444 Big John's Edelweiss doing a fly-by at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO 320, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length, cropped.

The day started out with overcast grey clouds which was reflected in the lake’s waters.  As the day progressed, the clouds dissipated and a sunny blue sky came out to create a beautiful early autumn day in the Finger Lakes.

To celebrate, I slowed down my shutter and did some panning attempts of the Grand National Hydro class heats.

Grand National Hydro (GNH) hydroplane Show Time Racing competing at the  HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York.

Grand National Hydro (GNH) hydroplane Show Time Racing competing at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/125s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length.

My favorite class is the 5.0 Liter inboard hydroplanes who can reach speeds of 150 mph (241 kph) and tend to have very close races with the high skill levels of the drivers and teams.  The photo below will give you an idea how close to the edge hydroplanes get during a race.  They do literally fly over the water’s surface.

5.0 Liter Inboard Hydroplane flying down the front stretch at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York.

5.0 Liter Inboard Hydroplane flying down the front stretch at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length, cropped.

The race day went late into the afternoon and the Sun dipped below a bank of clouds to the west of the race location.  The sky was still blue above and the mix of less light and low angle of the Sun created a bluish-grey color in the roostertails and water as the boats finished up the last of the heat races.

John Krebs drives the National Modifed Just Crazy (NM-233) at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York.

John Krebs drives the National Modifed Just Crazy (NM-233) at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 720, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length, cropped.

I want to thank the HydroBowl organization for bringing inboard hydroplane racing back to the Finger Lakes.  The setting was beautiful and there was a good crowd for a new event. The racers I talked to really enjoyed the venue and are looking forward to returning next year and for years to come.

I saw a lot of competitive racing last weekend which reminded me to remind you this month’s assignment on competition is due this week.

BONUS: I had this idea.  What would a panned photo of a hydroplane look like after being tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro’s Plugin for Aperture 3?  I think it looks pretty good!

2.5 Liter Stock hydroplane Grafx (CS-6) racing at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York.

2.5 Liter Stock hydroplane Grafx (CS-6) racing at the HydroBowl on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York. Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/125s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length, tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro.

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22 Responses to View 196: HydroBowl

  1. Great shots!!
    The third one you should have cropped even more, so it looked like it was about to run you over… of course you jumped out of the way at the last second 😉
    Can’t decide which one I like best… probably the last one.

    Like

  2. Sybil says:

    My fav is the second as it conveys the speed so well.

    The rapid environmentalist in me, wonders how much gas these boats are burning ?

    Like

  3. truels says:

    That last shot is super, Scott. I was testing my new camera watching my son and his team playing football yesterday, maybe there is a photo for your latest assigment here?! I hope I will have some time before Wednesday to look at my test-results!

    Like

  4. milkayphoto says:

    Nice! Love the color-blur in the second shot and that last shot is simply fantastic!

    Like

  5. Karma says:

    I have never seen boats like these before – they are pretty wild looking. Your action shots are wildly good!

    Like

    • The big Unlimited Hydroplanes which use jet engines or bigger engines were popular back in the 80’s. These are smaller boats and have a lot of weekend warriors much like local auto racers. These people are passionate about their sport and are a lot of fun to be with.

      Like

  6. Pingback: View 196: HydroBowl | Views Infinitum « HydroRacer Live

  7. Nye says:

    Awesome shots, I can’t decide which one I like best. I would love to see this in person.

    Like

  8. Kathy says:

    I like the second photo best. It’s awesome! Your hydroplane photos always remind me of when my brothers had hydroplanes. The Finger Lakes remind me that is where my grandma’s parents lived. Your post was a cache of memories today.

    Like

  9. Anna says:

    Very nice shots with water action and oh so colorful! I really like the 2nd photo… awesome!

    Like

  10. John Krebs says:

    Melia shared these with me as I drive her “Deja Vu” as well as my “Just Crazy” you posted on your blog page. I can’t wait to see all of them from both days, I guarantee I will be ordering some. We put on quite a heat race in the National Modified qualifier on Sunday morning (second heat of the day) as we raced sided by side most of the race.

    Like

  11. firasz says:

    You have made a good set of panning photos!

    Like

  12. Julie Fogg says:

    2nd pic down is gorgeous & would look great on an office wall. 🙂

    Like

  13. Pingback: Making a Color Splash | Views Infinitum

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